"The green trees when I saw them first…..
transported and ravished me, their
sweetness and unusual beauty made my
heart to leap and almost mad with ecstasy,
they were such strange and wonderful

Thomas Traherene (1637-1674)


"So far our government has done nothing effective with its forests….but is like a rich and foolish spendthrift who has inherited a magnificent estate in perfect order, and then has left his rich fields and meadows, forests and parks, to be sold and plundered and wasted at will, depending on their inexhaustible abundance."

John Muir
The American Forests (aug 1897)


"…for when the trees are gone, man will also be gone, for without them we cannot live."

Louis L’ Amour


"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do."

Willa Cather


Planting 95,000 shade trees in metro Chicago would save $38 million in energy costs over 30 years.


"Each year in the U.S. alone 460 million wooden pallets are made….1/2 are discarded after first use. The wood used for pallets comprise 50% of the hardwood cut down in the U.S. ….altogether pallets equivalent to 300,000 average-size American homes.

Waste straw in the U.S. could build a million average size homes per year.

Seven hundred million trillion tons of junk mail are sent out across the U.S. yearly


Estimated acres of forest Henry David Thoreau burned down in 1844 trying to cook fish he had caught for dinner:300

(from Harper's Index)

Up to 40% of the trees cut down today are turned into paper boxes or tissues….solution Kenaf or Hemp


"History is apt to judge harshly those who sacrifice tomorrow for today."

Harold McMillan


See article: An Explosion of Green by Bill McKibben

The Atlantic Monthly april 1995



Read: "The Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic in America’s Forests" by Charles E. Little


Stumps Don’t Lie
 Hal Clifford


Tim Hermach’s had enough. So, it turns out, have 48 United States congressmen who , along with Hermach, would like to put an end to commercial logging on public lands.

Zip. Kaput. No More. A bill introduced into the House in April by Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, D-Georgia and Congressman Jim Leach, R-Iowa, HR 1396 would end logging on the 191 million acres of public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

Hemach, director of the Eugene, Oregon-based Native Forest Council , is an angry and articulate defender of "zero cut on public lands."

"Most people think our national forests are protected like national parks," says Hermach, who has been traveling and speaking publicly for 15 years in defense of forests. "Most people are stunned and then outraged to find that they’re logged, mined, grazed and otherwise traded off to the corporate contributors of our politicians."

Two years ago, less than 4% of the U.S.’s timber came from national forests; the rest comes from private lands. "It’s not necessary," Hermach says. " We don’t need to make paper from wood, and 80% of the homes globally aren’t made from wood, but as long as we keep wood artificially subsidized, it’s a cheap product.

"Here we are trashing nature we don’t know how to create-air, soil, water. We treat it like a free good, and we can’t live without it, yet we’re talking about whether Louisiana –Pacific should be cutting down more aspens in Colorado? It should be a capital crime."

There’s relatively little public lands logging in Colorado compared to other Western states, although the battles are still bitter. Sixteen percent of the forests in the Amazon have been cut down, Hermach says, but 95% of the U.S.’s virgin forests are gone. The fight is over what remains, and the Forest Service is giving away the store.

Government economists calculate whether logging sales to timber companies make money for the Treasury by comparing what they spend to "manage" a logging operation with what the company pays the Forest Service. What economists do not count-and herein lies the crime-is the inventory value of the trees themselves; in other words, the trees are valued at zero while they’re alive.

"That’s a fraud that makes the S & L bailout a pittance." Hermach says.

Logging is part of the Anglo-American history of the West, but public lands timbering need not be part of the contemporary economy. Half of all trees now cut on public land are shipped overseas as raw logs, chips or pulp. Without any value added. And a 1995 Forest Service study found that recreation and tourism generate 30 times the jobs, and 30 times the income. On national forest lands compared to logging.

HR 1369 proposes to phase out all public lands logging over two years and allocate $350 million for worker retraining. It also proposes a restoration corps to rehabilitate public lands. Hermach believes that $2 billion to $3 billion U.S. Forest Service budget is indirectly related to logging.

"If we just stopped logging and paid that money instead to manage parks, campgrounds, streams, bridges, to obliterate logging roads, that translates into spending public money to improve the house for an economic benefit, rather than spending public money to trash the house," hermach says " I submit that we lose $100 to $1000 worth of public assets for every buck the logging industry makes. It would be a lot cheaper to give them the buck.

Zero-cut won’t happen anytime soon. HR 1369 won’t get a hearing before a congressional committee in this Congress, hermach says. Like so much progressive legislation, this sort of change is bottled up by elected officials beholden to corporate campaign contributors. Until money’s influence in American politics is tamped down, provocative ideas like this one will be stillborn.

Hermach is undeterred. "Stumps don’t lie, " he says."

Hal Clifford  Aspen Times


There are tremendous differences, however, between the forests of today and the primeval forests: one is that the trees are a whole lot smaller, not only because they’re younger but also because the genetic stock of our forests has been debased by the practice of high-grading. Early logging was labor intensive and therefore selective: the largest trees went first, and they were larger than we imagine trees can be . A table from around 1800 gives the dimension of trees in Vermont-measurements that "do not denote the greatest, which nature has produced of their particular species, but the greatest which are to be found I most of our towns."

Diameter Height

Pine 6 feet 250 ft.

Maple 51/4 200

Buttonwood  100 to 200 ft.

Elm  100 to 200 ft.

Hemlock 41/2 ft.  100 to 200 ft

Basswood     100 to 200 ft

Ash     100 to 200 ft

Birch     100 to 200 ft

Today, the largest trees in these Vermont villages are rarely three feet in diameter, which is roughly half the girth of the largest trees two centuries ago. When a forest is high-graded, the largest trees are taken and the runts are left as seed stock. The trees still standing come in different sizes, of course, and for the next cut the logger selects the largest of the runts, leaving the smallest runts to produce more runts-the status of much of our forested land today……..

Alice Outwater

Late 20th Century headlines:

 Brazil’s Forest Fading Fastest Tree Study Says

Amazon destruction greater than thought….U.S. News & World Report

Fears for Amazon Forest….Amsterdam

Killer tree fungus ravages California’s Monterey pines AP

Book: "Deforesting the Earth: from Prehistory to Global Crisis" by Michael Williams

Book: "The Remarkable Baobab" by Thomas Pakenham

Book: "Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests" by Derrick Jensen & George Draffan

Book: "The Magic of Trees " by Markus Buderin

Book: "Remarkable Trees of the World" by Thomas Pakenham

Book: "Mythic Woods: The World's Most Remarkable Forests" by Jonathan Roberts

Book: "The People's Forests" by Robert Marshall

Book: "Living in the Appalachian Forest: True Tales of Sustainable Forestry" by Chris Bolgiano

Book: "Oranges" by John McPhee

Book: "The Miraculous Fever Tree: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure that Changed the World." by Fiammetta Rocco

Book: "The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazonia" by R.E. Schultes & R.F. Raffauf

Book: "Trees: The Herbal Grove" by Mary Forsell & Photos by Tony Cenicola



© 2001



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