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Posts Tagged → forestry

Climate change claims can’t ever be wrong

If you haven’t done so already, pay attention to global warming/ climate change claims.

Whenever the weather is hot, or cold, or windy, or in a lull, the vacuous claims are bandied about that these occurrences are evidence of “climate change” or “global warming.”

We’ve had an unusually cold winter. Why, it reminds me of the ones I used to know in my childhood. Do you, too, recall the deep snows on roads and huge piles of plowed snow in parking lots of the 1970s?

That snow was considered normal back then. Then we had twenty years of warm winters. Now we’ve had two years of cold winters. It’s certainly not global warming! Why, could it not simply be the natural variation of a complex, large weather system in a complex planet?

No matter what, people claiming that current weather is evidence of some bigger trend cannot ever be wrong. No matter what the weather is, they ascribe it to their favorite sky-is-falling environmental crisis du jour. It is a pretty ingenious way to argue, you have to admit: They just cannot ever be wrong. No matter what the evidence is – black or white, Saturday or Wednesday, Mars or Venus, cold, hot, very cold, very hot, lukewarm, tepid, accurate or inaccurate – or when it occurs, it all proves the same thing to promoters of human-caused climate change.

And the fact is that there are real environmental quality issues that need to be addressed and resolved. One that is near to my heart is the high grading of private forests, where the best commercial trees are removed and the junk trees are left behind. This creates huge swathes of forest with little habitat value for animals, and little present or future commercial value for landowners and the surrounding society that needs their forest products.

How sad that high grading forests is accomplished with such simple emotional appeals: “Why Mabel, we will just take the big trees, and leave the little ones for later. There’ll be lots of green left in your woods,” goes the high-grader’s sales pitch.

Because western clearcutting was so damaging to western ecosystems, clearcutting got a bad name back east. Back here most of our private forests are at a point where it’s either clearcutting most of our private woods, or allowing forest fire to shape them. Most of our private forests need to be re-set to zero. That will provide maximum diversity and the broadest habitat and commercial values.

But like claims of global climate change, clearcutting is another false boogey man whose opponents are driven by emotions, and not science. And the real damage is allowed to go on under the false guise of “protecting” the forests.

Forestry 101

“Clearcutting” forests has become a no-no idea, a bad word with most people. Whether it was environmental advocates or ripped off landowners who said it was wrong, it’s not clear.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. “Select cut” forestry is usually the worst thing you can do, because it takes the best and leaves the rest. Worst-first is the by-line of sound forestry. Clearcutting removes a great deal of the forest canopy so that other trees and plants may grow.

It’s true that I have seen failed clearcutting, but out west, where the thin soils, steep slopes, and dry conditions leave forests at risk from too much canopy removal. Those conditions rarely apply to the northeast or the south.

Recently I contracted Lyme Disease, for the third or fourth time. It’s my guess that ticks are growing in number and area because forest fires have been artificially suppressed for so long. Short of controlled burns, clearcutting is as close as we can get to mimicking the cleansing effect of a forest fire.

If you have forest land and you want to manage the timber, don’t be afraid to clearcut it, if the trees there support that management tool.