Forum Index > Stewardship > Trump Administration Seeking To Overhaul Forest Management Rules 06/12/19
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jun 17, 2019 11:11 pm 
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How is this Trump Administration plan different from the 2012 Planning Rule?

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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 12:09 am 
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Doppelganger wrote:
......

^ Well... considering that the local native tribes burned the area for millennia (at least back as far as 3500 years BP, according to ONP), clearcutting that tiny little parcel there just north of Lake Ozette seems insignificant in the larger picture.

Hard to say for sure without actually being on the ground there, but from the aerials it sure looks like the surrounding area is even-aged stands of plantation units - most likely Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock.
Is it better to leave it as essentially a monoculture stand, or open it up and allow (even if only on a temporary basis) the opportunity for other pioneer species to propagate and fill in the open space? There are all kinds of endemic species of flora on the Olympic Peninsula which are shade intolerant.

Openings in the forest canopy can and do allow for browsing habitat for native ungulate species (e.g., deer and elk.) Lacking such openings and browsing opportunities, native populations of ungulates will (a) decline in number for lack of forage habitat and (2) seek other areas where their presence may not be desirable or may create a hazard to human life (e.g., the "Big Bottom" area of the upper Cowlitz Valley, where local residents are plagued with elk invading their properties, and where a Lewis County Sheriff's Deputy was killed in the line of duty while answering a 911 call when an elk - which would have been at a higher elevation if it had suitable and adequate browsing habitat - jumped out in front of his car.)

And yes, the trade-off for harvesting what is essentially free timber means that the Forest Service Roads (which are used by the general public for recreational purposes) get repaired and brought into compliance with current roads standards.

So... other than the (obvious) objection to timber harvesting in and of itself, what exactly is it that you object to so strongly?

(It should be noted that on those broad flat plains on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, regeneration harvesting (aka "clearcutting") is actually the best management prescription. In addition to its being the most cost effective for the lands management agency and the most profitable for the independent logger doing the harvesting, it also is the closest we'll get to the historic management prescription of fire.)

(* see also: "The Ozette Prairies of Olympic National Park: Their Former Indigenous Uses and Management" © 2009 M. Kat Anderson (et al), National Park Service )

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treeswarper
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 8:44 am 
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RodF, right on.  You are much more able to communicate than I.

As for how much profit is made by timber sale purchasers?  That depends on the market.  They do send in their own timber cruisers to get a good estimate (a cruise is always an estimate) of volume and quality of the timber.

It can work out well for them if they know their stuff.  A few years ago, the FS decided to do away with scaled sales, where the purchaser actually paid for what was hauled, and went to lump sum sales, where the purchaser pays for amount cruised.  This was due to accountability problems (won't go into that).  So, if there is a glitch in a new timber cruise program, as has happened, the purchaser can get more timber than was estimated.  But, they will know this and adjust their bid higher so maybe that's not an issue.

In the 1980s, bids on timber sales were extremely high.  Then the market caved.  There were a lot of defaults and Congress mandated a buyback program.  A few more requirements were added to contracts, such as a sizable deposit put down by the winning bidder before the sale was awarded.  That was supposed to, and has stopped extreme speculation and extreme bids on sales.

Like Rod has said, timber sales aren't for timber anymore or they would make more money.  Instead, forest health and restoration is a biggie, with wildlife concerns and sometimes some recreational stuff (ski trails is one example) thrown in.

Just think if the gubmint had to make a profit on everything, you'd be paying more for recreating on federal lands, because it would have to be profitable.

The Obama administration actually tried to increase the harvest levels.  Not by much, but a bit.  Dunno if any increase actually happened.

Oh, and Forest Products also includes firewood, Salal and Beargrass, commercial Huckleberries, mushrooms, boughs, and probably stuff I'm not thinking of.  The bough market alone has been very lucrative but that is coming to an end because the plantations with Noble Fir are growing so boughs are out of reach.  No new plantations have been made.  Huckleberries are going the same way, in spite of so called Huckleberry Enhancement projects.

However, note that the word PROJECTS is used.  At this time, a lot of folks want the forest made more fire resilient, and that would be a big chunk of change.  No profit for the taxpayers, but if you live in the PNW, it might lessen the smoke that will soon be complained about.  Let me see, can you put a price on that?

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treeswarper
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 8:51 am 
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Ski wrote:
It should be noted that on those broad flat plains on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula, regeneration harvesting (aka "clearcutting") is actually the best management prescription. In addition to its being the most cost effective for the lands management agency and the most profitable for the independent logger doing the harvesting, it also is the closest we'll get to the historic management prescription of fire.)

On a practical note, it is hard to do a partial cut on the coast.  Wind is the problem.  It takes a couple of years for trees to put down roots that can withstand the new exposure to the wind that happens when a stand is opened up.  You hope that no big wind storm occurs during that time.  Wind happens on the coast more than it does inland.  If you do a commercial thin on the coast, chances are that nature will turn it into a clearcut.

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treeswarper
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 9:01 am 
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"Logging companies" are not the big purchasers of timber sales.  Lumber mills are.  Examples:  Hampton Tree Farms, Sierra Pacific, Vaagen Brothers, etc.  A logger bids with the mill that buys the sale for the logging operations.  Some of the lumber companies are known for being very cheap--so much so that a logger only logs once for them, then the lumber company finds another desperate/gullible logger.

By govt. surveys do you mean timber cruises?  Cruising is always in a state of flux with change being a constant.  Computers play a large part so programs are being upgraded.  Timber cruising is an estimate.  It cannot be exact unless a 100% sample is taken and that is not feasible.  There are minimum sample sizes to take, and cruisers and cruises are checked by very experienced Check Cruisers.  There are specific standards that timber cruises must meet.

If you are looking for a career with a lot of hiking "off trail"  become a timber cruiser.

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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 9:07 am 
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How is this Trump Administration plan different from the 2012 Planning Rule?

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 11:39 am 
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Why would anyone want 'profits' on taxpayers who *already* paid? Natural resources should go for cost of infrastructure and maintenance, and recovery bonding in the case of mining, maybe a few other details along those lines. Making a 'profit', not. That's for the private sector.

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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 4:06 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
How is this Trump Administration plan different from the 2012 Planning Rule?

I'm not totally familiar with either, but from listening to bits and pieces, it sounds like an attempt will be made to loosen up NEPA requirements such as appeals.  The new chief is into getting back to actively managing Forest Service ground.  She had my friend's ear and I'm sure heard all about what a liability it now is to have your land, which you are actively caring for, bordered by Forest Service land.  My friend is passionate about the topic and is into running the family tree farm and handing it down to the next generation in good or better shape.

Should they have any chance of success, it would be nice to change the NWFP so it is less costly to implement--survey and manage requirements.

I really doubt any change will occur.

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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 5:13 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
"...the NWFP..."

A few years after the NWFP was put into place, Jack Ward Thomas published a lengthy online essay detailing why the NWFP was unsustainable over the long term.
Just a wild guess, but I'd posit that the guy who helped put it together would most likely be in a position to know whether or not it was a viable plan.

Should have been revised (or done away with) long ago.

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PostTue Jun 18, 2019 6:47 pm 
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thunderhead wrote:
I fully support a few wisely chosen clear cuts on 15-35 degree slopes above the typical snowline near seattle with good road access cool.gif

Let me guess. You want the stumps cut near flush, and no replanting scheduled.

Best.
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Gregory
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 6:39 am 
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Thanks, guys for the insight. seriously.

I never thought profit as much a break even? It was the 300 million dollar deficit we paid to harvest something going to market that was the head shaker. I used to assume that private timber companies make a profit? I am guessing now that our DNR trust land cost more than they make for our schools? Or maybe the difference is in the what the two are being managed for. Next time I wake up at two in the morning and can't sleep I will look into that. Typing to myself now lol off to work.

Just for the record, I am not anti-logging.I have always had a deeep respect for the boys and men that work in the woods.
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 7:52 am 
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Pyrites wrote:
thunderhead wrote:
I fully support a few wisely chosen clear cuts on 15-35 degree slopes above the typical snowline near seattle with good road access cool.gif

Let me guess. You want the stumps cut near flush, and no replanting scheduled.

Best.

Widely spaced replanting is acceptable  smile.gif
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Kim Brown
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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 2:51 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
Kim Brown wrote:
How is this Trump Administration plan different from the 2012 Planning Rule?

I'm not totally familiar with either, but from listening to bits and pieces, it sounds like an attempt will be made to loosen up NEPA requirements such as appeals.  The new chief is into getting back to actively managing Forest Service ground.  She had my friend's ear and I'm sure heard all about what a liability it now is to have your land, which you are actively caring for, bordered by Forest Service land.  My friend is passionate about the topic and is into running the family tree farm and handing it down to the next generation in good or better shape.

Should they have any chance of success, it would be nice to change the NWFP so it is less costly to implement--survey and manage requirements.

I really doubt any change will occur.

This is what the 2012 Rule is all about.

RE the NWFP, the USFS has been working on new rules for the NWFP for the last few years to determine what to keep and what to modify/toss (they've had several public input sessions and subsequent  presentations on their progress Olympia)

I see no difference in what this short article says and what the 2012 Planning Rule does.

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PostWed Jun 19, 2019 9:09 pm 
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Gregory wrote:
I am guessing now that our DNR trust land cost more than they make for our schools?

No, cost of running DNR is about half of timber revenues, as best I could tell digging through the DNR Annual Reports.

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PostThu Jun 20, 2019 12:06 am 
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thunderhead wrote:
Pyrites wrote:
thunderhead wrote:
I fully support a few wisely chosen clear cuts on 15-35 degree slopes above the typical snowline near seattle with good road access cool.gif

Let me guess. You want the stumps cut near flush, and no replanting scheduled.

Best.

Widely spaced replanting is acceptable  smile.gif

Yeah, getting that north aspect is the hard part.

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