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Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:41 am
by Don
Rand-
All in good time...

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:54 am
by Joe
Rand wrote:
dbhguru wrote:Joe,
Of more concern to me is the lack of progress on establishing a scientifically defensible balance between managed and unmanaged forest across the landscape, so that we're not always dealing with battles driven by the extremes.
Bob
I think about that a lot as I go through the minuscule scraps of Old Growth here in Ohio. You can see all big, early successional species like Oaks and Tuliptrees slowly dieing out, leaving a mess of maples to take over. You wonder whats going to be left in another century. Meanwhile, everywhere else seems allergic to trees over 2' dbh. It'd be nice if there was some sort of middle ground.
Forestry is mostly about extremists. Those who want to stop all tree cutting and those who high grade and clearcut. The small percentage who want to do it right- get little support from anybody.
Joe

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:45 am
by dbhguru
Joe,

The unfortunate reality for the survival of trees into old age is that they are much longer lived than we humans, and that bodes poorly for their being left alone to grow to say even half their normal life span in order to be seen as providing both ecological services along the way, and at the end, economic ones.

Most of what I see here in the East as managed forests are immature woodlands with most of their species missing. These junior forests never make it beyond a few decades, and in time wannabe woodlands become the norm. The older stuff exists in postage stamp-sized parcels that are ill-equipped to tell the whole story. This point became very clear to me when last fall I visited a 2 x 8 square mile swath of old growth in the NY Adirondack Mountains. The biodiversity there was undeniable and the contrast of that forest to second-growth woodlands was abundantly clear. But outside the Adirondacks, it is hard to find a place anywhere in the Northeast where nature retains such a commanding voice.

In climates where trees grow really fast, we see a few species make it to sizes that hints of the former glory of the pre-settlement woodlands. I'm thinking of places such as Larry Tucei visits in Mississippi and second growth redwoods near the Pacific Coast. But these places haven't recovered their species and I doubt they will be left alone to do unless on highly protected properties. However, my lamentations don't tell us how much unmanaged forest we need and for exactly what purposes, and if we don't address the numbers, those on the extremes will continue to get all the press.

My seat of the pants figure is between 10% and 15% of our forests should be maintained in old-growth status. The 15% figure would apply to places with lots of difficult terrain. The norm would be more toward the 10% figure.

What would 10% look like for a state like Massachusetts? If we accept 2,900,000 acres at the current forest cover, our figure would be 290,000 acres. Judging from past conversations I've had with people on the timber side of the debate, that number would sound astronomical to them. In fact, even a tenth of that would sound too much.

It is hard to find common ground. The extremes in the debate never really attempt to understand the other side's arguments. Where else is that playing out in our country to date? Best not to answer that question here on the BBS.

Bob

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:07 am
by Joe
Bob, keeping it short (I'll try to anyway)- as I've often said, if half of all the forest were extremely well managed with a focus on producing lots of high quality, valuable timber, the rest could be locked up forever. We could produce all the wood we need with only half the forest. Of course, bad logging practices aren't the biggest threat to forest land- it's the continued paving over the land with housing, strip development, solar farms and the like. In America, good zoning is considered Stalinist. Some of that "well managed forest" could focus on wildlife values, biodiversity, aesthetics and other such ecosystem values. But, as long as there are 7,000,000,000 people on the planet and more every day, we will need to grow valuable wood products which are more "Earth and climate friendly" than cement, steel and plastic. The anti forestry folks don't realize this as they sit in their nicely appointed suburban McMansions with wood from Siberia or Indonesia. Meanwhile, on a current timber project of mine- the best of the pine logs are being shipped to China and Pakistan- which doesn't make much sense when 97% of the wood consumed in Massachusetts for lumber come from out of state.

In essence, forest policies are highly irrational!

Joe

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:35 pm
by dbhguru
Joe,

A friend of mine in upstate NY owns a lumber company. He was showing me his lumber yard a couple of years ago and he pointed to many large piles of nice looking oak logs. He explained that all of them were headed to China. I'd be very interested in knowing what the numbers are for different species and different sections of the country in terms of log destination.

Do you have a feel for what percentage of the logs cut from properties that you manage go to destinations outside the U.S.? Is the percentage increasing? If a good market for U.S. timber products develops in another country, do you view that as desirable or undesirable since the products become an export for us? Just curious.

Bob

Ahhh, to get back in Iceland...; ~ }

Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:42 pm
by Don
Guys...
Uhhhmmm, methinks we got off topic...Greenland and Iceland were named for the way they were, eons ago. Iceland was cold enough back then, that prior indigenous (and later, non-indigenous) cultures consumed 99% of their forests primarily using up their resource for shelter and warmth.
They are currently somewhere on the continuum between rehabilitation and revegetation (with reforestation and restoration way off, nationwide). Grasses and forbs (mostly lupine for nitrogen-fixing) have been employed to stabilize and enhance soils. Some areas have rehab-ed enough to consider planting seedlings, but I'm not sure what their species preferences are yet (not siberian larch, as they seem to be unable to adjust to the apparently changing climate.
All that said, it's a wonderful undertaking and personally I am impressed with their broad support, especially for a country that was devastated by the 2008 economic downturn...shows optimistic priorities!
-Don

PS:Attaching a few images we captured in traveling from Akeurery to Rejkavik(Southwest to North Iceland, June 2011)
Plenty of water in a tundra landscape...northern Iceland, near Akeurery...excellent fishing!
Plenty of water in a tundra landscape...northern Iceland, near Akeurery...excellent fishing!
Traveling to northwest fjords from Akeurery enroute to Rejkavik, the Capitol
Traveling to northwest fjords from Akeurery enroute to Rejkavik, the Capitol
Continuing through northwest fjords, looking across a broader landscape, tundra and some agriculture, but not yet much silviculture here...
Continuing through northwest fjords, looking across a broader landscape, tundra and some agriculture, but not yet much silviculture here...
Climbing back up to alpine and beyond, snow had just left by mid-June, a barren landscape formed of successive layers of lava flows, scoured by glacial activity, grasses and sedges making their stands where they can...
Climbing back up to alpine and beyond, snow had just left by mid-June, a barren landscape formed of successive layers of lava flows, scoured by glacial activity, grasses and sedges making their stands where they can...

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:49 am
by Joe
Bob, as Don says, we got off topic, so I'm responding privately to you.
Joe

Re: A comeback in Iceland

Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am
by dbhguru
Don,

Looking at the barren landscape of Iceland, it is hard to imagine a time when that might have been forested, even by short, pointy conifers. However, the same can be said of areas in Africa and the middle east that once were forested by whatever species. Once a landscape is opened up to the drying impact of wind and sun, desertification is not far behind. Of course, we don't have to go to geographical extremes, we need only visit the tame British Isles to see ample evidence of the past wholesale denuding of a once richly wooded landscape.

Bob