Beetles attack Santa Fe pine forests

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Sun Nov 30 10:22:22 EST 2003

lhfotoware at (Larry Harrell) writes: 

> IMHO, "Healthy Forests" should be about enhancing the most important
> elements of an old growth forest: THE BIG TREES! Once Bush signs the
> bill, he will have given us most of the tools we need to get to work
> on this emergency situation, in the most prompt, efficient and
> professional manner we can. If that's not good enough for the
> Greenies, then we'll see em in court.

Unfortunately, the attention span of humans and governments does not 
scale well to the lifetime of forests.  As you point out, this is an 
emergency situation, but responding to an emergency is not going to 
produce healthy forests.  There are many threats to forest health, such 
as urban encroachment and introduction of exotic species.

A case in point is Forest Park in Portland, Oregon.  The city is proud of 
the fact that it has 5000 acres of old growth forest inside the city 
limits, but that forest is doomed.  Well meaning landscapers introduced 
English ivy, which has completely taken over the forest floor and is 
strangling the trees.  The ivy has eradicated thousands of critical 
species from the forest floor, and resulted in 100% suppression of 
seedlings.  When a tree dies, it is not replaced.  At the current rate of 
spread, within 1000 years the ivy will nearly eradicate forests in NW 
Oregon.  And that is just one species, out of dozens of invasive species, 
some still being introduced.

Does anyone really anticipate that those lovely forested neighborhoods 
will survive a decades-long oil crisis?  People will get cold, and they 
will burn anything available.  I have seen photos of residential areas 
from the late 19th century, and they are BARREN!  Urban sprawl is just 
the first step toward complete deforestation.  The forests of the eastern 
USA have recovered a bit in the last century, but that is very likely to 
be a temporary recovery.

The Greenies have abandoned the environment because the USFS is a 
compact, easily accessed target.  Indeed, the USFS and the BLM have huge 
land holdings west of the Rockies, but they are just public agencies, 
sitting on a hugely valuable resource.  When public demand develops, that 
resource will be used.  

I think the USFS should be managing for multiple use, not just big trees, 
and the government should build a substantial inventory of trees 
designated for harvest.  Millions of acres of Bambi glades is a very 
satisfying image, but I doubt they will survive 2 or 3 centuries of 
shifting political fortunes.


More information about the Ag-forst mailing list