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Hobbit activism
December 10, 2003 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Project Last Stand, a forest conservation group, has a new spokesman, and he's a hobbit. Monaghan also works with the group Future Forests, and is officially CarbonNeutral. He seems to have taken the warning of the trees to heart. I guess working with an animatronic ent has an effect on a person.
posted by homunculus (19 comments total)

 
In other forest preservation news: Canada acts to protect 1.3 billion acres of forest.
posted by homunculus at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2003


"PC enter" vs "MAC enter" on the first link. Very odd.

And in a feeble attempt to stay on topic, this story on npr this morning covered a guy who hunted for and measured really big trees. Interesting story, but a really odd job.
posted by Flat Feet Pete at 2:38 PM on December 10, 2003


i read in premiere that monaghan's had the toughest time of any of the hobbit players finding post-lotr acting gigs.
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:55 PM on December 10, 2003


And in yet more forestry news, the National Forest Service is attempting to push through 'salvage logging' on a 500,000 acre portion of the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area here in Oregon. This promises to be the largest single sale of public lands lumber in US history, and it is basically a fly-by-night operation, keeping the public comments period to the shortest allowed by law (45 days, and right around the holiday season, no less), and using a temporary suspension of the national Roadless Area Conservation Act to give the legal cover for proposing the sale. As the ONRC link above states, the Act was suspended by the courts for not allowing enough time for public comment, in a case where four months were given.

That's what I'm working on right now... If you're in Oregon, I urge you to get involved, even if it is just by giving Wyden a call and telling him the public comment period needs to be extended. And if you're in the U.S., and didn't know that Smokey the Bear is clearcutting the national forests at taxpayer expense for corporate profit, I urge you to learn a bit more about the issue, and lodge a complaint with the Forest Service.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:56 PM on December 10, 2003


kaibutsu, I don't know enough about Siskiyou but the fires in southern CA this season show allowing forests to grow without any management (cutting of trees) is bad policy. Even in natural state fires are normal to thin the herd and keep the rest healthy. Instead we end up with vast tinderboxes that go up in a firestorm and destroy the forest entirely. Is the NFS really trying to clear-cut, as in cut every last tree down? Do they have any plan for replanting? In my travels across Oregon recently I saw a lot of well managed forests (replanted trees) and I saw some along Rt.1 that I spoke with a landowner who told me they were fireboxes and full of bugs and disease because no one was allowed to take out the wood. They sure look pretty driving along Rt. 1 though, and you can be sure it would be political suicide for anyone to let that landowner do what he knows is best for the forest.
posted by stbalbach at 3:17 PM on December 10, 2003


kaibutsu, I don't know enough about Siskiyou but the fires in southern CA this season show allowing forests to grow without any management (cutting of trees) is bad policy. Even in natural state fires are normal to thin the herd and keep the rest healthy.

Am I the only one who sees the contradiction in these statements?

Not cutting trees and having fire == bad.

Fires are normal == good.

Hmmm. I realize that we have created this fire mess by too many years of fire supression. But stating as fact that logging is the only way to control fire is just, well ... corporate bullshit.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:43 PM on December 10, 2003


no contradication, just subtlety. There are good and bad fires. The good ones are part of the natural ecology of the forest, clearing out choking undergrowth, keeping the carbon cycle cycling, and in some species of trees, actually enabling reproduction. Most of southern Cali is a fire-based ecology. The bad ones take the entire forest out and are symptomatic of ecology thrown out of balance.
posted by badstone at 3:55 PM on December 10, 2003


Quick intro to fire ecology
posted by badstone at 3:58 PM on December 10, 2003


Some deforestation can be a good thing: Farming And Forest Destruction Prevented Ice Age 5000 Years Ago.
posted by homunculus at 4:05 PM on December 10, 2003


badstone, that is an excellent primer. I am, however, more than passingly familiar with fire ecology. And it is the subtilty of which you speak I find the most dangerous. I feel it necessary to restate: Fire in fire based ecosystems is good, but we must log those ecosystems to prevent fires (a contradiction) is precisely the kind of thinking that leads to scenarios as described by kaibutsu's links above.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:16 PM on December 10, 2003


Monaghan is an active environmentalist, enjoys the outdoors, monkeys and football.

I'm guessing this means he also lurks at 9622.net.
posted by DaShiv at 4:29 PM on December 10, 2003


kaibutsu, I don't know enough about Siskiyou but the fires in southern CA this season show allowing forests to grow without any management (cutting of trees) is bad policy

Now, I hear where you're coming from, but most of these highly-logical arguments have very little basis in fact.

The evidence is that, without a doubt, virgin forest takes care of itself when fire comes through. In the case of the Biscuit Fire, the parts that burned black and need cleaning-up ('salvaging') are all places that were salvage logged back in the 80's. These were young, dense stands that go up like matchsticks, since they don't have the older trees interspersed among them to slow down the spread of the fire. Through the rest (the great majority) of the Biscuit Fire area, the fire damage was light to medium, with the forest canopy still intact through most of the region. We also got to observe certain natural fire-response cycles: Trees with dead leaves and spines dropping these onto the forest floor to provide a new layer of mulch over burnt soil. (Compare to the helicopters flying at thousands of dollars of taxpayer expense to drop bales of hay on previously cut regions.)

What we're seeing with the Biscuit Fire is a case where there's a bit of land that was previously clear cut and burned like all hell, and then a huge stretch of land that is doing just fine, and growing back at an amazing rate, just a year after the fire. The fire acts as forest management, getting rid of some young trees, and keeping the canopy intact to keep the trees from growing back too dense. The photos you tend to see are of the ravaged land, though, and they're being used as evidence that this land isn't good for anything but clear cutting at this point. And it's bullshit. The proposal is essentially going to clear cut a huge swath of 'profitable,' previously untouched land and give lipservice to cleaning up a mess started twenty years ago. This is 30 BILLION board feet we're talking about, being rammed through the legal system at a breakneck pace. This is pure profiteering.

Yes, it's true that in previously clear-cut lands we need to cut to manage the forest. Clearcuts, for a variety of reasons, promote massive fires like the ones in California, and also promote bug infestations. I'm a big fan of sustainable forestry practices on previously forested lands, and letting the SMALL landowner do what he thinks is best for his land. There are hundreds of timber sales that we don't even touch on exactly that principle. But what we DO have a problem with is multinationals like Weyerhauser pretending to have the best interest of the land in mind, when in fact, all they know about the land is that they (or the Forest Service) have a deed and a right to cut all the lumber on it and ship it off to SE Asia. We have a problem with such companies secretly backing things like the Healthy Forest Commission, poisoning the public opinion with a flood of oversimplifications, if not outright lies, and taking advantage of the public lands and taxpayer dollars to line their own pockets further.

Meanwhile, we have to protect our virgin forest at all costs because there isn't a whole lot of it left, and once it's gone, you can bet we'll regret it.

If you live in Oregon, and think that this IS a debate, even if you can't side with me, but think I might have at least some valid points here, I suggest you get in contact with your representatives and get them to extend the public comments period on the Siskiyou project. This is something that needs to be heavily thought out, rather than just flown by with no consideration.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:32 PM on December 10, 2003


Monaghan is an active environmentalist, enjoys the outdoors, monkeys and football.

I'm guessing this means he also lurks at 9622.net.


Or MonkeyFilter.
posted by homunculus at 4:37 PM on December 10, 2003


wulfgar - yes i completely agree. they try to argue that by "thinning" they can emulate the effects a fire would achieve, but the ecology is waaaaay more involved then that. in leieu of the natural ecology that we've disrupted, i'm for controlled burns, managed by foresters and not corporations. (and fuck wood for basic construction, we have enough plastic lying around. and bamboo like crazy!)
posted by badstone at 5:14 PM on December 10, 2003


bamboo *grows* like crazy...
posted by badstone at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2003


Meanwhile, we have to protect our virgin forest at all costs.

On this there is no debate. It's interesting on the East Coast we don't have these problems as much -- big forest fires and Old Growth conservation. For the most part anything that is Old Growth is protected, big fires are rare due to the climate. Our problems are disease and pollution killing the forests. On the plus side we have more forest now then we did 100 years ago due to farms moving west and the land reclaimed by the forest. But seeing mountains of white skeletons killed by acid rain is very depressing as the solutions are not so 'clear cut' and they just don't grow back.
posted by stbalbach at 5:51 PM on December 10, 2003


Another carbon/global warming political group:

WWW.CARBONCOALITION.ORG

They are NH-based and are trying to make global warming a national issue.
posted by crazy finger at 9:04 PM on December 10, 2003


Liquidation of the Commons
posted by homunculus at 1:17 AM on December 11, 2003


"The removal of large, merchantable trees from forests does not reduce fire risk and may, in fact, increase such risk." (Dept. of Agriculture and Dept. of Interior, Report to the President [September 2000]).

More in-depth and (I think) clearer info on forests and fire from the Cascadia Forest Alliance.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:47 AM on December 11, 2003


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