Peak Oil is likely to create simultaneous separate incentives for slower
and faster liquidation of forests.
An economic disruption caused by Peak Oil would probably reduce construction
projects, which would make lumber less needed and valuable.
However, economic disruptions would also create an incentive for those
who own forests to speed up their obliteration to generate cash flow.
This would exacerbate the current trends for clearcutting versus selective
forestry -- the practices that create the most short term return are those
dominant in the industry, while those that create more board-feet in the
long run are rarely practiced by corporate forestry.
In addition, cutting could accelerate if biofuels made from tiny trees
becomes widespread. Several generators have been built across the United
States that burn wood chips to create steam to generate electricity --
which create a market for trees too small to process into high-quality
boards. There are also technologies available for transforming tree farms
into liquid fuels for internal combustion engines, which pose severe threats
to forest integrity due to rapacious demands.
The environmental movement has largely ignored the environmental implications
of Peak Oil. Perhaps the most important question is what will we use the
rest of the oil for -- for solar panels or for battleships, for more overconsumption
or for relocalization of production? The answer determines the future
of the human race.
the greatest forest on Earth?
temperate rainforest - very rare globally
NW temperate rainforest - more biomass per acre than anywhere else on
The Northwest Coast Range forests are the most productive on the Earth
in terms of biomass per acre (in original old growth forests), with nearly
ten times the tonnage per acre of the Amazon. This incredible fecundity
has been largely reduced to monocultures of genetically identical trees
with synthetic nitrogen fertilizers (compensating for the degradation
of the soil from compaction by bulldozers, fellerbunchers and the reduction
in microbial and lichen diversity essential for forest moisture during
our dry summers).
lots of food - among best fed First Nations in North America in pre-Columbian
“Red River” - Idaho - for salmon density
the State of “fish grease”
www.publishing.pdx.edu/ooligan/ooligan.html -- Ooligan Press
Join us on the Ooligan Trail for an Oregon Tale --or vice versa. It
seems that a little fish may hold the key to the origin of the name
Oregon. The source of this theory is cited below, but here's the basic
One of the most valuable natural resources for the Native Americans
of the Pacific Northwest coast and its rivers is a smelt called, among
other things, the Ooligan. Extraordinarily high in oil, this fish is
also known as the Candlefish because it will burn when dried. The oil,
which is easily rendered, was a prized trade good. Not only is the oil
solid at room temperature (making transport easy), but it has an enormous
range of uses.
Trade in Ooligan oil had a very long history. The trails from the rendering
pits to the ready markets of the east were known as "grease trails."
Trade extended well beyond the Rockies.
It was in the course of trade that the change occurred in the pronunciation
of Ooligan. While the coast natives had an "L" in their language,
this sound was lacking among the Cree and others who traded for the
oil. But they had an "R," and that was the sound that replaced
the "L" in Ooligan, giving us Oorigan.
Europeans moving west across the continent first encountered this latter
pronunciation and associated it with a place far to the west where the
oil originated. Gradually, this usage became the name of a place, assuming
its current spelling of Oregon in the course history.
We like this story so much that we have named our publishing company
Ooligan Press. Like Native Americans with their little fish, we render
the freshest resources of our place and trade them with the world beyond.
We are located geographically and culturally at the beginning of the
Ooligan Trail and at the end of the Oregon Trail.
The research behind this story comes from Scott Byram and David Lewis
and challenges previous theories about the word Oregon. The two UO anthropology
doctoral degree students have their findings published in "Ourigan:
Wealth of the Northwest Coast," an article in the Summer 2001 issue
of the Oregon Historical Quarterly.
.... Byram and Lewis say "Ourigan" is a Cree Indian pronunciation
of "ooligan," a word used across the Northwest Coast for a
small, smelt-like fish whose oil, or grease, continues to be very important
to Indian people. In the 1700s a vast network of ooligan "grease
trails" stretched from Alaska to the Fraser River, even crossing
the northern Rockies. These trade pathways carried ooligan to many people
speaking many languages, which the researchers say resulted in at least
30 documented spellings and pronunciations of the word.
Lewis says that the ooligan-Oregon connection is fitting.
"The Indians of the Northwest were known for their great wealth,
and nutritious ooligan oil was one of their most valued trade goods,"
he says. "Some of the greatest potlatch ceremonies were ooligan
'grease feasts,' and ooligan also was a medicine. The Gitksan people
call ooligan 'ha la mootxw,' which means, 'for curing humanity'."
July 11, 2001
Oregon's origin: Two graduate students believe they have solved the mystery
behind the state's name
By GREG BOLT
TWO GRADUATE anthropology students following an Oregon Trail of their
own may have uncovered the answer to one of the greatest puzzles in
American geography - the origin of the word "Oregon."
In an article appearing this week in the Oregon Historical Society Quarterly,
Scott Byram and David Lewis suggest that the state's name stems from
the Indian trading word "ooligan," which described the smelt
that swarmed up Northwest coastal estuaries early each spring.
If they're right, it would toss out long-held theories that the word
stemmed from an early mapmaker's error or descended from French or Spanish
The fish were important because they could be rendered down to a gooey,
nutritious - and by many accounts, tasty - grease. The grease, which
also was used for everything from potlatch ceremonies to waterproofing
canoes, was valued by tribes as far inland as the Great Lakes area in
It was those tribes, most likely the Cree, which told early French and
British explorers and fur traders about the land west of the high mountains,
a land known to them as the home of the ooligan. ....
Their theory goes like this:
Ooligan was a valuable commodity along a trade route that stretched
from the Fraser River in what is now British Columbia over the Rocky
Mountains and down the Saskatchewan River into the central plains of
White explorers heard about the land of the ooligan, which contained
a great river, from Cree traders.
But the Cree language, like many others, pronounced words differently
from the tribes of the Northwest. And that pronunciation is what told
Lewis and Byram they were on the right trail.
"It seemed almost obvious to us because when you take the word
ooligan and say it in Cree, it comes out `oorigan' or `oonagan,' "
Byram said. "The `l' changes to an `r' or an `n,' depending on
the dialect. And the westernmost Cree use the `r' sound."
Habitat destruction: dams and logging
logging is running out
dams - drought / desertification making the habitat less useful
most of the original forest is long gone
1% of coast range, perhaps 10% of cascades - but those figures don’t
reflect the fragmentation and lesser size of the remaining forests
Blaming the Owl
One of the reasons Congress now seeks to "revise" the Endangered
Species Act is a claim that the listing of the Northern Spotted owl
resulted in devastating loses of wages and jobs in the Northwest timber
industry. Oregon's 2nd District Congressman Greg Walden is a cosponsor
-- and he should know better.
This claim is a deliberately created fiction. As the late sociologist
and New York Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once said famously, everyone
is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their
own facts. Consider:
Between 1979 and 1989, the Northwest Douglas fir region -- Western Oregon,
Western Washington and Northern California -- lost more than 25 percent
of its mills, more than 34 percent of its workforce and more than 20
percent of its wages.
Yet in 1989 alone, the remaining Northwest mills produced more lumber
and plywood than the entire industry had at any time since 1959 -- the
peak year of the post-World War II housing boom. The spotted owl injunctions
limiting logging in Northwest federal forests were not imposed until
the early 1990s -- after the major mill closures and job losses of the
Now, if the spotted owl was not responsible for the mill closures and
job losses of the 1980s, what was responsible?
In 1979 it took 4.5 workers to mill one million board feet of lumber.
By 1989 it took just two workers to mill the same one million board
Economists called it increased efficiency. Mill owners called it increased
productivity. Mill workers called it unemployment. Merchants in mill
towns called it bankruptcy.
Some experienced observers argue persuasively that the employment per
unit of output in the wood products industry has remained fairly stable
for the last 40 or 50 years. Increased employment in sales and distribution
of wood products replaced jobs lost in the woods and mills. But most
of the sales and distribution jobs are in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland
and Eugene. That is cold comfort in Roseburg, Powers, Coos Bay, Astoria
There was one other seminal event that closed many mills. The Northwest
ran out of the old-growth timber needed to maintain historic levels
of production and employment. By the mid-1980s private timber land owners
in the region had liquidated their old-growth holdings. Mills that depended
on federal timber expected to be able to do the same thing in the national
forests. But public opinion changed.
Public awareness of the environment and the connected nature of ecosystems,
begun by Rachel Carson's book "Silent Spring" in the early
1960s, raised questions about the apparent policy of turning the national
forests into national tree farms. The Clinton administration's Northwest
Forest Plan in the early 1990s limited the logging on the remaining
five percent remnant of the region's original old growth. That is the
remnant the Bush administration is struggling to return to the market
to pay back its campaign contributors.
It is a futile gesture.
Most of the region's remaining mills have now been adapted to processing
the smaller 60-year-old trees from privately owned second-growth forests
that currently dominate the timber supply. The real purpose of putting
more publicly subsidized federal timber on the market to drive down
the price of private timber, allowing marginal mills to stay in business
a little longer.
Trees are, of course, a renewable resource. But 400-year-old trees are
not renewable in our lifetimes. The Northwest timber industry spent
the last 50 years cutting 400-year-old trees with eight generations
of wealth in the wood. There was plenty of money to go around.
Now the region's timber industry is dependent on 60-year-old trees with
one generation of wealth in the wood. There is less money to go around.
That means more automation, fewer workers and lower wages. Not even
the Bush administration with its self-proclaimed pipeline to the Almighty
can bring back a sufficient supply of 400-year-old trees to restore
historic levels of production and employment.
The spotted owl is simply an indicator species. It's health -- or lack
of it-- tells us about the condition of the habitat it depends on. The
spotted owl was telling us that it was losing the same habitat the old-growth
dependent timber industry -- its mill workers, mill owners, their families
-- also depended upon. We didn't listen. We blamed the owl instead.
Only when the mills closed because nearly all the old growth had been
logged off did we realize the owl had been warning the humans who also
depended on the dwindling old growth forest.
There may be some reasons for revising the Endangered Species Act. The
spotted owl is not one of them.
Russell Sadler | February 27, 2005
Permalink: Blaming the Owl
Forest decline from clearcutting - monoculture
Every other civilization that has clearcut their forests has created
deserts and then collapsed. See "Collapse" by Jared Diamond
for an excellent history of this. Further clearcuts will only create more
The Register Guard noted that the spread of swiss needle cast through
the Coast Range is probably partially caused by industrial deforestry
clearcutting and replanting genetically identical monocultures. A good
forest manager would seek to maintain as much genetic diversity as possible
to insure against the probability of tree diseases. I would hope the experience
of the American chestnut in the Appalachians -- where an imported blight
wiped out “the Redwoods of the East” (and salvage logging
during the outbreak wiped out many of the resistant trees) -- would make
professional foresters concerned about the likelihood of similar tragedies
in this bioregion. www.registerguard.com/news/20000727/1a.swissneedle.0727.html
Charles Little’s book “The Dying of the Trees: The Pandemic
in America’s Forests”
In 1992, NASA conducted a comparison between the state of Rondonia in
the Amazon and the Mt. Hood National Forest, and determined through satellite
photography that Oregon is more deforested than Brazil.
Clearcutting and biocide spraying (especially from helicopters) are
unlikely to remain legal forever, especially as more urban and suburban
citizens witness for themselves the incredible rates of deforestation.
Alternatives of selection forestry exist and are successfully practiced
in many places, and are the compromise between environmentalists and the
timber industry, should the latter wish to conduct business using methods
intended to protect future generations of all species. Selective forestry
would also temper the industry’s proclivity for replacing genetically
diverse forests of many species with genetically identical monocultures
that risks the spread of tree diseases that ultimately could destroy both
forests and the regional economy.
the fate of American chestnuts, Dutch elm disease and the Irish potato
famine (caused in part by all of their potatoes deriving from one single
strain) before converting more diverse forests into monoculture.
It is an interesting experiment to see how many rotations this
ecosystem will tolerate before the soils are exhausted. It will also be
interesting to see if deforestation has different results on weather patterns
than similar deforestation in the Middle East a few millennia ago. If
those who favor selection forestry are wrong in our assumptions, the worst
outcome is that industrial forestry companies might make slightly less
money in the short run (although the experience of Collins Pines, which
uses selection forestry, makes that concern immaterial). If industrial
clearcutters are wrong, the consequences would probably be irreversible.Drought
and deforestation: clearcuts cause climate changeSome timber companies
anticipate climate change will kill forests that can be salvage logged
Lands: where the old growth is left and there are some laws
subsidies to clearcuts - to restoration
most of state, even in rural area, supports protecting last old growth
genetic libraries, rare species, climate stabilization, oxygen, water
supplies, model of what to restore to
Laws protecting federal forests are evaporating like drought stricken
Clinton forest plan - inadequate, but being gutted
survye and manage - no more
only forest protected with Wilderness designation during past decade
- Opal Creek - very small on the scale of the Cascades - Scenic Recreation
Area actually more interesting
Our air and water is being fouled by a few private timber corporations
who are spraying massive amounts of biocidal chemicals in Lane County
and the rest of Oregon. About half of Lane County is federal land, but
the US Forest Service and the US BLM stopped herbicide spraying in the
Numerous citizens have been poisoned by these sprayings, which have
caused severe health consequences.
Unfortunately, local governments are pre-empted under Oregon law regarding
regulations of these nuisances and health hazards. Timber companies are
allowed to clearcut at 2 am immediately next to peoples' homes, to spray
as much poison as they want, to cause as much destruction to their lands
as they want -- while we pay the price for their actions.
The Oregon Department of Forestry is grotesquely negligent in enforcing
the minimal level of law that does exist. I recommend looking at the new
clearcut created last summer on Bailey Hill, northwest of Twin Oaks Elementary
School, where the piddling requirement for "leave trees" was
completely ignored. Oregon’s countryside contains countless clearcuts
next to major roads where leave trees requirements are ignored and buffers
for creeks have been waived or ignored.
Efforts to claim that there will be a buffer zone are not believable given
the fact that ODF routinely allows timber companies to ignore buffer zones
for creeks when clearcutting -- something much easier to document than
helicopter spraying patterns.
The ODF does not provide easily accessible information on clearcuts and
herbicide spraying, refused to respond to a complaint I filed in 2000
about an illegal spray by Transition Inc, and is basically a bad joke.
post all information about clearcuts and herbicides on a website
require prior notification for all people living in the vicinity of any
clearcut and / or spray, since many people will want to know that a private
corporation is about to poison them (and may choose to evacuate themselves,
their families, their animals, etc. before being forced to breathe the
prohibit helicopter spraying (which is the most inefficient way to apply
enforce the meager requirements of the Forest Practices Act
work to transition Oregon's timber beasts into Selective Forestry
No herbicide without representation. Please act to prohibit the massive
involuntary poisoning of our air and water by a handful of timber barons
too greedy to practice selective forestry that does not need herbicides.
Most of Oregon’s timberlands are indigenous First Nations lands
supposedly protected by treaty.
Private Lands: where most of the logging -- and all of the spraying --
Private lands - where most of the logging is
Little trees - liquidation
cut and cut and cut - depleting forest soils
No enforcement of Oregon Forest Practices Act
Bailey Hill clearcut - behind Twin Oaks School
Highway 34 just west of Corvallis
other cuts in Lane County - no protection of creeks, little or no enforcement
ODF revolving door with industry
enabler of clearcuts, not protection of forests - in long run, forest
quality will continue to decline
easy to document how it is ignored
tree replaning is not effective at replacing forests - monoculture -
climate change - how many rotations?
industry poll - 50% plus do not support this
Forests That Work: An Analysis Dealing With the Problem of Investor-Driven
Corporate forestry businesses--operating under the pressure of investors--do
a poor job of growing high-quality wood, and sacrifice much productive
capacity. We believe that Corporate Forestry poorly serves the interests
of timber workers and rural communities for three reasons:
(a) Trees are cut too early, thereby losing up to 50% of the land's productive
capacity for saw timber. This loss of productive capacity has barely been
mentioned in the press and is never advertised by timberland owners. This
loss of production is the simple result of cutting before what foresters
call the Cumulation of Mean Annual Increment, or CMI.
(b) Logging costs increase per thousand board foot (mbf) with smaller
tree harvest, while revenue declines due to the historically lower sale
price of small logs. Add in the lost productivity of early cutting and
it is understandable why timber companies seek to reduce costs. For example,
when adjusted for inflation, the wages of timber worker fell by 38% between
1978 and 1994.
(c) Coast Range industrial forests have been reduced to less than 20%
of their natural size as measured in Scribner board foot volume. This
can cause problems for fish habitat and increase tree mortality due to
The exhibit's 140-year rotation model is based on aggressive commercial
thinning coupled with a final clear-cut harvest. In fact, the fully working
140-year model treats more acres per year than does a forestland owner
practicing a no-thin 38-year rotation. Community forestry is more than
a long-rotation harvest schedule; it will require new forms of non-governmental
forest ownership and public investment in forest capital. Some examples
of this kind of ownership are telephone cooperatives and the public utility
districts that deliver electric power. It is important that the reader
appreciate that we are not advocating government ownership.
The exhibit's arguments and analysis apply to those industrial owners
who practice short-rotation forestry. These are generally the corporate
owners of most private Coast Range forestland. Some industrial owners
who aren't driven by investors manage successfully to practice forestry
that is more beneficial to forests and communities.
Investor-driven forest owners use a rotation time based on maximizing
their short-term return on investment. This results in a great loss of
log product quality and quantity in order for outside investors to get
the quickest return on their money. Corporate cut-at-the-earliest-rotation
forestry is not in anyone's interest except the investors behind big industrial
Measure 37 and forestry
before 37 - not conversion of acreage zoned forest, but deforestation
after 37 - subdivisions in the clearcuts
Municipal Watersheds Need Protection for Clean Drinking Water
McKenzie watershed issues - public lands timber sales, private lands clearcuts
UGB and Clearcuts
much more valuable as rural real estate -
april 2001 forum - forest protection equals zoning - not true, but Measure
37 would invalidate even that
What city could do - protect drinking water
forestry consultant stand in the “buffer” zone that will supposedly
protect the seasonal creek and the property line.
Forest Jobs in decline: caused by automation and depletion
Economic impact of boom and bust - versus long term sustainability
Automation and depletion of old growth caused decline in timber industry
lumber vulnerable to outside economic pressures - rise and fall of housing
housing bubble bursting ...
third world economy (single cash crop) versus diverse economy
What a waste to defoliate and burn a substantial percentage of the forest!
oak - clearcuts
many women in third world countries walk for hours to gather enough firewood
to cook their meals
Forest Jobs for the future: value added products and restoring
Tree Farms to Forests
Very little “value added” products - virtually no furniture
production in the state with the highest number of board feet cut of any
fire - limbing up trees instead of subsidizing logging roads
LOTS of work to do in the forests
Industrial Hemp: a substitute crop for paper production
protecting forests, better for soils, much less pollution, no chlorine
bleaching, protect fish from water pollution and restored forests, protect
people from cancer (air and water pollution)
Selective Forestry makes more board feet in the long run
There are ways to slowly extract trees from forests without clearcutting
and without using poisons. Several sites in Lane County are great examples
of this -- unfortunately, few timber companies are interested.
much of the “growth” of new forests are board feet / volume
added to young trees that are commercially useless for decades to come
(except as plywood)
selective forestry - more board feet in the long run
Aprovecho, ForestCare, others
Long Rotation Forestry paper
resembles tree farm vs. forest
money system prevents this solution
Selection forestry is profitable in the long run.
a 200 acre forest in Lorane that has been managed with selective cutting
for 25 years. During this time, more board feet were removed than the
forest originally contained, and the forest now has three times the board
feet than in did in 1975. Since the canopy is not destroyed, the soils
are not exposed to the summer sun, more species of birds can survive in
the forest, erosion is minimal, and no chemicals need be sprayed to kill
scotch broom, Himalayan blackberries and thistles. They also do not generate
massive slash piles that are then burned.
“Forests that work: A proposal for a New Forestry” -- prepared
by the Coast Range Association
History of Wildflower Forest Volume -- an example of how selection forestry
increases timber stand volume in the Oregon Coast Range
doesn’t include timber corporations as a category
Carbon sequestration: the best use for remaining Northwest forests
Shifting to longer term rotations for logging would increase the land’s
potential for carbon sequestration.
the reports of Dr. Mark Harmon, an OSU professor whose research in the
Willamette National Forest shows how companies could benefit financially
from carbon credits in the Kyoto global warming treaty. The longer the
interval between cutting, the more carbon absorbed, and the higher value
of carbon credits per unit of forest land. (His research is part of a
large body of knowledge that disproves the idea that clearcutting older
forests and replanting with fast growing monocultures would have carbon
sequestration value -- in fact, clearcutting older forests sends out a
large pulse of carbon that the plantations can never recapture, even if
the trees cut are used for lumber.) Dr. Harmon conservatively estimates
that westside forests in Oregon and Washington could earn a half-billion
dollars per year in carbon credits for shifting to longer rotations, and
probably much more. The petroleum era will be mere history by the time
your parcel in this neighborhood qualifies for carbon sequestration credits.
Franken-trees on the horizon
Oregon State University is a world leader in genetic engineering of tree
City of Eugene and Lane County should ban genetic tampering of trees
very different than hybridization
Mendocino County banned genetic engineered food - important to protect
franken trees info ?
percy schmeiser issue re: franken trees - threat to small wood lot owners,
didn’t even know until a few decades ago about the role of microbes
in the Cascadian forest - franken trees is very arrogant - no “control”
ecosystem if they proliferate in the wild and are destructive
old growth - key for genetic reserve, natural processes, evolution at
work, water and air and wildlife
genetic grass -
Zoning, Growth Boundaries and Foresty
ugb does not protect land from deforestation - zoning is not the only
problem (or even the main problem)
Selective and Sustainable Forestry
Oregon Forest Practices Act has been abandoned
conversion of timber industries to ecoforestry, social forestry (climate
change, water, plywood, selective forestry)
- mckenzie - water for eugene - public
re-allocate timber subsidies for thinning tree farms, restore watersheds,
eroding logging roads, undo damage of clearcuts
- private forestry - selective
crib from James Johnston’s comments for Jan Spencer
hydro impacts of clearcuts - grain / deforestation and desertification
development of alternative sources of pulp, annual plants
hydrologic cycle - inland (montana research)
northern Rockies / great plains / grain production
water - blue gold
from old growth to plywood - a Third World extraction economy
smaller and smaller logs
baby trees glued together
third world economy - furniture - raw logs
peak oil and logging - more cutting for quick cash,
but transport will be more difficult, and a global economic depression
triggered by escalating energy costs will probably diminish construction.
pressure for faster cuts for cash flow
reduction in demand / housing bubble / economic crash slowing construction