Monday, August 05, 2013

A Pictorial Update to My Column About Trees

Heading back...filled with dread.
It was shocking how disorienting it was to have 80 acres of woods on the right side of the trail gone. Something that had become so familiar to me over the past six years was suddenly unrecognizable. I didn't know where I was.
Normally, we drive through these woods on the four-wheeler and are surrounded by trees. Tall, green, lush, lovely trees. The beautiful canopy is gone.
I once stood at the edge of where this clear cut begins and listened to a pair of moose crash through the trees after they heard my dog and me walking up the lane. The swamp they were in is on the other side of the road and is, this year, still untouched.


Really? That's the size of the required berm? It'll blow down in the next tropical storm.

As we stood there looking over this 80-acre clear cut landscape, two deer picked their way across the mess. It was so similar to those scenes of soldiers picking their way through a carnage, looking for survivors. My husband kept saying, "Why don't they hear us? Why are they ignoring us?" and you know what I figure? They were catching our energy: Disbelief. Sadness. Would it be there energy too? I wonder if the deer came onto that field wondering what the hell happened to their woods?
Those berms are a joke. They aren't substantial enough to withstand the strong winds that are coming this fall.They'll never due for a deer yard, either.

The deer are just visible crossing the top of the road, heading back into woodland.

Another species affected and displaced by the clear cutting.

We experienced this kind of close-to-home devastation a few years ago; further up the road, an individual logger (as opposed to a company) logged about 150 acres. That area was a mess afterwards, limbs and stumps left behind. It was my first first-hand experience with clear cutting and it made a bad impression. Is this how all loggers operate?
According to my husband, looking over this clear cut, he believes the company doing this logging will be replanting. He feels the land is very tidy (especially compared to the previous clear cutting) as if it's being prepared for replanting.
I can forgive a lot if replanting happens. I will name the company here, with kudos, if it happens. But it begs the question: Why is replanting not mandatory? And why wouldn't an individual feel that it was the right thing to do, too?
Kind of negates that argument about supporting the local logger, doesn't it? Time for due diligence as to the logging practices of the people from whom you're getting your winter wood. Do they replant or are they simply raping the woods for profit?
"My husband makes his living in the woods," some woman said in response to my column. And if he doesn't replant, how will he continue to make his living? How will those who come along after make their living? Making a living doesn't mean making a massacre. 

Not quite finished: 

It's about balance and respect. We should be working with nature to fill our needs, and only our needs, not destroying simply because we can. My husband has logged, for personal use, all his life and his logging was done selectively, using men, saws and horses to lug the wood out. Some may say that is old-fashioned and inefficient but really, I think we all know by now that bigger isn't better, isn't more efficient.
We need more common sense, less knee-jerk "it's good for the economy". We need more gains for the natural world and fewer, way fewer, wins for the lobby groups.
My guiding principle when making decisions for many or creating an opinion on a subject is: WHAT IS THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER? (I could Google the background of that quote but that would be dishonest. I don't know who said the quote or if it's part of some horrible economic movement -- I just believe in that idea as I understand it and apply according to my life experiences.) And here's the thing: Trees outnumber us! Birds outnumber us! Insects and amphibians outnumber us! Or at least, they used to before we started demolishing their habitats and killing off species.

Small logs.

Poplar. Some are rather small.
Very large poplar. This will become wood chips.

There are no solutions, no answers offered here because I don't have any. I just have information and opinion. Until we have balance, we need to have awareness.

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