Common Good Dialogue -Alan Page's Blog

The Forest Concept Page

This page is like a glossary but there will be included terms that are confused by lay people as they try to come to grips with things they think are either a problem which they do not like or that they have strong feelings about but limited knowledge:

Key words are Highlighted to make them easier to find

FORESTRY
Forestry comes in many different flavors.  Like economists there are probably more ideas about what constitutes forestry than there are people who care about forests. 
Commercial forestry again comes in many varieties.  Industrial forestry is somehow linked to processing facilities or at least to large land bases that can have long term agreements with buyers for substantial volumes of product flow.  If product is being bought by a person who calls them-self a forester, they may have an interest in the long term health of the place that the product was grown, but it is not wise to assume that there is any motivation beyond getting the product on time and at or below a price that they could find it anywhere else.
Non-industrial-private-forestry has come to be a major part of the active forestry in the US.  This involves the attraction for owning land by those who can afford to pay for it and its up keep, and the utter inability of any other financial entity to make any sense out of the long term nature of most of the opportunities that forest ownership provides.

DESTROY
Destruction of a forest:  It may be hard to accept this but in the NE USA forests are hard to kill - that means by any normal direct act of humans or anything else, except a change of climate.  The outward appearance of the forested area may be changed by any number of agents including men and women, but if you leave a disturbed area, one burned by a forest fire or hit by a bomb in this region, free from further major disturbance it will quickly begin to return to forest.   Even the most modified areas like a shopping mall or a high rise building will have trees growing through the cracks within five years in many places.

HIGH GRADING and other harvesting: There are many ways to remove value from a forest, some remove significant value while enhancing the potential of the forest, others remove all the value and leave a fully stocked stand that looks nice but will take eons (and maybe a hurricane and/or a hot fire) to set the stage for a new and value producing forest.  High grading removes the value with no concern for what will replace it.  Clear cutting also removes the value, but creates the seed bed needed for many early successional species, as well as creating short lived open areas needed by many migrating song birds.




Management
Forestry management:  Only GOD does forestry management.  Landowners may or may not consciously do forest management.  But management of any land that is within the human domain is being managed no matter what is being done.  Every action or lack there of has consequences and it is better to understand what these consequences might be before going off onto a tangential set of assumptions without fully understanding the possible outcomes.

Because management is what happens to what is growing on a forest site after climate has set the limits, there are proactive management strategies and reactive strategies.  Given the short term focus of our economy proactive strategies are quite limited and since all activity in forests are likely to be expensive such proactive work is completely dependent on the owner's discretionary income or spending power.

The other pages that discuss management tools and options go into more detail, but it is essential to understand that proactive measures once started can and then not followed by consistent follow-up activity may cause less value to develop than in a stand than if the area had been left untouched.  It is just as likely that due to the climate crisis that there may be little or no value produced by a forest that is hit by impacts of climate change.

Climate
Climate involves all things that affect the non-soil or management factors of an area.  The magnitude of the systems that control climate place it beyond the influence of all but the broadest collections of humanity.  However, there is no doubt that the collective efforts of humans are influencing the climate of all forest areas in an unpredictable and uncharted manner.  Individual storms and their impacts may only be classed as weather, but taken together they make up what is possible from forests in a given area - even to the extent of whether forests are possible or not
.
Climate crisis:  This is the true state of nature today.  Like management above, you may have an opinion about the presence or absence of this crisis but you can not have your own facts - they are universal. 


Comments