Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Powered Forestry International › Silviculture for Sustainability › Goverment Funded Silviculture?
- September 28, 2011 at 12:42 am #43071BaystatetomParticipant
Okay lets hear what everybody thinks about the government funding silviculture. I have worked substantially off grant funding for several years now. NRCS pays for: invasive plant control, TSI, boundary location, site prep etc. The state run Forest Stewardship Program pays landowners to get a 10 year forest management plan. So far I can’t complain much, a pretty big portion of my income has come from these programs, but it still seams a little off that the government should be paying for what a landowner should do on there own anyway. On the other hand I would rather this type of friendly persuasion then have legislation that forces landowners to do it. A group of foresters in Massachusetts is trying to pass legislation that would outlaw high grading. That sounds fine at first but think about how it is you can define a high grade and then go out in the woods and decide that this harvest is a high grade verses this other job over here is a selection harvest. Also think about the state employees that will have to make these decisions and enforce them.
I am a very middle of the road kind of guy. I often can see both sides of an issue and agree with half of what either party has to say. What do you all think? Should the government state or federal encourage silviculture through tax payer funded grants, should legislation demand long term forestry and stop income based harvesting, or should the government stay out of it all together?
Consulting ForesterSeptember 28, 2011 at 2:04 am #69361mitchmaineParticipant
we had a system of regional state foresters here in maine. funding for the program ended in the early 80’s, but for a long while before that date, a landowner could get a professional forester to mark their woodlot, at no personal cost to them. loggers, myself included, could always contact a forester and get woodlots to cut. the forester was the go-between, acting as the landowners agent, dealing with tally and stumpage and so-on. their salarys were paid from state funds. when a woodlot came up with some good wood on it, several woodcutters would bid on the lot, but there were always marginal woodlots that you could get without too much competition.
local pulp mills with their own land hired their own foresters to manage their own lands with a bias to procurring pulpwood. pallet and borderline logs were always marked for pulp. seemed like a good system at the time. no quotas. strong demand for wood. no insurance or bonds nessecary. all you needed was a saw.
the first time i ever heard the term forest management plan was when the state was trying to stiffen up the tree growth tax law. the plan forced landowners using the tax break to actually cut their woodlots. although if i remember correctly, the new law required you to get the management plan, but couldn’t actually force you to implement it.
usually when the state gets involved in an industry, logging fishing and or farming, it seems to come with some new restriction or fee or something, but i think that the state foresters here in maine in the sixtys and seventies was a pretty good deal for both sides and kept us busy.
mitchSeptember 29, 2011 at 10:54 am #69364Ethan TapperParticipant
I guess this gets back at that tricky thing about forests—What makes them healthy, what makes a harvest sustainable, how we should manage them, what we should actually be aiming for in forestry and logging, are a pretty subjective idea. I like the idea, like Mitch was saying, about the livelihood of the forester being dependent on the state, not the landowner, not the logger. In that scenario it seems like there might be less pressure on that forester to mark wood in any other way than he thought was right.
On the other hand, I’ve seen and heard about a lot of examples of government entities, like the U.S. Forest Service, doing a pretty poor job of management (in a bunch of different ways). I’m know there’s good work being done there, too, but I’m sure that with if you asked ten loggers about their interactions with state and county foresters, you’d get ten different answers, because all those guys are different , and see the forest and their role in it a little differently, too.
Sure, I’d like to see some things (related to forestry and logging) regulated by the government but its that darn question again –“What is the ‘right’ way to be in there, and how do we know”. Best answer I have for myself right now is what feels right to me, but the government doesn’t like that answer, I don’t think.
I’d like to hear more about that Mass highgrading law…September 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm #69363BaystatetomParticipant
Mass had the same system Mitchmaine was talking about but the state foresters job went from providing forestry services to enforcing harvesting laws. Not sure why, it all happened before I started in the industry.
As far as the proposed changes to our harvesting laws I hate to even think about it, it makes my blood boil. Basically unless you are already familiar with our harvesting laws its way to much to explain, except to say we already have the most restrictive harvesting laws in the country.
As a forester I still think most bad harvesting is the fault of the landowner. Sure some old ladies get taken advantage of and some loggers and foresters are just plain bad at what they do, but most often the landowner is the one saying “show me the money.” Luckily I have enough work close to home I don’t have to take those jobs anymore, but their is always somebody else happy to get the call. My question is should the government turn a blind eye, or encourage better management through grants, or pass laws and regulations that force landowners to practice long term management.October 5, 2011 at 11:08 am #69365Ethan TapperParticipant
I definitely think that there should be more incentive programs out there… Ecosystem service accounting, carbon sequestration accounting, incentives for those who are motivated by $$ to manage their forest in a gentler way. WHIP and EQUIP (sp?) seem like they can be a pretty good idea, from the people I’ve talked to who have been involved with them.
I know that I differ from some forestry folks in this, but I think we need to reassess clearcutting (and heavy harvesting) laws too. In Vermont anybody with a saw can go out at clear 40 acres, no permit, nothing. To me that’s a hell of a big area for anybody to cut in that way just because they want to. Part of the solution to this is regulation, but I think another part of it is changing our beaurocracy so that ordinary folks don’t shy away from getting a permit. If dealing with state and local governments was easy, we might be able to require permits for forest practices and in that way manage forests more holistically over the state and local scale.October 6, 2011 at 2:01 pm #69362dlskidmoreParticipant
@mitchmaine 29220 wrote:
usually when the state gets involved in an industry, logging fishing and or farming, it seems to come with some new restriction or fee or something,
It’s nearly impossible to get government involved without making it a hassle for somebody who was trying to do the right thing.
I’m for incentives over regulation or handouts you do nothing for, but the money for funding incentives is a bit short at the moment, so I probably wouldn’t vote for any until the economy bounces back. If folks were taking care of their forests all along, they’d be able to pull out some good wood in a bad year to balance the books without terribly impacting the long term health of the forest.
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