Loggers Kill Earth First! Activist

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Fri Oct 9 08:44:57 EST 1998


dcraig at rain.org wrote:
> 
> On Thu, 08 Oct 1998 16:20:22 GMT, Langrrr at aol.com wrote:
> 
> >Which is, in the end, the only way that the land can be utilized, and why
> >Pacific Lumber is in business. But, as foresters know, the success of timber
> >production is tied to the health of the forest.  Thus, the bottom line is
> >directly related to it.
> 
> You almost admit what I've been saying all along, that the 'health of
> the forest' is being measured by timber production.  That's wrong, how
> many ways do I have to say it: a forest is not a tree farm.


Not by definition, but it might be by choice; some any ways.

> 
> I missed an important point in your previous post, your argument seems
> to be based on the premise that private industry takes better care of
> the land because they are in business for the long term where federal
> lands are managed on a cut and run basis.  The issues I have raised
> where I say lands managed for intensive timber production could be
> managed far better are;

Of course, who is in it for the longer term more than the US federal
government? At least in theory if not in action. And those private
landowners often do indeed take the short term view; which is the
current condition in most large US industry.


> stand diversity in terms of age and species
> recreation
> watershed
> wildlife habitat
> Yet the closest thing you've come to making a solid point for these
> has been when you cited the reason that your favored timber company
> leaves a riparian strip around creeks: the Clean Water Act.  Do you
> see how you have contradicted yourself?

> 
> The Clean Water Act is an act of Government, it's a law to protect the
> water quality for the general good. Keep an eye on that concept, the
> 'general good' because it's an important concept, the reason we have
> government in the first place.
> 
> Imagine you have two timber companies, A and B.  A is environmentally
> conscious and manages their forest for the general good; they leave
> broad strips around riparian zones and aggressively protect wetlands.
> They look for any nesting of animals and buffer these areas with 'do
> not disturb' zones. They selectively cut only a small percentage of
> the overstory and thin out the understory otherwise.  They don't spray
> or chain or slash and burn but rather let the forest go through
> succession from brush to hardwoods to conifers and finally to climax
> forest which takes hundreds if not thousands of years.

Letting the forest go to a climax isn't necessary for good forest
management. Give this one up.

> 
> Now take company B, company B does the minimum to get by the
> environmental regulations.  They clearcut every tree they can and get
> it out as fast as possible, running skid trails straight up and down
> slopes if necessary.

Individual trees are not clearcut, forests are clearcut. You should be
careful of your use of terms if you are going to try to prove anything.
And skid trails are seldom run straight up and down hillsides, not to be
nice, but because it's too dangerous. Skid trails are usually put in to
follow the contours. But when the job is done, the skid trails are often
not "put to rest" properly to avoid erosion.



  Company B is always being warned yet they still
> pluck those big old 6 log trees out of the riparian zone and skid them
> out to the landing before the inspector shows up.  Company B cuts
> everything allowable and then pulls out the merchantable logs from the
> slash because they can cut more acreage per man hour that way, they
> can produce more timber per dollar invested.  After the cut Company B
> replants, (I'm skipping the slash reduction for brevity) of course
> they replant with a fast growing hybrid and want them planted to make
> harvesting easy.  When the invader species of brush threatens to shade
> out the seedlings Company B aerial sprays the brush with herbicide,
> since it's the most cost effective way to protect the seedlings.  80
> to 100 years later you've got an area that can be profitably logged.

The kind of intensive logging you are talking about does occur, but it
is rare. The vast majority of logging isn't like this at all. You won't
win your case by exaggeration.


> 
> Here's the problem: company A is in the same market as company B.
> Company A has to charge far more for it's logs than company B, company
> B took less trouble to cut, cut faster and produced *far* more timber
> with less money than company A.  Company B is not only profitable this
> year but the value of the stock will be based on timber inventory over
> the years and that inventory will get larger faster and be ready for
> the mill much, much sooner than Company A's.

There is an element of truth in what you say but it is exaggerated. Most
large forest companies do want to do good for the long term. The few
that are rapacious create the bad reputation for the entire industry.
For you to make a serious point you have to understand this.


> 
> Now here's the crux point: Company A has, in my opinion, taken vastly
> better care of the land than Company B.  Company A has provided for
> biodiversity by maintaining stand diversity in terms of species and
> age, this also provides habitat for a far greater variety of wildlife
> since there is a greater variety of habitat.  Crucial breeding areas
> have been protected and the water quality has been protected as much
> as possible short of not logging at all.  Company B, however, has
> raped habitat and species diversity for profit, they have created a
> 'frankenforest' that can only exist in a forester's imagination, it
> supports fewer animals and fewer types of animals.  Water quality has
> been compromised with not only riparian infringement but herbicide
> spraying.  What effects that has on the animals and people who rely on
> the forests of Company B for their water I can only imagine.

Your points are interesting but EXAGGERATED. Why the need for black and
white? Most firms are somewhere in between. Look for the bad firms and
jump on them, not the entire industry.


> 
> So: we have two models, one generates a high return on investment and
> the other takes far, far better care of the forest as measured by the
> health of the forest as measured by diversity and the benefits of
> forest land beyond timber: watershed, wildlife habitat and recreation.
> 
> The problem is that Company A is not viable economically, where
> Company B is a decent investment.  The only way to level the playing
> field for both companies is to impose external controls (aka
> Government regulations) so that they can compete outside of the arena
> of destroying the land for profit.  That's right, for the government
> to step in and compromise private property values for the greater good
> of watershed, wildlife and recreation value protection.  Only then can
> the two companies compete on effeciency rather than rapaciousness.
> 
> I'm tired and if this isn't clear to you by now you're not going to
> get it.  Thanks for the discussion, I haven't thought these issues
> through in a while.

Sounds like you have some good ideas, just DON'T EXAGGERATE. I am
involved with forestry on a small scale in western Massachusetts AND I
consider myself an environmentalist, JUST AS  MUCH AS YOURSELF. I've
backpacked all over America, and I appreciate wilderness values, and I
think there are too many dam people in the world, and for me, yes, the
Earth comes First, too. But don't exaggerate the evils of the logging
industry. It's not just A or B; most are in between. Encourage the
better ones, show that you aren't against all of them, and don't try to
force down their throats the methods you'd like them to use. Mellow out
a little. <G>


> 
> DCraig.

-- 

Joseph Zorzin, Yankee Forestmeister,
author of the revolutionary "Z-letter"
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