Monday, January 28, 2008

Timber industry-linked hunters support WOPR

This week the Mail Tribune ran an Op-Ed from timber industry linked sportsmen, Steve Mealey and John Lowe, calling out the sportsmen coalition that opposed the WOPR. Mealey is a retired forester and went on to work for forest products company Boise Cascade. Lowe is also a retired forester and has a really interesting presentation on the State of Oregon Web site, that quotes Teddy Roosevelt, "A forest which contributes nothing to the wealth, progress or safety of the country is of no interest to the government."

I have no business calling these guys out. Mealey is a badass. His bio says he was a grizzly bear researcher, comes from Oregon homesteader lineage and has probably spent more time in the woods than I'll ever do in my life. And these guys have a good point -- the anti-WOPR coalition never got a blessing from the Oregon Hunters Association. It didn't speak for everbody. But I can call out the Mail Tribune. They made them out to be unbiased hunters and that's just not the case. To quote Lowe's presentation again: Anyone who claims to be unbiased is fooling themselves or fooling you.

Lowe and Mealey have been at this way longer, and have more experience than I do -- but I think it needs to be clear where people's loyalties are. I'm opposed to the WOPR because I value biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. On the other hand, Lowe and Mealey have made their livings through managed forestry and that was not made clear in the Op-Ed.

One point of contention: The authors raise the spectre of declining elk and deer populations and blame it on the NW Forest Plan. That's bullshit. It's the old argument that ungulates love clear cuts. The browse available in a regenerated clear cut is better forage for a short period of time. But as soon as those stands turn into ultra dense, monocultured doug fir, they are biological wastelands for the next 50 years. And anecdotally speaking -- how much elk shit have you seen in a clear cut? Now how much do you see in a remote, old growth wilderness? I mean, the damn things are practically humping me in the backcountry so I gotta say a healthy old growth system wins out over clear cuts every time.


Anonymous said...

Goodonya to call bull by its proper name. You are right, they are wrong cumulative time spent in the woods notwithstanding.

Bpaul said...

Very articulate post sir, well done.

I've seen the graphs of primary productivity (I.E. plant growth, basically) comparing old growth and clear cuts. Clear cuts do, in fact, spike bigtime in the first 7 years or so, but then, very predictably, the canopy closes and everything on the ground dies, whether there is spraying or not. The graph nears zero for the next 40 - 60 years at least -- it would be zero if you only counted the available forage for large animals and not the nearly inedible coniferous production.

If you do the math, stable climax westside forest ecologies kick ass for food production over clear cuts every time -- but you have to look beyond 6-8 year peaks.