Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Timber Harvesting and the Public

Harvesting timber can be a very controversial subject, especially when the ugly word "clearcut" is involved.  It is one of those "not in my backyard" things.  We all use forest products every day, and we should.  Trees are a renewable resource, wood products are biodegradable, and a young growing forest is an invaluable carbon sinc sequestering tons of carbon annually.

But, talk of cutting a forest down never seems to sit right with most folks.  Many are more comfortable saying I will use plastic rather than paper.  The fact of the matter is if we don't use trees, if we don't have markets for trees, if we don't find value in maintaining forests, forestland will not be managed and in many cases the land will be converted to other, more valuable, uses. Or, worse yet, we will simply import products from developing nations. This was articulated very well by Patrick Moore in his book "Trees Are the Answer."

Below is an interesting article concerning a timber management controversey occurring in South Carolina.  The fact of the matter is it could have occurred anywhere and is a contoversy many places.  The question arrises how is our public land to be managed?
We all have the opportunity to provide input into public land management.  All state and national forest systems provide opportunities for public input.  In most, if not all, there is very littel public support for increased timber harvesting. 

Here is the article.  Let me know what you think and if you agree.  I honestly can see both points of view, having worked in eastern Virginia for years I know exactly the type of forest they are dealing with and fully understand what it means to "start over" following decades of high grading.

Lawyers: Clear-cutting hurts Wee Tee Quality
The overcup oak is one of those hardwood swamp bottom trees that most people couldn't even name. Hollow and stringy-fibered, the tree is considered worthless for timbering. The oak grows huge, though, and it gets in the cutters' way. Its sweeping crown is massive, and drops a lot of acorns, so the tree dominates the bottoms and attracts animals. Wildlife, outdoors enthusiasts and hunters are drawn to it.

In the remote Wee Tee State Forest, that's the stuff of conflict.

By Bo Petersen
The Post and Courier
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No comments: