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Jake Neiffer
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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 7:14 am 
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DigitalJanitor
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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 7:44 am 
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There are similar pictures from central Washington, for example Mission Ridge. They're shown in the video link below at 4:55.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3ZM7OUxxqI

I'm all for some well executed thinning, but IMO the problem is that the trees that need to go are scrappy doghair stuff that I can't imagine are that great commercially. The big valuable trees are what's *supposed* to stick around. One can envision how this might wind up just by following the money, but maybe I'm just cynical.

I'd also like to think controlled burning might kill more insects than thinning, which is sorely needed.

I rode Devil's Gulch for the first time a handful of years ago, and on the road climb up through the burn scar of the Table Mountain fire we saw big patches of glorious huge pines with grass and flowers in an endless blanket underneath. It looked like a park.

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treeswarper
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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 7:58 am 
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DG, the quality of the smaller trees depends on where it is.   Thinning is profitable on west side areas.  Commercial thinning has been taking place at least since the 1980s. 

Eastside forests do have that problem of making a commercial sale viable.  There is a market for barely merch trees.  I'm thinking Vaagen Bros. at Colville takes it.  The precommercial thinning would have to be paid for by taxpayers.  Thinning is done and burning takes place afterwards, if the funding is there, or if local folks don't object and raise a stink. 

Oh, a factoid for everybody.  Sometimes big trees have to be cut for landing areas, roads, or safety.  One cannot guarantee that no large trees will be cut.  A few usually have to go.  Around Randle, the big monster trees that had to be cut were left out in the unit or beside the road as it wasn't profitable to haul them or the equipment was not big enough to get it out of the woods.  Wildlife got more habitat.

This tree was cut and left on the ground out in the unit.  It had a dead top which was a safety hazard to folks working around it.   It was a survivor from an earlier fire that swept through the area. 


Big tree20001
Big tree20001

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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 8:20 am 
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DigitalJanitor wrote:
I'm all for some well executed thinning, but IMO the problem is that the trees that need to go are scrappy doghair stuff that I can't imagine are that great commercially. The big valuable trees are what's *supposed* to stick around. One can envision how this might wind up just by following the money, but maybe I'm just cynical.

The devil's in the details.
True, to an extent a great many of those stands in need of commercial thinning have less than ideal commercial value, and in some cases the operation is money out with no return, but the notion that only "big" trees have commercial value isn't true. Very few mills are capable of handling large "old growth" trees now - they're set up to deal with smaller diameter logs - 14" - 16" being about "ideal" currently, unless I'm mistaken.

One of the issues involved is that a lot of pre-commercial and commercial thinning project proposals never get off the ground either because (a) there's inadequate funding available or (b) the sales are held up by appeals from "environmental" groups.

==

In response to Jake's photos above:
If one looks at archival photography from old fire lookouts (the old "Osborne" panorama shots) and compares them with contemporary photos (of locations around Washington State) you see pretty much the same picture: the old photos show charred landscapes with sparse patches of forest, and the new photos show patchworks of over-crowded stands and clearcuts.
Similar photos can be found in many of the reports by nwhikers member Eric Willhite, and there was a man just a few years back who was working on a project to re-shoot the panorama images originally done with the older Osborne camera. (see HERE)

==

Again, as noted above by treeswarper, there are many factors in play insofar as "cause" here, and granted, one of them currently is warmer drier springs and summers. That said, there are a number of other issues, which have equal, if not greater significance, most all of which have been discussed here previously.

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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 8:46 am 
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MtnGoat wrote:
“They are trying to get to some kind of a deal,” said Rich Gordon, the president of the California Forestry Association, a timber industry group. “They are looking at what can get done politically.”
California fires: Governor proposes easing logging rules to thin forests

No judgment call on the legislation here, watching to see how that plays out - I think if I owned property in California I would resign myself to welcoming easement of restrictions, protecting your assets from fire is becoming a greater concern each year.

However, Rich is not trying very hard to hide those dollar signs in his eyes  lol.gif

Quote:
But Rich Gordon of the California Forestry Association, which represents the timber industry, said limiting loggers to small trees makes forest thinning uneconomical. He said the legislation would allow slightly larger trees to be taken down — no more than 30 inches in diameter. “Certainly you don’t have to take out a lot of big trees,” he said.
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treeswarper
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PostTue Aug 28, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Well, without dollars, nothing will get done.  Here are some commercial   thinning pictures off the Gifford Pinchot NF.  These are the size of trees that most mills are geared up to take on the westside of the state.


fellandbuck
fellandbuck

The picture below was in a unit that was "marked" by choosing the largest diameter tree at stump level in a specified circle, and then cutting everything within a distance of that tree.  It doesn't matter if the leave tree is deformed or diseased.  It stays and everything within that circle around it goes.  That way you get some variety in types of trees left standing.  The distance varies according to how many trees per acre are best to leave.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

We went on a bike ride today and saw a log truck with trailer full of pecker poles.  I do not know where it was going.  The logs were small and numerous.

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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 7:27 am 
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treeswarper wrote:
Well, without dollars, nothing will get done.

A look at Rich's track record indicates an altruistic politician, let's see what happens.

treeswarper wrote:
The picture below was in a unit that was "marked" by choosing the largest diameter tree at stump level in a specified circle, and then cutting everything within a distance of that tree.  It doesn't matter if the leave tree is deformed or diseased.  It stays and everything within that circle around it goes. 

I'll take what I can get, 1 tree is better than none. Reminds me of those little containment ponds that they begrudgingly stick into a single lot when throwing up a new cul de sac of houses these days. Then they will stick a sign in front of the pond calling it a wetland. A pond surrounded by asphalt isn't a wetland, a single tree is not a forest. Still gonna miss what used to be there, and it won't be back before I'm gone.
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Jake Neiffer
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 7:33 am 
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How do they determine the leave tree?  Why would they pick one that is diseased or deformed?
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 7:46 am 
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That's just it. We saw some 'selective logging' done behind Cle Elum before the ridge got chopped up and sold for building houses... in the worst possible location for residential infrastructure, fire management, etc, but hey somebody made money. Clearly every log worth hauling got hauled, leaving behind some occasional sad little scrappy trees in a pile of dust... "selective". But hey, somebody made money.  shakehead.gif

In better news: thinning is going on in the Roslyn Community Forest, and while it's obviously the usual mess in progress it looks like it's going to turn out really well. They've had logs worth something to haul but it appears mostly larger stuff has been left with much wider spacing and brush and other under story fuel cleared out. Looking forward to the carpet of grass and flowers that should fill in under the canopy over the next couple seasons.  up.gif

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treeswarper
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 11:54 am 
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This method is one that is highly thought of by.....environmental groups.  After figuring out how many trees per acre is best for the area, a spacing is calculated that will end up with that number. 

A timber marker enters the picture.  The "Prescription" is called, designation by diameter and the marker looks at the stump area of a group of trees.  The marker chooses the leave tree only by that diameter.  The tree has to be alive, also.  The spacing I have seen has been anywhere from 12' to 21' --hardly a cul de sac.  We will use 12 feet for an example.  From the tree chosen to be left, the marker measures a radius of 12 feet and every tree of merch size and species in that radius, other than the leave tree, is marked to be cut. 


Not considering the form or health of the leave tree assures that the stand will have variation.  Wildlife likes big limbed, gnarly trees.  It is not what foresters and even loggers particularly like as it goes against what we were taught, but that is the way that commercial thinning was being done on the GPNF. 

Here is a marked area.  The leave tree is the one without a blue X.
JZdxdmarking example0001
JZdxdmarking example0001

A different unit after logging.  The crowns should grow out, and after a couple of years the thinned trees should be wind firm.   This is near the Cispus River.

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treeswarper
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 12:04 pm 
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Doppelganger wrote:
I'll take what I can get, 1 tree is better than none. Reminds me of those little containment ponds that they begrudgingly stick into a single lot when throwing up a new cul de sac of houses these days. Then they will stick a sign in front of the pond calling it a wetland. A pond surrounded by asphalt isn't a wetland, a single tree is not a forest. Still gonna miss what used to be there, and it won't be back before I'm gone.

I don't get what this comment means.  That thinning unit was spaced like an old growth stand is.  The old growth forests did not have trees every ten feet or so, they had wide spacing between.

As I said above, it is all done with the approval of a silviculturist who has taken plots and bored trees to figure out what to do to keep them growing well.

Not at all like your wetland analogy.

Another necessity is getting the logs out of the unit.  Below is a photo of a skyline corridor.  To yard logs with a yarder, a straight line about 12 feet wide has to be cleared out.  This shows the corridor going through the already thinned unit.  If a skidder or cat is used, those also need roads cut out so they can fit through a unit.



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DigitalJanitor
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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 12:21 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
I don't get what this comment means...

I took it to mean that there's environmental regs that often are given the absolute minimum token treatment to pass, while not at all accomplishing what anyone putting said reg in place had probably hoped for. Hence my comment about the 'selective logging' that left an incredibly sparse handful of Dr Seuss trees behind... Might as well have just mowed it all down as a clear cut and called it good.

This is why I default to being hopelessly cynical about these sorts of things, and am pleasantly surprised when something that seems to make sense happens like the Roslyn thinning.

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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 12:28 pm 
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DigitalJanitor wrote:
"...'selective logging' done behind Cle Elum before the ridge got chopped up and sold for building houses..."

You're obviously talking about a privately-owned piece of real estate. Federal or State-owned forest land would not be sold for development.
Guidelines and regulations probably vary somewhat, and (obviously) long-term management objectives would be much different.
Looks like you and treeswarper are talking about two (or three) completely different animals.

DigitalJanitor wrote:
"...Roslyn Community Forest..."

huh.gif Are you talking about the Teanaway Community Forest there? That's a DNR administered project, and their long-term management objectives would be quite different than those of a private land developer or the U.S. Forest Service.

Nothing done (in the way of forest management) is going to "make sense" visually to the layman immediately after the project is completed.

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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 12:52 pm 
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No, this is a hunk of ground right behind Roslyn that's managed by the city. It's got some trails shot through it so I'm out there regularly. YES these places are under different owners and management. But it's still the same ecosystem, and humans are humans, so... yeah, I still worry. Hopefully my worst fears aren't warranted.

FWIW I may not know anything in any formal sense, but I've seen the result of thinning/firewise projects around Ros and it *does* make sense visually when comparing it to places that have burned locally. I see it as an attempt to mechanically mirror what happens when frequent low intensity fires come through, clearing out all but the biggest trees into a more open spacing and cleaning up fuel underneath. This is good!

I have been known to post pictures on FB of what happens when stuff grows back post fire, because it's not a total catastrophe as commonly assumed. This also applies to some logging and thinning operations... my husband threw a rod the first time he saw logging up close and personal, and I had to tell him that the end results aren't total annihilation as long as it's got some reasonable planning behind it. With time and experience he's been able to wrap his head around it a little better.

I ran into some of the timber cruiser guys doing planning above Ros this spring while out biking on my lunch hour, and they looked nervous when I showed up. Once I let them know I was aware it would look like a mess while they were working but the end result would be a vast improvement, they relaxed pretty considerably and started talking a little more about it.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm a HUGE proponent of getting this work done, but I'm also quite leery of various characters using it as an excuse to cash in and run. I grew up on the OlyPen during the late 70s/80s so I've seen how things can go down for better and for worse.

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PostWed Aug 29, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Well.... again, different lands management agencies have different management objectives, and some of them are steered by legislative mandates. The USFS is required by law to produce so much wood from a given National Forest (although in the case of the GPNF they fail to meet that objective year after year.) The DNR is legislatively mandated to produce money for schools. Privately owned timber land owners are beholden to their stockholders.
The bottom line being that regardless of it all being "the same ecosystem", different pieces of real estate are going to be managed differently.

Practices today are nothing like they were in the 70s and 80s, particularly on the federally-owned forest lands of the Olympic Peninsula, which today produces virtually nothing in the way of timber harvest.

==

When we came out of Naches yesterday I noticed the little mill on the south side of 410 looks like it's been abandoned for years. I think the last time I was over there they had the whole yard full of good-sized Ponderosa Pine logs.

Coming up US 12 toward White Pass, I came up behind a guy just above Rimrock Lake who was pulling two trailers full of really big stuff - 30-36 inch diameter - which I thought was kind of odd.
He let me pass him, and then he went by when I pulled over at one of the viewpoint pull-outs farther up. It wasn't until then that I figured out he was hauling cedar. Had to wonder what his destination would have been with that load.

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