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Sustainable Forestry in New England linear problems, chicken cyclical solutions.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Forestry in New England linear problems, chicken cyclical solutions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Forestry in New England linear problems, chicken cyclical solutions

2 Sustainable Forestry! Who are you? Where do you come from? Sustained Yield Forestry: - harvest volume = growth volume - operates on the edge of a cost-benefit analysis - focuses on production (of timber) sounds like neoclassical economics... Sustainable Forestry: - considers externalities and multiple values - looks to the future (long-term thinking) - uses low impact systems sounds like ecological economics...

3 “Low Impact” means what it says... techniques (e.g. directional felling) equipment (e.g. horses, forwarders, etc.) timing (depending on soils) no chemicals leave nutrients proper treatment of bumpers manage for more than timber (e.g. structural diversity) With respect to timber harvests: ensuring that non-timber values and future timber values are not compromised DEPENDS ON THE LOGGER’S SKILL AND INCLINATION

4 OK, sustainable forestry sounds nice. Why isn’t everyone doing it? What can be done to change that? that’s my paper in a nutshell...

5 Who is everyone? 71% of U.S. forest land is privately owned the vast majority of these owners are non-industrial although wood and fiber production has traditionally been focused on industrial land, this is changing: increasing demand for wood (linked to consumption) increasing reluctance of industry to own land decreasing viable woodlands (development) decreasing harvest on public land so my focus is on private non-industrial woodland owners in New England Remember: sustainability is a global issue as well. Sustainable harvests in New England can reduce unsustainable harvests elsewhere in the world.

6 Problems facing sustainable forestry in New England land parcelization: people cannot afford to maintain a “working forest” taxes: property, income, estate. Misvaluation of forest’s worth! forests essentially subsidize development money doesn’t grow on trees (timber is a low return investment) stumpage rarely beats inflation long time period (alternative returns are higher, and investors are not likely to enjoy the returns) low liquidity of timber low collaterability of land constant changes in capital gains treatment

7 Parcelization of land leads to fragmentation of purpose! smaller tracts are less economical to manage more costs for the logger (equipment transport etc.) acres is considered minimum size year 2000: 9.9 million nonindustrial private landowners, 94% own less than 100 acres, average = 24 acres! And it’s getting smaller (expected average in 2010 = 17 acres) new owners are often philosophically opposed to harvesting harder to manage large-scale needs smaller tracts produce less income and less steady income Parcelization threatens local and global sustainable forestry: local jobs are lost and timber needs are met elsewhere (over-harvested international supplies)

8 Jobs you say? Remember, sustainable forestry depends on the chicken logger. While there are some economic incentives to help landowners practice sustainable forestry (e.g. current- use, cost-sharing, increasing stand value, etc.), there is no incentive for the logger! The logger only stays in this marginal business by being competitive: leads to high grading, using the most economically efficient machinery, polluting with leaky equipment, ignoring effects on residuals... 10minutes The most “efficient machinery” is non labor intensive (less jobs). However, it is expensive (“servicing of debt” causing further short-term practices).

9 There are many potential “top down” solutions... tax reforms, environmental regulations, certifications, selective sales taxes, importation tariffs, subsidies, cost-sharing, land/development right buyouts... However, the increasing awareness of sustainable forestry issues presents the opportunity for “bottom up” solutions that could be longer lasting... As local timber harvesting must remain part of the strategy to maintain forest land and prevent global unsustainable resource use, lets start with creating alternatives to today’s problematic harvesting systems...

10 HORSE LOGGING: low impact at its best * less soil damage * narrower skid trails * less damage to residual trees * economically feasible on small lots * more appealing to new landowners * quiet * not fossil fuel dependent * low start-up cost * not “servicing debt” * labor intensive (= more jobs: 4 horse loggers can make a living off of the same amount of timber as 1 average conventional logger) * horse logger’s earning mostly stay in the community * non-polluting * less logger injury/ lower workman’s comp. rates * cost of maintaining a horse for one year is less than one new skidder tire

11 How to make it all happen: creating a market with landowner cooperatives Co-ops could perform many functions: * economies of scale for landowners -equipment sharing -access to foresters -coordinated large-scale mngmt. -marketing and trucking logs -draftwood premium * information networking -increasing stewardship ethic -increasing consumption awareness * value added possibilities -sawmill -wood shop * lobbying power for “top down” changes * create a market for horse loggers and other sustainable operators; impliment alternative forms of logger payment (providing sustainability incentives)

12 treat the illness, not the symptoms... Making sustainable forestry happen requires a paradigm shift from a linear and progressive conception of time to a cyclical understanding of our consumption and production, our future and our past. By thinking in “forest time” we can find that moving backward to old ways can lead us forward to a healthier future. To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. -William Blake can’tcha get the hoss to do it?


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