Industry, not fires, made a mess of our forests.Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Jim Weaver Jim Weaver is the name of:
The April 12 guest viewpoint by John Prendergast John Prendergast is an American human rights activist focused on bringing international attention to the genocide in Sudan and the atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. , Oregon chairman of the American Society of Foresters, concludes: "It is time to take back the management of these lands (federal forests) from the lawyers, judges and isolated interest groups and return it to natural resource profes- sionals."
Well, I am not a lawyer, a judge or an isolated interest group, but I was chairman of the Forests Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives for 10 years and observed close at hand the devastation wreaked on both federal and private forests in Oregon and elsewhere.
Prendergast wails at the thought of fires destroying forest habitat, and this brought to mind the time I flew over a number of national forests with the chief of the U.S. Forest Service to observe their efforts at replanting. The lack of decent growth was pitiful pit·i·ful
1. Inspiring or deserving pity.
2. Arousing contemptuous pity, as through ineptitude or inadequacy. See Synonyms at pathetic.
3. Archaic Filled with pity or compassion. . It became so embarrassing that I tried to cheer up the chief by pointing out thriving young stands when we spotted one. Each and every time I did so the chief would say, "that's a recovering burn."
Prendergast scoffs at the very idea of a "cut and get out" mentality of the timber industry. But as surely as God made Douglas firs Douglas fir: see pine.
Any of about six species of coniferous evergreen timber trees (see conifer) that make up the genus Pseudotsuga, in the pine family, native to western North America and eastern Asia. , that is exactly what they did. The vast private forests of Weyerhaeuser, Georgia Pacific and others have been mowed down (with much of them shipped to Japan along with the lumber mill jobs) and those companies have pretty much left our state. The great lumber union halls in Coos Bay Coos Bay (ks), city (1990 pop. 15,076), Coos co., SW Oreg., a port of entry on Coos Bay; founded 1854 as Marshfield, inc. 1874, renamed 1944. are all closed down now, and the huge Weyerhaeuser mill where I used to shake hands to perform the customary act of civility by clasping and moving hands, as an expression of greeting, farewell, good will, agreement, etc.
See also: Shake with thousands of workers as they came off shift is now an Indian casino.
After the private timber disappeared, the industry tried to do the same thing with the federal forests. In 1982, the Reagan administration Noun 1. Reagan administration - the executive under President Reagan
executive - persons who administer the law issued a regulation doubling the cut on federal forests, and only with the help of Southern foresters (whose industry did not want all that timber dumped on the market) was I able to stop that gambit (language) Gambit - A variant of Scheme R3.99 supporting the future construct of Multilisp by Marc Feeley <email@example.com>. Implementation includes optimising compilers for Macintosh (with Toolbox and built-in editor) and Motorola 680x0 Unix systems and HP300, BBN . Where were the Northwest foresters? Not a peep.
But the overcutting proceeded apace, and the plywood plywood, manufactured board composed of an odd number of thin sheets of wood glued together under pressure with grains of the successive layers at right angles. Laminated wood differs from plywood in that the grains of its sheets are parallel. mills are gone now, along with the big peeler logs. When I retired from Congress in 1987 there was only 9 percent of the old growth timber left on the national forests. There would be none at all today if the spotted owl lawsuits had not intervened.
Prendergast seems not to know those suits were based on the National Forest Management Act of 1976. I am proud of the fact that I helped Sen. Hubert Humphrey Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was the thirty-eighth Vice President of the United States, serving under President Lyndon Johnson. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. , D-Minn., put in that act the language on which those suits were based.
Prendergast disputes the "evidence" in the court rulings by claiming there is more timber on the forests of the former Oregon & California Railroad today than in the 1970s. He is talking about the volume of fiber, not standing trees. Foresters are big on volume, big on growing young trees and cutting what they call decrepit de·crep·it
Weakened, worn out, impaired, or broken down by old age, illness, or hard use. See Synonyms at weak.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin d , diseased old growth.
But you cannot build a house with twigs. It takes more than a hundred years to grow a Douglas fir. Our schools and communities cannot wait that long. The Congress had to step in with funds for localities denuded of timber.
As for Prendergast's call for "professional management," I cannot think of anything worse for our forest lands than applying poisons to stifle competing growth. They are taught to be chemical foresters in college, but their brand of management should be outlawed. I tried to do just that and met with some success (I got 2,4,5,T - a component of Agent Orange - banned). The foresters did not like that. Once in a speech in Ashland to Northwest foresters I was booed off the dais.
Give me wild and natural growth of our forests. Recent studies have shown "God's management" produces more trees and better forests.
Jim Weaver of Eugene represented Oregon's 4th District in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1987.