The environmental community has the mistaken idea that "protecting
forests" means ONLY to lock them up; especially "VIRGIN" forests.
This desire is often seen by forest exploiters as some kind of throwback
to Paganism, where the primitives worshiped the trees. The primitives
didn't want "despoiled" forests to worship in.
However I think this desire for virginity in nature is also a throwback
to a biblical quest for innocence. Our Judeo-Christian civilization
tries, often in vain, to keep young adults innocent until the
appropriate time. Once the inncense is lost, not much further
consideration is given to the issue.
So, although we (environmentalists and natural resource professionals)
ought to strive to maintain part of nature in it's primeval splendor, it
is EQUALLY important to show concern for that land no longer in it's
virginal state; which also needs "protection".
That is, there is NO scientific or legal argument as to why our society
continues to allow forest high grading (the genetic damage of forests)
to continue on a massive scale. It's as if our society is saying "the
forest is no longer a virgin, so it's OK to rape it"- because high
grading is the genetic raping of the forest. What sort of cattle farmer
would breed it's next generation of cows or sheep using his poorest
quality animals??? And that's what happens when we allow high grading to
continue. It's economically destructive and extremely damaging to the
vitality of the forest.
This continued allowing of high grading continues for three major
1. our forest bureaucracies haven't the courage to fight to stop it,
since they don't want to challenge the very powerful logging industry,
and whose paychecks are not correlated with the true vitality of the
2. our politicians who BEAR FULL RESPONSIBILITY have neither the
understanding of this issue nor the desire to rock any boats, since
their primary goal is their self serving yuppie careers- so they pursue
instead issues that get public attention, like punishing welfare
recipients, the weakest members of our society
3. environmentalists are too focused on saving the virginity of nature
than saving the vitality of nature once the virginity is gone
Proper management of forests is an issue FAR greater than saving what
little virginity remains. The majority of timber harvesting on private
land in some states, like Massachusetts, is HIGH GRADING- which is
nothing less than the continued rape of Mother Nature; with the full
approval of our state forestry agency. Environmentalists need to grab
hold of this issue and work with those of us in the natural resource
management community who want to end this destructive practice to find a
solution. The solution is not a scientific one- because we already know
the scientific answer- SILVICULTURE, an ancient science. The issue is
political, because the politicians do NOT address this issue and the
forestry agencies show little gumption to fight for it either. They
prefer to lay low and collect their paychecks, rather than rock any
boats. This issue won't be fully tackled until the environmental
community becomes fully enlightened - that saving virginity for some of
nature is not enough, you also have to protect it from further RAPE.
The "final solution" is that all timber harvesting should be under the
direction of a Licensed Forester.
Joe Zorzin, Practicing Forester