Uh, speaking of property rights...

Ron Wenrich woodtick at lebmofo.com
Wed Jan 27 18:03:49 EST 1999

KMorrisD wrote:

> Requiring that management and silvicultural plans be prepared by licensed
> foresters (real forester licensing) is like zoning in that certain uses are
> strongly discouraged (high-grading and degradation of wetlands).  It's also
> analogous to requiring architectural and engineering design of commercial
> property in that the potential for future income will be enhanced over time.
> Likewise, the aesthetic appeal will be improved.

Aesthetic appeal will be most improved if clearcutting were banned.  Are you going
that far?  Although I don't utilize them very often, I would still want to have
access to them when necessary.  Do you consider diameter-limit cutting to be
high-grading, or a way of maintaining a 2 or 3 aged stand?

> Some loggers and lumber companies will lose money in the short term by not
> being able to get timber quite as cheaply because it's more likely that there
> will be a licensed forester between them and the landowner.  But of course if
> their own loggers and foresters do good work, they should be able to overcome
> that obstacle.

Loggers and lumber companies will go over to licensed foresters, and the effect
will not have much bearing on such companies.  Procurement costs are always put on
the resource, whether by the consultant or the logger.

> The great majority of loggers will benefit by reducing the uncertainty
> concerning the future timber supply due to environmental legislation and
> regulation.  As it is now, there is the constant threat of stricter definitions
> of wetlands aimed at curbing sloppy and exploitative logging practices of the
> few that continue to mess up streams and wetlands.  To the extent that those
> operators will be out of the picture, the uncertainty of future timber supply
> will be reduced for the rest.  This will increase the values of their
> businesses.

That's only assuming that demand stays fairly steady, or that more land will be
made available for harvest.  Besides, what happens when a licensed timber hustler
marks timber, and files the plans?  Mgmt will probably stay about the same.

> Over the long term, the whole forest products sector of the economy will
> benefit.  It will benefit from higher value timber which has more potential for
> value added uses.  More value added means more jobs.  It can also mean more
> profits for manufacturers.

Little value added comes from high grade material.  Veneer is shipped out, as well
as much of the high grade lumber.  Value added is reserved more to the 1 & 2 Com
lumber, through secondary mfg.  Panels and flooring are the most common.  Some
value added on high grade will come only from kiln drying, and possibly the making
of moldings.  Value added to the low grade can only come from making pallet stock.
Unfortunately, the cost of secondary mfg is rather high and is not suitable for all

> While the regulatory role of the service foresters over private sector forestry
> will be eliminated, the record keeping role will be not.  Management plans and
> silvicultural plans will still have to be filed and kept available to the
> public.  But since record keeping requires less personnel and no forestry
> training, this could be done by forestry clerks.

What?  No one to review those plans?  I'm not sure I would take a non-review of
plans to be a step up.  Some plans aren't worth the time it takes to write them.

> Therefore most service foresters will have to be transferred to management
> roles on state forest lands.  An essential part of their new job assignment
> will be to demonstrate good silvicultural, ecosystem and financial management
> to private landowners.  Part of their mandate will be to demonstrate how
> management and silvicultural practices designed by licensed foresters will
> increase property values for private landowners.

No problem in our state.  Service foresters are different than the ones who manage
state lands.  The state's mgmt is better than on most other lands.

> Consulting foresters will benefit from having more work.  More work will bring
> more consultants into the profession.  More consultants will increase
> competition and will improve and diversify the services offered by consultants.
>  Professional standards will improve over time.
> Karl Davies
> NOTE:  Even landowners with very short-term financial goals will generally have
> nearly as much money coming to them because they'll have to get rid of the low
> grade stuff which the high-graders don't want, and they'll get paid for the low
> grade.  This should help offset the value of the high grade seed trees that
> they have to leave.  Also, those seed trees will be growing rapidly in value.
> The same applies for the small and medium sawtimber that gets left which will
> have a value for their kids or any future owners.

So, how much is low grade really worth?  Current price for low grade is $300/Mbf.
Logging, trucking, and mfg takes out a huge chunk - most of it.  Would landowners
be willing to allow a harvest to get rid of low-grade?  They should, but not all
will.  Besides, too much low grade on the market will surpress the low grade
markets, which will make those few seed trees even more attractive and harder for
landowners to resist in liquidating.

> With more licensed foresters available, it's more likely that these residual
> and future values will be recognized by realtors in their appraisals of forest
> land.  That value doesn't just disappear if you don't cut it now.  In fact, if
> you thin around those small sawtimber and seed trees, they will grow quite
> rapidly in value.

I doubt that.  Realtors don't care about trees.  They care about money.  I have
never done a timber appraisal for a realtor, even though I cut their timber.  They
can't see the benefits.  Neither can the banks.

Most forestry legislation, at least in my state, is backed largely by consultants.
I have yet to see a landowner or environmental group get behind it.  Consultants
have succeeded in getting rid of the service forester.  That opened the door for
most loggers to do what they wanted.  Licensing just means that loggers get
licensed foresters.  Mandating just means more of the same.

Consultants lack the necessary links to the political side of government to get
much effective legislation through.  Consultants and foresters in general, have a
very low visibility.  I know of only one outfit that does any radio advertising.  I
never see an ACF or SAF display at even timber industrial shows.  The state is
there, but so are several other timber companies.  Timber companies have a follow
through that cannot be duplicated at the government level.  With their higher
visibility, better organization, and better funding, they continue to get the
legislation they want.  Consultants will have to organize better and win over the
sentiments of landowner or environmental groups if they want to have any effective
legislation on a statewide basis.


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