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Your experts on both sides have agreed that old growth should not be defined by a tree's age, yet you seem to continue to push that agenda. This idea is primarily proposed by those who want to prevent any tree over an "accepted age" of "Old Growth" to be cut. Old Growth is a system and any forest as a continuum can grow into that system if allowed time and the surrounding forests around are not so poorly managed that they cause the subject area to be destroyed by fire or pest. So many view all man's activity in the forest as bad and only "natural" events as good. This is too simplistic and ignorant of our current situation, the fact that humans are part of nature, and we don't have the luxury of letting 500,000-15 million acre fires (as ice cores suggest) burn just because it's "natural". Furthermore, this idea that fires don't harm old growth, just the under brush is classic environmental romanticism. Harvesting through thinning AND clear cuts are a way to more beneficially replace the healthy effects of fire, provide products that we need, jobs we desire and "sustainable" communities.
I think the best scenario would be to have so much "Old Growth" that we felt good about harvesting some. We are not there yet, but I can clearly see many actions of those wanting to "protect" the forests are having the opposite effect. The reason to ask "How much Old Growth do we need" is to reduce the log jamb of lawsuits that prevent of getting anything done to both protect our endangered forests from lack of management and provide products.
I think the guests facts are worth repeating as I recall them, (for Or & WA) we are harvesting 4% of the annual biomass, 46% is lost to fire and pests, and we are growing 50% more every year. Wouldn't you like to have that return in your 401K. We are clearly heading towards more "old growth" just with incredible inefficiency and with a terrible waste of a valuable resource whose substitutes we use with a greater cost to our planet.
The most overused and abused term by all around here is "sustainable harvest". Here in NW Oregon we are blessed with soil and climate conditions such that we have been harvesting for over 50 years from 2nd growth clear cuts that grew up after the previous so called "unsustainable" harvest methods of our ancestors. 50 years of evidence that is routinely ignored again and again by all.
One of the many indirect consequence of shutting down the federal forests to harvesting, (for all practical purposes) besides the now 20 times annual loss of wood to fire and pest verse harvest, is the increase in pressure on private lands (and re-tooling of mills for small wood) that has reduced their harvest cycle time by decades and the loss of most mills that can handle large wood, thus dramatically reducing its value. With little value, there is little economic incentive for private land owners to let their trees get over 32".
On a side note, a 24" DBH tree has 5-7 times the wood of a 12" tree. You could argue to save the big tree and thin the others or to cut the big tree and let 5 survive for much less cost and energy output for the same material. Or as often the case, don't touch any of them and ignore the fact that you now import wood or use plastic or steel in their place.
Finally, what is seldom ever asked of opponents to (name your subject) (harvesting in this case ) is, what is the alternative substitute product they suggest and why is that better? The "save all trees" attitude seems to ignore there are 7 billion people that wake up everyday that need things. And what better product than one that is renewable, solar powered, reduces green house gases, provides habitat, clean water & other services (even as a clear cut), jobs, taxes etc. Instead, even with our vast timber resources, the US is now a net timber importer, figure that carbon foot print out!
As an alternative view to the "thinning only approach" espoused by so many, admittedly or not, for aesthetic reasons, small clear cuts are a way, way more efficient (the same reason you drive your Prius), method to harvest wood, provide many of the benefits of fire and can leave more area undisturbed for much longer time periods, perhaps even to to become old growth!
I encourage all to read "Green Spirit" by Patrick Moore (co-founder of Green Peace and pro-logging) for enlightenment. www.greenspirit.com
"The most difficult to educate about forestry are those that are educated" Old time logger.
posted 4 years, 7 months ago
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