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Old 02-22-2012, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
9,995 posts, read 11,685,780 times
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Just feel like stirring the pot today. I was reading a paper about land use, and I recall a group that wanted to do some "vision for biodiversity" in VT, and some of the timber, private property groups were fired up. Sounded like S. Oregon. Here, water is for fishing and forests are for fighting over. Most of our local folks are pro-timber, and most of our environmentalists are exurban folks who want to vibrate in the old forests. We rarely see eye to eye and the stalemate has lasted a generation, since the hippies arrived in the 1960s.

I guess I always thought New England was more moderate on these issues with both the left and right showing a bit more restraint and common sense. However, I recall I ended up arguing with some very feisty conservative anti-environment types on the Maine forum last year. The whole north woods park issue (some yahoos from Massachusetts are leading that, what a surprise. Locals don't like it, what a surprise).

So, how does it go in Vermont. Are environmentalists home grown? Imported? Extreme? Sensible? All of the above? How do most folks feel about them.

I am very conservation-oriented myself, but I don't really mind logging, and I think working landscapes can have abundant beauty, clean air and water, and wildlife. The details are in the practice of forestry and agriculture. Neither strikes me as inherently bad.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Randolph, VT
72 posts, read 85,517 times
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I agree that the details are in the practice. A very interesting book I recently read was "Changes in the Land", which describes the landscape as managed by Native Americans versus the European immigrants who followed them.

"Diversity" seems to be a trigger-term for conservatives, a loaded political dog-whistle term that's easy to spit out in contempt.

Instead, plant and animal species diversity is beyond essential for ecological health, planetary resilience and human survival.

I think there should be logging, but logging companies like to plant monocultures of just one kind of tree and age, so they can come in and harvest mechanically more easily. This is much less desirable from an environmental p.o.v. than a managed forest of old and new growth, with clearings which create opportunity zones for a large variety of plants and animals to thrive. The most activity is found at the borders between zones: the hedgerows, the forest glades, the seashore. You don't find such fruitfulness in a 1000-acre cornfield or a planted monocrop spruce forest. These latter zones just aren't going to be healthy, or healthful, in the long run.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
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Good points! I agree that the disturbance is not so much the problem as the monocrop mentality of industrial forestry. Not to say all foresters ascribe to that, but too many do.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Vermont
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Everything in moderation. Too much of a swing either way and you becomed mired in the Vermont political mud
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:35 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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There's a lot of outside money driving the environmentalists in Vermont. I've gotten myself on some of the email lists of the local Sierra Club chapter, etc., and they will make something look like it's a local movement, when in fact it's organized far outside Vermont (sometimes they succeed, as with the ATV ban on public lands and class 4 roads, other times they have failed, as when they pushed to close the roads to vehicles incl. snowmobiles, prohibit guns outside of hunting seasons, etc., in the former Champion lands in Lewis, etc., under FWS control).

I consider myself a conservationist not an environmentalist. I think Gifford Pinchot had the right idea on management, even if it wasn't possible to do so right in the political climate of his time. I love nature, but, I think it better to use reason than emotion when managing things. There's room for ATV's, snowmobiles, logging, hunting, hiking, etc., etc., but the environmentalists would have people see otherwise. There have in the past been pushes to have the whole state made into a park, just as they're pushing in Northern Maine for that. That's overboard. There are places that should be very heavily protected, but I think such places are quite scarce in New England.
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:45 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Most of New England, except for Maine, doesn't really do large scale logging to the extent Oregon does. So the locals aren't as pro-logging; it's not that important to the economy, and it's not a big issue.

I don't live in Vermont, but I think the idea of large clear cuts the way I've seen in Oregon would be considered alien to Vermonters and unpopular.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Pluto's Home Town
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Nobody except loggers like clearcuts, in Oregon, or anywhere.

The biggest mistake foresters made out west was to act like they were the only ones capable of managing lands. The lost the public, and rightly so. They kept selling a product noone really wanted except those getting the $$$. But once logging became "bad" it seems like the enviros now act like a thinning or any other logging will cause all the species to go extinct. Not really the case. It has been hubris and the rhetoric of conquest on both sides. I blame the loggers for overreach, and causing the overreaction, but I don't think either extreme has a model I want to follow.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:35 AM
 
Location: The Woods
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If you clearcut here, in 10 years you'll have a forest without any work. Some animal species need clearcutting, either by logging or fire. Some trees don't regenerate unless an area is cleared either. It's not so cut and dry with clearcutting.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:16 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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So much farmland is gone here there's a spot I've seen (about 20 miles to the NW of me) that's cleared to create meadow habitat.

After a clearcut, you'll get different species grow back as some trees can't grow in the shade.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:17 AM
 
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Actually, there's more forest in Vermont now than there was 200 years ago - they were cleared out in the 19th century.

My main objection to environmentalists is that some of them seem to want to create a pristine Garden of Eden. That usually involves weeding out invasive species and repopulating with disappearing species. This might be OK if it actually worked, but it isn't a realistic goal. Land management involves a lot of compromises, and our ability to control ecosystems is limited. It's true that biodiversity is crucial for human survival, but, like most things, we're bad at controlling it. One species I'd like to see better managed is homo sapiens. Vermont became overpopulated by 1860, and people started to move away because they couldn’t survive here. The same thing could happen again.
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