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Old 02-19-2015, 11:43 AM
 
Location: The Woods
16,454 posts, read 21,465,702 times
Reputation: 8410

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There are places still growing mostly raspberries after the clear cuts from the last spruce budworm outbreak in Maine. Other formerly nice spruce-fir forests are thickets of diseased beech that will never amount to anything, or gray birch. The spruce-fir forests of Maine were once dominated by red spruce which survives spruce budworm attacks, but harvests over the years led to more fir which created vulnerable forests. The thing is plenty of good foresters knew how to regenerate those stands to avoid the problems, but short sightedness and profit ran the show. Deer yards don't survive too well when someone cuts everything before the trees mature enough to protect the deer. Streams become silted and fish are killed when not protected. There are a few too many tree huggers around but there have also been plenty of large landowners whose idea of forestry was cutting every stick as cheap as possible and letting the next person deal with the aftermath.
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:16 AM
 
914 posts, read 1,843,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
The spruce-fir forests of Maine were once dominated by red spruce which survives spruce budworm attacks, but harvests over the years led to more fir which created vulnerable forests.
Balsam Fir was considered a trash species until the early 1900's and the arrival of the paper mills. Since the early 1900's Fir has been harvested for pulp manufacturing. If anything, not harvesting fir back in the 1800's lead to a management problem today. The major food source for Choristoneura fumiferana (spruce budworm) has always been Fir. Because it also impacted spruce and spruce was the desired product used for lumber and fir was a trash tree it was called spruce budworm. If you want to blame anyone, blame the folks back in the 1800's who didn't harvest fir trees. As for Red Spruce "surviving" not sure what that means, but all spruce and especially fir are impacted according to USDA Forest Service. I remember working in the woods back in the 1970's and cutting pockets of fir that were 100 percent dead. It was sold to the paper companies by weight and it was light as a feather and didn't make for a very big paycheck but it also was completely dead because of the budworm.

Spruce Budworm, Eastern United States
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Old 02-20-2015, 06:59 AM
 
Location: The Woods
16,454 posts, read 21,465,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kellysmith View Post
Balsam Fir was considered a trash species until the early 1900's and the arrival of the paper mills. Since the early 1900's Fir has been harvested for pulp manufacturing. If anything, not harvesting fir back in the 1800's lead to a management problem today. The major food source for Choristoneura fumiferana (spruce budworm) has always been Fir. Because it also impacted spruce and spruce was the desired product used for lumber and fir was a trash tree it was called spruce budworm. If you want to blame anyone, blame the folks back in the 1800's who didn't harvest fir trees. As for Red Spruce "surviving" not sure what that means, but all spruce and especially fir are impacted according to USDA Forest Service. I remember working in the woods back in the 1970's and cutting pockets of fir that were 100 percent dead. It was sold to the paper companies by weight and it was light as a feather and didn't make for a very big paycheck but it also was completely dead because of the budworm.

Spruce Budworm, Eastern United States
It was the excessive harvesting of spruce without any good regeneration practices being used that created that mess. Fir and various hardwoods can easily out-compete the spruce so you can't just cut the red spruce out and expect there to be another spruce forest when there's fir and hardwoods around. Red spruce will suffer a temporary reduction in growth and some needle loss but most healthy red spruce survive a budworm outbreak (obviously not all spruce are healthy). Fir does not. Fir dies. Black spruce is even better and is rarely badly impacted because of timing of the bud break, white spruce is almost as bad as fir. I saw a good comparison between different approaches to the budworm outbreak last year: one side of a road was clear cut as was the normal practice when the red spruce were attacked, the other side wasn't cut. The cut side is now beech, pin cherry, gray birch, some aspen, and a few fir and pine trees. The portion of that stand which was not cut recovered and is currently a healthy and relatively valuable spruce stand. There are other examples around the state of this. The pure fir stands were doomed but the stands with a lot of spruce should have been left alone and allowed to recover on their own. Then they could have been eventually harvested while regenerating the spruce instead of fir, using a shelterwood system of one sort or another.

Page 40 here addresses the spruce versus fir issue. The whole report is interesting reading though a bit lengthy: http://maineforest.org/wp-content/up...-the-1970s.pdf
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:41 AM
 
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Major clearcutting practices of the '60's and '70's created a fir monoculture. The paper companies, through Federal grants and research fund credits received billions of dollars nationwide and pissed it away in faux "research" programs. I worked on some of those for Scott Paper. In the mid '60's Scott would go into their clearcuts and set two cornerposts 50' apart in a number of areas of the cut. One of my jobs in the early '80's was to go find those cornerposts, from Bingham to Big W and North and East of Mooshead and "inventory" what was between the posts. The word "thicket" comes to mind. No more than 15' tall, usually less, in over 20 years. Entirely stunted and choking itself out, entirely dead from several feet above the ground. The closest packed annular rings you can imagine. It had absolutely nothing to do with late 1800's early 1900's logging. It had to do with heavy mechanical logging and nuclear clearcutting. Now that the demand for paper is down due to computer use, magazines (e.g. the glossy stock the Bucksport mill made for Penthouse and other magazines) demand is down, newspapers are withering, not everyone can make toilet paper, and the "responsible paper companies" have "cut and run." That's business. You don't keep pouring money into a losing and ever-changing operation. They were allowed to poison the rivers, devastate the landscape and ship all the profits away by the State of Maine, primarily because they were "providing employment." When there's nothing left in it for them, they pick up their marbles and leave. I still have to chuckle about the asinine term "environmental industry."

Nothing like crawling through a thicket on your hands and knees - the only way to navigate below the "canopy" and coming face to face with a couple beady black eyes and with no avenue of retreat. Once with a bear and once with a porcupine. I was more concerned about the quill pig.

Last edited by Maineac; 02-20-2015 at 09:02 AM..
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,722 posts, read 47,472,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
... the "responsible paper companies" have "cut and run." That's business. You don't keep pouring money into a losing and ever-changing operation. They were allowed to poison the rivers, devastate the landscape and ship all the profits away by the State of Maine, primarily because they were "providing employment." When there's nothing left in it for them, they pick up their marbles and leave.
The next 'big thing' will be either: 'mountain-top-removal' mining, or hauling tar-sand oil through Maine.

Both sound like they are about equal in terms of the environment.
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:51 PM
 
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Careful. Protecting watersheds is apparently a political argument, not just common sense.
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Old 02-21-2015, 03:00 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,484 posts, read 14,283,094 times
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Watersheds, viewsheds and viewscapes are the new buzzwords of the environmental industry. At the Bar Harbor conference in 1947 the billionaire's club decided that in 100 years there would be no paper company land in Maine. They got Maine's legislature to establish LURC. Fraser was the last holdout. They went bankrupt trying to preserve their investment. It's all gone now. There is not one acre of Maine paper company land today.

When government drives an industry out, that industry is like a defeated army in retreat. They leave behind an economic scorched earth. When Great Northern was denied the opportunity to build Big Ambajackmockamous Dam they closed down their forestry department the following Monday. There will be a book about this. One of the biggest culprits in all this was Angus King.
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,484 posts, read 14,283,094 times
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I didn't have the document at hand at 5 AM. Here is the link to the US Senate report called "The Chain of Environmental Command". It is dated July 30, 2014.

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/ind...6-be947c523439
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:33 AM
 
187 posts, read 165,421 times
Reputation: 500
My experience with the Great North Woods is quite different. I've been a big fan of the Libby Camps, an outfitter and owner of a bunch of small camps spread out in the wilderness. We've done a bunch of fly-ins when Katahdin Air will float-plane us into a camp and pick us up 6 days later. We're totally on our own for virtually everything using the cabin as a roof over out heads. It's exhilarating to be sure. Those forests will repopulate themselves as they tend to do and I'll bet that in 50 years, it'll be hard to distinguish where the cutting was done in the first place. I've been told that the area consists of 10,000 square miles of essentially uninhabited territory out there. I can believe it because when you fly in all you see is forest to the horizon. It's amazing that places like this still exist in this country but we've found them elsewhere, too. But, in the lower 48, Maine still has the most gorgeous wild country anywhere. Only Alaska impressed us as much if not more.

Flying over the Great North Woods

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Old 02-21-2015, 01:18 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,619,740 times
Reputation: 1603
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
I didn't have the document at hand at 5 AM. Here is the link to the US Senate report called "The Chain of Environmental Command". It is dated July 30, 2014.

http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/ind...6-be947c523439
Ah, that's where you get your "information." From a well monied, Koch-supporting group who is whining about the possibility of not being able to buy elections if Chief Justice Robert's Citizens United case is mooted by campaign spending legislation. Political tripe, NOT a U.S. Senate report, a MINORITY hatchet job.

What's this got to do with Northwest Maine? That "environmental industry" cause the budworms did they?
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