Objectivist ignorance about the environment

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Tue Jun 15 09:45:37 EST 2004

"jmh" <j_m_h at cox.net> wrote in message
news:8w8zc.20632$Qv1.8475 at lakeread03...
> Larry Harrell wrote:
> > "dstaples" <dstaples at livingston.net> wrote in message
news:<10cn2efojgs6t0a at corp.supernews.com>...
> >
> >>"Josh Halpern" <j.halpern at incoming.verizon.net> wrote in message
> >>news:Vjuyc.25453$TR1.7591 at nwrddc01.gnilink.net...
> >>
> > >
> > I've also seen some of those middle-aged pine stands that are starting
> > to show some old growth characteristics. However, those weedy hardwood
> But what exactly is that "old growth" characteristic?

Height and circumfrance have maxed out, the process of life has slowed down,
in the south the pines develope a very shallow flat crown.

> > species still populate the understories. Thankfully, the USFS has
> > generally stopped harvesting big hardwood trees in the bottomland
> > stands. One can only imagine what those major streams and rivers
> > looked like before the cotton farming transported soils into
> > streamcourses.
> What's the big difference between hardwood and softwood as
> they relate to the larger environment and ecology?

Site specific species.
> >
> > Before the "old growth" issue can be settled, it first has to be
> > defined. Mostly, "old growth" is defined by diameter or age. Diameters
> > are more easily quantifiable than age but, that definitely changes by
> > region and species. A 22" dbh pine in the Black Hills is as old as a
> > 60" dbh redwood, sometimes. I'm not for liquidating our old growth
> > but, I'm also not for locking it away. Modern logging technology can
> > "pick and pluck" individual trees with very little impacts on the rest
> > of the forest. I might be going out on a limb <G> but, there's no need
> > to cut any of those ancient "legacy trees" (40"+ dbh) that are
> > essential to a functioning ecosystem. With all the unhealthy forests
> What does dbh mean? What exactly is the role of these
> "legacy trees" that is essential to a functioning ecosystem.

Diamber Breast High.  Basically, they are good to look at, impress the
tourists.  Secondarily, they are a large carbon sink.  They also support a
very narrow range of other species.
> This was the basic question I asked initially, which
> resulted in the inclusion of a couple of new NGs--
> which I think you two (dstaples and Larry Harrell) are
> responding from. While I'm not advocate that all
> old growth be cut it's still unclear what the
> ecological necessity for protecting such areas
> is as long as sufficient other areas of younger (but not
> new) growth exists. If it helps, my initial question
> was: Given 100,000 acres in which 10% will be cut and
> the existence of a contiguous area of old growth amounting
> to 10% of the whole forest, does it matter what ten % is
> cut? If so what's the difference in the ecological impact?

Short answer, it depends.  On species, location, etc.  But, one can lose 10%
at any one time to natural disasters, we can take that 10 and use.

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