Fact Checking Roady, Daines and Hubbard

Last week I had to shake my head and literally laugh at some of the predictable statements of supposed fact being made during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.  Since one of the articles about the hearing has just been posted here, I figured I’d put together a fact-checking post of sorts.

“We need to invest more resources up front to keep our forests green and healthy, rather than wait until they are dead and dying, or on fire,” -Chuck Roady of F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber

That’s a good example of a pollyannish statement that has no basis in actual forest ecology and science.

“Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said another problem hampering the federal government’s ability to manage forests is an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits filed by environmental groups against the Forest Service.”

Filing of “frivolous lawsuits” is illegal, Congressman, and any attorney that files an actual “frivolous lawsuit” would be punished by the Courts and possibly even dis-barred.  There has never been one single “frivolous” lawsuit filed in Montana, or elsewhere, concerning Forest Service timber management. I’d challenge my Congressman Daines, or anyone else, to provide one concrete example.


“onslaught of frivolous lawsuits?” Or Daines claim that: “He said about 40 percent of the 124 management projects in Region 1, which includes Forest Service land in Montana and Idaho, have been appealed or litigated.”

Fact is, according to the most-recent GAO report, of 132 total “fuel reduction” decisions in the Forest Service’s Northern Region only 11, or 8% were litigated.  And those “fuel reduction” projects that were litigated includes issues such as logging in old-growth forests miles from homes or communities, logging within habitat for threatened or endangered species, logging is areas that are already heavily logged, roaded and fragmented, etc.

Also, the truth is that the public appeal process is part of the official public review process established by the US Congress. A member of the US Congress complaining that some people or groups filed used the public appeal process set up by Congress is the same as complaining that people participate in the process at all.  What’s next Congressman Daines? Bitching that citizens actually vote?

According to the actual actual GAO report the US Forest Service Northern Region had 132 total fuel reduction decisions during FY 2006 to FY 2008. Of those 132 total fuel reduction projects 11 were litigated. That comes to about 8%.

Jim Hubbard, deputy chief of state and private forestry for the Forest Service, said “such suits have ‘virtually shut things down’ on national forest land in Montana, ‘and so environmental clearance there … has been difficult.’”

Hmmmm….”Virtually shut things down” Hubbard? Really?

Here’s a link to the Forest Service’s Timber Sale Program Cut and Sold Reports for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 in the U.S. Forest Service Region One.

Please note that over the past five years the Forest Service in Region One (which includes 12 National Forests located within the perimeter of northeastern Washington, northern Idaho, and Montana; and the National Grasslands in North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota. the Black Hills in SD) has sold enough timber to fill 239,000 log trucks, which if lined up end-to-end, would stretch 2,048 miles, or nearly from Missoula, Montana to New York City.

According to the Forest Service’s Cut and Sold report, here are the numbers over the past five years for the Forest Service’s Region One:

• FY 2012 Region One sold 208.3 MMBF, cut 219.4 MMBF (“Virtually shut things down?”)

• FY 2011 Region One sold 211.9 MMBF, cut 202.0 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

• FY 2010 Region One sold 253.4 MMBF, cut 188.7 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

• FY 2009 Region One sold 292.9 MMBF, cut 186.0 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

• FY 2008 Region One sold 229.2 MMBF, cut 167.4 MMBF. (“Virtually shut things down?”)

NOTE: MMBF = million board feet. There are approximately 5,000 board feet per logging truck.

As you notice, the volume of timber sold by the US Forest Service in our Region has stayed pretty steady, while the volume of timber cut per year has actually gone up slightly during the past five years.  But, hey, the Forest Service timber sale program in the Northern Region is “Virtually shut down,” right Hubbard?

So, consider these actual numbers and this image of log trucks lined up end-to-end across the country in the context of those calling for more logging of our national forests and spreading false, misleading and self-serving lies about “Virtually shut things down.”

60 thoughts on “Fact Checking Roady, Daines and Hubbard”

  1. Matthew, I’ve been studying and documenting the timber activity of the National Forests for the past 30 years and I’ve filled a website with this documentation (www.wvmcconnell.net). Yes the F.S.has virtually shut down its timber sale program. In 2014 the USDA Forest Service proposes to sell, nationwide, ~460 million cubic feet (MMcf) of timber (a reduction of 15% from FY 2013 planned sell) or 7% of the total timber grown on its non-reserved timberlands. The proposed sell volume is a reduction of 81% from 1988 when the harvest was 49% of the gross annual growth. In 2014 ~7 times the cut volume (nearly half of the growth) will die and >90% of the dead timber will not be salvaged.

    If that isn’t a virtual shutdown of the timber program, tell us what is.

    Results of failure to manage – Preliminary RPS data for Colorado and Utah show that, for the first time, there is negative net growth — more volume died that was grown. Standing live volume in the NFs in Utah declined by 13.6 MMcf.

    • William, In all your past 30 years of studying and documenting the timber activity on America’s National Forests have you ever come across anything that may have eluded to the fact that the logging levels of the late 1980s (which you apparently are using as a measuring stick) were 100% completely ecologically, environmentally and economically unsustainable?

      Also, as I’ve asked you before, where is the science and ecology behind the notion that somehow public forests ecosystems are best managed by simply cutting down a certain percentage of the annual forest growth?

      Also, you know what William, I don’t consider US Taxpayers subsidizing the logging of National Forests to the tune of 460 million cubic feet as somehow being a “virtual shutdown of the timber program.” A “virtual shutdown” would be closer to 0 cubic feet.

      If, according to google, one cubic feet is equal to 12 board feet, then the proposed 2014 federal National Forest timber sale program would result in the logging of 5.52 billion board feet of trees. [Note: I’d appreciate any fact-check on this conversion from cubic feet to board feet, since it seems difficult for many people and especially me, a straight “C” math student in school.]

      That’s enough logging to fill 1.1 million logging trucks, which if lined up end-to-end would stretch for almost 9,500 miles which would stretch for over 1/3 of the way around the entire Earth at the equator. Yep, that’s sooooooo like a “virtual shutdown of the timber sale program.”

      Also, people can review this official Forest Service press release from last month.

      Here are some interesting snips from the Forest Service and Chief Tidwell’s release:

      Through the recession and downturn in the housing market, the Forest Service has continued to find ways to support local infrastructure. The agency increased its funding of the timber sale program over the last 17 years from a low of $180 million in 1995 to $335 million in 2012. The agency provided timber sale contract relief through price adjustments and contract extensions, and continued to sell timber at a lower price reflecting market values. Industry continued to purchase Forest Service timber at these lower prices, providing more flexibility through combining these lower-priced sales with earlier, higher-priced sales.

      At the completion of fiscal year 2012, the Forest Service was on a trajectory to increase acres treated and timber harvested. In 2013, the agency received a reduced budget. It has had to revise down the amount of acres it could treat, along with timber volume to reflect these budget reductions.

  2. I wonder if there is even just ONE salvage sale (fuels reduction project) that wasn’t litigated. Even the Biscuit Fire, which harvested only DEAD trees (while saving ample snags within cutting units), on just 4% of the entire burned area was fiercely “defended”, both in court and through illegal and dangerous direct actions.

  3. Larry, even the Forest Service admits that the primary purpose of post-fire salvage logging projects is to recoup the value of timber, not to reduce fuels or “restore” the forest.

    Sure, if someone only wants to look at the post-Biscuit logging project in the terms you use, perhaps they will see nothing wrong with it.

    But you know what? The groups and people who actually read the EIS, walked the ground and looked at the issue fully also saw that the truth was that the Biscuit logging plan would have logged 370 million board feet of trees from 30 square miles of the Siskiyou National Forest. That’s enough trees to fill 74,000 log trucks lined up for over 600 miles. In addition, that would have been 20 times greater than the annual logging levels on the Siskiyou NF during the previous decade.

    And certainly, unlike you, the groups and citizens considered where the Biscuit logging was slatted to take place: 19,000 acres of ancient, old-growth forest reserves and pristine roadless wildlands in a forest of global ecological significance.

    To make matters worse, 90% of all acres proposed for Biscuit logging were within the watershed of the spectacular National Wild and Scenic Illinois River.

    I know….’details, details, details.’

  4. “Larry, even the Forest Service admits that the primary purpose of post-fire salvage logging projects is to recoup the value of timber, not to reduce fuels or “restore” the forest.”

    That is simply just ONE of the goals of salvage sales. There are MANY other benefits of salvage sales that you choose to ignore, Matt. Logs pay for essential emergency post-fire needs of the landscape and human infrastructure. (Details, details, details)

    Regarding the Biscuit Fire, sure, they didn’t analyze everything with on-the-ground data. Yes, they should have done plots within the proposed cutting units, instead of using aerial photos and computer models. However, even after more realistic numbers and plans were adjusted, lawsuits and activists didn’t like that, either. Is an LSR still an LSR after severe mortality? Does a spotted owl PAC still need “protection” after the nest trees are gone? Just how “spectacular” is a burned and eroding watershed? Again, only SOME of the dead trees were cut, and in the LSR’s, the largest and best snags were “saved”.

    I also see that you cannot produce even ONE salvage sale that wasn’t litigated. Were all of those included in the GAO report, that you continue to trot out, or did “someone” not consider those to be “fuels reductions” (yes, they did, indeed, reduce fuels)?

    • Larry, I have no idea how this has turned into a discussion about the Biscuit Fire, but here’s a good GAO report, ” BISCUIT FIRE RECOVERY PROJECT: Analysis of Project Development, Salvage Sales, and Other Activities.”

      And don’t go inflating your chest too much thinking that I cannot produce even one salvage sale that wasn’t litigated. Fact is, at first I ignored that claim because I knew it wasn’t even of much use to respond to you with facts. But since you pressed me Larry…here you go.

      Larry, was the Chippy Creek Fire Salvage Sale on the Lolo National Forest litigated? Yep, that’s what I thought.

      Was the Jocko Lakes Fire Salvage timber sale on the Lolo NF litigated? Nope.

      How about the Lolo’s Lookout Ski Beetle salvage sale? Or the Lolo’s Westside Roadside Timber Salvage? No litigation on any of those salvage sales.

      Moving further south, was the Bitterroot National Forest’s Lake Como salvage project litigated? Nope. How about the Larry Bass project? Nope.

      What about the Bitterroot’s big Trapper Bunkhouse project? Surely that was litigated, right? Oh wait, no lawsuit on that project either. Or the Bitterroot’s Weasel Salvage Sale?

      What about countless post-fire CE salvage sales throughout the country? Were those dozens and dozens of salvage logging sales all litigated? Yep, that’s what I thought.

      Where you come off spreading so much mis-information is a real mystery to me. What’s not a mystery is that every time you do it, I will be there to correct the record.

      Also, if you have questions about what’s in the GAO report I suggest that you read the darn thing, instead of trying to confuse the issue. You seem to have a problem with people calling you out when you make wild, false, allegations and claims. If you continue, you better just get used to it, Larry.

      • CE’s, by definition, cannot be litigated, and are limited by acreage, by law. Certainly, if they were not CE’s, we would see them end up in court.

        Reading over the Chippy Creek Decision Notice, it appears that the Forest Service wanted, above all, to avoid litigation, and to eliminate hazard trees. It could be said that the mere threat of litigation, probably stated in public comments, caused the Forest Service to not even propose anything that could be considered controversial and lawsuit-worthy. Considering that the Lolo is home to many eco-groups, the Forest Service EXPECTED lawsuits, and was willing to make ANY concessions to avoid them.

        Here is the aerial view of the main part of the project:


        Note the one mile sections of private lands surrounding the Forest Service portion. The issue of “Inventoried Roadless Area”, which, obviously, contains MANY roads, caused the Forest Service to not pursue the ample salvage volumes located within. The roads even show up on the Forest Service maps!!!! The issue of “old growth” was, apparently, another way to hold the project hostage, through the threat of litigation. ALL of this aerial view was considered to be “Roadless”


        While you are correct, Matt, that this project wasn’t litigated, you cannot say that the project wasn’t affected by the indelible threat and guarantee of litigation. Certainly, MUCH more good could have been done, within the burned areas. Clearly, “saving” so much high-intensity burned areas have led to accelerated erosion, increased hazard to re-burns and other factors that impact the future health of landscapes and human values. Why didn’t the project address the impacts to bull trout habitats, and drinking watersheds? Does the Forest regret not standing up to the threats of litigation?

        The Forest clearly felt that the prompt cutting, harvest and recovery of roadside hazard trees was the most important part of this project, and that avoidance of litigation, at ANY cost, was an acceptable compromise. It IS important to know that the threat of litigation is just as important as actual litigation.

        • Larry wrote:

          CE’s, by definition, cannot be litigated, and are limited by acreage, by law. Certainly, if they were not CE’s, we would see them end up in court.

          Once again, that’s an entirely false statement being presented here as fact. CE’s can be litigated and would challenge Larry to find the definition that says otherwise. Thanks.

          • Many CE’s are challenged not in how they are written but, in how they are used. I don’t deny the fact that SOME CE’s are used improperly, and are challenged.

            Nevertheless, it is clear that the GAO didn’t include ALL salvage sales in their study That is what my original point was. You keep trumpeting the study as the end-all and be-all of litigation statistics. Without including them, the study is of dubious value, eh? There is also no doubt that just the threat (and guarantee) of litigation also has an important effect in how projects proceed, and how they don’t proceed. The GAO didn’t analyze these issues, for obvious political reasons. They DESIGNED this study to produce the desired outcome.

            • Larry:

              RE: Your claim that “CE’s, by definition, cannot be litigated”

              You were clearly wrong in writing that, so just admit it. You are now conflating and confusing the issue at hand, which in my book was your false statement that CE’s, by definition, cannot be litigated. That’s not true. End of story.

              RE: Your complaint that the GAO “didn’t include ALL salvage sales in their study”

              I suggest that you read “Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology” of the GAO report, in which the GAO provides more than 2,000 words explaining their scope and methodology. It’s a good read, regardless of our discussion, because it gives some indications into just how non-systematic Forest Service reporting is from forest-to-forest, region-to-region.

              In reading the methodology there is no indication supporting Larry’s claim that the “GAO study “didn’t include ALL salvage sales in their study.”

              So where are you getting your information Larry?

              However, in Appendix I, while the GAO doesn’t specifically talk about post-fire Salvage logging projects, the GAO repeatedly points out stuff like:

              “To identify Forest Service decisions involving hazardous fuel reduction activities signed in fiscal years 2006 through 2008, we asked the agency’s Ecosystem Management Coordinator to query a Forest Service database designed to track decision planning, appeals, and litigation for all Forest Service decisions—the Planning, Appeals, and Litigation System (PALS). This official queried the PALS database using the following criteria: (1) decisions signed in fiscal years 2006 through 2008, and (2) decisions that included fuels management as a purpose and/or one or more fuel treatment activities. This initial query identified 1,437 decisions in 108 national forest system units.”

              That bolded part sure seems to indicate that any Forest Service post-fire Salvage logging project which included “fuels management as a purpose” was, IN FACT, included in the study. Do you know of any Forest Service post-fire Salvage logging project that don’t include “fuels management as a purpose” Larry?

              Once again Larry I’d ask you for documentation to back up the claim you keep repeating on this blog, that the GAO study didn’t include “ALL salvage sales in their study.” If you can’t do that, than the rest of your comment claiming:

              “The GAO didn’t analyze these issues, for obvious political reasons. They DESIGNED this study to produce the desired outcome.”

              …Is just more hot air and false claims not backed up by real documentation. So, Larry, you really think the GAO, the non-partisian investigative arm of the US Congress, designed this study to produce the desired outcome? What is that “desired outcome” anyway? Are we really to believe that someone within the GAO is in bed with enviros and manipulating studies to make enviros look good? Do you have the name of this person, Larry?

              Finally, as for why I keep “trumpeting the study as the end-all and be-all of litigation statistics”….I’m actually not doing that Larry. It’s simply the most recent study by the non-partisan investigative arm of the US Congress. I always have stated it’s the “most recent” look at the issue. If you know of some sort of study conducted more recently by an entity that has as much credibility as the GAO please share with us. Thanks.

              • Well, I’ve done these calculations before but, let’s see if you can follow along. The total amount of decisions considered by the GAO, in three years is 1,415. So, I made a count of National Forests that might have projects, excluding Forests that clearly don’t have fuels problems. That would exclude places like Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Vermont, Maine, etc. I also didn’t include ANY National Grasslands, although they may, indeed, have projects. Then I assumed that each National Forest has an average of 4 Ranger Districts, and that total is just over 400 Units. So, if we divide 1,415 by 400, that means each Unit had 3.5 decisions for all 3 years.

                In the last year, National Forests accomplished almost 1800 prescribed burns, nationwide. If we assume that there were only 500 actual Prescribed fire decisions, each year, then that reduces the total fuels reduction decisions to, ummmm, a very, very low number. *smirk*

                Like the IRS *SMIRK*, I simply do not trust this study, especially when it does not list those decisions, specifically. Certainly, the GAO and the Forest Service have used every prescribed fire decision in its study. That would be a LOT of decisions! Even if each Unit only does ONE prescribed fire decision, each year, that leaves just 215 decisions left for non-fire decisions. If we assume just ONE non-fire decision for EACH Unit, for the entire 3 years, then we have exceeded the 1,415 decisions used by the GAO. This would be lumping thinning, Roadside hazard tree projects and fire salvage projects all together into one big ball.

                I call BS on this study, as do other contributors on this blog. A methodology is a poor substitute for an actual list of studied decisions. It shouldn’t be too difficult to provide an actual list but, they chose not to, for some strange reason. *smirk* Obviously, their “methodology” was faulty…. QUITE faulty!

                • So, Larry, you’re “calling BS on the GAO study” by simply making up a bunch of numbers and assumptions about what the study may, or may not have, included? That’s precious!

                  • My numbers seem a LOT more correct than theirs. You would question any “methodology” of a study that supports logging, but doesn’t offer actual decisions. You KNOW you would! We all know you would! The Obama Administration has already demonstrated their proclivity for political manipulation of Agencies. My numbers are certainly believable and conservative (in the non-political sense).

                    Here are the totals of different Units that probably have fuels related decisions, by Region. Of course, I’m not using any Units in Regions 9 and 10. Be reminded that I’m not separating combined Ranger Districts, as they would likely have combined burning decisions. However, combined RD’s are MUCH larger than than individual RD’s, and are more likely to have more than just one fuels reduction decision, per year.

                    Region 5— 65 Units
                    Region 6— 66 Units
                    Region 4— 68 Units
                    Region 3— 53 Units
                    Region 1— 57 Units
                    Region 2— 45 Units
                    Region 8— 79 Units

                    433 total individual Units

                    Let’s assume that each Unit has one burning decision and one fuels reduction decision, each year. The total comes to 2598, for all three years. That sure leaves plenty of unexplained decisions not included in the GAO study. The assumption of 2 yearly fuels-related decisions is quite conservative.

                    The GAO’s methodology doesn’t seem very accurate, and is wide open to mistakes and “cooking the books”.

                  • Not to add flames to the proverbial fire ;), but it would be easier to redo this now because of PALS. Now everyone does not enter stuff into PALS perfectly, but at least you could see the projects from 2008-2012, sort on fuels treatment projects, look for appeals and objections and then ground truth with forests (because things might not have gotten entered with the press of business). You could “show your work” step by step and then people could review and make suggestions at each step.

                    That would be transparent. It might make a good graduate student or intern project. I would be willing to help a person find out how to do this and give guidance and support.
                    This could be People’s Research Project #1.

                    Note: we had talked about doing a larger “citizen science” study here comparing these kinds of projects, and had absolutely great ideas. but would need someone to take the lead. Retirees? Students? I know a lot of us could help…but not many people have the time to set it all up.

                    To me, us learning together step by step would be the great value in this. Otherwise groups we don’t trust will put out info we don’t trust. (some cannot trust PALS but I think we could work with that).

                    • Sharon: I’m in general agreement with what you are saying, but I don’t think an effective job can be performed by students, retirees and volunteers — particularly if a number of them are operating with pseudonyms and questionable credentials.

                      You are (and have been) suggesting important research that needs to be done, and should involve the public while doing so. Where is the funding? We can all name bizarre and irrelevant studies that have been performed by our government and by taxpayer-funded university scientists over the past 30 years in which millions (and millions) of dollars have been apparently wasted. Our current problems involve billions of dollars of wasted resources and unnecessary government expense. Where is the balance?

                      Who benefits most by a study of this nature, and why can’t they afford to pay for it? Those are the rhetorical questions I keep asking and without ever getting a reasonable answer.

                    • Geez, I couldn’t reply to Bob, below, because we had run out of “replies” ..
                      Why don’t people fund this kind of stuff (real stuff)? Why do they fund the stuff they do, some of which is not very helpful to anyone?

                      This reminds me of that old bumper sticker..

                      “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

                      “It will be a great day when research funding decisions (of research that is claimed to be relevant to the real world) and methods are prioritized by the people who are supposed to ultimately use the information, and folks will have to have a bake sale to fund unverifiable computer models.”

                      It would take a book to explain why the current situation is so, and what could be done.

                      But to this point, it would be the Forest Service who would benefit from learning more, and “NEPA for the 21st Century” would be the logical location of such research.

  5. Larry, have you been to Oakridge lately? How is it doing as a town? How’s the school district doing? Surrounded by some of the most beautiful, productive and valuable forests in the world. Do the people of Oakridge benefit from these great natural resources? Does the nation? Not very much would be my answer.
    Everything the FS or BLM does when it comes to harvesting trees is in fear of lawsuits by the environmental community. They are even afraid of lawsuits after the sale has be sold and operating and will change these operations to keep the biologists in the office “happy”. The only reason they have a thinning program is because the environmental community thinks it is ok.
    Though even some of the thinning sales have been protested, like Goose.
    I really think our current forest policies will be remember with the same fondness as the cultural revolution is remembered in China.
    Drive up in the National Forests and see what is going on.
    Also why is it ok to burn up old growth forests just because there aren’t any houses around?
    The Biscuit fire didn’t have to happen, they let it burn, then helped it.
    Sharon thank you for this blog, I will try and not be too obnoxious. But everytime out in the woods I see such incredible waste in our national forests it makes me sad. If we were really conserving them it would be one thing, but we are slowly letting them die out. Our communities has suffered greatly. Are we really this stupid as society?
    I also think it needs to pointed out that with the timber that is harvest, its not just about logging and log trucks and money, but we as a society make things from these trees of great beauty and value which can last for generations.

  6. Matthew

    I sincerely hope that you will consider the facts supplied below especially beginning with item # 1):

    RE: “According to the Forest Service’s Cut and Sold report, here are the numbers over the past five years for the Forest Service’s Region One”
    –> We agree on the numbers that you picked from the last five years so you shouldn’t have any disagreement with the numbers that I am going to use here going back to 1977.

    RE: “Fact is, according to the most-recent GAO report, of 132 total “fuel reduction” decisions in the Forest Service’s Northern Region only 11, or 8% were litigated”
    –> Your frame of reference is way off – you need to go way back to when litigation was in its frenzy – but even that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that harvest levels have been reduced significantly since 1991 and the numbered items below speak to how and why that matters.

    RE: “a pollyannish statement that has no basis in actual forest ecology and science”
    –> I wish that I’d talked to you back in 1962 before I spent many years in college studying things that have “no basis in actual forest ecology and science”. Funny thing is that when I went to graduate school at a second highly acclaimed forestry school they taught the same thing as did every other forestry school accredited by the Society of American Foresters. Just think of all of those professors with their doctorate degrees and generally skeptical, “show me” attitude – what idiots we all are and were.

    RE: “As you notice, the volume of timber sold by the US Forest Service in our Region has stayed pretty steady, while the volume of timber cut per year has actually gone up slightly during the past five years. But, hey, the Forest Service timber sale program in the Northern Region is “Virtually shut down,” right Hubbard? So, consider these actual numbers and this image of log trucks lined up end-to-end across the country in the context of those calling for more logging of our national forests and spreading false, misleading and self-serving lies about “Virtually shut things down.””

    1) Think of a forest as a pot of oil sitting over a propane burner. If you take out one cup of oil a year (harvest) and put two cups in each year (growth net of mortality), eventually the pot will run over because the pot (acreage) isn’t big enough. And when the grease hits the fire below all hell breaks loose because the carrying capacity of the pot (acreage) has been exceeded. It’s all about compound interest. If you use/loose less than you grow, the carrying capacity stops growth eventually with a cataclysmic event (insects, disease, fire or some combination of the three). It really is that simple and that, in a nut shell, is what the science behind forestry uses to manage so as to maintain healthy forests. Foresters are the doctors of forestry. In forests, trees are the equivalent of the cells in our bodies that must be replaced on a regular interval in order have a healthy body/forest. I am sure that you are well aware that every cell in each of our bodies is replaced once every seven years.

    2) Now, let’s look at those Region 1 cut numbers:
    – 2006-2012 average harvest was 185MMBF (million board feet)
    – 1999-2005 average harvest was 236MMBF
    – 1993-1998 average harvest was 424MMBF
    – 1977-1992 average harvest was 927MMBF
    So you would agree that the average annual cut took a heck of a lot of truck loads to move 927MMBF a year. And you are correct. For every one of those trucks there were quite a few people employed. And a whole lot of access was being provided and clearcuts created to reduce the spread of any fire as well as provide a means to keep the average forest age and density down to provide for healthier forests than we now have.

    3) Now, let’s deal with your contention that there is no way that Region 1 needs to cut more than somewhere around 200+/-MMBF a year. I’ve done some calculations as follows(pardon the poor formatting available in a blog):

    ——————————- 2007 —— 2002 —— 1997 —— 1987 —— 1977
    FOREST INVENTORY 271,342 234,851 225,172 161,042 155,491
    1% ALLOWABLE CUT 2,713 — 2,349 —- 2,252 — 1,610 — 1,555
    ACTUAL CUT —– 157 ——- 228 ——- 317 ——— 1,090 —– 1,109
    % OF ALLOWABLE CUT — 5.8% —- 9.7% —— 14.1% —- 67.7% —- 71.3%

    So what does this tell us:
    – FOREST INVENTORY is the amount of standing timber in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota which I got from the 2007 RPA details as a downloaded spreadsheet
    – 1% ALLOWABLE CUT is my assumption of a conservative estimate of what would need to be cut to maintain a healthy stand density. I make this assumption without going really deep into the numbers. In my humble opinion, at current stocking levels, further checking could easily come up with a number 2 or 3 times as big required for a significant period of time in order to get the forest back into a healthier state. Unfortunately, the infrastructure to do that is no longer available so it will take a very long time to get things back under control.
    – ACTUAL CUT comes from the same source as you refer to in your five year cut numbers in your opening post except that the pre 2000 numbers included from the Idaho Panhandle portion of the forest that extended into the state of Washington have been removed. This was done to keep Inventory and Cut on the same acreage in Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. In addition, this is and overstatement since I did not take the time to back out what is probably an insignificant harvest of hardwood. Had I done that things would look even worse.
    – % OF ALLOWABLE CUT is harvest volume divided by allowable cut (expressed as a %) which is basically a proxy for the percent of potential sound forest management that was exercised in any particular year since harvest is the primary forest management tool since it is the only significant tool that pays for forest management.

    A) FOREST INVENTORY IS BUILDING IN INVERSE PROPORTION TO THE DEGREE OF MANAGEMENT ALLOWED AS PROXIED BY HARVEST VOLUME AS A % OF ALLOWABLE CUT – The inventory even grew 3.6% between 1977 and 1987 when you contend that there is no justifiable reason for harvests that large – Between 1997 and 2007 Inventory grew 20.5% when our management proxy (harvest % of allowable cut) was less than 10% as compared to around 70% in the 80’s.
    B) CONTINUING ON THE SAME PATH with sound management being limited to 5 to 10% of its potential is to “VIRTUALLY SHUT THINGS DOWN” in terms of managing region one to maintain a healthy forest. That is unless you are talking about fighting increasingly more catastrophic fires each year as the forest health continues to degrade.


    I have spent considerable time trying to lay this out in a way that a non forester can understand the science behind sound forest management. The drastic consequences currently being experienced as a result of not using that science are evident all around us. The problem isn’t global warming. The problem isn’t greedy foresters. The problem is in throwing away hundreds of years of science and experience in an uninformed effort to save trees without realizing that you are destroying the forest.

    If you don’t trust my integrity and brush this off as nonsense then I’d like to know what specific facts you would need in order to cause you to entertain the truth that sound forest management is a greater tool for good than is letting nature have her way unimpeded by mankind. I don’t really want to hear about unsound forest management at this time. If we get through this, then we can take some examples that you consider to be examples where forest management was detrimental and discuss what went wrong and whether is was sound or not. But there is no sense in going there until we get over this hurdle.

    • Gil, Thanks for sharing all this info and your thoughts. I appreciate it and the time you took, but I disagree with your general approach here. After reading and digesting what you have written here it appears to me that you seem to think that complex ecosystems, which include trees, shrubs, grasses, mycorrhizal fungi, bugs, beetles, fish, frogs, large mammals, small mammals, different types of soils, mosses, etc are best managed and understood by one type of person….The Foresters.

      I don’t buy that even for a second. Sure, foresters have a roll to play in how complex ecosystems are managed, but what about the following disciplines, science and “ologists:”

      conservation biology, large mammal ecology, small mammal ecology, wildlife population genetics, evolutionary genetics, microbiology, stream ecology, wetland ecology, avian ecology, fire ecology, ecophysiology, forest ecology, forest landscape ecology, hydrologist, climatologists, entomologists, geologists, etc

      Where do these disciplines, science and “ologists” fit into your view of forest management? Are all these other disciplines and “ologists” on board with how you believe forest ecosystems are best managed? I certainly know a number of very good foresters with their masters degree who would strongly disagree with not only your approach for management, but how you even describe complex forest ecosystems, which really seems to be nearly exclusively devoted to trees and timber. I’m sorry, Gil, by it’s my opinion that you need to see these forest ecosystems for much more than just the trees. You seem to want to lecture me about “getting over this hurdle” Gil, but perhaps it’s you that needs to get over that hurdle.

      For example, you are trying to tell us that during the period of 1977 to 1992, when nearly 1 billion board feet were being logged off of just the National Forests in Region One that the forests were healthier than we now have. That was during the period of massive roadbuilding and logging projects into previously roadless areas. That was during a period when fish and wildlife species in our region were pushed to the brink of extinction (requiring protections afforded under the ESA). That was right around the period when the clearcutting and terracing was so bad in some of our forests that it forced national hearings and the passage of the National Forest Management Act. Would all those other disciplines and “ologists” I mentioned previously agree with your statement that the high National Forest logging years of the 1970s to early 1990s represent the very best form of holistic management of public forest ecosystems?

      I guess that’s part of the disconnect here, Gil. Someone in a comment the other day mentioned the same thing. Some of you foresters think that you alone posses all the answers and knowledge about how to manage complex forest ecosystems. Foresters hold one small piece of the knowledge puzzle. And often times, what the foresters believe to be the best management is opposed by those other “ologists” and scientists who are experts in their fields. Thanks.

      • Matthew

        You have misjudged my thought process entirely. I believe that trees are the keystone species in the forest ecosystem so the ecosystem is more dependent on the trees than on any other single species. That has to be the key principle when managing a forest ecosystem. The ecosystem ceases to exist if we don’t take care of the trees. Sound forest management has to consider all of the input from all of the other scientists and “ologists”. But the devastation that is occurring in our nations federal forests is literally the result of management by committee where everybody is stepping on each others science and everybody thinks that their “ology” is critical. Someone has to synthesize all of the inputs and that is the role of foresters and the result is sound forest management. Case in point, the northern spotted owl is an extremely significant cause of the current harvest levels that have allowed our forests to become unhealthy and it was all based on non-science. It was based on the gut feelings of ologists who it turns out were trying to stop evolution as the mexican spotted owl and a hawk were better predators. And on top of all of that, the scientists still can’t even agree on whether or not the NSO and the MSO are even a different species.

        As to past failures in forest management, have we learned from not leaving sufficient buffers around streams? Yes,
        state BMP’s (Best Management Practices) have been successfully used for years now. Those BMP’s address the best in current science for roads and everything else and they are constantly updated as mistakes are made and solutions are found. Management by committee and by fear of lawsuit has resulted in a gross failure that has created and will create even more devastation than that caused by our past failures.

        Matthew, you seem to want to focus on the past failures of forestry and not give any credit to the continuously improving science and practice of forestry (which includes all of the other pertinent “ologies” at their current state). At the same time you seem willing to ignore the cause and effect relationship between analysis paralysis and the continually deteriorating state of our federal forests and the continuously increasing scorched earth consequences.

        • Speaking of stream buffers!

          Oddly enough, some stream buffers used in salvage sales on the Bitterroot actually OVERLAP the watershed boundaries! 300 foot buffers are certainly overkill, especially in the steep-sided streams so common there. Helicopters could have easily removed logs without a trace of erosion, and branches often hold back surprising amounts of wildfire-generated sediment in salvage sales. Meanwhile, vast amounts of still-standing snags produce rill erosion, as well as causing fuels buildups, leading to re-burns

      • Matthew
        RE: “what about the following disciplines, science and “ologists:” conservation biology, large mammal ecology, small mammal ecology, wildlife population genetics, evolutionary genetics, microbiology, stream ecology, wetland ecology, avian ecology, fire ecology, ecophysiology, forest ecology, forest landscape ecology, hydrologist, climatologists, entomologists, geologists, etc Where do these disciplines, science and “ologists” fit into your view of forest management?”
        –> The undergraduate coursework for a BS in Forestry includes a great many of those “ologies” and provides an awareness of the concepts and significance of the others so as to allow a well trained, professional forester (who continues to stay current with advances in the profession) to synthesize the input from all of these specialists.

        • Matthew: In your long list of Ologists, you didn’t include anyone who studies the effect of people on our forests, such as historical ecologists, landscape historians, geographers, and cultural anthropologists. Too, I have always been a little queasy about the idea of Conservation Biology as a (non-political) science in the first place. So you basically disregarded the keystone species that has been shaping our forests for the past 10,000+ years in favor of a lot of disciplines that have little or nothing to do with actual forest management.

          Gil is arguing for scientific management of our forests by using trained and experienced foresters. You seem to be arguing obfuscation through artificial construction of a new Tower of Babel — a bunch of competing voices; most of which are unnecessary or don’t even make sense.

          Next time I get a lung infection I certainly won’t be visiting a psychologist or a foot doctor, even though my feet and brain might be affected by my lung problems. They’re advisors, not managers. Note that when the Gang of Four and their associates developed the Plan for NW Forests in coordination with their owl “recovery” plan that they were comprised of an economist and a bunch of wildlife experts. No foresters (!), and the plan has been a disaster right out of the gate.

          • Bob, you are right, I didn’t include some of the social scientists. So please add the historical ecologists, landscape historians, geographers, and cultural anthropologists, etc to my list above. Thanks.

        • Sorry Gil. I don’t think that some 18 to 22 year old kid taking a course or two in, say, wildlife population genetics, microbiology or conservation biology as part of their basic bachelors degree in Forestry gives them even remotely close to the level of understanding of, say, wildlife population genetics, microbiology or conservation biology as someone who has done Masters and PhD work focused in these disciplines.

          Sure, I’m glad that as part of 36 or 40 college credits to obtain a Forestry undergrad degree the kids need to study a thing or two outside of just forestry and silverculture. But I feel you are yet again way over-blowing the level of knowledge about complex forest ecosystems many foresters actually have.

          • Matt: Most importantly, as a forestry student is learning about the various disciplines regarding their profession, they come into direct contact with many of the experts in those fields. It’s not what you know that matters, or who you know, but what you know about who you know that counts.

            • One thing important to note is that the Forest Service has a large cadre of “Ologists” who are quite knowledgeable about the issues and needs of what they are in charge of. Yes, they are QUITE protective of their “turf”, and they see the need to make compromises, in some instances, to keep those habitats viable and functioning. Preservationist types will often label these folks as “sell-outs”, “unreliable” and “tainted”. This is immense disrespect and intolerance of educated and sincere human beings, without the benefit of allowing them a chance to defend their decisions.

              My own experience includes doing both spotted owl and northern goshawk surveys, staying true to scientific integrity. I’ve also worked very closely with a wide array of them, to make sure lands were adequately surveyed and analyzed before my loggers can do their work. I’ve also shared barracks space with them, spending plenty of off-time debating forest issues. Those talks represented essential learning experiences, for all who participated.

              I bristle at the libelous idea that these “Ologists” have been “captured” by evil pro-management decision-makers. I also am disgusted that litigators will say that anti-management “Ologists” are better scientists, and more “right”. Indeed, the Forest Service folks have the benefits and experience of working on the actual lands they are making decisions on.

  7. This conversation needs a reframe — Our public forests are valuable for more than timber. All that “excess” forest growth is helping to mitigate for past logging that removed unsustainable amounts of old growth forests, carbon, and habitat from our public forests. Unlogged forests are not “shut down.” They are hard at work providing clean water, carbon storage, habitat for fish & wildlife, and quality of life.

    • Tree: You are the one talking only about timber. Excess forest growth means just that — and timber is not in the phrase. Excess growth = excess fuels = uncontrollable wildfires = dead wildlife = fried soils = polluted air = ruined habitat = damaged aesthetics. I know that you are such an expert on this stuff that it requires you to hide behind a fake name, but maybe it’s time to put an end to your simplistic knee-jerk “environmental” responses. In a nutshell, as usual, you don’t know what you are talking about.

      PS All life is based on carbon. No real need to store it anywhere — it’s already everywhere you look. Anyone who would set “carbon storage” as a forest management objective has probably never managed a forest. At least not successfully, or for very long.

    • Tree, it might help if you were more specific as to how current policies are “helping mitigate” the previously “unsustainable” levels of OG, carbon, and habitat. Some people believe (myself included) that removing some trees in a forest (“logging”) does not necessarily have a negative impact on clean water, carbon storage, habitat and certainly not for quality of life, depending on whose quality of life you are talking about.

    • TreeC123

      Re: “Our public forests are valuable for more than timber”
      –> And who said that they weren’t? What you seem to fail to understand is that an ecosystem is roughly defined by the climate, geology, topography and the Keystone Species. Just like in an old stone building where an archway was made able to stand on its own by the insertion of a key stone, the forest is the Key Stone in a forest ecosystem. Those other critical benefits that you speak of are greatly diminished if the forest isn’t healthy enough to be “hard at work providing clean water, carbon storage, habitat for fish & wildlife, and quality of life” as you say.

      RE: ““excess” forest growth is helping to mitigate for past logging that removed unsustainable amounts of old growth forests, carbon, and habitat from our public forests”
      1) Are you deliberately ignoring my explanation of sustainability given in my post above? Those large harvests were and still are sustainable. And at only 70% utilization of forest management potential there was plenty of room for lots of old growth and the creation of new old growth to replace the old growth that gets lost due to natural causes.

      2) There is plenty of room for a degree of old growth forests located where they can be enjoyed by all and provide recreational and ecosystem diversity. But, by definition, an “Old Growth Forest” is unsustainable. And if the majority of the surrounding forest ecosystem isn’t healthy then the expected life of that “Old Growth Forest” is cut short by the insect, disease and fire cycle resulting from poor vigor in the surrounding forest. It is no different than with people. If we were to ban reproduction so that we could spend all of our resources on keeping old people alive (myself included), our population wouldn’t be very sustainable.

      3) Restoring our forests to health through the use of sound forest management is what we need now in order to MITIGATE the ramifications of unsound management in our forests that, over the last 20+ years, has allowed them to become overly dense and therefore reduce their vigor and therefore made them extraordinarily susceptible to the insect, disease and fire cycle. What you would appear to call mitigation is exactly the opposite, it is destruction through a willful negligence to understand the basic principles of science involved in maintaining healthy forests for a healthy world.

  8. Matthew and TreeC123

    Are you guys part of some environmentalist tag team assigned to obfuscate any constructive dialogue on one of the most significant issues regarding our world and its future?

    1st Matthew makes profound statements that IMPLY that certain people are lying just so that they can rape some more forests.
    Then he goes off on an issue that isn’t the main problem and ignores hard facts refuting his claims about the sustainability of harvest levels.

    Then TreeC123 joins the fray but instead of dealing with the facts he wants to “reframe” the discussion to some nebulous discussion that ignores the facts.

    Just saying, it really doesn’t seem to matter to you that some environmentalist pressures on our federal government might have had some seriously negative consequences. If it were me, my love for the forests and my focus on the scientific method would drive me to find and resolve any inconsistencies in my thought process.

    • Gil, we don’t use the R word on this blog for the reasons outlined in this opinion piece I wrote in High Country News…. and your first paragraph seems a bit dismissive of Matthew and Tree..

      I appreciate them being here because they have the courage to engage with people who think differently.. most people would just ignore us and our discussion.

      And Matthew.. lots of times, he asks me why I think the way I do, so I go look up facts, which are even more interesting, in a lot of cases, than the way I remember them. He helps me show the logic path between my thoughts.. and helps me clarify my thoughts and especially how I write about them. He challenges me to be the best thinker and writer I can be without agreeing with me, hardly ever.

      • Sharon

        RE: “Gil, we don’t use the R word on this blog for the reasons outlined in this opinion piece I wrote in High Country News…. and your first paragraph seems a bit dismissive of Matthew and Tree.”

        –> No problem with your policy on the R word. Please understand that my context was in regard to the word’s common use against forestry and the emotions that arise when people make unsubstantiated statements like “the logging levels of the late 1980s (which you apparently are using as a measuring stick) were 100% completely ecologically, environmentally and economically unsustainable?”. Foresters too have sensitivity to false accusations that trigger memories of a despicable variant of that word being used to describe them.

        –> I have a problem with the selective chastisement on dismissive attitudes when Matthew continuously spouts his contempt for anyone who would dare to challenge his mantras. He seems to think that his intimidation tactics are a sign of his superior view which has no error except in insignificant matters. How can a constructive discussion occur when one side admits to the shortcomings of any human organization including their own when the other side ignores any shortcoming in their position. I find it frustrating that facts are continuously dismissed and rather than working through discussion of facts to come to a conclusion, any facts outside of their circle are routinely dismissed with disparaging statements. Even when they ask for an explanation of “as I’ve asked you before, where is the science and ecology behind the notion that somehow public forests ecosystems are best managed by simply cutting down a certain percentage of the annual forest growth?” The answer from a forester is dismissed as “Some of you foresters think that you alone posses all the answers and knowledge about how to manage complex forest ecosystems. Foresters hold one small piece of the knowledge puzzle”. Completely ignoring statements to the contrary and completely ignoring the failures of management by committees of expert ologists while holding the expertise of foresters to that of an 18-22 year old pursuing an undergraduate degree.

        RE: Matthew “He helps me show the logic path between my thoughts.. and helps me clarify my thoughts and especially how I write about them. He challenges me to be the best thinker and writer I can be without agreeing with me, hardly ever.”
        –> We all have different drivers and I am glad that this works for you but, for me, arguing without making any progress towards common ground is rather tiring and nonproductive.

        Ok, I was mistaken. I naively thought that something constructive could come from this group. I have been open as to failures of the distant past and commented to the effect that more good can come from working together by finding common ground and building from there by gaining from each other’s insights. Instead I find that that nothing that I have contributed is of any value to those who refuse to even consider that the failures of the present might be caused by their actions over the last 20+ years.

        • Gil: I don’t think the purpose of this discussion group is to win over any of the Trees or Matthews of the world — their mind is made up and, as you say, much of their written approach seems to be based on contempt and intimidation and unfounded scientific “authority.” But — they do have ideas and concerns and political contacts that are in opposition to the general ideas promoted by yourself, or other commenters such as me or Larry.

          The purpose of this blog, to my way of thinking, is to become aware of the leading forestry issues of the day, identify the major players (including media) on all sides of the issues, and then come to a better understanding of the issues — and theoretically, better ideas on how to resolve them, and who to approach when trying to do so.

          Has anything Tree or Matthew written even slightly motivated you to change your mind on the topic? Me (for the most part, with a couple of interesting exceptions) either. Rather, they provide us with an opportunity to use their pronouncements to better consider and present our countervailing arguments for everyone to consider, and help refine our own perspectives. Hold your friends close and your enemies closer is a political argument for the “forest wars” that have been taking place the past 3 or 4 decades. This blog offers that opportunity — for both (or all) sides.

          For the most part, I have avoided responding to anonymous posters such as Tree and Smokey on this blog and others the past few years — particularly when they use their ficticious identities to resort to cowardly ad hominem attacks and scientific or legal “authority.” Others use pseudonyms for other reasons, and often offer responsible and respectful comments and questions under their guises.

          Do I need to convince anonymous (or obviously one-sided) posters of their rudeness or stupidity? Nope. That’s there for everyone to see. Am I trying to change their (whoever it is) mind? Why? Do I sometimes read their stuff (and sometimes respond) anyway? Sure, some of it is provocative, and some offers a chance to clarify (and communicate to a more knowledgeable audience) my own thoughts and ideas on the matter.

          There are more than 240 subscribers to this blog, of whom 134 have posted comments — and sometime in the past hour or so we passed 9,000 total published comments w/no spam. Of the past 1000 comments, Larry and Sharon have made about 40% of the total; Matthew and I have made about 20% of the total; and you, Jon Haber and greg have made about 10% of the total. Tree, Ed, Kevin and others have lesser amounts at this time, and all numbers only represent the most current discussions.

          Hope that adds some specifics to your concerns and gives you (and any other interested readers) a better idea of the overall uses, general design, and participant context of the blog.

          Other thoughts?

        • Gil,

          Hate to say I told you so, but……(and yes, I meant fools errand)


          A couple weeks ago I said:

          “You can not, will not win or even influence this arguement. Give it up. It’s becomes an inane non-versation after a while, a fool’s argument. Principled forestry (or responsible land management) has very little (if anything) to do with today’s public land management decisions….”

          To which you replied (in part):

          “To give up on the truth and to have no hope of making a positive contribution is to die.

          Foresters have a responsibility to stand up and be heard rather than be coward by the intimidation tactics of those in the environmental camp who aren’t interested in facts…”

          I think your admission of naivety above is appropriate, but don’t be disheartened for trying. Short of a few students on here, I doubt there’s any “win” to be had. Most folks already know what they know, and aren’t going to change their beliefs because of someone on here was successful in calling someone else out for providing stats (the truth?). Have you seen the end of the movie “War Games”? Where the computer plays itself in tic-tac-toe? Ultimately it says “strange game – the only winning move is not to play” Very apropos. Sorry is that’s demoralizing, but it’s the truth as I see it. I suspect many folks “tune in” to watch the arguements *smirk*, as opposed to looking for edification.

          Before I get castigated by yourself or the “regulars” here (I used to be one), I’d offer that I have the interesting and priviledged opportunity to work at the cosmically strange interface between NEPA, collaboration and politics as we try to implement “principled forestry”, or as I like to call it, “responsible land management” (call it restoration if you must). As far as making a “‘positive contribution”….well, I’ve learned thru dealing with enviro’s (some of whom I even respect) that timbersalesloggingforestryrestorationtreatments are opposed at some sort of fundamental philosophical level that can’t be reasoned with. So then it becomes a matter of administrative and legal challenges at that point. There’s the battle. Period. Don’t like it? Start talking to your Congressional reps. and industry advocacy groups (AFRC, FFRC, etc). Change will will eventually come as a result of our frustrations.

          Matt – your “fact checking” was substantially incomplete, hint, hint. An act of omission or commission??? There were some way over-inflated figures in hubbards testimony.

        • Gil: what this blog needs is the point of view of the “old school” USFS forester from the 60’s-80’s. I’m assuming you meet that criteria? Your generation has nothing to defend or apologize for, and I’m sick and tired of all the “hand wringing” and “we were wrong, terribly wrong” angst about the old days that comes from the USFS today.

          I don’t think anybody is in love with the “Jammer roads, terracing, and dozer piling” of the 60’s, but that was phased out internally by the late 70’s. Frankly, I think as the public becomes aware of the “green islands” of maturing trees in the old regenerated clearcuts of your day in a sea of black or brown, they’re gonna thank you and reassess your era. Frankly, I think the idea behind the “new perspectives” and “ecosystem management” was to grow more old growth, but the reality is all it did was grow more bug trees. In my forest, “ecosystem management” reduced timber harvest by 30% in the 90’s, and today those “deferred acres” are dying from the pine beetle. One has to speculate how bad the MPB epidemic would have been, if another 200,000 acres would have been thinned.

          I find it ironic that the elk population tripled in Montana at the same time timber harvest did. I find it disgusting that the Kootenai forest in Montana once had the highest per/capita income in the state, but today has one of the highest poverty rates because half the forest was set aside for 50 grizzly bears. I find it ironic that British Columbia has both a thriving timber industry and a thriving grizzly bear population. I’ve read BC research that shows the grizzly showed no preference in foraging in burns VS. foraging in clearcuts that were broadcast burned.

          Anyway, I want to hear your perspective. I think your knowledge of how things “used to be done” would be invaluable to our discussion.

  9. Gil
    Seems to me nobody understood the point and each one followed their standing
    Ok. now for the sake of discussion a new possition, let us assume that an innovator has come up with an innovative technology that succeeds in increasing the yield of lumber from small logs that now we need only half of the tree volume (in logs ) to produce the same volume of lumber that you produce today.

    • Then, let’s also assume, for the sake of discussion, that all Federal lands were just acquired from private landowners. That would make the past practices a moot point, and we would have to progress from this point forward. What do we do with the lands, as they exist today?!? Of course, we aren’t going to clearcut these “newly-obtained” lands. Would we allow them to burn? Would we preserve them as they are today, as Wilderness? Would we just cut the big ones, leaving the rest to grow back into “pristine” conditions? Personally, I wouldn’t want any of these imposed on all of our lands. I believe that any decision must fit the land, using site-specific science. Of course, this would involve the experts, providing guidance, within their own disciplines. I do respect Agency “Ologists”, as I don’t have the expertise to claim more knowledge than they have.

  10. Sorry folks, just submitted a lengthy comment, and got message saying “can’t post this comment”…whassup with that. stupid internet.

    • Hi Derek: That shouldn’t have happened. I’m guessing some kind of software filter along the line — maybe in WordPress — rather than Internet. Please try to send again, and if that still doesn’t work, copy me, Sharon, Steve, Larry, or Matthew and I am sure we will see that it gets posted. And then try to figure out how to keep this from happening again.

  11. Pablo…I’m a little confused. The industry IS utilizing small logs. I read something the other day, where the “average” size of a log run through Oregon sawmills is 10” diameter. 32% of the logs were 7-10” dia. and 14% were smaller than 7”. Heck, only 5% come from logs over 24”. I’d say industry has done a good job, what with smaller kerfs, recurve saws, chipping saws, in getting the most out of small logs. In Arizona, the repetitive mantra has been “thin the small diameter trees only,” well…the industry everywhere else has already been doin that for the last 20 years.
    For the first 6 months of FY 2013, the Northern Region has “sold” 25 MMBF of timber. I’d say they’re well on their way to selling the “least” amount of timber ever. The “non-litigated” timber sales in Montana that Mathew speaks of were four or five years ago. In the last few years, the Alliance for Wild Rockies (AWR) has litigated 12 timber sale projects in Montana that specifically targeted “mostly” the WUI (I eliminated any litigated timber sale not treating some WUI). Of course, the USFS won’t tell the public how many board feet are tied up in litigation now.
    In 2007, when only 109 MMBF was sold and 350 MMBF was tied up in litigation, the AWR had revenues of $250,000. In 2009, revenues fell to $83,000, which barely covered the $65,000 annual compensation for executive director Michael Garrity. After a $326,000 gift from aging folk singer Carole King, revenues for 2010 jumped to $380,000. I’d say the “lack of litigation” had less to do with “lack of will” and more to do with “lack of revenue.”
    I wrote a fun “enviro hypocricy” story that RANGE magazine (shameless plug) will publish in a few weeks that has a photo of Carole King hugging some firefighters on the Halstead fire near her Idaho McMansion. Right below it is a photo of her giving Garrity an oversize novelty check for $326,000. Ms. King’s father was a New York city firefighter, and I’m sure her motives were sincere, but the next time she shows up at a fire, the fire fighters should turn their back on her for endangering their lives.
    And I always love Mathew’s “log trucks too the moon” visual. Let’s see…around 20% of the Northern Region’s “sold” timber is “personal use firewood.” So I guess that means that if all that firewood were loaded on log trucks, they would stretch, end to end, from Missoula to Billings. LOL.
    Gil…you should stay on. You’re spot on about Mathew, intimidation is an old act for “radical enviros” and I gave up long ago in trying to persuade him, and I ignore his responses to me now…I don’t even read them…but as Bob said…the goal of this blog should be sharing you’re great points of view “out to the readers,” and not to Matt or Tree. You quit, intimidation wins. Besides…Sharon’s incredible disciplined decency reminds us type A shouting males that in the end, I’m sure Matt and Tree are decent guys.

    • Remember, though, that firewood is banned in Missoula but, month-long, free-range wildfires are encouraged! Yes, sometimes it is hard to debunk the eco point of view but, sometimes it is quite easy! We sometimes need to be content in turning preservationists into conservationists.

    • Derek, I call BS…

      Wasn’t there a post not that long ago where you and Matt made up…where you were Matt, and Matt was you..you were Yin to his Yang, looking in a mirror and seeing each other….I seem to recall a rare moment of “love bursting”….I think Bob was involved too….maybe we should re-post that set of comments to re-set the atmosphere?

      • JZ, you are correct. I remember that moment — and even a couple of others — in which Matt and/or Derek and I have come to agreement on some pretty thorny issues: inexcusable USFS incompetence in website design and administration; incendiary causes of the B&B Complex cover-up; suspicious nature of the formation and funding of “collaborative” USFS planning groups; and maybe a couple of other things, too. That’s why I put “with a couple of interesting exceptions” in parentheses. These are them, and with the expectation that Derek, Matt, and I will meet up one of these days along the Rockies to share a few beers and stories of our blog war years.

        • This reminds me of the Best Available Science on conflict resolution that I quoted in the post here:

          “As a faculty trainer working for an international pacifist organization, he leads workshops and seminars designed to bring people from polarized sides together for dialogue, conflict resolution and peace building. This evolving, difficult process requires patience and courage, empathy and attentiveness. But first it requires that everyone recognize that “conflict is not bad”; it can be “productive and creative.” Luther describes the process when groups come together who have a history of distrust and violence. First they begin by “mapping the conflict”- acknowledging it, naming it, establishing its scope and boundaries, and finding the points of greatest resistance and discord. Identifying the conflict is the first “way out of the growing circle of revenge.” The conflict , Luther says, is like “the tip of the iceberg, but there is lots going on underneath.” To begin to excavate the subterranean layers, the group members must engage in “deep dialogue” Each one must be courageous enough to tell his or her personal truths and “listen without denying.” This is very hard. Emotions flare; people get defensive; they project their pain onto others . There are advances in understanding, moments of reconciliation, even epiphanies followed by retreats and accusations as people slide back into their comfortable and familiar stances. The learning that goes on in the group is both individual and collective, personal and public.”

          “Epiphanies followed by retreats”…

        • Well when you finally get to the point of scheduling the “retreat apres the ephipany”, please extend me the invite. Should be an annual event, in my opinion….amazing what can be accomplished over a few beers.

          • Maybe we can ask Ms. King if she could host us for a couple of days each summer and we could hit the bar in whatever town is close. ;)…

          • JZ…I’ve never liked conflict, that’s why the road contractors like me so much…I roll over and say “Yes” so easy! LOL. You wanna meet some hard men, you oughta meet my bosses. Blunt talk and disagreement is a part of the construction/engineering world…but you never “attack” the other guy personally. Nobody respects that and nobody who does that lasts, because when this job is over, we’re gonna be working with them again on another, and another, and another.

            Joe Biden (who I think is a “Nattering Nabob of Negativity”-gotta <3 Spiro Agnew) said something at his debate a couple years ago that stuck me. When he was a young Senator, he was bitchin about a Republican senator to his mentor, and his mentor said to him, "Did you know that the Repub. Sen. and his wife have adopted "special needs" children?" The point being that we can disagree vehemently with our opponent and his point of view, but in the end we're all decent people.

  12. Hey…it worked! The “Fire Rider,” in some palatable form, is the only solution to the NR problems. I find it interesting that even after Mont. Sen. Tester slid through the “Wolf rider,” he still had the League of Conservation Voters practically buy his election by spending $500,000 promoting the Libertarian candidate to syphon votes away from his Republican opponent. It will take a Republican controlled house and senate, but I doubt there will be much squawking when it happens. Hey, even judge molloy said “Congress should be dealing with this, not me.”


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