New Forest Service policies take a big step backward

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Sat Apr 20 06:57:21 EST 2002

Geoff Kegerreis <Geoff at> wrote in message news:<3CC0DEDA.4C825701 at>...
I meticuloulsy prepared those seeds
> myself, using preparation techniques that do not incorporate "greenhouse" problems,
> and had controls sitting in the same places, so I know these fungi were not introduced.
> I never said that they were mycorrhizal fungi, just that these particular fungi had
> a specific destiny to destroy the seedlings, not help them grow.
Did you by chance sterilize the soil before planting? Damping-off
fungi are common in such soils.
> -Not true.  You can grow a tree that is absolutely not stunted in the complete
> and utter absence of any fungi, in fact you can increase it's growth through
> plant hormones, and increased light among other things so that it will grow
> at a higher level than one that has any kinds of fungi associated with it.
It is _possible_ to grow trees without mycorrhizal fungi. Those trees
do not amount to much. They require greenhouse conditions since it is
necessary to produce air, water, soil and light for the trees.

In *nature* however, such trees do not survive long. The competition
with trees which have mycorrhizal fungi is such that competition weeds
them out quickly.

Nor does this apply only to trees. Corn requires mycorrhizal fungi
present in most soils the world over to survive. But there are some
places in the world where these mycorrhizae, typically Glomus sps., do
not exist. In these places, corn seeds sprout, grow for typically 1-2
weeks, then die.
> > They are often called
> > bonzai, and they do occur in nature, usually on extremely steep slopes
> > and very rocky conditions. There is little soil in those areas, and
> > many (but not all) mycorrhizal fungi are found in soils.
> > >
> > > As far as the doing away with current forest plans, I doubt anyone is after
> > > cutting down all the old trees.  There is a small minority of people that want
> > > to cut the existing old trees, but no administration would get away with that
> > > in this day of age.  I suspect the reason to do away with the old plan is that
> > > it is not an efficient plan regarding other agendas.  I do not know though, and
> > > that is simply speculation based on common sense.
> >
> > The history of the timber industry in the PNW for the past 100 years
> > would disagree with you. It would be more widespread, but old-growth
> > forests in most of the rest of the US has already been, as "foresters"
> > euphamistically call it, "harvested."
> -If you consider the past 10 years, or even 20 years, us "foresters"
> have been implementing plans that suit the landowner's objectives
> rather closely.  I don't know any foresters who want to go out and
> cut old growth.  Maybe some of the corporate wood buyers do, but
> I don't feel that type is a legitimate forester anyway, despite what
> state registration and laws suggest.
The key to the above statement is "the landowner's objectives".
Forestry is the art and science of growing trees, not just the art of
cutting them.

Ignore mycorrhizal fungi and trees in nature cease to exist quickly.
> I've read a few things about old Gifford.  I think he was right on the money, and
> said things just the way they ought to have been said.  He was right, but he was
> also pro-harvesting, but I do not feel he was pro-harvesting to the extent of
> cutting everything down.  As I said, not sure whether I have ever heard
> any forester say that all the old remaining forests should be cut, or even any!
Gifford Pinchot's initial experiments were done under greenhouse
conditions. At that time, mycorrhizal fungi were not even known. Most
had not been described in science. (Come to think of it, not much has
changed, since a heck of a lot of mycorrhizal fungi _still_ haven't
been described in science.) Show me an old-growth tree over 100 feet
tall in any greenhouse.

That's where the fallacy is proven or disproven.
> It's not much of a debate, we need them for a keepsake of American heritage
> to the extent of keeping what we can.
American heritage? No. But we do need them as sources for mycorrhizal
fungi that are found only on old-growth trees.

Even as a variety of trees grow on a given acre in succession leading
up to climax forests, varieties of mycorrhizal fungi grow with
individual trees leading to older trees. Mycorrhizal fungi found with
seedling trees are seldom those found with old-growth trees. The
ability to grow old-growth trees (400+ yo) is probably dependent upon
those mycorrhizal fungi in nature. Without them, "foresters" are
probably shooting themselves in the foot.
> However, if someone like butterfly hill came on my land to sit in a tree that she
> heard I was going to cut down, her ass would be on the ground so fast it's not
> funny, because I would fell that tree.  Landowner's rights are next to freedom
> in importance in this country, and should be respected - even if they want to
> clear cut the old growth, it's completely fine.  It's different on public land of course,
> notwithstanding.
>From what you've indicated above, it is unlikely there are many trees
on your property which would support a platform at 120 feet. My family
has trees which are much older (and taller) than 120 feet. We haven't
had to take anyone but hang-gliders out of them.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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