"Forest Protection" and sex

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Sat Mar 6 12:59:39 EST 1999


In article <36DFD4A2.63ADF60E at forestmeister.com>,
  Joseph Zorzin <redoak at forestmeister.com> wrote:
> 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
> reasons.
>
> 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
> forests
I disagree Joseph. Forest bureaucracies don't "stop it" because there is no
economic incentive for them to do so. They log because the money goes into the
US general fund, which ensures their continued survival. The general fund, in
turn, becomes _very_ politically motivated. So it is "ok" to sell timber for
fraction of its true value so that politicians can continue to feed at the
public trough. ;)
> 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
Agreed. Status quo uber alles.
>
> Proper management of forests is an issue FAR greater than saving what
> little virginity remains.
True. But saving what virgin forests that remains is ESSENTIAL to deciphering
its complexities for the future. The patchwork ownership of land brought over
with the pilgrims from English Common Law ensures fragmentation of forests,
assuming some remains. That in turn degrades the forest biome.
 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.

If SILVICULTURE were ancient, (a point I serious question: what individual
has grown a 300-year-old tree? At best, it is planted and we hope nature
succeeds in keeping it alive) where is the knowledge to grow the mycorrhizal
fungi ESSENTIAL to tree health? It certainly is not in "silviculture" of the
recent past. The issue is

> political, because the politicians do NOT address this issue and the
> forestry agencies show little gumption to fight for it either.
Exactly. Politics is the art of compromise. Compromise has little to do with
natural laws or processes. Gravity, the speed of light in a vacuum, carbon and
water cycles, for examples, are likely to remain regardless of what Congress
decrees.
 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.
>

I think I agree with most of what you have said Joe. On the west coast, this
is done admirably and for long-term by the Alamanor Forest in Northern
California. BUT, before a single tree is marked by a manager-to-be, they
first try to envision where the stand will be 10-25-50-100 years in the
future. In other words, they may decide an old-growth larch with little
commercial value has ecologic priority over a younger sugar pine nearby. The
decision may be one of stand complexity or ecologic diversity: what animals
are using a tree at the time, and how does its presence affect the overall
stand health. Ultimately, whatever makes trees healthy is probably good for
the stand. Managing for stand diversity often makes fungal, insect or disease
infestations much easier to control and ameliorate: something nature appears
to do often in older stands outside of plantations.

All in all, an interesting post Joseph. I just worry about the terms
"environmentalist" and "loggers". All tree farmers worth their salt are both.
Ultimately, however, one is more interested in short-term gain (like, say,
during a lifetime).

Daniel B. Wheeler
http://www.oregonwhitetruffles.
"I like to walk a mile in a man's shoes before criticizing him. That
way, if he gets angry, I'm a mile away. And he's barefoot."

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