Re: Logging in Scout Camps (a little long)
Ted Burton (ted.burton@MCCALL.ID.US)
Mon, 5 May 1997 11:47:49 -0600
At 15:35 -0600 on 5/1/97, Jim Peterson wrote Re: Logging in Scout Camps:
> Everett Holm was right on the money with his post. Yes, logging is ugly
>at first. If you choose to make the best of it, make it a lesson to the
>scouts about the remarkable regenerative powers of nature, you will see that
>sometimes it is the best thing, not only for the pocketbook, but also for
A thorough analysis of the logging industry would justify a masters or PhD
thesis, and we cannot do the subject justice on e-mail. There is an
extensive footnote I would add to what has been said.
The natural environment manages forests with lightning and fire, flood,
drought and bugs, and volcanos. etc., with a little stirred-in management
by the orginial peoples whose fires sometimes escaped and who sometimes had
learned fire as a management tool. The natural pattern of resulting forest
is what was here prior to the Massachusetts and Virginia colonies.
Stir in European mankind with Judeo-Christian beliefs concerning man's role
respecting nature, and intervention resulted. (Please note that I am not
saying that that was good or bad.) The result of intervention was less
extensive forests, and with fire suppression, more dense forests. These
more dense forests are by their nature more subject to extensive and hotter
fire. Species changes also occurred.
If as is likely your Scout camp was not burned over as regularly as was
once the case with natural forests, then your forest growth was probably
more dense than natural, and more subject to more extensive, hotter fire.
Thinning would be necessary to create the same density as the natural
pattern of before. How one goes about thinning is an interesting question.
There are several truths about the situation worth thought.
If seed trees are left, are those seed trees selected for their virtues, or
left behind for their faults? It will effect the quality of the next growth.
if mechanical means of removal are used, the duff will be disturbed. In our
neck of the woods it is true that seeds falling in deep duff will
germinate, but not root (they run out of steam before the root reaches
soil), but falling in disturbed soil will germinate and root. If you go
into a forest disturbed a few years ago, the 'cat tracks' are now parallel
rows of juvenile trees.
In the natural forest, falling branches and fallen trees become in time
soil (and that is what happens to all trees, not some), or their ashes
become soil if fire intervenes. Duff sometimes burns and sometimes protects
soil from heat, depending on how the fire moves. If trees are removed and
slash is removed, soil manufacturing is reduced.
A logged-over area that is not brush-bladed to collect up and burn the
slash, will have more fuel wood per square foot than the natural forest,
and in the event of slow fire may have enough fuel to sterilize the soil
(bad). A logged over area that is brush bladed will have thousands of
juvenile trees before too long, too dense for their own good, which
occasional fire would thin, but we do not do 'occasional fire' any more.
The moral: once you begin to mess with natural maintenance, you buy into
the need for a whole lot of careful maintenance by people. In most cases
that is a decision made decades or centuries ago, and no longer open to
deciding. It's a decision already made for us by Smokey Bear.
We live in conifer country. Of interest to me is that the forest lands
around here that are privately owned and used by major timber companies,
look a whole lot more natural than the forest lands that are owned by the
state and logged by those same companies. The former is managed for
forever; the latter is a one-time contract. The former has a continuous
stand of varied-age trees of generally straight and single stalk type, not
too denself standing, with grasses, with signs that the company has been in
from time to time to harvest particular large trees; the latter has
occasional seed trees that are sometimes multiple topped left stranded in
extensive clear cuts. The private land does not have over-dense stands.
State and federal lands not logged, in many areas have over-dense stands
(risk of very hot fire and more extensive fire).
Our camp was logged by Boise Cascade. They left the pattern they leave on
their own land. In two summers, happily both wet, you can hardly tell they
were there. Slash was brush-bladed into piles that were burned. Juvenile
trees in time will be too thick. Continuous thinning of juvenile trees will
be necessary. Good OA project for decades: thin stands of juvenile trees
to twenty to fifty feet on center (consult your local forester)... trying
for growth of varied-age and naturally varied species stands ... without
disturbing the duff. Or else talk the Council into torching a few acres
here and there from time to time.
Thank you for listening. Ted Burton, Ore-Ida 106, Tukarica 266,
Alappiechsu Wiechcheu I <<<=-=<I=-=<<< I Talks-Fast Wolf
D.Eagle Rep., Chapter Adviser, Hemene Chapter
Pack 246 CM, Troop 246 MC, Post 246 COR
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