Kerry's forest ideas out of step with sound ecosystem management

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Mon Aug 9 09:45:44 EST 2004

In article <i53eh0lq4i22hq96cbjdaojl03do1hcb12 at>, 
ScienceCop at (Psalm 110) says...

> The national forests were created when resources looked infinite. We
> know better now. 

You should study history sometime.  The national forests were created 
after a century of logging had denuded the eastern forests, once 
considered limitless.  At the beginning of the 20th century, all the 
Wisconsin loggers were upping stakes and moving west, because there was 
nothing left to cut in the east.  The national forests were created 
specifically because everyone knew that resources were not infinite.

> They may provide lumber, but there is no reason they
> should not provide it at market rate and with all citizens equally
> able to avail themselves. Currently trees sell for less than a 2"x4"
> in auctions that lose money for the taxpayer. The wood from national
> forests does not end up in the retail lumber yards at lower prices
> than private timber off private lands. There is no reason to "give
> away" national forest lumber. Once it is market rate the demand will
> be reduced becaue there is no easy fortune chopping down market rate
> trees. Then the false arguments will subside, and we can solve our
> problems intelligently without subversive liars twisting the national
> dialog.

The primary cause of low timber prices at federal auctions is the 
proximity of the trees to attorneys.  Between the high percentage of 
defect in unmanaged timber, the lack of a market for pulp wood and the 
inevitable lawsuits, public timber is no longer considered a very 
desirable commodity.  The high percentage of defect would not be so bad 
if there were a market for wood pulp, but there is not.  This is a 
result of public policy.  It is more economical to strip mine the rain 
forests of SE Asia for Pampers and toilet paper than it is to process 
low value trees here in the USA.  

Before you start blathering about 'market value' of public forests, you 
should learn why it is not uncommon for USFS timber sales to have no 
bidders at all.  There is your market value.  You should spend a few 
minutes considering why it was economically feasible to build a billion 
dollar pulp mill in Indonesia when you can't break even getting a half 
rotten tree out of the woods in the USA.  


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