forester licensing regs in Massachusetts

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Mon Dec 28 02:28:57 EST 1998

In article <767526$phh$1 at>,  <FourCubed at> wrote:

>I don't recall my engaging in "ranting drivel," but I will admit that I
>become angry when I see someone suggesting than an individual's control of
>his private property can be unreasonably wrested out of his control by
>government fiat.  I am aware of the constitutionality of land use controls,
>however, the federal and state constitutions also protect the rights of
>property owners against unlimited government intrusions.

So you are defining a dynamic, a situation where some control is allowed,
but a situation where there are limits to what controls are allowed,
which ultimately must be decided by the Supreme Court when disagreements
between law and landowners arise.


That's not quite what you said in your original post, though.  If you'd
said what you mean in the first place, we'd honor your cranial capacity
by calling you fivecubed rather than fourcubed.

>Mr. Zorzin declares
>on his web page, "Some of the best remaining privately owned primeval forest
>should be purchased by the government at a fair market price and the most
>interesting (ecologically and aesthetically) already owned by the government
>should be protected from 'management.'"  I have no doubts as to Mr. Zorzins
>qualifications as a forester; I do have doubts as to his advocacy of a
>federal land czar. Just who is to be anointed with this lofty land-commissar
>position? How is "primeval forest" to be defined?

How is BUYING private lands, as suggested by Mr. Zorzin, unconstitutional?
The 5th Amendment doesn't say the government can't take your land, only
that takings must be compensated for.  By even the most extremely conservative
reading of the 5th amendment, BUYING the land at a fair value certainly will
be deemed fair compensation.

>If the land was "zoned" a
>certain way before it was purchased, and the buyer purchased the land to be
>managed in accordance to the existing zoning regulations, by what authority
>can further restrictions be imposed on it?

Well, once upon a time that land wasn't zoned at all, and the current
zoning was imposed.   You specifically state that you agree that such
controls already in place are constitutional.  Having thus lost your
5th amendment virginity, if you will, you can't simply argue that additional
restrictions aren't constitutional.

This is why the courts have established certain thresholds beyond which
regulation is indeed a takings.  

So, the constitutional authority is simply that if the increased regulation
doesn't diminish use below this somewhat established threshold, then it's
not a "taking" and is legal.

Presumably, in free-market terms, the market price reflects this uncertainty
of future increased regulation.  Caveat emptor...if you're ignorant of the
potential for increased regulation and get snookered by a seller who overcharges
based on the ignorance, tough.

>The land preservationists, in
>their utopian zeal, are treading precariously onto constitutionally protected
>ground.  Here our federal government ought to protect the rights of property
>owners against government intrusion.

You are being vague in specifics, but extreme in rhetoric.

You agree that zoning laws and other regs are constitutional, at least if they
don't go "too far" (which is the state of affairs defined by the Supreme Court,
so you should be happy).

Yet you are associating Mr. Zorzin's proposal to BUY, at FAIR MARKET VALUE,
the forests he wants to preserve with an unconstitutional intrusion on
property rights.

Here's news:  the power to condemn (i.e. take by force, but with fair market
compensation),  is also well-established as being constitutional in many
cases, at least.

>But let's consider Mr. Zorzin's motives for proposing such a draconian

How is a proposal to BUY, at FAIR MARKET VALUE, such forests "draconian"?

>It is, in his words, to preserve "the beauty of untrammeled nature."
>Of course there's no such thing as "untrammeled nature" if there are
>"trammelers" viewing it. Even so, it's a valid sentiment shared by millions
>of Americans. The question to be asked is how much "untrammeled nature"
>exists in this country, and how many of the millions of "untrammeled nature"
>lovers actually seek it out?

>The answer is a lot, and not very many.

>There are currently over 100 million acres in the Wilderness Preservation

Blah blah blah.

The reality, though, is that there is not even representation of native
ecosystems preserved via the Wilderness System.

This is a false application of statistical information you're trying get
us to buy into.

For instance, how many acre of tall-grass prairie are included in the
wilderness system?  The fact that 100 million acres of non-tall-grass
prairie are preserved in the wilderness system does nothing to protect
this ecosystem.

Get it?

>These forests comprise twice the acreage that Aldo Leopold, the
>prime mover in establishing wilderness areas, had envisioned.

On the other hand, low-elevation westside coniferous old-growth forests
in Oregon are preserved in two, tiny wilderness areas which are capable
of supporting something like two or three pairs of spotted owl.  There
are other old-growth protected areas, as well, now that the Clinton
Forest Plan is in place, but these two tiny areas and the somewhat
smaller but still small coastal forest so preserved in Oly NP are not
sufficient to maintain viable populations of a variety of old-growth
dependent species.

And the 100 million acres aren't "forest", as you are maintaining.
A high percentage of those acres are alpine, sub-alpine, tundra, and
a variety of other ecosystems.

Quick, now, just how much of those 100 million acres are actually

And of those that are forest, how many are of productive lowland
timber-producing forests, as opposed to forests of sub-alpine firs
that even the Oregon timber industry turns its nose up at?

>How many
>people visit these forests? Only a fraction of outdoor recreationists, and
>only those with the luxury of having the time, money, and physical ability to
>do so. Well, you say, if not for aesthetics, then the land should be
>preserved for its "ecological" integrity.  Everyone on this list has seen the
>arguments advanced on both sides in regard to this issue.  The truth is, the
>science of ecology is so complex that not even Odum or E. O. Wilson could
>propose to understand even the simplest ecosystem. If the prescribed burning
>of forests--as advocated by some--is healthful, then why isn't logging?

Because even though we don't understand forest ecosystems in their entirety,
we do understand them well enough to know that natural fires and typical
industrial logging regimes aren't equivalent in their impact on the

You know, not even the best medical researches can fully understand most
cancers.  Yet, we have good means of diagnosing, and in many cases effective
means of treatment, despite our lack of understanding.

The physicists of the Manhattan project had quite incomplete models for
making an efficient plutonium bomb.  Yet, they made a crude, solid-core
model that worked quite well at Nagasaki.

The Wright brothers had VERY incomplete understanding of aerodynamics.
If you'd said "wing vortices" to them, I suspect you would've drawn a
blank.  Yet - their plane flew, and they steadily improved them.

It doesn't take complete understanding to have sufficient understanding
to have a pretty good handle on what's happening.

If you insist on complete understanding of ecosystems before we modify
logging practices, then conservationists will simply insist on complete
understanding of ecosystems BEFORE you continue to use existing logging
systems.  So be careful of what you ask for, you may get it and may not
like the result.

>The essential question is: Considering the 100 million acres of existing
>wilderness, ought we unnecessarily control private property by unprecedented
>government fiat in order that a few transcendentalists can meditate deep in
>the redwood forest?

How does BUYING a forest violate private property rights?

Andrew Langer, this guy needs you badly, help him.

- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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