your comments in saf-news

Joseph Zorzin redoak at
Wed Dec 2 04:31:45 EST 1998

Dear Mr. Wenger
President of the Society of American Foresters-

(posted in z-mail, bionet.agroforestry, alt.forestry, etc.)

I have been forwarded your comments in saf-news about my recent
excommunication from that forum. Since I have been muzzled there, I'll
reply outside that forum. You said there-

"There is a straight-forward, easily understood formula for conducting
fruitful debates here on this list, in meetings, or in personal
conversations, and anywhere: confine the discussion to the substance of
the questions and avoid pejorative comments about other participants.
That is the way to insure that the discussion will be thoughtful and
productive, rather than distorted by emotions.

Where we really differ in our opinions is that discussion that always
MUST remain polite will EVER have any fruitful results. We live in a
very political world and forestry has been in a political fight since it
began in this nation. Cloistering the SAF; to avoid SERIOUS debate has
resulted in it's failure to serve the REAL forestry community; all those
foresters who actually work in the woods on a daily basis.

I've been a "mud forester" for 25 years and your ever so polite SAF, as
far as I can see, has done NOTHING for working foresters, or perhaps I
should call them "working class" foresters; while mostly focusing on the
needs of the social and career climbers; becoming a "proper" tea party
society; which has no relevance to the real world.

You can continue to have your polite discussions, which you wrongly
consider to be so professional; whereas if the SAF was TRULY concerned
about the profession of forestry; it would have to take it's head out of
the sand to find out why forestry is in a serious failure mode
throughout America; with big cutbacks in harvesting on most public
lands; with having little impact on the continued dominance of high
grading on private forest land; with the continued low socio/economic
status of foresters, except those at the top of industry and the
forestry ivory tower; with ever less respect from the public which now
listens to environmentalists, despite the fact that foresters were the
original environmentalists; but having lost that mission due to poor
leadership too focused on short term goals such as career enhancement.

The SAF has failed the profession of forestry; so you might try looking
in the mirror about what professionalism is all about. My speaking up
the way I do is because I'm fighting to see REAL REFORM in forestry;
which takes REAL HONEST discussion of the REAL problems. My speaking up
has cost me dearly in my career; but I am NOT going to become a butt
kissing weenie to become a social climber in order to participate in a
materialistic low brow culture of which I have no need or respect. My
primary interest has always been good forestry, especially silviculture;
not the benefactions of those above me socially and economically.

You might try remembering what Socrates told the young people of Athens-
to challenge authority. But those who are at the top of any society,
especially with questionable justification, too often don't want to be
challenged in a way other than what might be called sycophantic. And we
know what those thinned skinned Athenian aristocrats did to Socrates.
But he is still remembered; not the ruling class snobs in togas.

Joe Zorzin, Professional Mud Forester
z-mail, list server, for the Massachusetts forestry revolution of '98
read about it at
proposed forester license regs for Mass. and comments 
by K.Davies at

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list