LooseCrew-JeffO: Clear-cutting


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Friday, January 25, 2008


After hearing about how bad clear-cutting was in Oregon on Meghan's blog, I thought I'd check it out on Google Earth. I didn't have to hunt. Even before you zoom in, you can see the entire state is a patchwork of clear-cutting.

I'm not against logging. Anyone who lives in a wooden structure has to chill-out when they complain - although it's not like there's any steel and/or concrete homes available for us to buy. The vast majority of us are only given one choice: buy a house made out of wood, or rent an apartment/condo/townhome made out of wood.
There's a responsible way to log, though. Some ways are a bit ridiculous and expensive. I don't think logging companies should have to follow guidelines that are too extreme. But the clear-cutting that's been done all over Oregon is horrendous.

I won't go hugging any trees, though. (Not that I have anything against trees - some of my best friends are trees.)

It goes without saying that you shouldn't clear-cut an area too steep and prone to erosion, but they don't seem to care.
I was under the impression that the USFS went around marking and okay'ing trees and areas for logging. Maybe that's wrong?
I've hiked through forests where trees were marked for cutting. It was very limited logging with no clear-cutting.
Of course, it's not like the government owns all the forests. There's quite a lot of land in private hands. They do what they like.
Personally, it seems like if I owned lots of timber land, I would want my "cash crops" to grow back as fast as possible so I can cut them down again.
I'm not and expert on this subject. It seems to me that clear-cutting too wide of an area runs the risk of ruining the land for growing timber in a quick-regrowth fashion. Too many trees grow too closely together. Unless you regularly go through thinning out the young trees, cash-able trees will not grow back in a reasonable amount of time.
Maybe that's what they're doing, though?
Anyone loggers reading this that can shed light on it?


At 2:38 AM, Blogger Meghan said...

Wow, crazy Google Earth photos, JeffO, so sad. Thanks for showing those and writing about this issue.

Costa Rica is an example of a country that learned the hard way about clear cutting. In about 40 years time, they deforested 50% of their land. Fortunately, Costa Rica gots its head out of its proverbial arse and started using more sustainable (economically and environmentally) forestry methods. We could learn a lot from them.

Sad to say, blame should be cast upon our federal government for the problem of clear cutting. They are the ones that have created the forest management policies as they are; they are the ones that demarcate areas of the forest for clear cutting; they are the ones that draw up the contracts with private logging companies to clear cut.

Logging is a huge problem where I live, too. Big land tracts wiped clean just adjacent to Yellowstone. I wrote a blog entry about one logged area perhaps two summers ago, I think.

Thanks for writing this!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger olga said...

The pictures from above do look ugly and sad, like a spot in the eye...
I am always in awe of people excercising in those snowy cold states - yes, we get used to manage elements, but since right now I am spolied...good for you! Sorry you didn't get into SJS50, and it was fun to read how our nowadays kids are so sedentary - I agree, just dragging them out by the ears backfires, we did it with oldest since he was 2, and he hated the guts out of it (although now in millitary school has all the skills and knowledge of woods living). With younger I do it on occasion and try to offer something fun for him, not just what I think is fun:)

At 10:20 AM, Blogger JeffO said...

Meghan - Thanks for the tip. I don't like to go off half-cocked. I need to learn more about this. So much of this is our own fault. The trend is for everyone to point fingers at others and claim no responsibility for ourselves. Surely we can all do better.

Olga - Great to have you post here. I read your blog regularly, even if you don't see me comment often. You inspire me to get my butt out to run more, even though I'm busy.


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