UK Forestry and US Forestry Private vrs. Government

DVK dvank at
Mon Mar 8 08:29:46 EST 1999

Graham Willers wrote:

> On Sat, 06 Mar 1999 19:11:41 -0500, DVK <dvank at> wrote:
> >
> >> Our main problem in the UK is that we have only one commercial conifer
> >> species - Scots pine- and it's timber is not widely in demand.
> >
> >Is this the fault of the government perhaps not allowing a private landowner to
> >grow/manage whatever timbers they desire?  I hate Scots pine, a popular
> >Christmas Tree planted and sold in Michigan.  It may only take 5-7 years to grow
> >a 7 ft. tree versus 9-12 years to grow a Colorado Blue Spruce, but give me the
> >Spruce (or some Firs) any day!!!
> You should take the time to visit Glen Affric in Scotland - a pristine
> remnant of the Caledonian Forest - it is predominately Scots Pine -
> some over 400 years old - with associated flora and fauna.
> I think it may change your mind. Its quite stunning.

I guess I should clarify.  I hate Scots Pine for Christmas Trees (the heavily pruned
5 year old variety in these parts).  I have seen some of the early varieties imported
that are somewhat attractive with their red, crooked trunks.  They probably were only
in the 30 year age class but with some imagination . . . naw, I can't even imagine
what a 400 year old Scots would look like -- maybe I'll search the web.  Because of
their crooked stems, the U.S. began importing varieties from Northern Europe that
exhibit a straighter growth habit (at least according to "Michigan Trees" one of my
references.  Indeed, some neighboring "farms" have plenty of overgrown Scots
originally intended for Christmas Trees (~ 20 yrs) that have straight boles (they are
planted fairly tightly though).



> >
> >> So any
> >> commercial planting must be with exotic species, mostly Sitka spruce, but
> >> also Douglas, Lodgepole, larch and Corsican pine. So much of the thrust of
> >> our anti-forestry people is against exotic species.
> >
> Noone plants Lodgepole any more surely?
> Also, I beg to differ about planting of Scots Pine - up here (in
> Scotland) we are planting more Scots Pine than anything else.
> One more disagreement ( I love arguments!) I think that most of the
> public couldnt tell a Sitka from a kangeroo. What they object too are
> huge even-aged monocultures and large clear fell systems - which are
> now illegal to plant or carry out.
> All our forests are being restuctured at present - although of course
> it will be a couple of decades before anyone outside the industry will
> notice.
> >Because a few people can hollar long enough and influence the few in government,
> >who with a stroke of the pen can dictate to private indivuals what they can do
> >on their own land?
> >
> >> We also have the problem
> >> that virtually all of our commercial forestry is planted rather than
> >> natural - straight rows, drains, roads,etc. But when we come to fell these
> >> hated forests - it's a different matter. New conifer planting has virtually
> >> ceased. It's all restocking, and often with broadleaves for amenity
> >> purposes. There are very few ex-conifer sites that will grow commercial
> >> broadleaves.
> We have a policy of allowing natural regen wherever possible. Although
> I admit that it doesn't always work.
> >
> >Perhaps Liming the soil, and treating them like a crop would help.  I didn't get
> >the gist of this paragraph, as it seemed that the planting practice mentioned is
> >indeed treating the trees as a crop.
> >
> >> Don't fell the wolf trees! At least not yet. They will have spent their
> >> lives fighting the wind, and will have root systems that reflect that. In
> >> contrast, the trees behind them have been sheltered. Many a windblow is
> >> caused by removing edge trees for road-widening and so forth. You are right
> >> to consider planting the Douglas first.
> Damn! I have to agree here!
> >>
> >>

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