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The Truth ISN'T Out There

KMorrisD kmorrisd at aol.com
Thu Aug 20 19:31:03 EST 1998

This is sort of a follow up on some of the recent discussion on the value of
state `management` foresters.  These are the ones whose total budgets are in
the range of $90,000 to $100,000 per year, but who do nothing all day long in
many states.  Well, it turns out the `service` and `SIP` foresters have very
comparable budgets.  So how much are they really worth?  

It would appear that the value of the `service` and `SIP` foresters is actually
NEGATIVE as far as landowners and consultants are concerned.  Their value is
negative because the version of forest management that they expound (when they
do expound) is really ANTI-MANAGEMENT from an economic AND silvicultural point
of view. 

They say trees only grow at 3-5% per year.  So anyone with any financial sense
should conclude that the best thing to do with his/her trees is clearcut, or at
least HIGH-GRADE, take the money and put it in the stock market where it has a
chance at 10%, 15%, 20% or more.  

This has to be part of the motivation behind much of the high-grading that goes
on around here.  Landowners are doing this little calculation consciously or
semi-consciously based on info from government foresters--or some loggers and
even consultants--who buy into this FALSE VERSION of tree value growth.  

It's for sure they aren't getting a different message about tree value growth
unless they're my clients, and a few other foresters' clients.  The truth ISN'T
out there. <G>  And the reason it isn't out there is the government foresters
and the high-graders DON'T WANT IT OUT THERE.

If the truth were out there, taxpayers would ask why we need government
foresters to provide free advice to RICH PEOPLE earning 10-15% (volume, grade
value, market value) on their forest investments??  And landowners would be a
LOT more selective about the trees they'd let loggers cut if they knew how fast
some of them are growing in value.

Therefore the `service` foresters should really be called `disservice
foresters,` and the `SIP` foresters should be called `ZIP` foresters.  <G>  
The only remedy for this sad situation is to give them the choice of telling
the truth or taking a hike.

Karl Davies, Consulting Forester
Northampton, MA

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