18 Sep 2008, 12:07pm
Saving Forests
by admin

Extract This

I get pepper sprayed with offensive anti-forestry propaganda all the time. We all do. And I generally slough it off, delete it, round file it, and rise above it. There are not enough hours in the day to trouble with PC garbage.

It bugs me, however, when anti-forestry gibberish emanates from public servants employed by the US Forest Service. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I expect better than tripe from the USFS. My expectations were dashed again today when this bit of drivel came in from the ether:

Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, News & Information

Ellen Donoghue, Yasmeen Sands (PNW Research Station) [here]

Portland, Oregon, September 13, 2008 - As little as 25 years ago, the relationship between forests and the communities that surrounded them was relatively easy to characterize: there was a good chance the residents lived remotely and relied on timber extraction for most of their income. But now, with changes in the economy and federal policy and an increase in concern about forest health, it is nearly impossible to draw such sweeping generalizations about forest communities.

A new book edited by PNW Research Station’s Ellen Donoghue and Victoria Sturtevant of Southern Oregon University aims to help researchers, resource managers, and policymakers better understand today’s forest communities in the United States and their complex and evolving relationship with the land.

Titled Forest Community Connections: Implications for Research, Management, and Governance, the book explores the responses of forest communities to change by examining a variety of contemporary management issues — including wildfire risk, forest restoration, amenity migration, and commercial harvest of nontimber forest products.

The book also examines the aesthetic, economic, and cultural values community members attribute to forests and considers the role of communities within a range of forest governance structures.

“Understanding the diverse and complex connections that forest communities have to forests is important because it is through these connections that the goals of sustainable forest management will be realized,” said Donoghue, a research social scientist. “Sustainable forest management cannot happen without consideration of people.”

According to Donoghue, she and Sturtevant wanted the volume to not only synthesize the state of the science relating to today’s forest communities and their relationship with the land, but also to provide insight to those charged with managing forest resources, governing communities, and researching their connections.

University professors, graduate students, scientists, forest managers, community development specialists, and policymakers are among the book’s primary audiences.

“The edited volume would be excellent reading for a graduate course aimed at understanding the social dimensions of forest management,” Donoghue said.

Forest Community Connections is published by Resources for the Future Press. To learn more, visit http://www.rff.org/RFF_Press.

The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 500 employees.

Well now, you say, what’s the problem with all that? It sounds perfectly cromulent. Here’s the problem: when you cut through all the BS, the press release (and one supposes the book, too) lead off with that old insult, “resource extraction.”

The book is ostensibly about how we don’t use our forests for resource extraction anymore. And thank goodness for that, because what could be worse than the dirty, foul, greedy, unthinking, politically incorrect practice of resource extraction.

It’s so much more progressive to set the resources on fire in massive holocausts such as are occurring today on the Umpqua, Rogue, and Mt. Hood National Forests. That’s the new goal of “sustainable management” — catastrophic incineration and conversion of forests to smoke, ash, and brush.

Here’s the deal: the book itself is made of extracted resources, namely paper, which was once upon a time green and growing trees in the woods. The medium is the message, right? And the medium is dead, extracted, pulped up trees.

But that’s cool because the new mission of the USFS is to “recycle” forests. In that context “recycle” means to kill dead the living forest so that a new, baby forest can sprout up. Everybody likes babies, right? And that nasty old forest is shading out the baby trees.

Except all that is eco-babble gibberish, too. It wasn’t that long ago that the economy of the Pacific Northwest was crippled in order to “protect” the old-growth. Now we find out the nasty old-growth is cramping the baby trees, so the best thing to do is incinerate our forests with prejudice.

Think I’m making it up? Last March the Rogue River-Siskiyou NF issued a press release wherein they said this:

“Land managers throughout the West have learned over the last forty years that there are ecological benefits of having fire on the landscape as it can provide for a renewal of the Forest. It is a natural cycle of life in a forest,” said [RR-SNF Supervisor Scott] Conroy.

And last month this came out of the mouth of a Shoshone NF functionary:

Wapiti District Ranger Terry Root said the Gunbarrel blaze consumed trees that “needed to be burned” west of Cody. The “decadent” timber was in the wilderness, and it couldn’t be removed otherwise, he said.

“So burning is really our only option to recycle the forest,” Root said. “We feel like it has actually been pretty good, economically — actually pretty economically valuable. It comes out to about $153 an acre.”

It’s pretty clear that the new goal of the USFS is “recycling” forests via forest fires. Don’t extract the resources, incinerate them. What comes up next is really of no concern. It ain’t like they are going to go out and plant trees on the burns. That’s not in the equation. What is of concern is how much it costs to destroy the existing forests.

It happens that destroying forests via forest fires has broken the budget of the USFS, because they have spent all their (your) money on killing forests in catastrophic holocausts, and none of their (your) money on that objectionable thing, resource extraction.

It also just so happens that I am a forester, a steward of the land. It is my profession that does all that nasty extraction. But you know what, I’m actually proud of it. Are you offended by that admission? You shouldn’t be, because if not for professional foresters there would be no smarmy books, no wood-framed houses, no wooden furniture, no roof over your head, no tree planting, and no forests. That’s because forests need professional tending or else they burn up in massive forest fires and are replaced by tickbrush.

When the work day is over and you get in your extracted resource automobile running on extracted resource fuel, and drive to your extracted resource house, and sit down at your extracted resource table, and bow your head in prayer and thanksgiving before you dig into your extracted resource dinner, I hope you remember in that prayer the people who make your existence possible: foresters, farmers, and stewards of the land.

Properly managed, trees are a renewable resource. Properly tended, forests last forever. That’s what foresters do: protect, maintain, and perpetuate forests.

The real resource extractors are the people who enjoy all the fruits of our labors and then call us nasty names, those who wish to burn forests to ashes, those who want all stewardship eliminated, those who have a cow when somebody starts up a chain saw, those who think forests ought to be recycled with holocaust, those who are cozy in their wooden environments and think boards come from the store, not the forest.

Do you pray? Do you give thanks? If so, show some respect and appreciation for the folks who feed, clothe, and house you, the professionals who are dedicated to stewardship, for your benefit and for the benefit of the entire planet.

And keep the “resource extraction” insults away from my desktop and earshot. I don’t react well to them.

I do completely understand, both about resource providing (farmers, fishermen, foresters, miners, and ranchers). If you can’t grow it, it must be mined, so mining is actually “resource extraction,” and thank God for ALL resource providing and mining!

I appreciate timberers (foresters) more than most, because I love wood: trees, boards, burl, wood furniture, leaves, etc. The fact that wood’s abilities run the gamut of usefulness to people, animals and other plant life is not lost on me.

Thank you on behalf of one appreciative person and her dog, for helping feed, clothe and house us!

Julie and Wiggles Blue Heeler

P.S. - As one pithy bumper sticker says so well:

If you object to logging, use plastic toilet paper!

18 Sep 2008, 2:00pm
by backcut

Today’s forestry (and foresters) are still being punished for the sins of the last millenium’s foresters. The eco-fundies will tell any lie to keep those donations coming in. Yep, gotta keep those evils lumber barons from clearcutting the Roadless areas and Wildernesses… send money to stop the murder! (sarcasm alert!)

Could maybe the WISE fans send in nominations for excellent forest restoration projects? And pictures? And GPS coordinates? Just a thought to spread the good word to the good-hearted (but misled) people of this country. Let their own eyes see what is possible in tending to our forests.

18 Sep 2008, 2:03pm
by backcut

And board feet are just happy by-products of good, scientifically-sound stewardship.

18 Sep 2008, 6:38pm
by bear bait

I just drove 13 hours through the NW, from central Montana to Oregon… and you know what? Might as well been Pittsburgh in 1945. Couldn’t see the mountains or much off the road with all the frigging smoke from “forest renewals.” Crappy air is OK when it is forest arson, but a bad deal from an auto or a factory THAT EMPLOYS PEOPLE!!!

Is our future that we must all crap in some container on the hope that we can recycle something useful out it? 13 hours through the US timber belt, and I saw 3 logs trucks until I-5 and there I saw one more. Train loads of coal coming from elsewhere to make our power. Train loads of grain headed for export. And train loads of cars and containers headed east to fill the Honda lots and the Walmart stores.

How far up a butt does a head have to travel before the darkness cries out for a light? We have to take our natural resources and USE them. Build stuff. Create stuff. This service economy is just a dandy. The banks are broke, and now nobody can borrow money because the banks don’t have any. They lost it all loaning it to people who could not pay, would never be able to pay, because Congress required it by “regulating” banks to have a percentage of their loans in “red lined” areas. Now the Congress is trying to pin that tail on Bush?

The forests are broke, broken, and it is because they can’t be “preserved” like a can of tuna fish with a window in it. Forests have to provide for us or be paved over. That is how it works. So now we are preparing for the pavement by incinerating them in the name of “it is natural for forests to burn and renew themselves.” That bogus argument does not look reality in the eye. Some places have forests that only exist because they are there, and if we allow them to burn, nothing will replace them. The landscape will no longer support what was there.

If you can’t manage the forests, how can you manage the banks? The brokers? The oil sheiks?

19 Sep 2008, 2:44pm
by YPmule

Looks like some college people wrote a book about folks that live in the woods. Instead of asking the residents what they think, they will just have to read a book! This shows how out of touch the FS is. I can’t speak for our entire community, but I do know how a lot of us feel about the FS, and its not PC enough to print in a book! No wonder the Ranger brings the sheriff when they come to a community meeting.

Maybe they need this book because a lot of the “new” home owners back here are not loggers or miners, but rather 2nd homeowners (who use their weekends to tear up the woods on 4 wheelers and snowmobiles.) These are not the folks that cut firewood to stay warm in the winter or struggle to find work in the summer so they can afford to live here. The ones that slay me are the ones that fall in love with our area and want to buy, and as soon as they do, they gotta “improve” things. They moan and carp about loose dogs or horse poop in the road, they want paved roads and street lights! Arrrgh!

A lot of us “full-timers” understand the forest is like a garden, it needs tending and harvesting.

To Backcut - we have had several projects around Yellow Pine, thin and prescribed burns that have worked out well (even a 50 acre salvage logging op!) But in other areas where they let it burn everything up, its just terrible. Entire drainages have washed out and trashed salmon spawning streams. Our neighbors down the road are working to clear out their pond that fills with debris every time it rains because of last summer’s fires. The road washed out, and has been closed off and on this summer and will probably be closed next year too. Spending our tax dollars to fix up what the FS destroyed.

Good luck on trying to educate the public. I’ve been trying to get the press to tell the truth about last summers fires and correct the lies told about us. Apparently the truth doesn’t sell news.

21 Sep 2008, 2:43pm
by John M.

Mike mentioned “Timber Barons,” a term that many media and environmental activists use as a pejorative here in Oregon. I think of those timber industry leaders today as we watch the financial leaders run for cover. Here in Oregon our timber barons made major financial contributions to the people of this state that resulted in services and facilities that are still in use today, from the bubbler fountains in downtown Portland to the lodge at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Health Science University (a world class teaching and research hospital), Oregon State University, and University of Oregon as well as numerous scholarships, trust funds, and local community betterment projects, and they funded the development of professional forestry training and research. Forest industry leaders today continue such community service, when they can, after legal fees from fighting off the anti everything groups.

21 Sep 2008, 3:21pm
by Mike

Oregon’s “timber barons” were (and are) for the most part locals who made good. They live in the communities where their businesses are located. They have indeed made enormous contributions to public works here in Oregon.

The captains of the investment banks in NYC are a world apart. Oregon’s successful business owners are regular folks, not jet setters. The differences are night and day.

Years ago I used to eat lunch at a little cafe where one of Oregon’s richest timber barons also ate lunch. I had no idea how rich he was. He always wore blue jeans. He was a regular guy: affable, friendly, kind, and sincere. We had many a friendly chat before I even knew who he was. He knew who I was long before I knew who he was!

In my career I have met many “timber barons.” They have all been regular folks with one exception. That fellow grew up in a family compound and he was a strange duck. But his corporation is a multinational monopoly and not your everyday family-held Oregon timber company. Oregon’s timber barons are successful businessmen, to be sure, but they are not ethereal mega-wealthy billionaires.

Oregon owes a great deal to our successful homespun timber barons. They not only have donated huge sums to our schools, roads, parks, and communities, they have provided jobs and income to Oregonians for a century or more. And they have captained the industry that has built millions upon millions of family homes across this nation.

Homes are a good thing. I’m guessing you appreciate yours. You should also appreciate the people who made your home possible and affordable.

PS — It was Backcut who used the term, sarcastically, but that’s okay. It’s a good one for this discussion. The pejorative “timber baron” is part of the same anti-capitalist (pro-communist) mudslinging that gave rise to “resource extractors.”

21 Sep 2008, 6:56pm
by Al

The late attorney Louis Nizer, in his book “My Life in Court”, mentions an old proverb that when you point a finger at someone else, four fingers point back at you.

People who point their fingers at the evil timber barons should remember that their demand for forest products is ultimately responsible for the market that the timber barons were satisfying.



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