Re: Buying Standing Timber = Destructive Highgrading & Ripping Off Landowners
   Sep 09, 2003 05:21 PDT 

In terms of proof of degradation of the forest and lowering of productivity
by high grading....I have one suggestion from WV that may be able to be
duplicated in Massachusetts...

During the past 14 years, I have cruised inventoried and developed Forest
Stewardship Plans for over 120 parcels of property in multiple WV counties
covering over 20,000 acres.

During that time I have inventoried properties that have not had any
harvesting for over 100 years......including removal of dead chestnut and properties
that have been regularly harvested on 20 year cycles. In earlier harvested
stands, the very best timber quality I have encountered is on old tracts where
there was a sawmill set and the property was clearcut.

However, I am a stats nut and have found that in older stands where
harvesting has not taken place since the 1930s, more valuable species such as red oak
typically represent at least 25% of the basal area, beech is normally under 2%
and species like red maple represent 3% or older stands where
hickory is present, hickory is rarely more than 10-15%. Cull volume in all areas
(excepting those with repeated burns) rarely exceeds 10% of basal area and
normally runs around 5%....I have encountered dozens of properties that meet these

In nearly all situations and circumstances where logging has taken place
within the past 25 years....since the advent of self loaders, larger log trucks,
decent bridges, paved roads and very large, permanent sawmills, evidence of
forest degradation from severe highgrading is too evident to ignore. I have
cruised dozens of tracts in this category that have numerous red oak stumps but an overstory that is typically less than 1% red oak...with no red oak regen. In these tracts, hickory BA can run as high as 40%, cull BA is very often 35%+ and beech and red maple that comprised less than 5% of the preharvest stand represent up to 60% of the growing stock.

I could go on and on but if someone would like to glean proof or info from
some of my cruises, I would be willing to copy and send some of this stuff out.

I am going to be racing to MA for my nieces wedding in Shelburne and will be
there between 9/19 and 9/21. If there is anyone interested in some of the BS
I have accumulated....please let me know what sort of info might be
useful...however, I do not do the fancy computer stuff that Karl is famous for.....the numbers are obvious as they are. Friday morning September 19 I could meet with someone to deliver some of the info I have.

Russ Richardson
Fw: Fourfold threat seen for nation's forests   Joe Zorzin
  Oct 10, 2003 13:54 PDT 
Forwarding this from the Usenet group, alt.forestry. Fire, fire, fire, all we here about in the national media, regarding forestry is FIRE. I'm getting tired of that subject. I be far more forest land gets high graded each year in America, than gets burned- yet a total of about 5 people in America ever talk about high grading. High grading, the hidden plague- hidden thanks to state bureaucracies that teach loggers how to do "neat high grading".
Re: Fw: Fourfold threat seen for nation's forests
  Oct 10, 2003 14:18 PDT 

Joe, others:

Has there ever been any tally of how many acres are highgraded each year?
If not, is there any rough idea? Does Mass. have an unusually high problem
with highgrading compared to other states?...Sorry if these questions have
already been answered dozens of times in prior emails on the listserv. I'm
just curious and I don't remember if they where.

Rory Nichols
RE: Fw: Fourfold threat seen for nation's forests   Joseph Zorzin
  Oct 11, 2003 04:24 PDT 

Several years ago, Karl Davies and I came up with the estimate of 30,000
acres per year in Mass.- which is roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of all harvesting
in the state. The state guys of course know, but they ain't talking. <G>
Nationwide, it must be millions of acres. If you look at a national map,
you can hardly find Massachusetts and from talking to foresters all over
the nation, they all report that in their areas, most logging is high
grading. Because of this, forestry is a myth- since "logging ain't
forestry". There is very, very, very little foresty in America.
Re: Shared experiences, high-grading, cold wars
  Oct 19, 2003 09:54 PDT 
high grading ~ harvesting the best forest crops, leaving the worst
forester ~ one possessing the necessary skills to care for forests
forestry ~ the art and science of caring for forests

Forestmeister, Not exactly the whimsical, light-hearted post this thread started out to be.
But, even as an arborist, I can somewhat relate. Years ago a veteran
consultant encouraged me that if I wanted to become a consulting arborist, I would
have to get out there and find out for myself." I've taken his words to heart,
and spent years, sometimes, no farther than my backyard, finding out just what
causes premature urban tree decline. I was astounded at what I found. Oh, I
had a good idea. But I never would have believed that 95% of all urban
declines led back to "people". You may say, "Duhhhh!" But these weren't your
average laypeople. These were the very professionals "hired" to do a supposedly
"professional" job.
The typical owner (here) pays $10k for a "wooded" lot. Has a home built
without adequate preservation. Pays another $10k to periodically remove the
failing and dying. With another $5k, replaces with poor selections, and improper
installation and inadequate post-installation maintenance. From here, the very
angry (and, might I say, "poorer") owner either spends another $5k to start
over, gives up on owning a "coveted wooded lot" or moves to another wooded lot,
repeating the process; some "mysterious urban tree pest" receiving the blame!
Well, this pest walks upright on two legs, has been known to operate heavy
equipment and thrives on the general populous' ignorance.
Rather than ignoring all this, acting like a proper Southern gent, not making
any waves, "I'll scratch your back if you'll scratch mine", and going "with
the flow"; becoming a rich, fat cat like many other companies, I went to the
trouble and expense to expose the public to my findings with a website. Most of
my 1,500 photos were of these actual crimes. Believe me, I've been chased
off more than one construction site.   
I can tell you, the abused have not exactly beat down my doors. Developers
and builders usually call when they are building their "own" dream home. Tree
removal companies call when they get in trouble. I'm the sole arborist that
has the "gall" to place value on their own professional opinion by "actually"
charging a consulting fee (rather than promoting one's service under the guise
of "free consultation"). But, when "free" consensus opinion often opposes my
observations/conclusions/ recommendations, why pay? Developers, builders,
grading contractors, landscape contractors, LA's and tree removal services
seemingly keep getting richer and richer. While I've had to tighten my belt some
these past few years. But, very slowly, things are beginning to change.    
One New Hampshire forester, Alex Shigo, who has become endeared to many
arborists, once said, "The arborist with the most knowledge will make the most
money." That may be true, if one can keep their big mouth shut! But, if one can
not casually pass by without being moved, they may have to tighten their belts
until society finally wakes up after years of sounding the alarm.
Passionately engaged in the present Cold War,