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The Spotted Owl Fiasco
www.maninnature.com ^ | April 24, 2003 | Teresa Platt

Posted on 04/28/2003 2:05:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe

Hindsight is 20/20, they say, and sometimes we can get mad enough to see spots. The spotted owl fiasco being a case in point.

In February 2003, after completing a 12-month review as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the California spotted owl, a native bird found in forests of the Sierra Nevada, the central coast range, and major mountain ranges of southern California, doesn't warrant ANY protection under the ESA.(1)

The Service concluded, based on the best scientific and commercial information available, that the overall magnitude of current threats to the California spotted owl does not rise to a level requiring Federal protection. The California spotted owl still occurs throughout all or most of its historical range, with approximately 2,200 sites or territories in the Sierra Nevada and southern California where spotted owls have been recently observed.

Due to overregulation which virtually stopped logging in Pacific forests, regulations which the Service now claim were never needed to "save" the spotted owl, forest fires are soaring (see chart). What isn't logged by humans is now burned by Mother Nature. Amazingly, all these fires appear to have not bothered the birds one bit. They simply flew away when threatened, begging the question: If all this fire didn't burn the birds out, why was logging considered such a dire threat?

The Sacramento Bee reported California timber harvest levels slashed by over half over ten years resulting in 70 percent of California's wood fiber now being imported. Timber mills operating in the West plummeted and thousands of families lost their source of income.

The only corporations that actually made out like bandits on the spotted owl fiasco were those in the conflict industry. They produced a steady stream of propaganda which resulted in record profits, on which, of course, they paid zero corporate taxes because their work was considered "charitable" and "for public benefit."

Was this nightmare necessary to "save" the spotted owl? In hindsight? No. If this spotted owl fiasco isn't enough to make you see spots, we don't know what is.

NOTES:

(1) See "California Spotted Owl Doesn't Require ESA Protection, Wildlife Service Concludes," US Fish & Wildlife Service news release, Feb. 10, 2003.

See also: Fur Commission USA Press Kit Special Feature : Regulating the Conflict Industry.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: enviralists; environment; esa; forest; spottedowl

1 posted on 04/28/2003 2:05:57 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe; marsh2; dixiechick2000; Helen; Mama_Bear; poet; doug from upland; WolfsView; ...
Pinging the old Klamath list.
2 posted on 04/28/2003 2:27:40 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Spotted Owl fraud bump.
3 posted on 04/28/2003 2:28:09 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Commerce Clause bump.
4 posted on 04/28/2003 2:29:18 PM PDT by tacticalogic (Controlled application of force is the sincerest form of communication.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
This probably won't make me popular, but I hate to see logging in ancient, first-growth forests. It takes 500 years for a Douglas fir to reach maturity, and maybe 1,500 years for a Northwest rain forest to recover to its original condition. At some point we should end the cutting of first-growth or aboriginal forest and turn to tree harvesting in second-growth forests that have already been cut in the past.

Sure, the spotted owl business was an abuse of the laws. But I hope they reach some sort of sensible balance. There are now very few first-growth forests left anywhere in the country except out west and in Alaska. Let's keep at least some of them.
5 posted on 04/28/2003 2:35:03 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero
This probably won't make me popular, but I hate to see logging in ancient, first-growth forests. It takes 500 years for a Douglas fir to reach maturity, and maybe 1,500 years for a Northwest rain forest to recover to its original condition. At some point we should end the cutting of first-growth or aboriginal forest and turn to tree harvesting in second-growth forests that have already been cut in the past.

You're correct. Fortunately, almost all forest in the lower 48 has already been cut at least once... finding aboriginal forest in the USA is a fairly daunting task. Here in the Southeast, the majority of large contiguous wooded tracts actually belong to timber companies, and if there was no demand for lumber, fiber, or pulp, some other crop would be grown on the land and there would be no "forest" there at all.

6 posted on 04/28/2003 2:39:26 PM PDT by Oberon (Oh, the huge manatee!)
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To: farmfriend
BTTT!!!!!
7 posted on 04/28/2003 2:43:55 PM PDT by E.G.C.
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Anti-people, treespiking, dirteating, manipulating Earth First bump.
8 posted on 04/28/2003 2:47:29 PM PDT by Scothia (If you pray for rain, prepare to deal with some mud.)
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To: Cicero
Also keep in mind that many private land owners that have logged thier own land for years were ordered to stop. Just amagin, your grandfather planted a bunch of trees so your family could harvest them, only to have the Govt say you can't.
9 posted on 04/28/2003 2:49:45 PM PDT by Howeln
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To: Oberon
Hey you guys are lucky, at least the land is in individuals hands and not the government(capitalism). Here in Alaska less than 1/2 of 1% of the land is privately owned(socialism) and the rest of the country(enviro-freaks) thinks they can tell us mwhat we can and can't do with the land in this great state.
10 posted on 04/28/2003 2:54:08 PM PDT by vpintheak (Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain!)
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To: Howeln
You caint find common reason with tree huggers.
11 posted on 04/28/2003 2:55:28 PM PDT by cksharks
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To: *Enviralists
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
12 posted on 04/28/2003 3:03:24 PM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Cicero
Yeah. Keep them there virgin forests virgin.

After they are burned clear of everything in the next forest fire and are nothign but stumps, can we still walk through the residue of what used to be living trees? (Granted a few acres of redwoods don't usually burn, but everything else does....)

Usually, the enviro's prevent anybody from getting into "their" forests.
13 posted on 04/28/2003 3:04:51 PM PDT by Robert A. Cook, PE (I support FR monthly; and ABBCNNBCBS (continue to) Lie!)
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To: Cicero
At some point we should end the cutting of first-growth or aboriginal forest and turn to tree harvesting in second-growth forests that have already been cut in the past.

That's pretty much the case now anyway. But rather than being confined to just that (which would easily sustain the undustry) the enviralists will keep pushing for absolutely no logging.

14 posted on 04/28/2003 3:06:36 PM PDT by EBUCK (FIRE!....rounds downrange! http://www.azfire.org)
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To: Tailgunner Joe; forester; BagCamAddict
The only corporations that actually made out like bandits on the spotted owl fiasco were those in the conflict industry. They produced a steady stream of propaganda which resulted in record profits, on which, of course, they paid zero corporate taxes because their work was considered "charitable" and "for public benefit."

Weeell maybe not quite. Those raping forests outside the country without regulatory constraint are doing very well thank you. Not only that, but as I understand it, Sierra Pacific now has a virtual lock on interior California sawmills (which is the power to play preferential games to force out landowners). Simpson is looking pretty good too. This whole spotted owl/marbeled murrelet fiasco may just have worked to "consolidate" the industry quite nicely for purposes of attractive margins, takeover, and corruption, effectively destroying the independents and small landowners and empowering the global corporations to control fat margins exactly as one would expect out of the fascists in the Slave Party.

We'll see!

15 posted on 04/28/2003 3:37:07 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The environment is too complex and too important to be managed by politics.)
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To: Cicero
The difference is common sense - the enviro-wack-jobs use absolutely zero common sense, but sometimes the business world also lacks common sense - often totally destroying a resource for a short and quick profit.

The point of the article was to show that the whole "spotted owl" fiasco was a giant fraud perpetrated by enviro-nuts and their supporters as well as idiots in the Federal Government.

I wonder if there is any recourse - I would love to see some of those people who lost their livelihood file a huge class-action suit against those responsible for listing the spotted owl in the first place.
16 posted on 04/28/2003 4:24:00 PM PDT by TheBattman (Kid Control, not Gun Control)
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To: Cicero
At some point we should end the cutting of first-growth or aboriginal forest and turn to tree harvesting in second-growth forests that have already been cut in the past.

Do you have a source by which we could judge the relevance of this statement?

17 posted on 04/28/2003 4:31:55 PM PDT by nygoose
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To: Cicero
This probably won't make me popular, but I hate to see logging in ancient, first-growth forests. It takes 500 years for a Douglas fir to reach maturity, and maybe 1,500 years for a Northwest rain forest to recover to its original condition. [..] There are now very few first-growth forests left anywhere in the country except out west and in Alaska. Let's keep at least some of them.

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I honestly think that there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way these issues are usually looked at.

I'll take your word for it about the time frames involved for certain trees to mature, and to put a certain type of forest into an "original" condition (meaning, I assume, pre-human - although maybe it just means pre-European; it's not clear that the Native Americans didn't do a lot of environmental adjustment themselves. Also, wilderness isn't static; it changes, with or without humans. There may be no such thing as "original" condition, there's just: its condition 100 years ago, its condition 1000 years ago, and so on).

My problem is that you veer a little too close to presenting such things as a forest being in its "original" condition as Good Things in and of themselves.

Putting a forest into its "original" condition merely for the sake of having a forest in its "original" condition does not necessarily interest me and is not the job of government per se. If it's good for a forest to be in its "original" (pre-human) condition, and government action is called for, it's good for some reasons - because of some value or use we may have for it to be in that state. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about only money here: that "value" may, indeed, be nothing more than "beauty": maybe it's good for certain forests to be in their "original" condition because they are beautiful that way, and we enjoy (and should have continued access to, and want our children to have continued access to) that beauty. Others may mention the potential for a mature forest to develop some new kinds of plants or critters we may find useful down the road, and that's a valid point too (or at least it could be, as far as I know).

But on the other hand, once you start stating explicit benefits, there are tradeoffs involved. Sure we value the beauty of an uncut forest, but what if it burns down? What if there are critters or bugs breeding in there, which are harmful to us? What about general diminishing returns principles: just how many "original" condition forests do we need to create before enough is enough?

What bothers me is that the reasons we're supposed to accept these government restrictions, then, are too often unstated, and as a result, unexamined - and unweighed against other factors. It is assumed that having Mature Douglas Firs is a good, in and of itself. Maybe it is, maybe it's not, but it's not a given; one must say why, and then tailor the solution accordingly.

Too often when people speak of these things, they are speaking from tacit, possibly subconscious assumptions and categories about wilderness which, quite frankly, may be inappropriate, even quasi-religious. I can only hear the term "pristine" applied to this or that piece of wilderness so often before I start to think that something Freudian is subconsciously underlying the environmental movement, for example. Too many people fall into the symbolism of virginity-rape for my tastes.

The Earth is ours and it's for us to use as we see fit. I'm not saying we should exploit or waste resources in a foolish manner; far from it, indeed, your admonition for balance is quite well taken. But, it's also dangerous, and far too easy, to romanticize the whole process and turn it into some kind of sublimated sexual thing. If we should preserve this or that forest, it's because we value something about that forest, whether it be lumber or beauty - and are able to objectively weigh that value against other factors (which may, at times, outweigh that value). Not because the forest is a sacred blushing virgin - which, let's face it, is a romanticization and, even, a near-pagan sanctification, which precludes any kind of objective cost/benefit analysis. That's all I'm saying.

18 posted on 04/28/2003 5:11:59 PM PDT by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Tailgunner Joe
California spotted owl

Tastes like chicken.
19 posted on 04/28/2003 7:04:22 PM PDT by sasquatch
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To: Cicero
by your math and calculations, 500 years for a douglas fur and 1500 years for a northwest rain forest to recover, there are no first growth or aboriginal forests....

trees die.... they grow, they die, by many means, bugs, weather, man... forests are continuously being replaced, yes, some areas of forests have bigger trees, i will not say there are older forests, because new trees spring up to replace the trees that die or are cut...

manage the forests, yes, better management will produce better lumber, slow growth is better for all... but a 500 year old douglass fur, prevents new growth, and holds a lot of fresh water... and all the water in these trees that is prevented from evaporating and seeding the clouds above, are causing the droughts that prevent crops from being grown to feed the hungry....

one of life's great ironies... the water cycle is a zero sum mechanism... the more water to evaporate, the more water vapor in the air to rain down.... the more rain forests... the less it rains....

20 posted on 04/28/2003 8:50:02 PM PDT by teeman8r
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To: sasquatch
I had a feeling you ate them. LOL
21 posted on 04/28/2003 9:08:58 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: Grampa Dave
PING
22 posted on 04/28/2003 9:09:42 PM PDT by fish hawk
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To: Dr. Frank; Carry_Okie; sasquatch; SierraWasp
What bothers me is that the reasons we're supposed to accept these government restrictions, then, are too often unstated, and as a result, unexamined - and unweighed against other factors.

First off, BRAVO for a well reasoned response to the sometimes illogical gut reaction that those of us in the timber industry must deal with on a daily basis. I wish more folks had the objectivity you do Dr. Frank.

Personally, I got in to forestry because of my love for the forest. For many years I got up in the morning and looked forward to going to work. I thinned overstocked second growth, repaired poor road drainage and, generally, improved every parcel of land that I worked on. I did it for me (selfish I know) because it made me feel like I was making a difference. To a certain extent, I did it for my kids too, because I believe that we should leave the earth a better place then when we found it.

Sadly, over-regulation in the name of so-called endangered species has virtually destroyed the industry that I have worked so hard to become a part of. The consequent denial (that this could really happen) and depression triggered by the loss of a livelyhood has devastated many in my community (myself included). Fortunately, people are starting to realize that the environmental utopia promised by the professionals at the Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund are empty lies.

You're right "wilderness isn't static; it changes, with or without humans." . I, and many of my friends in the industry have tried to change it for the better. In the place of thanks or appreciation for our actions, we have been demonized and riduculed as nature rapers. Today in California, foresters have been turned into pencil pushers -- writers of endless studies called Timber Harvest Plans (Environmental Imapact Reports). So society has now alienated those of us who are trained to produce the environment that many in society claim to want, but don't know how to achieve.

Like you, I don't have all the answers either, but something is wrong when people destroy a profession based on nothing more then emotion.

23 posted on 04/28/2003 10:51:37 PM PDT by forester (Prevent rants; put foresters back in the forest!)
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To: forester; Dr. Frank; Carry_Okie; sasquatch; SierraWasp
Like you, I don't have all the answers either

Thanks God one of us has real good start down the "all the answers" road.

Natural Process, the answer book.

24 posted on 04/28/2003 10:57:56 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: fish hawk
So where are you, and are you fishing any place?
25 posted on 04/29/2003 6:13:38 AM PDT by Grampa Dave (Being a Monthly Donor to Free Republic is the Right Thing to do!)
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To: forester
Today in California, foresters have been turned into pencil pushers -- writers of endless studies called Timber
Harvest Plans (Environmental Imapact Reports).

It's getting worse; the Sierra club, et al are trying to
get the regional water quality boards to have substantial
oversight on thp's and ntmp's. One of the better foresters
in the area is now a caretaker for the city's watershed.
It used to produce a million BF per year, paying for its
maintenance and pumping several hundred K dollars into the
general fund. The property now requires $50K of budget.
Go figure.
26 posted on 04/29/2003 8:49:18 AM PDT by sasquatch
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To: fish hawk
Fish Hawk,

I got a 32 1/2# king on Monterey Bay a week ago!
It may be the largest (locally) this year.
27 posted on 04/29/2003 8:51:48 AM PDT by sasquatch
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To: sasquatch
Is that why they call you Lucky? check you private mail.
28 posted on 04/29/2003 9:06:34 AM PDT by fish hawk
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