Thinning on the Angeles National Forest

Bob Weinberger bobsstuff at
Mon Feb 23 04:53:45 EST 2004

"Ian St. John" <istjohn at> wrote in message
news:ubh_b.2542$253.314880 at
> "Bob Weinberger" <bobsstuff at> wrote in message
> news:s3g_b.66635$1S1.24923 at

> > While this ratio may not pass the giggle test for
> > someone who is clueless about the nature of the forests in the Ponderosa
> > Pine type, it is a well documented phenomenon.
> Apparently you are still trying the 'argument by authority' and 'trust us,
> would we lie' approach. Fact is, yes you would. Your paycheque depends on
> it.

No I'm not trying the "argument by authority" and my paycheck is in no way
shape or form dependant on, or affected by, what I write here.

One only needs to visit the Ponderosa forests of this continent to see many
overcrowded stands that have at least 1000 TPA, and a good many of them are
not the result of past logging.  The same condition can and often does occur
following stand replacement fires, bark beetle outbreaks, and windthrow from
microbursts, etc.  In a good many instances (documented in many studies) old
photos, land surveyors notes, and the accounts and diaries of early settlers
show and/or indicate  "open park-like stands" of large Ponderosa numbering
30-60 trees per acre on the same areas that now have 1000+ trees /acre.

 The current density is usually the result of the lack fairly frequent
light burns over the last 50-100 yrs. and/or a reasonably long period of
wetter than "normal" conditions.  In the latter instance in many areas in
the PP region a high proportion  of the "medium sized" trees are the more
shade tolerant and water demanding White Fir, that were able to get started
and thrive in the wetter conditions and absence of fire, but cannot be
sustained when a drier cycle occurs..  These trees severely weaken the
overstory PP when the drier conditions occur, and their full length crown
provides a fuel ladder into the crowns of the overstory.

I have personally inventoried and contracted the pre-commercial thinning of
Ponderosa Pine stands that contained as many as 2400 trees per acre, were as
much as 35 years old , and only averaged 1-3" DBH.  Stands of the same age,
on similar sites in the same general area, where stocking had been held to
180-250 TPA, averaged 7-11" DBH and even at those lower stocking levels a
few stands were starting to show signs of overstocking stress  (the tree
basal area/acre of the later stand was already exceeding that of the denser

> So unless you have some supporting documents, the anal excretions here can
> be safely ignored. Most people have learned to 'tune out' the industry
> shills by now. They are easily recognised by their actions and lack of
> facts

Its pretty obvious who doesn't have the facts in this discussion, and it
isn't me.  I invite you to come see for yourself what the facts really are.
I, and I'm sure many others in the interior west who are intimately familiar
with conditions in the PP zone, would gladly show you the facts.  And if you
can't come for yourself, at least read some of the many publications ( from
the USFS, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, Oregon
State University, University of British Columbia, and others) that discuss
stocking levels (past and present) in the Ponderosa Pine zone.

Bob Weinberger
La, Grande, OR

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