Thursday, October 16, 2008

EverGreen Diamond?

As many have said, the Evergreen pulp mill shut-down will reverberate through our local economy. In the Sept. 5th edition of the Times-Standard, Evergreen's Rex Bohn talked about how the company was installing new machinery to help them split and chip whole tanoak logs for pulp. Green Diamond was hoping to sell them Tanoak logs for which there has previously been little demand.

Tanoaks have long been considered a pest by the timber industry after the industry ramapantly clearcut huge swaths of Humboldt forests following World War II and did next to nothing to help the land recover. The Tanoaks grew rapidly following the logging, in many areas they shaded out the formerly dominant Redwood or Douglas Fir. The Tanoaks are considered practically worthless by the industry and are usually burned, herbicided and/or cut and left to rot.

”We're able to take logs that usually just stay in the forest,” said Rex Bohn with Evergreen Pulp.

At the time of the article, Green Diamond Resource Company (GDRC)was negotiating a contract with Evergreen.

"Green Diamond Resource Co. is working on a long-term contract to provide tan oak logs to Evergreen," said company Vice President Neal Ewald.

I'm wondering how much GDRC was banking on this. I believe they have logged so rapidly that they are depleting their inventory of large second growth Redwood trees and in doing so are gambling with the future of this county. The second growth was somewhat lower quality wood then the slow growing Old-Growth Redwood but passable as a lumber product. The rapidly grown third and fourth growth Redwoods are flimsy and the wood is not red. GDRC and their ilk are destroying Redwoods reputation on the lumber market as a high quality rot resistant wood.

North Coast Journal 1/27/05:
The problem, according to (Michael) Evenson and others, stems from even-aged management, the practice of clearcutting many acres at once, replanting redwoods, then clear-cutting again as early as 40 years later.

"With their relatively short [logging] rotations, these trees aren't getting that big," says John Rogers, president of the Institute for Sustainable Forestry (ISF)"[The wood] has lots of knots [and the quality] is not that good."

I fear GDRC may be soon heavily reliant upon residential subdivisions to make ends meet as we saw in the final days of Pacific Lumber before the bankruptcy.

picture: Tanoaks killed with herbicide by Pacific Lumber in the Mattole.


At 10/16/2008 09:50:00 PM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

I fear GDRC may be soon heavily reliant upon residential subdivisions to make ends meet as we saw in the final days of Pacific Lumber before the bankruptcy.

Them and every other timber owner. The thicker the bureaucracy gets, the less viable the resource becomes. I think your right and soon you will see GD retreat to Oregon over time. These lands will be broken up and sold off to people who will not manage the landscape as forest - but as rural living or other uses.

Its already happening to the non-industrial landowner - who is relatively unnoticed by most people even though they make up a substantial portion of the landbase in HumCo. The most harm to salmon is coming from miles and miles of unmaintained roads driven year round by people who don't know or care about coho - or the environment in general. There is this crazy logic out there that buying organic offsets your water diversion or diesel scene. This is in contrast to the timber companies who invest millions of dollars a year to restoring watersheds from past impacts, and maintaining infrastructure know to reduce potential effects later...(Im not saying they do this out of love - but it is done nonetheless)

Its really time for advocates, agencies, and activists to really consider the impacts associated with NO logging. Consider that an enormous portion of watershed restoration and sediment mitigation/prevention is implemented through THPs. I really hope that pendulum doesn't swing so far as to backfire on the opportunity to restore our watersheds...

At 10/17/2008 08:53:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Yeah, the bad roads and diesel situation is not cool. It needs some serious attention. That and people withdrawing water for agriculture from a river in the summer when the river is drying up and salmon are dying.

I'm not a zero cut advocate. But I do think that large areas need to be set aside for habitat recovery for Old-growth dependent species like Pacific Fishers, NSO's, Marbled Murrelets, etc. These wildlife corridors could be enhanced with thinnings oriented towards helping these vast thickets of young trees or "dog hair" to return to a healthier state. The rest of timber lands would then be logged sustainably, no more than 2% of inventory or growth logged per year per watershed. Preferably 1% for lands that have been heavily cut over.

I don't think it's the regulations that are making the resource less viable. I think GD is depleting the resource and that there are regulations out there to prevent them from mowing down enough of the tiny trees to sell for flakeboard and the like. Thats where they are falling short. The big Redwood tree's, OG and Second Growth, are nearly depleted and the rest are mediocre at best as far as wood quality or the amount of lumber per tree.

Maybe a group will materialize to take the reigns after GD along the lines of the community forestry team. It's too bad that they are depleting their inventory because it seriously messes with the next person or company that wants to log that land sustainably.

At 10/17/2008 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous A said...

short rotations suck...for so many reasons. including that i dont think the forest will be able to pay for watershed restoration under short rotations and crap wood production. not for long anyway. even if the state matches funds. isnt California bankrupt anyway? yikes.


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