Thursday, October 20, 2005



Blogger Sagebrush has provided a link to a WSJ article on the ESA and the Spotted Owl.

Sagebrush opines the spotted owl listing was "a [Clinton Administration] mistake... we here in the pacific northwest may never recover from" "the destruction of our logging industry in the 1990s."

Scape Owl, scape!!!!

Oh, we have all heard the miserable tale of how those evil environmentalists connived with Slick Willie to sabotage the noble logger. Some of us even lived through it.

Only, the conventional tale is pure fertilizer. And it's a perfect example that there are at least as many truth stretchers right of center as left.

I didn't read the WSJ article - the subscription is damn pricey and I believe in a free press - :-) but I did work through about 6 megs of original data from USDA and similar sources.

That's data, not opinions on it.

Here's the bottom line: The destruction never occurred. Example:

According to the US department of labor: The total nationwide employment in logging peaked in 1979 at 88,500 persons. It dropped to 75,400 during the crash of the early '80's, and recovered to around 88,000 by 1988. By 1990 it was 84,600, dropping to 78,700 in 1991 and 1992, the height of the bruhaha. The next year it rebounded to 81,000. Even if the entire fluctuation was owl-caused - unrelated, for example, to productivity improvements - it was less than the earlier, normal boom and bust cycle.

During the same period of time, total wood production remained relatively constant.

Alright, big pictures obscure small tragedies. A few places - Forks, on the NW coast of Washington is a good example - really suffered. Forks boomed on the strength of Federal timber harvests, and whithered without them.

And while that's a damn shame, should a town rely solely on a resource that can vanish at the stroke of a pen?

On it goes. More than I need write or anyone probably cares to read. Just about every statistic the Right advances on this subject is juiced. Sagebrush quotes the Journal, "Clinton administration effected an 80% cut in logging on 24 million acres" and goes on to conflate this with old-growth. In fact, there is only a bit over 10 million acres of old-growth left in Washington, Oregon, and California. The rest of the cited set-asides were ALREADY LOGGED!

Meanwhile the real scientific issues are ignored. It isn't the Owl at issue: It's the overall forest health. The Owl is just an indicator species. If study proves it is a flawed indicator, OK. A new indicator will be found. The original issue remains.

It occurs to me old-growth is a lot like oil. It's a non-renewable resource that is largely owned or controlled here in the US by the government, which in all cases is bound to consider the whole picture, not just the entreaties of the pave paradise lobby. Like oil, there are downsides to old-growth: It is timber far past it's prime, dangerous to harvest, and lacking of the uniformity modern lumber manufacture prefers. Like oil, any decision to preserve today can be reversed tomorrow.

But unlike oil, old-growth cannot be harvested without destroying the significant ancillary values it intrinsically posesses, whether the timber proves to be worth the trouble or not.

I have seen trees three big men together couldn't reach around hit the ground and shatter to a thousand useless pieces. I can show you places logged that will never grow back.

Worst of all, like oil and minerals, the Federal government has never gotten a fair price for "our" resources. Federal stumpage has always lagged the private sector.

And there I think is where a lot of the hoopla comes from. The record shows that the industry as a whole hasn't been affected by the ESA ruling on the Spotted Owl, but those same people lost a sweet deal, and they, and their spokespersons, want it back.

Corporate welfare: How about just saying no?

you should learn about trees before you post such nonsense
Last time I went to school trees were a renuable resource and the last time I checked there are actually more trees today in the United states than in the 18th Century I am sorry but trees are a renuable resource and the spotted owl was and is a community destroyer. I lived in the episenter of the contraversy and spewing national data means nothing and you know it.
Your head is up your butt so far that even the owl can't extricate it!
Forks is only of of a hundred or more communities that suffered from the effects of the "indicator species". That is so much bullshit. No one ever knew how many spotteds there were or how many there are now. You're just like the other cool-aid drinkers who want to shut down the federal forest and let the trees rot and fall down to provide nourishment for the salamanders, ants, and people like you.
Roadkill - nice work. Enjoyed it. Rebuttal is posted:
I can show you places logged that will never grow back?
I had hope for your article when you said you were just looking at the facts, then you pull that statement out your back side. Living in an industry that can be destroyed with the stroke of a pen. The free press in which you and I exist is just such an industry. There is an article this morning about the government of Nepal seizing radio station equipment and outlawing all talk against the current regime. When blogs are outlawed the loggers I know will fight for your rights, not just call it " a shame".
Hmm, several mills shut down in my home county here in Washington and truckloads of loggers and mill-workers were out of jobs. But I guess that didn't mean anything unless you were FRACKING LIVING WITH THE FALLOUT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD.

Fracking moderate my ass.
You say the old growth was logged your right so how is it that now it is listed as old growth. The Tillamock forest burned was replanted but the enviro's wanted it listed as old growth. Its old only to enviros.

By the way tree also live only so long before they die out and new growth takes over, that's why it is renewable.
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