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Forest Health

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Forest Health

Postby cmon4day » Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:53 pm

Dave54,

Where do you get your information? Private forest land with a mono crop of one species is more vunerable to castastrophic disease and infestation than selective forests. Once one tree gets it the rest all follow because there is no diversity in the forest to slow the progression.

I take you do not like to fish. Because what do you think the herbicides are doing once it enters the water.

Vic



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Postby dave54 » Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:20 pm

LOL!!!

I should ask you where you get YOUR information.

Have you ever visited privately owned forestlands in the Sierra Nevada? From your post I believe you have not.

The companies mentioned in the earlier posts rarely, if ever, practice large scale regeneration harvesting. SPI is probably the most aggressive, but if you have ever looked at their forests you see a few clearcuts, but a lot more variable retentions units and group selections (those are NOT synonyms for clearcutting as the environmental industry likes to proclaim, they are different forest management techniques that enhance biodiversity over time). There is nothing wrong with clearcutting, anyway. In the right forest type under the right conditions it is the ecologically best thing to do. Due to misguided public opinion and a deliberate disinformation campaigns by the environmental industry there is too little clearcutting being done in the Sierra Nevada. The forests would be healthier if the amount was increased.

In the Sierra Nevada forests, both public and private, around 80% of the replanted acreage is with multiple species. The other 20% are sites where a single species is best suited and most likely was a pure single species stand to begin with. Even within a single species, multiple seedlots are used, and the individual seedlots are often comprised of seeds from several different stands.

In a native conifer forest stand all the trees of the same species are commonly siblings. Cousins at best. There is not a lot of genetic diversity within a single species in any individual stand. The replanted forest nearly always has MORE genetic diversity than the original forest.


I was involved in a major herbicide project in the late 80's. As part of the monitoring we had to drill wells downhill/downstream of the individual spray units. We took surface and ground water samples for 3 years following the spraying. The testing was done by two independent laboratories. Both had the same results -- no residual chemical -- ZERO!

The units we sprayed are now healthy actively growing conifers stands. The units not sprayed are now choked brushfields with a few struggling scraggly surviving conifers poking through the brush. This pattern is repeated up and down the Sierra Nevada Range.
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Postby BSquared » Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:59 am

Good to have your informative posts, Dave. Environmentalists (myself sometimes included) tend to lump "industry" together under the broad heading, "bad guys who don't care." This is obviously simple-minded and short-sighted. Keep the information flowing!
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Postby Rosabella » Sat Apr 01, 2006 11:12 am

Slightly off-subject, but I'm office manager for a surface-mining operation (sand and gravel) here in Washington, so I'm also looking from the "Industry's" perspective. Part of my job description is working with Department of Natural Resources, Department of Ecology, S.W. Washington Clean Air and M.S.H.A. , as well as D.O.T., Dept. of Fisheries, etc.

We dredge the rock from a mining pond, then it's crushed for gravel or washed for sand, drain rock, etc. We tend to get lumped into that "bad guy" group also. Unlike some operations like gold mines, nothing is used to process the crushed/washed rock but fresh and/or re-cycled water. We are located near a river but are not in the flood plain, and all the process water is directed back into the mining pond. Our reclamation plan with D.N.R. will leave this property in better shape than when the operation started.

I am proud to say that we have excellent records with all of the above mentioned agencies.

There's a lot of money tied up in equipment, so the last thing we want to do is jeopardize our operation by careless handling of materials, spills, or unsafe work conditions. With the unfortunate underground mine fatalities this last January, the "bad guy" stigma for the mining industry has been reinforced. The sad thing, though, is that I do know of some portable rock crushing operations that don't comply and never seem to get caught. I'm sure that some of the timber industry falls into that category, also.

Anyway, thanks. This has been an interesting thread to follow - both sides.
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Postby dave54 » Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:31 pm

Rosabella --

Yep. Everyone loves to pick on the mining industry. It's everyone's favorite whipping boy.

How many of the critics realize, or even are capable of realizing, that the electronic glowing box in front of them right now is 100% made from materials extracted from the earth? :lol:
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Postby AldeFarte » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:14 pm

Right on Dave. Excellant info. Even without ample textual research ,if one lives long enough and is OBSERVANT they can see that what you say is indeed true. Mother nature has no scars ,or wounds. Just an ever changing face. :nod: jls
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Lumber Companies

Postby cmon4day » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:55 pm

Dave 54,

I have visisted private forest land and seen the devestation for myself! It's in my backyard. I have a cabin off of highway 4 near Calaveras Big Trees. There are timber harvests going on all over the place. You state that there are few clearcuts. That may be so if you stay on the main highway. Just travel on forest roads and you will see the devestation. The best way to prove you are wrong about clearcuts is board an airplane and fly over anywhere in the Sierra any you will see the patchwork of clear cuts. It is EVERYWHERE. It is more evident in the winter because of the snow.

During the clearcut all of the trees are removed and only replanted with one species, Pine. In my area no White Fir, Incense Cedar, or Mountain Oak is ever replanted.

"There is nothing wrong with clearcutting" Boy what a statement. There is everything wrong with clearcutting. Watershed degredation through erosion and siltation, loss of oxygen producing trees, loss of habitat for animals, and the use of herbicide. You state that you worked on a herbicide study and found no residue 3 years later. The chemical breaks down, but what about the 1st and 2nd years? Agent Orange was a herbicide and it too breaks down, but look at the damage it has done to the people of Vietnam. The use of of glyphosate causes a negative impact on mammals, birds, fish, microflora, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.

The bottom line is that lumber companies do not care about anything but profit. If left alone the forests will be gone. Pure and simple. If you dont think this is true look what is happening in Malyasia, South America, and Africa. Vast forests are being decimated leaving a scared earth that contribute to the degredation of environment. If there weren't environmentalists who care about the forest, there wouldn't be any forest left. So go hug a tree.

Vic
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Postby AldeFarte » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:05 am

:D VIC baby. You gotta do some better research. It is very short sighted of you to think of any forest as something that won't change, shouldn't change, or is even healthy to stay the way you see it today. Clearcutting of MATURE forest is usually the best way for regeneration in most terrain types. Hey, I don't like it either.It is ugly at first and heartbreaking, but in the absence of unchecked fire, it is a good way of doing things for the ultimate health of the forest. It has been my observation that visible clearcutting accelerated after the eco nuts foisted that phony spotted owl crap on us and large scale logging came to a standstill on guberment {public} lands. Sooo, timber became very valuble and every joe blow with nice timber on the back 40 sold it. Anyway, I think you are barking at the wrong country. We pretty much have a handle on sustainable yield forest here and you probably should make a pilgrimage to one of them third world places where they truly don't give a damn and they are ravishing their forest and try to change their collective thought process. Might do some good. ;) jls
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Re: Lumber Companies

Postby caddis » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:33 pm

cmon4day wrote: During the clearcut all of the trees are removed and only replanted with one species, Pine. In my area no White Fir, Incense Cedar, or Mountain Oak is ever replanted.
It's been my experience that after walking through a logged area or burned area, these trees comeback as thick as weeds so they probably do not need to be replanted. You come to respect them the more for it

cmon4day wrote: loss of oxygen producing trees, loss of habitat for animals,

More "life" can be found in areas after fires and logging...ask any hunter who searches those areas out.

cmon4day wrote:The bottom line is that lumber companies do not care about anything but profit. If left alone the forests will be gone. .... If there weren't environmentalists who care about the forest, there wouldn't be any forest left. So go hug a tree.

Vic
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Postby hikerduane » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:35 pm

Pine is more valuable than other species, it will bring in more money when harvested. White fir, (piss fir to wood cutters and loggers because of its smell) doesn't have as much value. Where I live, about 5 miles away, the Tussock moth came in and killed off many of the thicker stands of predominately White fir over a couple years, then the Forest Circus came in and clear cut it and replanted. One area, maybe five miles away from the first spot, they had a logger cut healthy White fir trees around 20" or so in diameter, pile and burn them. I had connections with the logger because they bought fuel where I worked, so I had them skid a few logs out to a landing so I could buck them up. That was a waste, seems to me the trees could have been sold to the mill.
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Postby dave54 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:46 pm

Duane --

Similar near me.

Forest encroachment was causing the loss of a montane meadow and a small fen. So the FS wanted to remove some of the encroaching trees and help preserve the wetlands. Most of the removed trees were 20"+, and had commercial value. Now, it would seem to most people that selling the removed trees would be a good return to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, the area is in a QLG Off-Base and any commercial forest activity is prohibited by law. So the trees could not be sold. Because it was a meadow, piling and burning is not allowed. So crews came in, bucked the trees into manageable pieces, and hand loaded them into a dumptruck to be hauled to the landfill. The law would not allow anything else.

Too bad. If sold to the mill, the revenue would have not only paid for the project, but also fund additional watershed projects up and down stream. The additional work is still awaiting funding to get accomplished.
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Postby dave54 » Fri Apr 28, 2006 6:44 pm

I will try not to get into a lengthy dissertation of forest ecology and silviculture. There are enough reference sources on the internet. This is a (over)simplified explanation of why clearcutting should remain an option in forest management.

If you do any gardening in your yard you know what happens when you plant a shade loving plant in a sunny location, and a full-sunlight plant in a shady location. Even if you can keep them alive they will not thrive. Forest trees are the same. Different species of trees have different amounts of sunlight or shade needed. This is called shade tolerance. Any reference on silvics will state the shade tolerance of a given species. In general, pines are more shade intolerant (need sun) than true firs (do best in a shady location). This is why when you hike through the forest and look at the species mix with a critical eye you often see the overstory is different from the understory trees. In much of the Sierra forests the overstory is dominated by pines, primarily ponderosa and jeffrey, with a smattering of sugar pine, yet the understory is dominated by white fir, or red fir at the higher elevations. You also see incense cedar in the understory. These are shade tolerant species and the seeds dropped by the overstory pines do not regenerate in the shade. Nearly all of the understory trees are the offspring of the few firs and cedars in the overstory. When you see the occasional cluster of pine seedlings in the forest, look up. Chances are an opening in the forest canopy created a small sunny patch of forest floor and the pines could get a foothold in that small sunny spot. The same factors influence species mix on the south and north slopes of the same canyon. This is also why you seldom see white or red fir planted in clearcuts -- they like shade, not sun.

The historic composition of Sierra forests was overwhelmingly pines, and in the lower elevations mixed with oaks (shade intolerant). The firs and cedars were a minority component. The higher elevations increase the amount of fir, but that is due to a combination of snowpack and other climate and soil factors coming into play.

If we want pine, oak, aspen, and other shade-intolerant species to once again become the dominant species, individual tree selection (ITS) will not do it. ITS does not create enough of a canopy gap to favor regeneration of pines and oaks. You need larger openings. This is the entire basis of clearcutting and related harvest methods. Group selection harvesting is really better classified as a form of uneven-age management, and that is one of the prescriptions for the major forest projects that started this thread.


The average person does not know the difference between a clearcut, patchcut, group selection, or other types of harvesting. Admittedly, they have a superficial resemblance to the untrained eye. They all have different long term goals and long term effects and are applied differently on a landscape scale. The environmental industry uses the confusion and lack of knowledge of forest ecology among the general public to sow seeds of dissent and controversy. In the scientific community there is no dissent. The value of clearcutting or other even-age forest management methods in the appropriate conditions is well known and accepted. This is why so many science-based organizations fully support and defend clearcutting. The Nature Conservancy practices it on their lands where appropriate. The Forest Stewardship Council allows it where good science calls for it. State and Federal Wildlife Refuges do it to enhance wildlife habitat. Even the World Wildlife Fund admitted its value (“If we told the truth [that clearcutting is good for wildlife habitat] we’d lose donations.”). Patrick Moore, cofounder of Greenpeace, wrote an entire book defending and advocating clearcutting -- ‘GreenSpirit – Trees are the Answer’.

Clearcutting, like any harvest method, can be abused and has been abused in the past. No one here denies that. I will assert, and the general consensus of the scientific community, that inappropriate use and overuse of individual tree selection harvesting has caused more damage to the Sierra mixed conifer forest type than clearcutting. ITS is ecologically unsound in the Sierra mixed conifer forest. Small clearcuts, patchcuts, and group selections are more appropriate, and over time, will re-create the historic forest structure and composition – and not only do it free, but keep small rural communities functioning, and probably return money to the U.S. Treasury.
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