Sunday, October 14, 2007

Important Public Hearing, Not Sure of Date

The county supes will be deciding whether or not to extend the temporary ban on new housing permits on land zoned for timber production. They voted 4-1 last week to pass an emergency ordinance declaring a temporary moratorium that could no more than 22 months. They did this explicitly to send a message to the judge in Corpus Christi, Texas who's presiding over the Pacific Lumber bankruptcy case.

Essentialy they are showing their strong opposition to the reorganization plan proposed by PL. The plan calls for the sub division and sale of 22,000 acres of company land, much of it in 160 acre parcels that would be sold for around $5 million each. The land would then be essentialy turned into residential properties, no longer part of the timber base but still under special tax regulations that doesn't call for taxation until timber is harvested. The county government hasn't taken such a strong stance in opposition to PL since I don't know when. Please support their actions and encourage them to continue to oppose the reorganization plan while at the same time seeking to avoid harm to much smaller timber production zone landowners who need a permitted house.

( It should be noted that from 1993 to present there have been only 18 permitted building projects on TPZ land in Humboldt. I speculate that many hundreds if not thousands of buildings have been constructed in that time.)

3 Comments:

At 10/15/2007 09:30:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

Im glad you pointed out two very important issues: 1) That we don't want to harm "smaller" people (non-industrial) on TPZ who wish to get building permits; 2) There are an unknown amount of un-permitted building that has occurred on TPZ.

Of-course we all want to say that no one wants to prevent others from doing lawful activities on TPZ lands - while at the same time we probably all concur that the buck has to stop some where. We do not want Humboldt to turn into Santa Cruz or the like. Still, I have talked to allot of people who have the attitude "You cant tell me what to do on my land! My greenhouse is going up regardless."

Only time will tell how much impact small holdings will have on the landscape. I hold the opinion that the smaller blocks of land become - the higher probability for the demise of large mammal populations, migrations, and other wildlife; the increased risk of catastrophic fire, and the overall degradation of environmental quality.

This is why breaking down PALCO lands into small pieces is a real bad idea. We really want these lands to be managed. (Even clear-cuts are still functioning forests - black top is NOT)

Supporting the county on restricting building on TPZ like this is a slippery slope - and Im not sure what to say about it. I don't think it is entirely legal for them to do that though...

This all leads to the real issue here. Until MAXXAM is out - nothing good is going to come out of any of this.

It is also interesting that at a time when zoning/mapping issues are are at the height of controversy and debate within the HUM planning department and the small rural landowner - that PALCO is dropping there redevelopment project...

I think it is all games. The price is way to high - and timing leads me to believe that it is some high-end corporate tactic...

 
At 10/15/2007 03:07:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I appears to be a tactical move to me too, how could PL seriously propose such a stupid plan?
Although it's unrealistic they may try to run with it. Who knows how far it could go before it fails? I hope it fails while still in the proposal stage.

If it's tactical and Hurwitz knows that the plan is likely to fail, then he must have a real plan. My question is, what is Hurwitz's real plan, what threats are posed by the real plan and what can we do to stop it?

Some that I've talked to theorize that Maxxam is only trying to make it look like there is a legitimate effort to save the company as required by chapter 11 bankruptcy rules. If the plan fails oh well, at least they tried. They can the blame others for their failure.

One more thing, although a clearcut is more like a forest than pavement, clearcuts and the roads associated with them cause some of the same problems like rapid runoff during rainstorms, leading to higher stream flows and inceased bank erosion.

After how many rotations of clearcutting does the forest become a tree farm, devoid of complex habitat structures and biodiversity?

Perhaps if clearcuts were not so prolific there would be less environmental concern but as the case is now, clearcutting still seems to me to be the preffered logging method of big timber in Humboldt County.

 
At 10/22/2007 09:43:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

In regards to your question:

"After how many rotations of clearcutting does the forest become a tree farm, devoid of complex habitat structures and biodiversity?"

At first I wanted to say...one, two, three...like the old tootsie roll commercials lol

But seriously I believe the real answer to that question is "depends". It is a site specific question. Lets ask another question...

How long can you selectively log a stand before the only trees remaining are the suppressed and intermediate trees from a previous age class? In other words, at what point are you going to have to "regenerate" the stand in some fashion to create a new age class?

Now it is true that you do not need to clear-cut to regenerate a stand - but at some point within the life cycle of most forest stands - a regenerative event will occur that will create enough disturbance to create the new age class. 90% or more of forest stands on the north coast are even-aged and tend to grow into even aged settings - so this creates the problem in the terms of "why isn't there more selective logging?".

Partial cutting still occurs on a wide scale though - and when you see plans that say shelterwood, seedtree, or Group Selection - that is what is going on. It is much more effective to manage with two or three age classes - than to try to actually managed all-aged.

The disturbance level is something to consider as well. Even aged management will have less ground disturbance over time that consistent selective logging - which is typically designed to take less volume but with higher frequency between harvests.

Enough rambling - but I will say this: I have yet to witness a stand that is devoid of habitat and biodiversity solely becuase of clear cutting. I have read of such things in Canada - but from a objective stand point - in redwood and/or mixed conifer stands - the more edge and disturbance based habitat change like fire (historically)... the more complexity and biodiversity. The important thing in terms of structural elements post clear-cut (from a forestry perspective) is that intermediate treatments occur in the young stand (that simulate events like fire)and prevent the stand from becoming un-naturally dense. These stands stagnate and reduce biodiversity.

 

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