2 June 2013

The Ten Ten 100 Forest Management Plan

The Ten Ten 100 Forest Management Plan is for those who are interested in maintaining a healthy, sustainable forest. This forest management plan relies on skilled timber-cruisers to patrol the blocks and select the correct trees for harvest. As well, the plan requires select harvest of specific trees and not on strip harvest or clear-cutting. This forest management plan works for community based timber companies who are focused on long-term prosperity not short term profit. This forest management plan works because, it works in harmony with the forest life-cycle not against it. Tree planting and other reforestation programs are not required, because the forest repopulates the trees naturally.

Before I continue, let me give a little background. I grew up in a logging community in the Interior of British Columbia. Between the main two companies - one multi-national and one community owned, there were not less than 5 mills in the valley. 4 sawmills - permanent type, 1 planer mill and then some smaller portable mills and a private sawmill. Now there is only the one small private sawmill left. The multi-national sold there timber license to the competition and the competition had years earlier bought out the community owned company. So, the last remaining big company, comes in and harvests when they are in the mood and then long-haul the logs to mills hundreds of miles away. When I was growing up, there were enough trees to be harvested in a respectful fashion to last multiple generations. In less than one generation, all the profitable trees were gone and the community has all but disappeared. I am not a tree hugger, but I do believe in responsible resource management. Making a quick profit today at the expense of the children starving tomorrow is not responsible, especially, when there is another way to do business that keep the profits flowing for generations. I will present another way.........

The provincial government issues TFL's (Timber Forest Licenses) to the forestry companies. This provides the companies with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of acres of trees to manage and harvest. The province taxes the companies - "stumpage" and the revenue helps pay for things citizens need from their government. 

First order of business is to identify the TFL and then subdivide the TFL into ten relatively equal blocks, thus 1/10th of the available forest. This is the first ten in the Ten Ten 100 Plan.

Next order of business is to decide on the harvest. This is where the timber-cruisers come in. Instead of marking out blocks to be clear-cut, like is happening now. The timber-cruiser will go into the block to be harvested and will survey the block and identify the largest, oldest, healthiest trees. A rough tree count for the block will also be taken. Once we know where the most valuable trees are we decide that ten percent of them will be harvested. That means a select harvest of the best, most profitable trees will be taken in that harvest year. This a slow method of logging but once started, it will be come easier in the years to follow. So, in the second step, 10% of the trees in the block are selectively harvested. This will be labour intensive, because you do not want to unnecessarily destroy the forest. This means smaller machines that can pull logs between trees that are left standing without damaging the standing timber. Damage means loss of profit in future years. The first harvest in each block will also be when the skid trails and haul roads are planned, mapped and built. Expensive but if done right, will make getting future harvests easier and most profitable. Think ahead.

Remember, there are ten blocks. So, it will take ten years just to get the best 10% of the trees from the TFL. Now, the cycle is beginning to work. You have invested ten years. You have built the infrastructure to make the future harvests easier and more profitable. The timber-cruisers are working at least one block ahead of the harvesters at this time. It is now time to return to the first block that was selectively harvested. Now, the 10% of the best trees are now harvested, and since it has been ten years since you last at this block and there is more space in the forest, the trees have grown, maybe even larger than the first 10% you harvested ten years ago. It takes ten more years to harvest the next 10% of the original trees that were in the TFL.

To harvest 100% of the original trees in the TFL, in a rotating, select harvest method takes 100 years. 100 years. In the business world that is forever. In the forest that is right amount of time for a tree to go from a pine cone to a full-size harvestable and profitable tree. 

So, a one hundred year harvest cycle. This means that if the harvest is done correctly, with care for the future; the forest is healthy and self-renewing. You are unlikely to have to plant trees in this managed forest. The forest will have space to grow. Ground clutter will be minimal, so forest fire mitigation is on place. The forest will be pleasing to look at, unlike a clear-cut block that takes at least 40 years for the planted trees to reach a height that obscures the scar of clear-cut harvesting.

Now, not all trees have a 100 year life-cycle. So, the foresters in those areas could take this model, the Ten Ten 100 Plan, and scale it to meet the needs of the trees in their forests.

The major advantage of the Ten Ten 100 Plan is that it keeps the money in the community. The community harvests the trees, the community mills the timbers and the community transports the finished product to the market. Community based forestry companies help to keep communities strong by employing locally and spending locally. The forests would be healthy, the community would be healthy and the people would be healthy. Oh, yah, and the government would be assured its taxes - stumpage, income, property and corporate. 

So, why have you never heard of a system like this?? Because, large multi-national corporations want to rape the Earth of its resources, make a few executives and shareholders richer than necessary and leave the mess to be cleaned up by future generations; while they are sipping an umbrella'd fruity alcohol beverage in some tax-haven island making 21% interest on there invested, stolen from the people, funds.

I am not opposed to making a living or making a profit, but some folks on this planet are so greedy, that the rest have to suffer. There are ways to manage the resources of the planet that provide for comfort today and still have enough leftover so our kids and their kids have similar comfort.

Manage your resources responsibly and enjoy many happy returns,

Mountainman.

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