(LONG) Clinton pushes forest-protection plan

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Mon Oct 18 10:12:53 EST 1999

In article <7ue10e$ofp$1 at nnrp1.deja.com>,
  myoungtx at my-deja.com wrote:
> I hate to break this to you but there are lots of clear areas in
> forests that don't have roads.
It's all right.<g> I'm a big boy.
 They are called meadows, rocky cliffs,
> streams, and canyons.
Actually, in much of Oregon they do grow here also. Especially the rocky
cliffs (Iron Mtn, Columbia Gorge), streams (alder, willow, cedar, etc),
and canyons (where there is sufficient water).
  Trees don't just grow a couple of feet from each
> other either...
Actually, here they really do. In the Columbia River Gorge, for example,
it is not unusual to see upwards of 50,000 stems per acre near Cascade
Locks. That, of course, is one reason why most of them don't survive for
very long.
 One dominants the other crowding the smaller one(s) out.
Well, certainly larger growth can create such conditions. But the trees
themselves need more nutrients to gain biomass quickly. I suspect in
nature that role is accomplished by mycorrhizal fungi.
> Good forestry management thins the forest while allowing an area that
> wildlife can live in.
Agreed. And somewhere between clearcut and no cut lies that magical
"good forestry management" regime. The problem is, it varies for the
amount of rainfall, soils, slopes and a host of other conditions not
considered by current management. You can't manage a rainforest the same
way as a transitional forest at 2500 feet elevation on the east side of
the Cascades. Geography, slope, rainfall, soils, snowfall amounts,
competitor vegetation, insects, fungi: all have a say in what grows and
how it survives. Saying trees should be grown at 10 foot or 20 foot
intervals doesn't work in nature, and probably doesn't work well in
plantations either.
  Roads can also thread thru the forest just as
> streams do. Properly built, they are not the problem.
I agree that when properly built, they are not generally a problem. The
problem I see is that darn few of the newer roads in generally steep
areas are constructed very well. And splicing roads onto 70 degree
slopes built of volcanic scree gets a little hairy. Why build there?
That's where most of the remaining "old growth" exists: higher
elevations, and mostly steep slopes. When these areas are clearcut and
the roads abandoned, multiple slides occur in every mile of road
constructed. It's a losing battle, and the American public should not
accept it, even assuming that the roads were actually paid for by timber
extraction (which has never been proven).

Forest road construction in Oregon is now at a standstill. And since one
of the first things to go when timber companies are trying to extract
timber quickly due to environmental restrictions (no spotted owl
disruption during the nesting season: April-September most years),
snowfall amounts (consider making roads in 10 feet of snow), and
extremely hazardous conditions (there's a reason why a well-traveled
paved highway along the Clackamas River east of Estacada hasn't been
rebuild for over a year: the extensive steep slide it was original built
on could move at any time).
> Most of the erosion problems are because the logging roads in question
> are more like tracks or wide trails.  Actual roads are usually
> constructed using a 18 ft wide specification rather than 20 ft. Some
> country roads over the years have spread out into the ditches to become
> 20 feet wide or more.
> Heavily used trails/logging roads must be managed by graveling or even
> black topping major roadways.  Proper drainage is important to prevent
> soil erosion.  These same roads allow firefighters rapid access to save
> valuable wildlife homes and valuable natural resources.
Fire suppression may be one of the forest problems, though. What was
once thought to be "good" forest management is now heavily questioned.
Case in point, the fire suppression for Yellowston National Park.
> As to forests not growing back on the roads when left deserted, there
> is an old section of US 66 that has a tree growing between two concrete
> sections near Muskogee Oklahoma.  How much more so can trees grow out
> of hard packed gravel in the middle of the woods?
Well, last week I was finding a lot of them. It probably has something
to do with the truffles I was finding next to them, which are known to
increase nutrient uptake, gather water, leach nutrient from rock and
form symbiotic relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

A lot of times, there were more trees growing in the gravel roads than
anywhere else. Also, the roads are perhaps the only place in old-growth
conditions where light consistently falls, allowing young trees to
regenerate. In mature forests going toward climax forest, these seedling
trees are often Western hemlock, Western red cedar, spruce, or conifers
other than Douglas fir. But D. fir is still king in Oregon timber
manuals, and the other trees are often "managed" out of existence as
"weed trees."

Daniel B. Wheeler
> Soils Control International provides environmentally safe solutions for
> people building and maintaining roads around the world.
> http://www.soilscontrol.com
> Cheers!
> Mark
> > COMMENT BY POSTER: The thing that was eye-opening to me was the
> 380,000
> > miles of roads already constructed. Assuming a 20 foot width average
> for
> > the roads (and I know, a lot of the roads are _much_ wider), that
> means
> > 20x380,000x5,280, or 40,128,000,000 sq. ft. (somebody want to check
> this
> > figure?) out of forest production. So while the proposed total of
> about
> > 232 million acres into roadless wilderness is projected, aren't
> several
> > tens of thousands of acres of this already paved or gravelled? With
> one
> > exception (anyone else been on the old Oregon trail through the Mt.
> Hood
> > National Forest?), these roads generally _do not_ grow trees back
> > through on them: that's what engineers designed the roads in the first
> > place. At a construction cost of several thousand (to several hundred
> > thousand) dollars per mile, paving existing national forests seems to
> be
> > a primary historic fiscal goal. NO WONDER MY TAXES ARE HIGH!!!!!
> >
> > Daniel B. Wheeler
> > www.oregonwhitetruffles.com
> >
> > Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> > Before you buy.
> >
> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.

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