Law of unintended carbon consequences

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From Oregon State University

Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit – carbon sequestration

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Northwest Forest Plan enacted in 1993 was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect species such as the northern spotted owl, but researchers conclude in a new study that it had another powerful and unintended consequence – increased carbon sequestration on public lands.

When forest harvest levels fell 82 percent on public forest lands in the years after passage of this act, they became a significant carbon “sink” for the first time in decades, absorbing much more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. At the same time, private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.

Carbon emission or sequestration is a key factor in global warming, and a concept now gaining wider interest is the role of forest lands in helping to address concerns about the greenhouse effect.

Researchers at Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service created these assessments with a new system that incorporates satellite remote sensing and more accurately simulates ecological processes over broad areas. It considers such factors as the growth of trees, decomposition, fire emissions, climate variation and wood harvest.

“The original goals of the Northwest Forest Plan had nothing to do with the issue of carbon emissions, but now carbon sequestration is seen as an important ecosystem service,” said David Turner, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

“Forests provide many services, such as habitat protection, recreation, water purification, and wood production,” he said. “Carbon sequestration has now been added to that list. And our approach can provide the kind of spatially and temporally explicit data that will help evaluate the potential trade-offs associated with management activities.”

Previous estimates of forest carbon balance had suggested a significant loss of carbon from Pacific Northwest forest lands between 1953 and 1987, associated with a high rate of old-growth timber harvest. Those harvests peaked in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Forest fire is also an issue in carbon emissions, but researchers said in the study that the magnitude of emissions linked to fire was modest, compared to the impacts of logging. Even the massive Biscuit Fire in southern Oregon in 2002 released less carbon into the atmosphere than logging-related emissions that year, they said.

The findings are of some interest, researchers said, because the value of carbon sequestration is now something that can be better quantified in economic terms, and then incorporated into management decisions and policies.

This study was just published online in Forest Ecology and Management, a professional journal. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the interagency North American Carbon Program. The area analyzed included western Oregon, western Washington and northern California.

In earlier work, Turner and other researchers had found that carbon sequestration in Oregon, much of it from forests, amounted to almost half of the state-level carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Nationally, forest carbon accumulation offsets about 15 percent of U.S. fossil fuel emissions.

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Editor’s Note: A graphic image of lands affected by the Northwest Forest Plan is available online: http://bit.ly/qCa1CP

The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/oxld5b

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50 Responses to Law of unintended carbon consequences

  1. John F. Hultquist says:

    “ . . . it had another powerful and unintended consequence – increased carbon sequestration on public lands.

    This could just as truthfully be written:
    it had another powerful and unintended consequence – increased fuel accumulation on public lands.

  2. davidmhoffer says:

    So… they stopped cutting down trees and the darn things just kept on growing bigger.

    Whodathunkit?

  3. Kay Danella says:

    “Forests provide many services, such as habitat protection, recreation, water purification, and wood production,” he said.

    Yeah, except logging is apparently bad because it releases more “carbon” than forest fires, so wood production should be removed from that list, right? Ho-hum. Just what you’d expect from OSU researchers.

  4. How much CO2 is “sequestered” by a corn field? By a banana plantation? By a tomato greenhouse?

    Why don’t we ever see any data on huge CO2 “sequestration” by human activities all over the Earth?

  5. Al Gored says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    July 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    “This could just as truthfully be written:
    it had another powerful and unintended consequence – increased fuel accumulation on public lands.”

    Indeed. My first thought on reading this too. Will make more intense fires to blame on AGW.

  6. Gary Hladik says:

    Logging for lumber sequesters carbon…into houses and other structures. The removed trees are replaced by new ones that–surprise!–sequester more carbon. Trees that are no longer cut down in the protected areas for consumables like paper will just be cut down somewhere else. Oops.

    Once the protected areas replace their logged trees, they’ll be in carbon equilibrium, as old trees die and decay to CO2 and new trees replace them…until they inevitably burn down (again), of course.

  7. a jones says:

    The study this story is based on is available online: http://bit.ly/oxld5b

    ????????????????????????????????????

    Kindest Regards

  8. cardin craek says:

    Several people have already hit on the key points, but this sounds like so much wishful thinking.
    Young trees grow faster, and lock up more carbon than old trees. Managed forests and logging would be beneficial if carbon sequestration is what you are after.

  9. tman says:

    And with fewer loggers working, they in turn buy less, lowering the carbon footprint even more!

  10. tokyoboy says:

    “Carbon emission or sequestration is a key factor in global warming, and a concept now gaining wider interest is the role of forest lands in helping to address concerns about the greenhouse effect.”

    For me this passage is no more than mystic words from ANOTHER WORLD.

  11. Hoser says:

    Researchers said in the study that the magnitude of emissions linked to fire was modest, compared to the impacts of logging.

    That’s ridiculous. We just had a fire in Arizona that burned over 600 sq mi of forest, almost 400,000 acres. Logging never harvests that many acres. Because of predatory environmental lawsuits and misguided federal bureaucratic practice, burned trees are not harvested, but are left to rot. This process releases over 2 times the CO2 that is produced in the initial burning. Furthermore, depending on how the harvested wood is used, the carbon is retained in wood products potentially for decades, even more than a century (houses, books).

    Crowded forests are not healthy forests. Healthy trees grow better than sick trees. A larger tree can capture more carbon than a very large number of smaller trees (that seem to grow faster), because the larger trees have a greater surface area (think cambium). Good forest practice is to plant denser and then thin. Leave larger trees with greater spacing between them. Crowded forests are too dark, and take up too much water. Competition for water can leave trees weak and vulnerable to beetle infestation.

    Thinner forests support greater biodiversity. The most biodiverse places are the interface between forests and meadows. These locations have the greatest variations in light, moisture, and temperature. Because of a century of bad policy, meadows today are often far smaller than they were in the past. Thinner forests allow more water to pass into streams and into groundwater. Watersheds are more productive with thinner forests. A lot of the snow falling on trees sublimes from the branches, whereas snowpack tends to retain water until it melts.

    The correct policy should be to restore the forest to the 60 or so stems per acre the historic mountain forests had, reduced from the 600 or so today. Fires could be more frequent, but not catastrophic. They will burn slowly, low to the ground, and only some patches of dense trees would have a crown fire, not the whole forest. I’m afraid eastern Arizona may never recover. What was soil is probably hydrophobic clay now.

  12. A given plot of land becomes esentially carbon neutral over many centuries, give or take natural climate fluctuations and events like natural fires.
    If you harvest timber, you remove carbon. If it grows again, it reaches a near equilibrium again.
    Planting more trees of greater carbon content than before produces sequestration. However, the trees have to be managed at their high C content for the sequestration to mean anything significant. What is more, they have to be managed in this high C state forever, or they are just a passing anomaly on the long scale of time.
    Beware of investment in schemes that promise carbon credits from growing trees. They have value only if managed and management requires money – most likely yours.

  13. Brian H says:

    Greens should not be allowed anywhere near plants or forests. They have no clue.

  14. John Marshall says:

    The ‘carbon sequestration’ normally crowed about in the UK is the pumping of power station gasses into the strata below. This technology is actually untried at the scale envisiged and there could/will be many pitfalls including great cost.

    But why try when it can be proved scientifically that CO2 does not drive climate nor do we emitt a large volume in the greater scheme of things compared to the natural world. About 3% of the total so what is the problem?

    Forests are a store of CO2 in that this valuble gas is used as a building block for plant cells. But are we worrying about forest management too much? I ask this question because natural forests are self renewing in that the normal life span of trees is in the hundreds of years whereas forests have existed for millions of years. They survive wildfire, flood, climate change and probably many other threats and still survive. It was long thought that wildfire was the ultimate threat but research in Yellowstone has shown that wildfires actually help the forest survive in that insect pests are destroyed and tree seeds are well suited to fire survival and soon recolonise the destroyed area. Worries about logging in the Amazon basin are also unwarrented due to rapid regrowth. It also helps local peoples earn money to live and ensures forest renewal.

    It must be the human instinct to interfere and make better. There is no need to interfere and we cannot better nature. It is also a good thing to keep up producing CO2 because that is what plants need to grow.

    Keep that SUV on the move!

  15. rbateman says:

    What they really should have said is: “If we put the forests under lock & key, only the pure of Green will be able to pilgrimage to the Garden of Carbon.” Circular reasoning all the way, with a heavy fever.

  16. Kasuha says:

    I’m a bit skeptic over this. First of all the question in my opinion is not about whether or not to maintain the forest but rather how to maintain it as different priorities result in different kinds of maintenance. In my opinion, maintaining it to produce as large as possible wood mass is actually the correct way of maintaining a forest as the wood is the matter where the sequestered carbon is stored in the most stable form.
    If we leave a forest completely unmaintained, its CO2 absorption will first grow as we eliminate young forest with low biomass – but later on, forest fires aside, the forest will grow old and it will start to contain growing amount of dead biomass which does not sequester any CO2 and rather releases it again, reducing the net CO2 abosrption effect again.
    I am aware that logging is a great producent of CO2 as first of all, most of the tree mass (branches, leaves, bark, roots, …) is usually burnt or left to rot, both mostly releasing its carbon contents back to atmosphere. But not logging has even worse net effect as everything is in result left to rot. If it’s not true I’ll be glad to hear about in what form and how efficiently the carbon gets stored in the forest soil and how stable it is.
    And another question is, after we figure out what kind of forest maintenance leads to the greatest long-time carbon sequestration, how big area of such forests would we need to completely stop currently observed CO2 increase – and I’m afraid here we get to some absurd numbers once again.

  17. Bill Hunter says:

    “increased carbon sequestration on public lands.”
    This is a baloney statistic!
    Do we really care that carbon is being sequestered “on public lands”?
    No! We care how much carbon is being sequestered “from the management of public lands” period!

    The wood harvested from the public lands sequestered in the structure of your house should be included in the figures for measuring wise public land management in the context of carbon sequestering. Here we have yet another case of a University selling its soul to the devil to fraudulently seek public approval for a forest plan where credit is NOT due!

    IMO, protecting old growth forests is justified based upon other criteria. But measuring its success with a statistic custom created to suggest a benefit that does not exist is fraudulent!

  18. Kaboom says:

    Calling that sequestering is nonsense. After the trees die they will release the carbon again unless the sea level DOES rise very quickly and covers it all under sediments.

  19. Jack says:

    If cheap energy, either coal, oil or natural gas, or nuclear electric could be provided to every one in Haiti, then they could plant trees all over Haiti and the Haitians could stop burning wood. Sean Penn, where are you when you could really help?

  20. Geoffrey Withnell says:

    Come to think of it- Wouldn’t it make sense for us to go back to using paper bags for our groceries, and then burying the bags in landfills? Think of all the carbon sequestration! (sarcasm off)

  21. Ian W says:

    Carbon emission or sequestration is a key factor in global warming, and a concept now gaining wider interest is the role of forest lands in helping to address concerns about the greenhouse effect.

    The entire premise is incorrect. It is like arguing about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin which by definition assumes the existence of angels.

    One thing that is provably correct is that increasing the amount of free CO2 in the atmosphere greatly increases the growth rate and heat and drought stress resistance of plants. So sequestering carbon will reduce food crops while people are starving. In the time you have read this several people will have died from starvation; yet with claims of a Canute like ‘prevention’ of an arguable millimeter rise in sea level, other well fed people spend huge sums on hare-brained schemes and windmills to further enrich themselves. And everyone crowds around them and gives them ‘peace prizes’.

  22. Garacka says:

    In the papers conclusion:
    “The spatially and temporally explicit nature of our carbon balance monitoring framework permits the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration to be juxtaposed with co-occurring ecosystem services such as wood production and conservation of biodiversity. This type of framework can move society in the direction of examining trade-offs among multiple ecosystem services.”

    I am so glad to hear that their framework allows various services to be juxtaposed in a co-occurring manner and that this can move society in a certain direction.

  23. Karmakaze says:

    I’m going to pick an example comment to respond to, but it seems many of you have the same issue:

    “The wood harvested from the public lands sequestered in the structure of your house should be included in the figures for measuring wise public land management in the context of carbon sequestering.”

    Have you stopped to think how much fuel is burned cutting down and moving those trees around? Clearly not. Otherwise you’d realise that logging is a carbon source, not a carbon sink.

  24. Rob Potter says:

    As a number of people have mentioned already, carbon sequestration only takes place if a forest is growing – not when it becomes mature. In fact not too long ago, the latest edition of the “methane is a worse greenhouse gas than CO2″ was released, isuggested that mature forests are bad because of the methane they release as dead plant material decays – burning is actually the best option for forest waste!

    This is just OSU trying to justify the decimation of the Oregon logging industry caused by the “save the spotted owl” law.

    If you really want to use forestry to sequester CO2 then you increase commercial logging as a managed production forest has a much higher density of wood – wasn’t it a recent WUWT posting that reported on a study showing two or three times greater C stored in the same area of managed than unmanaged forests? I can’t find it this morning as, but I will try to look later today.

  25. Jessie says:

    Ian W says: July 25, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Thank you for writing this.
    As Green Peace whipper-snipped GM wheat trials here in Australia, having effectivley slowed GM rice, thank God there are still people as James Nachtwey and others, concerned with the real lives led by a great proportion of our world’s population.
    And leading the fight with the use of science.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/james_nachtwey_fights_xdrtb.html

  26. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    I go into my greenhouse to cool off as there is less co2 in there than out in the open.

  27. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    Once the protected areas replace their logged trees, they’ll be in carbon equilibrium, as old trees die and decay to CO2 and new trees replace them…until they inevitably burn down (again), of course.

    Actually old trees breakdown into peat that remains in the soil until someone comes along and burns it!

  28. Grant says:

    All of those carbon sucking trees that would have been cut in Oregon were simply cut down somewhere else. Just more high paying jobs exported, that’s the unintended consequence along with higher lumber costs, higher welfare, medical and unemployment costs, loss of wealth by displaced workers, falling home prices in those areas: on and on. Is this is supposed to make greens feel less guilty about destroying an industry along with their families?

  29. LKMiller says:

    Meanwhile…

    Stimson announces layoffs

    Stimson Lumber Co. has announced plans to cut 45 to 50 jobs at its Forest Grove, Ore., stud mill, and 30 to 35 employees at its Tillamook, Ore., stud mill. Company officials cited Chinese demand for logs that has driven up log prices, according to the Forest Grove News-Times. – 7/21/2011

    The Federal Government (Forest Service & BLM) control almost 60% of all forests in OR. Best estimates of the growing stock on these acres is ~700 BILLION BOARD FEET (bbf), growing at a net (of fire, insects, disease) 11 bbf/yr. Annual harvest is south of 1 bbf on these same lands.

    Folks, there is a wall of wood out there on federal forests (mostly in the west but controlled by urban elites several thousand miles away), but the pinheads in DC have chosed to renege on their implied contract with the rural West, controlling our forests but denying us the right to use them for such mundane things as jobs, schools, county services – those kinds of unimportant things.

    To clarify one misperception: west side forests these days are almost asbestos, so fire isn’t that big a deal. Disease and insects another story completely. Fire much more of a problem east side, and in southwest OR, where conditions are much drier. Feds aren’t managing those forests either.

  30. Forests are dynamic and they go through stages. What these damn fools have done is to try to arrest the process. Witness the forests around Lake Tahoe where fire prevention and a total ban on logging are killing the forests.
    I believe that the best scientific approach for true “stewards of the earth” would be a combination of logging and controlled burns.
    It is only a matter of time until fire will bring destruction and renewal to the Lake Tahoe basin. (Like it did in Yellowstone in 1988: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_fires_of_1988 )
    Unfortunately, current practices will make the fires catastrophic. It will be too bad for the people that built houses of Straw and Twigs (i.e. redwood and cedar shingles). They should have built their houses of brick. Oh, well. If they failed Nursery Stories 101, perhaps the loss of their houses will finally teach them the lesson that they should have learned at the age of 5.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  31. Jim says:

    Drink Coca Cola and save the planet.

    “Waste carbon dioxide can even be cleaned up to “food grade” and injected into fizzy drinks.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/25/carbon-capture-utilisation-economic-sense

    I have never had so much fun reading an article.

  32. Mark Wagner CPA says:

    seems to me that logging timber and “sequestering” it inside the walls of new houses would be far more effective, thus enabling you to grow more timber, etc.

  33. jae says:

    Like several other commenters here, this paragraph pegged my BS meter:

    “Forest fire is also an issue in carbon emissions, but researchers said in the study that the magnitude of emissions linked to fire was modest, compared to the impacts of logging. Even the massive Biscuit Fire in southern Oregon in 2002 released less carbon into the atmosphere than logging-related emissions that year, they said.”

    What are the odds that 8 authors (presumably forest scientists) plus a couple of peer reviewers are completely unaware that most of the carbon in the wood that is harvested from the forest is sequestered in forest products (often for a much longer time that it would be in the trees). Their Figure 3 does not even consider the issue. Without a discussion of this issue, the paper is completely worthless and should be pulled or revised. More lousy science related to “climate change.” Of course, I suppose it would be very difficult to get a paper published by the leftist press, if it said anything positive about harvesting trees.

    And: Karmakaze may not be seeing the forest for the trees, when he says:

    “Have you stopped to think how much fuel is burned cutting down and moving those trees around? Clearly not. Otherwise you’d realise that logging is a carbon source, not a carbon sink.”

    Is his “solution” to live in caves and ban paper products? All other building products demand far more energy for production, and they are not made of only solar energy, air and water.

  34. LKMiller says:

    Kasuha says:
    July 25, 2011 at 2:31 am

    “I am aware that logging is a great producent of CO2 as first of all, most of the tree mass (branches, leaves, bark, roots, …) is usually burnt or left to rot, both mostly releasing its carbon contents back to atmosphere.”

    Um, not exactly.

    For the vast majority of at least North American forest tree species, about 60%+/- of the biomass of a tree is contained in the merchantable bole, about 20% in the branches, tops, and leaves, and about 20% in the stump and roots.

    I helped collect some of this data whilst a forestry student at the University of Maine in the middle 70’s.

  35. Olen says:

    The key words are public lands. The dream of every environmentalist is control through government.

  36. Bill Hunter says:

    Karmakaze says:
    July 25, 2011 at 6:17 am
    “Have you stopped to think how much fuel is burned cutting down and moving those trees around? Clearly not. Otherwise you’d realise that logging is a carbon source, not a carbon sink.”

    That is illogical! Wood has a similar carbon content to fuels (and in fact is used as a fuel). If what you said were true wood would cost a lot more than fuel.

    And that does not even consider the biggest cost in wood harvest is labor.

    As the above article points out the fuel saved from wood harvesting so far offsets increased in forest fires (this will even diminish as forests grow denser and older).

    But the study above does not go beyond the emissions from the forest nor the direction things are headed towards. All that is being considered is the amount of carbon being left in the forest; not the amount of carbon sequestered in total nor how sequestered carbon can be better managed (say by converting the methane emitted by rotting wood into CO2 by burning the methane seeping from landfills).

    What leads to less sequestering of carbon are mature old growth forests that are carbon neutral by definition. They emit as much carbon as they absorb. The effect on carbon sequesterization from timber harvesting restrictions can be seen in USDA reports. http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf2000/skog00b.pdf

    Bottom line is if we are going to make good decisions we need good information. Do you actually have any good information?

  37. LKMiller says:

    Karmakaze says:
    July 25, 2011 at 6:17 am
    “Have you stopped to think how much fuel is burned cutting down and moving those trees around? Clearly not. Otherwise you’d realise that logging is a carbon source, not a carbon sink.”

    Actually, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that the production of wood for construction purposes, on a volume-to-volume basis, requires a much LOWER input of energy (uh, for the time being, that would be mostly CO2 sources) than do steel and concrete.

  38. Greg Cavanagh says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Insanity is contagious.

  39. Jay Davis says:

    Two questions: 1) Will somebody please explain to me how trees harvested for lumber release carbon in any form? and 2) As mentioned in a comment above, in order to grow, don’t young growing trees take in more CO2 than fully mature trees?

    I’m beginning to think these so-called scientists are turning in high school biology papers and calling them research.

  40. Steve Oregon says:

    Democrats in the Oregon legislature just killed a bill that would have expanded timber harvesting while keeping statewide logging well below sustainable levels.

    They have been getting lambasted for doing so and along comes this to give them cover.

    This is complete BS. Just what we expect from OSU researchers.

    Their activist message: “Stop logging save the planet from global warming”.

    Once again a left wing cause, anti- logging, hitches a ride on AGW with help from unethical academia.
    Replanting, younger and growing forests sequester CO2 faster than old growth. The bill was not going to undo the 82 percent reduction of logging on public forest lands. Just slightly increase logging.
    I don’t buy it for second that private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.

  41. Bill Hunter says:

    Steve Oregon says:
    July 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm
    “I don’t buy it for second that private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.”

    The only reason private lands are not at neutral is because some have been set aside and harvest is prohibited not just on public lands but private lands within the closed areas.

    What is important to note is the perspective of a carbon source or a carbon sink the only thing being considered is the amount of wood production minus the amount of wood burn’t, harvested, and rotted.
    This quote is from the study: “A carbon source is expected during periods when harvest removals exceed wood production.”

    Elsewhere in the study the blow off the net carbon sequestered from harvested wood by saying only a small proportion of the wood harvested since the 19th century remains as products still in use of in landfills with the remainder returned to the atmosphere. Like as in pretending it makes a real difference to atmospheric CO2 levels where the carbon is kept out of the atmosphere!

    In addition it is no consideration is given if the carbon is left to rot on a forest floor producing methane (a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2) or if its burn’t or if as some landfills are doing extracting carbon waste and/or methane and burning it as an energy source potentially replacing other fuels. The half life in new construction is 100 years plus its waste can be used as a fuel replacement giving you a double whammy over undisturbed forests.

    All undisturbed forests are either carbon neutral or becoming carbon neutral. Harvested forests are carbon neutral except to the extend some of it is left undisturbed whereby it might not be carbon neutral yet. The only important difference is in the disposition of carbon when it leaves the forest.

  42. jae says:

    Pray for more economic malaise! We still need the food lines. It is the ONLY thing that will wake up some of these parasitic, drug-induced morons (i.e., “environmentalists”) and the hopelessly mentally handicapped folks who think there is really a “free lunch” in this world. When we stop “spreading the wealth” the truth will become clear. Which means real “change…”

  43. Ray B says:

    “Forest fire is also an issue in carbon emissions, but researchers said in the study that the magnitude of emissions linked to fire was modest, compared to the impacts of logging. Even the massive Biscuit Fire in southern Oregon in 2002 released less carbon into the atmosphere than logging-related emissions that year, they said.”

    Inquiry- Logging related emissions that year? is that LREs in Southern Oregon? Nation wide? Globally? Failing to quantify this assertion is weak.

    “Have you stopped to think how much fuel is burned cutting down and moving those trees around? Clearly not. Otherwise you’d realise that logging is a carbon source, not a carbon sink.”

    I disagree. The amount of energy used to process and take a forest’s logs to the mill is pretty minimal considering the work accomplished. In the era of $4+ diesel the local lumber yard can sell a 2×4 for well under $2 and make money. He got a take, the wholesaler got a take, as did the mill, the truckers, the logger men, the brokers, the government or private landowner offering the timber sale, the guys that build/sell/maintain logging equipment, and the logging company. All of those people got a piece of that stick and it is on sale for $1.69. How much fuel could have been used in processing/hauling that? Not much.

    When I go out to cut oak to heat my house I can probably bring back about a cord and a half for $20 in fuel. That is with a chain saw and an old 4×4 Chev @ 10mpg, two trips with a trailer. The loggers do quantity and diesel and are more efficient than that.

  44. Richard Scott says:

    The NW Forest Plan was a setup. When Clinton got elected he kept his promise, sort of, to deal with the spotted owl controversy. Had a big show in Portland, then appointed a committee of “scientists” to develop the plan. It was a stacked deck. Chadwick Oliver, who literally wrote the book on forest stand dynamics testified at Clinton’s show that we could manage second growth forests to provide owl habitat. Mike Newton published at least one study showing where owl habitat was produced in about 100 years instead of the 200+ that was claimed was needed. On my district we had “great owl habitat” as the wildlife biologist called it, in an 80 year old stand. I measured an 80 year old Douglas-fir that was 56 inches in diameter in that stand. Guess what? Neither Chadwick Oliver nor Mike Newton were asked or allowed on the committee to develop the NW forest plan. It was loaded with environmentalist leaning “scientists”. Kind of like the people you hear news people interviewing on climate change.

  45. MJPenny says:

    I have never liked the forest sequestering of carbon meme. The argument is to sequester carbon in trees to make up for carbon released by the burning of fossil fuels. The fossil fuels were created millions of years ago. How much carbon is sequestered for how long by trees, whether they be you[ng] trees or old? The only reason to say you can sequester carbon in trees is to sell offsets (indulgences) and make money.

  46. Rob Spooner says:

    As I scanned down the list of comments, I ran across several that made me want to respond, but it turns out the the readers of this blog already know what to say and have done so. So I’ll just add another Western Oregon story. We have a new biomass plant in Eugene, using waste from logging and milling to produce electricity. Virtually everybody agrees that it’s sustainable and so clean that passersby can’t even tell by looking at the smokestack whether the plant is running.

    But Eugene’s progressives voice their opposition over and over in the Eugene Weekly, because, well, they oppose doing anything useful whatsoever with forest products. They evidently don’t see the irony in saying this through a medium that uses paper.

    Somebody did comment that maybe we should stop recycling paper bags and bury them in landfills. Exactly correct, but not a popular position.

  47. Steve Oregon says:

    Bill,
    “The only reason private lands are not at neutral is because some have been set aside and harvest is prohibited not just on public lands but private lands within the closed areas.”

    Many private lands are being logged at below sustainable levels and replanting is mandatory.
    If growth exceed[s] harvest how is carbon neutral possible.

    In stark contrast the massive Biscuit fire was not replanted because the salvage logging which would have required & funded it was blocked by enviromentalists.
    Billions in board feet of old growth were left to rot and insects with no replanting.

  48. Richard Scott says:

    The “trees are holy” mentality has gone nuts in the city of Tigard, Oregon. They passed an ordinance that says you can cut down trees, but the logs can’t be sold for a year. A guy who has owned 42 acres of forested land within the city limits for decades wants to cut the trees so he can develop the property, which is zoned industrial. So under the city rules, the trees can be cut but need to lie there and rot for a year. Looking at the property on Google Earth, the forest is a mix of Douglas-Firs and hardwoods. Neighbors who seem to believe the forested area belongs to them because it has trees on it are fighting the “logging”–it ain’t logging if you are cutting the trees to let them rot.

  49. jae says:

    Steve Oregon says:

    “In stark contrast the massive Biscuit fire was not replanted because the salvage logging which would have required & funded it was blocked by enviromentalists.”

    and Richard Scott says:

    “The “trees are holy” mentality has gone nuts in the city of Tigard, Oregon. They passed an ordinance that says you can cut down trees, but the logs can’t be sold for a year.
    Billions in board feet of old growth were left to rot and insects with no replanting.”

    I sure hope SOME people reading this stuff are trying to understand just how out of balance our Nation is, WRT natural resources (and common sense). W\e are getting screwed, royally, by the Sierra Club, et. al., but the ignorant dimwits in our society don’t get it, because they think they are benefiting from the fraud (they are being destroyed by the fraud, in fact).

    Please “get it” and stop supporting these communist, power hungery morons, who will wreak havoc on our society unless checked.

    LOOK AT THE FACTS!

  50. Jeffrey Eric Grant says:

    We will never reverse the environmental juggernaught without political intervention. It is the American way! Logic and reason will not diuade them. When I was a member of the Sierra Club, I was very naieve and thought I was changing the world for the better. Born and raised in Seattle, I have now lived on the East Coast for the past 47 years. Believe me, the people back here do not get it, and I don’t think they even care.

    I think it all comes down to CO2, which is also called “carbon”. If I were to use trees as the medium to sequester CO2, it could never be enough because there is not enough land. Instead, I would use the oceans. Oh, they are already being used (by Giaia sp?) and are already saturated with CO2.

    John Marshall says:
    July 25, 2011 at 2:05 am
    The ‘carbon sequestration’ normally crowed about in the UK is the pumping of power station gasses into the strata below. This technology is actually untried at the scale envisiged and there could/will be many pitfalls including great cost.

    But why try when it can be proved scientifically that CO2 does not drive climate nor do we emitt a large volume in the greater scheme of things compared to the natural world. About 3% of the total so what is the problem?

    John, please send me the link that ‘proves’ that CO2 does not drive climate. I have been looking for this for over four years and can find nothing in the scientific literature that refers to it. Even looking at all of the IPCC reports’ references does not lead me to a difinitive result.

    IT IS ALL MISLEADING AND BUILT UPON NEO-SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT. I NEED EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE AND UNTIL I SEE IT, I WILL REMAIN A SKEPTIC.

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