UK Forestry and US Forestry Private vrs. Government

Graham Willers glw at
Fri Mar 5 09:13:46 EST 1999

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.
>> 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

>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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