Fear was the reason I got into forestry. When I was in college (I grew up in the 1960s and graduated high school in 1969), Martin Litton’s iconinc picture of a boy looking out over a large clearcut of redwoods caused a number of us to take action.
The Photos Were a Snapshot in Time.
For most, their complete environmental education was that photo.
While Martin LItton hasn’t changed his views, I have. My forestry major allayed my fear of deforestation through timber cutting for lumber. Coast redwood (where Litton photographed) sprouts from the stump. The place the boy looked at should be covered with redwood 40-60 feet tall. Photos tell a story of a moment in time, not of all time.
Now concern revolves around deforestation and old growth. In April of 2000, President Clinton used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create the 327,769-acre Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM). That nearly, 330,000 acres presumably protects less than 20,000 acres of sierra redwood (giant sequoia).
Removing 500 Square Miles of Second-Growth Forest From Further Harvests Hurts Untouched Rainforest.
According to The Illusion of Preservation (Harvard Press), for every twenty acres of previously harvested forest placed off-limits to logging, one acre of primary forest–virgin forest–somewhere else is logged. That totals:
Primary Forest Lost Due to the GSNM set aside – 16,400 ac
We get no free lunches, someone pays and the someone in this case, is the wildlife and unique flora in previously untouched wilderness. Once roads are placed in this 16,400 acres of primary forest, it is usually converted to agriculture; the wildlife is open to extirpation.
Green, Inc. Slogans Masquerading as Scientific Fact
Tom Knudson wrote in his 2001 series, Environment, Inc.:
[T]oday [environmental] groups prosper while the land does not. Competition for money and members is keen. Litigation is a blood sport. Crisis, real or not, is a commodity. And slogans and sound bites masquerade as scientific fact.
What are you going to believe, slogans or your lying eyes?
As the management of Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest proves, harvesting is not the end of the world. Yet, Green, Inc. is interested in zero timber cut from public lands, so they support moving the GSNM from the Forest Service to the Park Service, this is not only unnecessary, it is counter-productive to GSNM’s articulated goals.
Sequoia needs disturbance to regenerate. Such disturbance has historically come from fire. But the past 100 years of aggressive fire suppression, shade-tolerant white fir has seeded under the old-growth giant sequoia groves. And now fire is a problematic tool due to Clean Air Laws. Logging provides the needed bare mineral soil sequoia seedlings require. And logging can be done around giant sequoia without adverse affects. Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest (MHDSF) manages its land consistent with the recommendations in the GSNM’s management plan. One irony of the GSNM: most visitors don’t see any giant sequoia until they reach the State Forest’s boundary. MHDSF has incorporated logging its management since 1946.
Not allowing harvesting in GSNM will eventually require a name change to the White Fir National Monument.
If you’d like to use my petition to keep the GSNM in the Forest Service’s jurisdiction and not tie land managers’ hands, it’s here.