TEAMS Enterprise update and outreach

mhagen mhagen at
Sat Feb 2 14:22:20 EST 2002

> snip

.  The question of whether or not the FS makes
> > economic sense is meaningless - it was never supposed to and likely
> > even on a national scale is the best it can do.
> But it should be discussed. If the USFS manages a "renewable resource", it
> stands to reason that the public would like to know why this renewable
> cannot at least pay its own way or better.

Ok, lets clarify:
Which resource is it that's renewable?  Are we talking trees or fiber, young
or old forest?  Currently it's not timber over 100 years of age - or timber
on steep slopes which need new and extensive road construction - or in
similar terrain which had been roaded but where roads haven't been
maintained - or timber in unstable soil, jurisdictional wetlands, next to
streams or in their buffers or past the unsubsidized haul distance from a
legitimately competitve mill. Or those small parcels which are serving as
refugia for federaly protected species, archaeological sites, special
viewsheds or under pavement.  How about compensatory timber allowances for
those lucky forests which were cut at well above sustained yield rates to
take the heat off the "recreational" forests?

The way I see it - the renewable part is the high site, fairly level, low
elevation, valley bottom land.  How about just identifying that as the
timber base and working from there.

If my clients can make a profit on
> forestry, why can't the owners of the public resource?

Obviously they could if the above choice had been made.

The usual comeback, that
> government isn't suppossed to make a profit doesn't cut it. Of course most
> government agencies can't make a profit, they don't manage "renewable
> resources". If the USFS had taken a long term economic perspective decades
> they would have avoided logging in many areas and done better work- and
> avoided conflicts with enviros- which resulted, as a backlash, by setting
up all
> the ologists that the party liners now use as their whipping boys.

They thought they were doing good forestry for the whole Forest and for the
local economy. It was a different world.  This was before set asides of any
sort - if anyone knew just how much would be set aside, things would be
managed differently.
> >  I happened to work for them
> > when they were making a profit - at least on the timber rich forests -
> > that era is now looked on as  a disaster. A period of "capture" by
> If the USFS had done really good work, it wouldn't be looked back on as a
> disaster. Good work looks good and is good environmentalism and is
> and few people would have complained. But, the industry dominated methods
> keep costs down and profits for the mills up, not long term thinking which
> have resulted in lighter harvests to perpetuate more complex multi aged
> multi species forests that any enviro could love.

I agree - but I can also drive less than thirty miles to see a good sized
watershed 70% converted into 50 acre clearcut units differing only by five
year age increments. By the standards of the time, that was very good
forestry. The trees have regrown, the streams still flow and common wildlife
abounds.  Even owls since the circles were set up.  Human use of the area is
extremely limited since the access roads have been gated and tank trapped.
Interestingly, one can look up at the old clearcuts, full of 30-40 year old
fir and hemlock, while on your way to a national park concession hot spring
which brings in 10's of thousands of visitors weekly and is the major source
of e.coli for the watershed.

> >
> > Decide what the agency's mission is and then you can start finding ways
> > it to pay for itself  - if that is really what anybody wants. Frankly I
> > don't see anyone paying for ecosystem services like clean water or air
for a
> > long while.  Those are entitlements in the eyes of the counties and
> > that are benefiting from them.
> The profits going to those communities should be counted on the plus side
of any
> ledger. It's really simple, what is the value of what the USFS does and
what are
> the costs and you shouldn't be able to count clean water and air, if the
rest of
> us can't- we can make a profit for out clients without counting air and
So grow timber where it's the best choice - Industry's been doing that all
along.  And move the rest off the books.
Payment for ecological services - sounds awfully socialist doesn't it?   Or
would that be ultra conservative - there aint no such thing as a free lunch
after all.

I'll take the check if you don't want it.
> --
> Joe Zorzin
> a November sun rise from my deck in Peru

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list