The logging industry and the kindness of strangers

Americans are very generous. Consider they have just given away access to 3 million acres (5000 square miles) of wilderness to logging, mining and road building companies to use as they see fit. Very generous indeed:

The Bush administration plan for the [Tongass] forest, the largest in the US at nearly 17m acres, would open 3.4m acres to logging, road building and other development, including about 2.4m acres that are currently remote and without roads. About 663,000 acres are in areas considered most valuable for timber production.

The move, the latest in a long-running saga over the Tongass forest, effectively reverses the "Roadless Rule" protection given to the area by President Clinton. (Guardian Unlimited)

Mind boggling to consider, this is being touted as a plan to sustain the diversity and health of the forest "and ensure a source of recreation and solitude for forest visitors." So the solitude will be increased by building roads and cutting down trees?

I'm a city boy. Maybe that's why I don't get the reasoning.

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Makes me heartsick. The logging of forests is quietly going on in Canada in the boreal forest - part of the lungs of our Earth. Just like the jungles. Water and oxygen tied up in our forests. We can make better choices and still make money.

See new report on State of Green Business 2008

By phytosleuth (not verified) on 30 Jan 2008 #permalink

A lot of 'unhealthy' trees are actually vital to the ecosystems of old-growth forests.

But if you can redefine them to be a sign of sickness, you can use them as an excuse to intervene.

It's a pretty standard tactic, seen the world over.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 30 Jan 2008 #permalink

Easy to overlook this small phrase "ensure a source of recreation" - which is a coverup for appeasement of the motorized recreational vehicle industry, in my opinion.

ORV manufacturers like Honda offer volunteer credits towards 'valuable gifts'for people who engage in trail creation.

Here in Canada a growing segment of the population is fighting a difficult battle to keep ORVs off public roads and out of environmentally sensitive forests.

When we are told to reduce fossil fuel consumption and reverse the global warming trend, why would anybody make or promote these infernal machines??!!

I'm torn over timbering. I see the need for roads, although not sure if the Tongass is susceptible to the type of forest fires we often see out west. And when I say roads I am not talking about four lane paved highways. I mean unpaved roads big enough for emergency vehicles.
We have a gypsy moth problem here. For the past two years they have stripped the trees bare. Lots of trees have died. If it is as bad this coming spring/summer as it has been the past two years, acres and acres and acres will be destroyed. Folks here have little choice, they are contemplating clear cutting their forest acreage. The state itself will have little choice but to clear cut large areas of state forest land. Bunch of dead trees is a fire hazard. Anyway here is the part I don't quite understand. We have a bear problem here too and we have a limited bear hunt each year and each year folks who live in far away areas of the state protest, picket, demonstrate, and petition to have the bear hunt stopped. It is the usual suspects, greenies, PETA, treehuggers, people that have never seen a bear. The state says there is no money to spray the gypsy moths even if landowners help pay the cost. Without the forests the bears go away. deer go away, grouse go away, wild turkey go away, lots of critters go away. The silence in the far away areas of the state is deafening. Not yet have we witnessed any protest, picketing, demonstrating, or petitioning to have the monies budgeted to spray the gypsy moth in order to save the forests so we can save the bears. Not a peep from the greenies, PETA, nor the treehuggers. Now we are doing our part here. We are begging our state reps to find the monies, but nothing is heard from those far away places. Some of the bears might be a problem, but we don't want them to all go away. We want them here. There is nothing like watching a sow and her cubs playing in your corn field on a late summer afternoon. Just where the hell are those damn treehuggers when you need them?!

By pauls lane (not verified) on 30 Jan 2008 #permalink

But Bush has to hurry if he's going to transfer our wealth to his friends; he has only a year left. And then he will have to line up to get his cash just like his friends.

Pauls Lane: I doubt that widespread pesticide spraying will do much to control a large gypsy moth infestation. That was tried more than 40 years ago to control the fire ant in the Southeast. It didn't work, for many reasons. In addition to not being effective, it also killed many other insects, many of which were beneficial.

Mark P: "Our wealth"? I haven't seen a cent from the Tongass forest. Have you? Perhaps now some folks will see some "wealth" coming out of the forest. The timbering companies, the timberers, the support people who cloth and feed the timberers, sawmills, lumber companies, construction comapnies, home builders, realtors, pellet companies, the list goes on and on. As I said though I am torn over lumbering.
As for the gypsy moth they use a pesticide and some bacterial agent. The pesticide they use doesn't allow the moth to mature. The bacterial agent gets into the gut of the immature moth and it (the moth) actually eats but starves to death. I could look up the names of these agents if anyone is interested. Both the pesticide and the bacteria are not long lasting. Both must be sprayed at the right time for them to be effective (like pray for no rain for a day or two after spraying). The state did some spot spraying last spring and by summer you could tell where the spraying had occured and where it had not. It was that noticable - these trees had leaves, and these trees didn't. I guess I would risk the spraying even if did kill beneficial insects. No forest no bugs and no lots of other living things anyway, what do you have to lose? My concern however is what happened to all those greenies?

By pauls lane (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink

pauls lane:
I used the term "our wealth" because public land is owned by the people of the United States, not by the government and not by loggers or other users of public land. You do not see a cent from owning that public land, but the exploiters of it certainly do.

There are many geomorphology papers clearly stating the danger of removing the tree cover. Most of the lower slopes and meadows have already been logged. What remains is on higher, steeper slopes.
This link provides a good diagram of what happens when you cut roads and log an area with steep slopes, unconsolidated and thin soils, saturated soils. It also increases the danger of severe slope failure not just from Pacific storms but, one that is prone to some of the largest known earthquakes.…

ABSTRACT: More than 300 landslides and debris flows were triggered by an October 1993 storm on Prince of Wales Island, southeast Alaska. Initiation, runout, and deposition patterns of landslides that occurred within clearcuts, second-growth, and old-growth forests were examined. Blowdown and snags, associated with cedar decline and "normal" rates of mortality, were found adjacent to at least 75 percent of all failures regardless of land use. Nearly 50 percent of the landslides within clearcuts occurred within one year following timber harvest; more than 70 percent of these sites had hydrophytic vegetation directly above failures. In following the runout paths of failures, significantly more erosion per unit area occurred within clearcuts than in old-growth forests on slopes with gradients from 9 to 28* (16 to 54 percent). Runout length, controlled by hillslope position within deglaciated valleys, was typically longer in old-growth forests than in second growth and clearcuts (median values were 334, 201, and 153 m, respectively). Most landslides and debris flows deposited in first-and second-order channels before reaching the main stem channels used by anadromous fish. Slide deposits in old-growth forests were composed of a higher proportion of woody debris than deposits derived from slides in second growth or clearcuts.

Logging this an area already shown to be landslide prone is not based on science but rather based on a few peoples greed. Bush said he would respect national parks. In a pigs eye.

I and my husband have been fighting destructive logging for over 30 years.......can't stop the greedy. gharris said it plain and simple. All the science in the world won't stop those whose only goal is profit and/or pleasure at the expense of our public lands. We are not only fighting logging but now the extractive industry (oil, gas) that is determined to go forward even with explicit proof of the damage to our wildlife. I have given up. Too many lazy people, not enough backbone to fight. President Shrub walks on........

Ann and Shannon that's what I like to see, the PASSION over the forests! Just where the devil are my Ann(s) and Shannon(s) where I live, where the gypsy moth is destroying the state forests? Ya think gypsy moths and Bush are in this together? The Democratic governor of this state, get this now, wants to put GIANT WINDMILLS on the tops of our mountains, to destroy the beauty, to permanently damage the wild habitat. These are state forests owned by the people of this state. What say do we have? Hardly any actually, they say these windmills would provide enough energy to power 55,000 homes a year. This is CLEAN energy, therefore its ok to destory acres and acres of trees to put these huge ugly WINDMILLS in place. Its PC energy. And just who is going to get rich? Not me. Not the power companies who are going to be forced to buy this energy. Yep the Windmill guys. Is it going to save the people of this state any money? Nope. Where is our knight (Ted Kennedy) to joust with these windmills? To be fair I think some greenies are upset with the windmill thing, they are using, and you think they could have come up with something a bit more sympathetic, the eastern timber rattler as the poster boy for what is bad about the windmills. Don't we have a cute, cuddly looking owl or something? Sheesh.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink

Mark P - What you say is true. I cannot argue your point. We also own all the federal buildings, we own all the military equipment this nation has, including aircraft carriers and stealth aircraft which is really cool. We own all the services of all the federal agencies and bureaus. We own the gavel that the Speaker of the House uses. We own the desks that all federal employees sit at, we own their chairs too. We own all the IT equipment that the federal government has. We own all the dumps and landfills on federal land. We own all federal land. Why we even own the federal prisons! The odd thing I've found is that most of this stuff is stamped "Property of the US Government". So basically I'm just saying I don't see much difference between all the stuff I listed and the national forests. They won't let me onto Area 51 and I am not getting a dime out of the national forests. Now someone is going to post and say that the national forests are different that the government is holding them in trust or something for the citizens of this country, and my response will be I don't see much difference between what I just listed and the national forests.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink

I am not getting a dime out of the national forests.

You are confusing wealth and money. What they're doing now is converting our collective wealth into their private money.

It's theft, if you want to look at it that way.

By Alexandra (not verified) on 31 Jan 2008 #permalink

Alexandra: I guess I could get into the economic discussion of wealth as being an accumulation of resources and such and money is just one of those resources, but I won't. When I was a mere lad, just entering the work force, a kindly but rather gruff and plain spoken older guy took a liking to me and, I know you have heard these words before, said to me, "always remember this, Money Talks, Bullshit Walks". Now don't you think that "our collective wealth" tends to fall into the 2nd half of that old saying? To put it bluntly resources must be exploited in order to produce real wealth. "Our collective wealth" left standing or left in the ground is just a bunch of trees and rock (I am assuming rock as the article mentions mining, you drill for gas and oil right?). Theft is certainly not the proper term for something that is apparently legal. So no I am not going to look at that way. I don't have to like it, and as I have said before I am torn about timbering in the national forests, so I'll look at it as part of an economic stimulus package.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 01 Feb 2008 #permalink

I was curious as to why I didn't get any sympathy from my heartfelt comment about the windmills (actually they are called wind turbines as they don't mill a damn thing) and then I noticed the ad for FUSE and the wind turbine pictures on this site. You don't need to smack me along side the head with a 2x4 ya know.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 04 Feb 2008 #permalink

pauls: I never look at the ads and the publisher has absolutely no say on what appears here. The ad is probably there because the advertiser thought the audience would be sympathetic but that's the extent of it. Dupont and HP and probably others I don't approve of also advertise on the site. It has nothing to do with what is on this or any other Sb. Some advertisers have even been pilloried by Sb bloggers. So you weren't smacked on the side of the head because there was nothing to smack you for or with. Lots of comments here get no other response and it means nothing. I don't censor the comments except when they disrupt things for readers. I think you have seen plenty of stuff here that doesn't agree with my views.

revere I was actually referring to the readers/commenters of the blog, not the reveres in particular, and I know the readers/commenters are for the most part sympathetic towards wind turbines. And of course you know my comments about the wind turbines and gypsy moths were made to advertise the hypocritical nature of treehuggers, liberals, progressives, Democrats, and all wrong thinking peoples everywhere.

By pauls lane (not verified) on 04 Feb 2008 #permalink