Logging Falsehoods  Mike Leonard
 Dec. 19, 2007  

TOPIC: North meets South in a Templeton, MA Swamp

== 1 of 6 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 4:39 am
From: "Mike Leonard"


Here are some falsehoods commonly mentioned by some loggers who buy lots
on their own to high-grade:

1. "We'll only cut the larger "mature" trees so that the younger
"immature" trees will be allowed more room to grow faster".
What the timber thief doesn't tell the landowner is that the supposed
younger trees he'll be "releasing" are more often the same age as the
bigger trees but have been suppressed through natural competition and
more often than not are the ones that should be cut first (which would
be called "thinning from below").

2. "A 12 inch diameter limit harvest will be good for your forest."
Well those high quality 12 inch red oak trees could be increasing in
value at 15-20%/year; why would you want to liquidate an asset that is
beginning to take off?
On the better sites, you may want to retain your high quality crop trees
until they are as much as 24 inches in diameter. Or maybe it would be in
your best interest to retain some bigger trees forever because of their
landscape, aesthetic, or other values. A 12 inch commercial diameter
limit cutting (leaving the big cull trees) is the most destructive thing
you can do to your forest. Yes it's even worse than clearcutting because
you are leaving behind a junk forest to occupy the site.

3. "You'll be able to cut it again in 10 years"
Yeah you'll be able to cut some low grade cordwood perhaps but you won't
make any money from it. And good luck trying to find an operator willing
to cut any of the garbage that was left behind after the last
high-grade. That's because most operators are out there chasing down
other lots to high-grade so they can make another killing. Selling
restoration cuttings is the hardest job I have.

4. "You'll be able to save a lot of money by dealing directly with us
because you'll cut out the unnecessary consulting forester's fee."
The fact is that numerous studies (like Kittredge's "What the Market
Will Bear") have proven that landowners make much more money on a timber
sale by using the services of an honest consulting forester than they do
by dealing directly with a mill or logger. This is because we use the
competitive bidding process and we practice real silviculture.

Now here you have this "Forest & Wood Products Institute" giving the
high-graders more ammunition to talk landowners into letting them
high-grade their woodlots. Most of the blame in this massive fraud,
theft, and forest destruction goes to the Bureau of Forestry and their
refusal to enforce the existing Forest Cutting Laws. Their "Service
Forestry Program" and their "Service Foresters" have been almost totally

I remember when Karl Davies related a story about how he heard this
timber thief in a Northampton coffee shop talking to a landowner saying
that "you can trust our "silverculture".

Some consulting foresters are afraid to speak up because they think that
many loggers won't go to their timber showings anymore. And there are
some like Lincoln Fish (who is married to Jennifer Fish a BOF Service
Forester) who are in cahoots with industry and think that high-grading
is not a problem. Fish thinks that the lack of markets for low grade
stumpage is the problem. But Fish has it backwards. The reason why there
is so much low grade timber in the woods is because of 1/2 century of
rapacious high-grading.
It's really all about power. The forest bureaucrats want to keep it and
the privileged cadre of insiders like Fish have their own rackets (like
the MA Woodland Cooperative aka the "Commie Co-op"). That's the main
reason why Fish was appointed to the MA Forester Licensing Board to
"represent" foresters. Well he doesn't represent the vast majority of
consultants and he sure as hell doesn't represent me.
We are a profession without representation on the MA Forestry Committee
as well and that's just the way the forest bureaucrats like it because
it's all about control, power, and money.
It's a long sad story Bob, but I intend to keep fighting this corrupt
system for as long as it takes to get justice. Future foresters will
appreciate our efforts.


== 3 of 6 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 8:02 am
From: dbhguru


Thanks for laying out the specifics for ENTS members. We value your, Russ's and Lin's contributions immensely. It behooves all of us to understand what is going on in our woodlands whether public or private.


== 4 of 6 ==
Date: Tues, Dec 18 2007 8:13 am
From: ForestRuss@aol.com


You forgot to add one...

"We'll leave all the beech and hickory for wildlife"

Of course such a statement is always followed by the addition of the
following disclosure "we would like you (Mr. or Ms. Forestland Owner) to think we
actually care about wildlife but the truth is, beech and hickory are so low in
value that we don't even want to cut it but our experience has shown us that
if we tell you we are leaving all the low value and junk species for wildlife
you'll feel all warm and fuzzy and sell us your timber...at a price we (the
loggers) think is fair"


== 5 of 6 ==
Date: Wed, Dec 19 2007 2:35 am
From: "Mike Leonard"


Yeah that's a good one we'll leave all the diseased beech for wildlife.

Now let's talk about "Landowner's Lament":

1. The logger told me that a State Service Forester would be approving
the Forest Cutting Plan so I assumed it would be for good forestry but
instead my woodlot has been destroyed!

2. The logger told me the timber volumes are in the cutting plan but he
didn't tell me that the Service Forester does not check volumes. The
truck driver told me that there is about 5 MBF on each truckload and
they took 20 loads off for a total of 100 MBF but I only got paid for 50

3. I trusted the logger because he also told me that he was a "forester"
and he said he would do what is right for the woods but it looks like he
did what was right for his checkbook!

4. I signed a mill tally contract and when I got the scale slips, most
of my nice hardwood was tallied as pallet wood rather than the higher
grades or veneer that pay a lot more.

5. The logger told me that consulting foresters are just middlemen so
don't "waste" your money with them when we'll do the "forestry work" for

6. The logger told me he would "thin" my lot and it would look good
afterwards but now all my big wonderful oak trees are gone and they left
a huge mess so I can't walk through my land anymore.

Over the years landowners have told me many stories about how they got
ripped off. They all end up saying they wish the hell they contacted me
If they had to contact us real practicing foresters first, then bad
stuff wouldn't happen in the woods.