check my facts

PHADRUIG phadruig at
Wed Mar 4 14:49:45 EST 1998

You are to be commended, Greta, for your efforts to get the facts straight. 
Seems so many writers these days are more concerned about promoting an agenda
than presenting the facts.  

As Don and others have pointed out, there is no analogy whatsoever between
timber harvesting and buffalo slaughter.  True environmental concerns are valid
and important, but be very careful to avoid aligning yourself with those who
call themselves "environmentalists" while spreading innuendo and half-truths.  

Clearcutting is a very viable silvicultrual treatment which basically emulates
the wild fires by which nature rejuvinates forests - but with prior removal of
usable wood for utilization by mankind.  Unfortunately clearcuts, like wild
fires are not pretty at the outset, but given a few years to get a start, the
healthy new forest is a beautiful site (as " the eye of..."  :-)) to

The propaganda that road building (my bailiwick of 45 years) on the National
Forests is a subsidy to the forest industry is totally false, and those who are
pushing the "envirometalist" agenda know it.  Like the spotted owl, this myth
is just another ikon with which to hoodwink the public into shutting down
timber utilization on public forests.  

To understand how road building is handled on the National Forests, first of
all you must bear in mind that NF timber is sold by competitive auction
bidding, and that the value of standing timber to a prospective purchaser is
basically the value of logs in his/her mill yard _minus_ all_ the costs of
getting them there.  

Thus, the value of a particular stand of timber is negatively affected by the
estimated cost of the optimum road necessary to access that stand.  If the
timber owner (e.g. U.S.F.S.) pays for building the roads, the timber bids will
be higher, reflecting the estimated amount the bidders will save by not having
to pay for the roads.  Conversely, if the timber purchaser must pay for the
roads, the bids will be reduced accordingly. 

 Hence, either way you cut it (PTP) the timber owner is going to receive the
value of the timber as it is presented for sale, i.e. with access or without
access.  (Some timber owners choose not only to build the roads but cut and
deliver the logs to the purchaser's mill yard.)  So, in general terms, the
timber purchaser could not care less who builds the roads, the bottom line will
be essentially the same.

I hope that I have presented this in an understandable fashon.  If you would
like further clarification and/or elaboration, feel free to e-mail me.

Seumas Mac Phadruig
Industrial Forest Opns. Mgr. (Ret.)
Inland Northwest, USA

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