Skip

Baseball player plans to start a forest.
October 24, 2001 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Baseball player plans to start a forest. Stan Javier, of the Seattle Mariners, is retiring after this year. He and two contributors plan to spend $31 million dollars toward a forest of mahogany and teak trees to take up between 15,000 and 20,000 acres by the year 2003. They plan to harvest the trees for lumber, but the article suggests that the trees would be as crops much like a farmer harvests wheat and then replants. The potential for this idea gives me a feeling as warm and fuzzy as a marmoset.
posted by moz (24 comments total)

 
and weeeeeeee!!!
posted by nprigoda at 11:50 AM on October 24, 2001


Those M's might choke in a clinch, but a lot of 'em are purdy nice guys.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:10 PM on October 24, 2001


Leave the Mariners alone. Sure, we in Seattle are ashamed of them for being the best team in the history of baseball and still losing to the frigging Yankees, but we love them anyway. Because we're still in denial, and it's so very, very cold and rainy.
posted by Hildago at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2001


(by the way, they are not the best team in baseball history: that would be the 1906 Chicago Cubs.)
posted by moz at 12:34 PM on October 24, 2001


I used to be a huge sports maniac (including collecting baseball, football, and basketball cards) when I was younger, but as I got older, I just got burned out on everyting. Overpaid, whining players who are constantly talking shite or seeing who can sign the biggest endorsement deal.

It's nice to read stories like this once in awhile and be reminded that there are some players who are quietly using their money and name to do something worthwhile.
posted by almostcool at 12:36 PM on October 24, 2001


i agree that its great that they're creating these jobs, but in what way is this idea new? tree farms have existed for a loooong time. among other things, its where paper and xmas trees come.
posted by badstone at 12:38 PM on October 24, 2001


"We did some research and found that if we keep cutting trees and not planting them, we're going to run out of forest," Javier said.

Impressive stuff.
posted by ceiriog at 12:46 PM on October 24, 2001


My eternal gratitude for needlessly and gratuitously including monkey content.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:48 PM on October 24, 2001


Tree farms and plantations are not a new idea. And, in fact, the name "farm" shows how close the activity and results are to traditional farming. In a tree farm, you plant only those species that will bring you money. You don't have to work around other species that just get in the way. The monoculture of a tree farm als means that fewer animals survive in them. And the soil is depleated quickly because the stuff that comes out of the soil to make the trees doesn't return to the soil after they are cut down - this is why traditional farmers rotate their crops. You can also experiment with genetic engineering to create trees that grow faster and straighter. What you end up with is something that resembles a field of alfalfa more than a forest. A tree farm does not a forest make.

Now, if I heard that he was buying up a section of natural forest to preserve it, that would be something.
posted by dithered at 12:54 PM on October 24, 2001


dithered:

eh. south american topsoil is shit to begin with, and it always has been. (what's truly ironic and horrible is how south americans burn tropical forests to create farmland, which has about enough nutrients for one year.) the soil is just too thin.

also, if you read the link, the trees will not be monocultural, but bicultural: mahogany and teak. perhaps, after giving some thought (it seems, if you read the article, that javier has indeed given a lot of thought to the project), other tree species may be planted to boost the ecosystem.
posted by moz at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2001


Now, if I heard that he was buying up a section of natural forest to preserve it, that would be something.

In a way, he's doing something better than just "buying up a section of land." By providing an alternative source of wood to threatened natural forests, these people are helping those whose passion and job it is to preserve those forests. Instead of telling paper companies, et al, that they shouldn't cut down forests out of altruistic reasons (which don't mean much to capitalist companies), environmentalists can point to tree farms like this and say, "Go get your wood from there, or develop your own wood supplies like them, just don't cut down this forest for (insert altruistic reasons here)."

I don't know enough about it: are large tree farms like Javier is proposing common? I mean LARGE farms that require multi-million-dollar investments? My assumption is that what makes this story so compelling is that this man who has made millions of dollars playing a game could take his money and buy sports bars or whatever, but instead is developing something with very few negitive side effects. (And he'll make some money out of it, too.)
posted by arco at 1:42 PM on October 24, 2001


Okay, first off, I want to apologize for my first comment in this thread. I thought it was going to be the one that got deleted, not the original one.
Now, back on topic. I think this is a great idea, not least of all because of the new diversity of jobs that it will bring to the area. Also, these tree farms have the potential to be great study sites for ecologists and other academics, which could lead to improved schooling, etc.
It's really great, because he made his money, and is taking it back to his home country to help people and the environment out.
Good job!
posted by nprigoda at 1:53 PM on October 24, 2001


It's really great, because he made his money, and is taking it back to his home country to help people and the environment out

how is he helping the environment out? and why is this being painted as some great humanitarian gesture? he's making a business investment. he's going to make millions off of it. the only story here, is that he's investing money in his country.
posted by badstone at 2:08 PM on October 24, 2001


Leave the Mariners alone.

Was this directed at me? Dude, I have Game Six tickets sitting on my desk right here in front of me -- I'm as big a M's fan as there be. I still pine for Joey Cora, fer crissakes. In other words, my post was not sarcastic (a) I really do think they tend to choke under pressure, and (b) I really do think they are a bunch of pretty good fellas (Al Martin excepted).
posted by Shadowkeeper at 2:13 PM on October 24, 2001


how is he helping the environment out?

The farm could save real forests elsewhere by increasing available supply.
posted by stbalbach at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2001


What we need is not more teak trees for lumber. What we need is less people who think they need teak lawn furniture, teak coffee tables, teak CD racks, teak...

Resource-based industries like this rarely help the local people. A few will get jobs while the water becomes polluted, illiteracy remains high, poverty is unabated and they lose the resource that could have provided them some true benefit.

moz:
South American soil isn't exactly shit. If you want to grow the same thing over and over again, it is shit. All soils can't put up with that forever. When you plant a single crop, the plants quickly extract the nutrients they need from the soil leaving those that they don't behind. The soil is still ok for other plants that have different needs. Which is why it's good for rain forests - lots of different types of plants with different needs. But not for farming in. Not for growing cows.

And two species is as close to monocultured as makes no difference. A healthy forest will have dozens of tree species. Of various ages and heights. Walk through a mature tree farm and you are walking in a dark desert with no understory, no shrubs, no plants. Even the sub-systems that are needed to break-down the fallen branches and leaf litter can't grow efficiently.
posted by dithered at 3:45 PM on October 24, 2001


moz south americans burn tropical forests & dithered South American soil isn't exactly shit.

South America extends a little bit beyond the amazonian rain forests. And no, we don't all eat tacos.

nprigoda actually, I agreed with your first post
posted by signal at 3:55 PM on October 24, 2001


Am I missing something here? The article said the farm was going to be in the Dominican Republic. Why is everybody talking about South America and the Amason rain forests?
posted by jnthnjng at 4:24 PM on October 24, 2001


Shadowkeeper - Wasn't particularly addressed to anybody, just needed a way to segue into a rant about the Mariners. (smiley face)
posted by Hildago at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2001


btw. moz. It's called 'slash and burn agriculture' and, at least according to my (recently) former a-level geography teacher is an excellent way for a low population density, semi-migrationary indiginious people to peacefully coexist with the rainforest.

The problem comes when you have too many people (so the forest doesn't have long enough to recover) or when the people don't move on (so the nutruients become exhausted).

Also, since they've been doing this for so long it is actually vital for the biodiversity of the rainforest for this to be done, so first growth and other low order species can colonise the area.

However, when the forest it burned to make way for cattle pasture that is a bad thing.
posted by nedrichards at 4:45 PM on October 24, 2001


Cattle pastures contracted out to McDonalds et all.
posted by slappy at 5:30 PM on October 24, 2001


just a quick correction to my above post. Er, that's really bad spelling and grammer. Sorry (the forrest, it burned indeed....).

And of course yes slappy, thats how all those good tasting burgers get here!
posted by nedrichards at 2:13 AM on October 25, 2001


> (by the way, they are not the best team in baseball
> history: that would be the 1906 Chicago Cubs.)

How could you go wrong with Three Finger Brown and Jack Pfiester working the mound?
posted by pracowity at 4:26 AM on October 25, 2001


The farm could save real forests elsewhere by increasing available supply

i doubt the lumber industry would say 'Hey, we don't need those trees. We've got the trees in the tree farm to make up the difference!'

they'll take the farmed trees, and the forest trees while their at it. anyone seen the price of paper lately?
posted by tolkhan at 7:30 AM on October 25, 2001


« Older It's getting worse   |   There's something unsettling Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post