forester licensing regs in Massachusetts

HULTGREN arne at
Thu Dec 31 13:05:17 EST 1998

Joseph Zorzin <redoak at> wrote in message news:368B3950.707EDF92 at

>That does happen around here, but it's rare. More typical is the
>landowner who HASN'T decided to take a short term perspective who gets
>hoodwinked by a fast talking logger who says, "I'm only gonna take the
>very big trees, and I'll clean the place up real nice, and I'll pay top
>dollar", then the guy high grades the piss out of the place, and pays
>far less than he should have. This makes up at least 3/4 of all logging
>in our state. I guess the loggers are better salesmen than the

Okay. So let's say hypothetically that you want something like the California regulatory model (I know its a stretch). The only thing a landowner can do w/o an RPF is salvage logging (which must still follow all the regs, excepting the need for a full THP). He'll still need a logger who's an LTO, and the job has to be done under all the state regs (which is another big thread for discussion!) Salvage logging means you can only take dead, dying, and/or diseased trees that are not expected to live for more than a year. And you'll inspected by CDF. THAT'S IT.  Anything else requires a full-blown THP (which is functional equivalent of an EIR). There is a small provision for emergencies but they must be substantiated by an RPF and are only good for 120 days.

So now YOU are the RPF and you're going to make sure the landowner the doesn't get taken. But what's this going to cost the landowner? You're now acting as a broker. And you are entitled to your wages. You have connections with folks at the mills, and with various loggers in order to keep abreast of market conditions. You've also got Conflict of Interest laws, so you must disclose any interests, and let the owner decide if you're a good risk (which you would do anyway, right?) The landowner pays for your time, as well as the priviledge of being regulated.  So it just ain't that simple.  If some folks are going to take advantage of others, one can only do so  much to prevent it. And it's been known to happen at the hands of 'foresters' too. Of course we're all working to educate the public, right??? So caveat emptor applies...?

>Snake oil is illegal, but it's perfectly legal for loggers to hoodwink
>forest owners by high grading their timber and under paying them. Yes,
>"caveat emptor", but our profession shouldn't allow it to continue. The
>medical profession stoped snake oil, but foresters are to weenie to stop
>high grading, with infinite excuses, such as "landowner rights" which is
>really just "logger rights to high grade".

It's far too easy to villify "loggers". This practice is called "moral persuasion", a practice used to justify outrageous acts perpetrated on a minority. (Read the book: Broken Trust, Broken Land, by Dr. Robt. G. Lee, $15, ISBN 1885221-02-9 (a former dirt-forester and PhD in the sociology of natural resources;) who was on the NSO FEMAT team in '92.)

A lot of land owners high-grade, too. One thing however: It's impossible to cut more than you grow, right? Shucks, you easterners whacked all your trees over 200 years ago, and now you've got all these pesky 'old field' forest stands, which I bet are pretty impressive. So you folks have been logging for much longer than the west. And things are completely rat shit, are they?

>Here in Taxachusetts, the "cutting plans" originated not out of any
>concern for silviculture, but because our state is FANATIC about
>wetlands. For years we also had a seperate page on "steep slopes" to
>avoid erosion, until it dawned on some BIG BURRO that erosion almost
>never happens here. Now there is a strong concern for rare species; but
>almost zero concern for silviculture. Karl and I have come to understand
>that we should be "working over" the environmentalists crowd to make
>them aware of the negative biological consequences of high grading and
>win them over as allies.

WATCH OUT FOR THIS ONE!!!   I've found most "environmentalists" (am I NOT an environmentalist?) to be implacable. You will make a concession and then they keep coming back for more. They have no intention of being reasonable except to their own eco-religion. And threatened-endangered-sensitive species...what a joke this is becoming (with current administration). All THP's must address the TES aspect. The NSO is the most notable: in the late 1980's less than 300 pair were alleged to exist. Now with exhaustive surveying on all THP's they've documented well over 3000 ACTIVE territories in Calif. alone. Which leads one to look into sampling theory: Q--where do you most probably find things? A--Where you look! The NSO has absolutely no business being listed. It's politcal tool that trashes the credibility of listing agencies and the whole TES concept.

Another case of implacable environmentalism: The PALCO land exchange. You folks would sincerely keel over if you knew what was being required by various agencies in the name of "watershed restoration".  99% of PALCO land has been entered in some form. The old routine from the 20's through the 60's was the "tax cut". Lands were taxed (ad valorem) on standing timber, with the provision that if you retained 30% of your volume, you got the same rate as bare land. Most of PALCO's land was done that way. All the other landowner's in the area were a little more diligent about their cutting. And now THOSE companies are NOT being penalized for having all this "pesky old-growth" around. So where's the administrative reward for conservative forest  management. It's their land and it grows incredible timber in incredible volumes. We (California) have 2 million of our 16 million productive forested acres permanently set aside as wilderness areas or parkland. (Does anyone know how big that is??? Try Delaware AND Rhode Island!) And this doesn't include the 8 million acres of mismanaged/unmanaged USFS lands....

Another case of implacable environmentalism: The Quincy Library Group. Local folks on both sides hammered out what was acceptable forest management for federal forests in their region. Now they're going to try it out, hopefully indemnified against nuisance suits for the National eco-lobby. (QLG scares the hell out of them because they were left out of the picture.)

So Joe, I'll agree with you in this respect: Forest Policy has been (and will continue to be) a political football.
But be careful what you wish for in terms of regulations. I can deal with them because I've never known anything else. However, it only promises to get worser and worser in California. But when it costs a minimum of $10,000 to write simple, small THP, someone has to pay. And guess where those extra cost will be borne (the land). It's why maybe 1/3 of the cost of a piece of plywood/lumber is regulations. You want STANDARDIZATION? Come to California!
...but be careful what you wish for.

Best regards to the group. I think it's obvious we all love the land.

>That's what we want, standardization. But intelligent standardization;
>not some BIG BROTHER idiotic forms written by non foresters or foresters
>who don't have a clue.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list