Headwaters Forest Video Available

catherine yronwode cat at luckymojo.com
Wed Sep 10 04:05:48 EST 1997


David Underwood wrote:
> 
> Larry Caldwell wrote:
> 
> > As far as riparian protection, I don't know what the law is in 
> > California, but would be surprised if there was none.  For private 
> > land, clearcutting is usually a better way of managing the forest 
> > than highgrading, euphemisitcally referred to as "selective 
> > logging."  Most high grading operations leave stands of diseased and 
> > damaged trees, do as much damage to wildlife habitat, and much more 
> > to ruin the productive value of the land.
> >
> Excuse me, but try telling that to the people in Salem Oregon after
> their water supply had to be shut down twice last winter because of 
> silt from clear cutting in the watershaed.  Look at the forest to the 
> west of Mt. Shasta and see what kind of trees grow there after the 
> topsoil has eroded away because of clearcutting. Go to any clearcut 
> and look at what used to be streams and spawning grounds, look at the 
> scrub brush that grows there now and then come back and tell us how 
> wonderful clearcutting is.

I have to agree with David that in most of the West, clearcutting has
been a disaster. The steep terrain and the yearly cycle of dry summers
and wet winters (no steady rain through the year, as there is in the
Midwest and East) lead to erosion. The soil washes off before new trees
get a start and then the productivity of the land for forestry is lost. 
I have seen photos of fly-overs of land in California that was clearcut
15 years ago and still has no young trees on it, just scrub. And this
was land that was "managed" -- where real efforts were made to replant. 

This thread has given rise to a lot of anger, which is unfortunate --
but one thing is becoming obvious to me; Folks in the West have seen
irreparable damage done to watersheds and topsoil by clearcutting. They
really can;t take much more of it. Folks in the Midwest and East who
have not seen such dameage, because gradiets are less steep and their
climate offers less extreme conditions of drought and flood, think we
Westerners are a bunch of whining eco-freaks (or worse, terrorists)
because we speak out against clearcutting. 

The truth is, clearcutting is NOT working well in the West. Either the
practice must be stopped altogether (the radical notion) or the
standards must be revised AT ONCE to outlaw clearcutting on steeep
gradients and in areas with two-season climates like the West. 

To give one more example not previously mentioned of how clearcutting is
destroying the West: We are losing our native salmon populations now at
an alarming rate. The Headwaters video that started all of this talk
contains a good piece by a marine biologist on why clearcutting destroys
salmon runs. Basically, they have a 4 degree temperature range between
"too hot to brreed" and "too cold to breed" and clearcutting increases
water temperature to the point they can't breed. End of story. End of
species. 

For those who continually bring up the matter of clearcutting on private
land being permissible under the laws of the United States, i have this
to offer: In the West, clearcutting can become a form of industrial
pollution. The destruction of salmon habitat, the ruination of
watersheds for town water supplies, the damage done to houses and and
even entire towns (as with the debris torrent at Stafford) combine to
make the practice of clearcutting unworkable in much of the West, even
on private land. Why? Because the streams qnd the land and the homes
that are despoiled by clearcutting lay on OTHER people's land -- and
owning land does NOT give anyone the right to destroy adjacent
properties. 
 
catherine yronwode

The Sacred Landscape: http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredland.html



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