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Is paper good or bad for forests? Why or Why Not?

 
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So on the surface this question seems preposterous.  I mean, we use/waste a LOT of paper, paper comes from trees and trees/forests must be cut down to make more paper.  How can paper be anything but bad for forests, right?

I have a friend from college who lived in a remote area of the eastern Tennessee mountains surrounded by mile after undisturbed mile of trees.  It was beautiful.

Then one day they were gone!  Clear-cut for miles.  I was heartbroken.

As it turns out, 75% of that county was owned by a paper mill and every 7 years or so they come through and clear cut everything.  The trees are white pines and coppice easily and grow right back in no-time.  The paper mill is also an important source of employment for an otherwise impoverished region of the country.  And of course the trees do grow back as they are a valuable commodity that the paper mill needs.

I don’t like clear cutting and that’s not what I am asking here.  At first I was horrified, but as time went on a thought gradually occurred to me:  if that land were not being set aside to grow trees for 7-10 years before cutting/harvesting, what would happen to the land?  It was all private land and I suspect that it would all be sold and clear cut to make room for Wal Marts and strip malls.  It would likely not be set aside to grow trees.

With this in mind, the thought emerged that maybe what I was seeing was not a forest but a tree field.  And although it would be cut and regrow, this is preferable to cutting, clearing, excavating and paving over for a parking lot.

I don’t really know the answer to this question and I am not trying to persuade, I am looking to bounce this idea around and see if it has any merit whatsoever and if not, then in the mental compost pile it goes.

Thanks for pondering with me,

Eric
 
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This is a great question, Eric. I am glad you asked it.

As you might have guessed, I have an opinion on the matter. I have been in the print and book bindery trade since before I was legally allowed to work. Also, we have a forester in the family that regularly works up succession plans for the logging that occurs north of Temagami, where they live.

I think a lot of the conversation has to do with how, precisely, the forests are being utilised. I have a problem, for instance, with the industry-accepted best-practice in forestry of using glyphosate to keep competing undergrowth down to help establish the tree crop. This is undoubtedly having unintended consequences on the soil microbiome, and that, at least as much as irresponsible clear-cutting, leads me to fear for the boreal.

I personally think that the way it's being managed here in Ontario, and in most of Canada, is the wrong way. Quebec is the only province in which it is illegal to use glyphosate for forestry. But even if every province accepted that stricture, and used goats or mechanical clearing instead, we're still talking about encouraging a monocrop, modifying what should be wild public spaces into plantations for pulp trees.

There is the argument that it provides regular regeneration through the clearing of mature trees, allowing for more carbon to be sequestered within younger trees whose growth rate is accelerated compared to a mature tree that has stopped growing. I would rather paper pulp be derived from fibre crop species such as nettle, hemp, or applicable natural waste streams, and should the forest be managed for harvest, that the preferred model would be for high-grade dimensional or furniture-grade lumber, selective logging, and in the nature of the temperate hardwood/boreal forest transition zones, with lots of intermixed species and lots of edge habitat. I would prefer, above all, that the nature of forest-derived industry be diversified, such that other interests keep the desire to log in check.

As to your particular situation, I think, depending on how competing undergrowth is being managed, that one of the prime beneficiaries of the coppiced white pine plantation model will be the soil microbiome, and specifically any fungi that symbiose with white pine. Other than that, I do wonder what it would look like ecologically if there were a pulp-producing field crop that could be sustainably grown in close proximity to the mill, and how often the mill would need to clear the pine, and whether or not it would even be economical to use wood pulp any longer.

I think of the paper pulp industry as the force in the boreal, right up there with eradication of beavers, that drives a healthy boreal forest into unhealthy, unsustainable monocrop that holds less water in the biosphere and less life in toto. This is my opinion, but I think that for forests to produce paper pulp economically, they first need to become plantations, which means they stop being forests. This is inherently bad for forest ecology. This doesn't even address the toxifying effect of paper mills on local ecology, which is also bad for forest ecology. And controlling undergrowth with glyphosate has a detrimental effect upon the soil microbiome, which again, does bad things to the forest ecology.

In my opinion, there are few worse things for forests than the paper pulp industry.

-CK
 
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First, I am going to guess that paper use has already been reduced by 90% or more.   Probably closer to 95%.   I used to read at least one newspaper a day.  And they were BIG!  With lots of ads.  And the amount of mail I would get each day was quite huge.  And office work was almost entirely huge mountains of paper shuffling.  Paper, paper, paper.  

I very much need to point out that people cut back on paper because of the internet.  Even though "save a tree" was on the lips of nearly everyone.  It wasn't the desire to save trees that worked - it was that something better came along and the desire for paper was reduced.  

In my area, they used to have a paper mill.   What a toxic shitstorm.   When people talk about using less paper, I think it would be better to focus on what a toxic shitstorm most paper is - and root for better paper.  

But when it comes to the tree count:  check this out:



The "junk pole" was destined to be put into a giant pile and burned in the winter.   All in the name of reducing the odds of a wildfire coming through.   This is the same stuff that would be used for paper.  

So it is possible to develop a practice for paper that is tied to good woodland management so that they can get the wood they want for paper and simultaneously leave the bigger trees behind.  

But as offended as you are at the clearcutting, I would think you would be equally offended at most ag practices.  There used to be a forest or savannah of sorts and then it is a big monocrop.   Just like that monocrop of trees that went to the paper mill.

The silver lining in all this:   trees grow back.  It is a renewable resource.
 
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It's a great question, and one that is not simple.
I work in this area, and see a lot of random (and often biased) data thrown around about how planted forests (the only source of paper in this this country) are recovering deforested areas, controlling hydric cycles, creating jobs in job deserts, etc. Paper pulp goes to a few very large companies that comply with certifications that encourage social and environmental responsibility, forbid pesticide and herbicide use, etc. The market is driving responsibility, and without these market demands it would be a free for all, since the government clearly doesn't care. Without this industry those cleared lands would run cattle til they are worn out, and more land would be cleared, ad infinitum.
Industry also pays for research, which wouldn't happen otherwise.

I also see a lot of random data about how these forests use up all the water in dry areas. Even despite mosaic planting efforts, monocultures limit biodiversity. There used to be efforts to bring in smallholders through leasing and subcontracting, that is going away in favor of large companies.
(I work for both sides of the debate, translating research and documentation for researchers on both sides of the fence, in the industry and protesting the industry)

On the other hand, what is the alternative? we can't go back to land that is not cleared. That genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back in. Forestry companies have to set aside between 20 and 80% of their land for preservation (depending on the biome they're in). If that land gets subdivided for homes, for example, nothing needs to be preserved. At this point, at least here in Brazil, the issue is damage control.

That said, we are not boreal forests, these forests are planted, short-lived, and fully industrial. In fact, I hesitate to call them forests. They're farms.
 
Eric Hanson
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CK,

Thanks for the response.  This was exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

I did not know about using roundup in forests to prevent competition and you are absolutely right, this sounds awful.  The longer I spend time on Permies, the more I see roundup as bad, even for the occasional weed that grows up through a crack in a driveway.  And that usage is not even trivial compared to mass spraying of woodlands!

You are also correct about the pollution from paper mills.  And again, clear cutting breaks my heart.  However, maybe the silver lining is that the trees regrow and the land does not “develop.”  As the land I was referencing was all private land, I assume that it would be put to some profitable use and if that was not for pulp then I was/am afraid that those trees will disappear—for good.

Ideally, we would all switch from wood pulp paper to maybe hemp based paper.  Farmers could get an easy, low maintenance cash crop, all our paper needs could be supplied by a tenth the acreage, and most importantly, somehow, someway, those wooded acres would be allowed to grow back into a permanent forest.

But that is just my dream and I am not certain how this could actually become reality.

Eric
 
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Eric Hanson wrote:Ideally, we would all switch from wood pulp paper to maybe hemp based paper.  Farmers could get an easy, low maintenance cash crop, all our paper needs could be supplied by a tenth the acreage, and most importantly, somehow, someway, those wooded acres would be allowed to grow back into a permanent forest.

But that is just my dream and I am not certain how this could actually become reality.

Eric


I think the dream becomes reality when the economics encourage the paper companies to change.  Much of northern Wisconsin was logged and planted for pulp.  Trees grow a bit slowly up here and I think they have a 40 year cutting cycle.  They've been closing down our paper mills and relocating or refocusing on mills in the south east US where the pulp trees grow much faster.

Now we may be in a situation where we have red pine plantations that don't have a need to be harvested for pulp.   Hopefully there's a higher use for them or the forest can reclaim itself.  

But if a cheaper way to make paper comes along, paper companies will build new billion dollar paper mills to make it happen.
 
Eric Hanson
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Paul,

I was responding to CK before I saw your post.  You are completely correct about the toxic Gick that comes from a paper mill.

Agriculture is a highly complex issue for me.  Farming is in my family.  I was of the first generation not actually raised on the farm, but I spent plenty of time there and helped as I could.  I saw firsthand just how much my grandfather worked and how much he loved making a living from the land.

That farm, located in western Minnesota, was never wooded.  When my great grandfather purchased the land it was still virgin prairie with nary a tree in sight.  My grandfather planted quite a few trees over the decades, especially in the ‘30s as shelter belts came into fashion.

But you are right about the monocropping.  For years that was the only way I ever knew farming could be done.  My opinion changed radically so when I saw a YouTube video by Gabe Brown.  Had I had Gabe’s present knowledge back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s I might have decided to become a farmer myself.  As I said, farming is in my family, my grandparents had about 500 acres and would have loved for someone in the family to take over the family farm.  Sadly, today the farmhouse has been sold and while my uncle farms the land, he is trying to retire and soon the land itself will be sold off.

Part of me wishes that it could be different, but I am not at all dissatisfied with the life I chose.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Mike,

You are right about the economics.  I also have family in northern Wisconsin and I am familiar with the logging that did/does take place there.

I hope that those trees are allowed to grow much longer than in the past.  The forests beautiful and I hope they stay that way.

BTW,  basically I am a northern Midwesterner.  My family comes from Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.  I was born in central Illinois, went to college in Southern Illinois where I fell in love with the national forest.  Southern Illinois is a strange place.  It is not really Midwestern, but not really Southern either.  I sometimes call it extreme western Appalachia or the Illinois Ozarks for the hilly landscape in an otherwise flat state.

Eric
 
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A few concerns I have with current forestry for paper practices is, for example, here in Tennessee the huge swaths of monoculture long needle pine trees, which sets the stage for new problems, such as the pine borer beetle that is really wreaking havoc on pine trees everywhere, not just in the tree farms. Another concern I have is those running the tree farms and doing the logging seem to have little consideration for the ecosystem that has developed during the last tree planting, and all the birds, bugs, reptiles, amphibians, mammals etc. that make a home and help the forest thrive are overnight either killed in the process or displaced and no longer have a home. If the logging is done in the fall, the surviving creatures have odds stacked against them to survive the coming winter. These are two aspects I can think of at the moment showing unintended consequences of current clear cut logging practices. There's so much more going on in the forest, even the man made tree farms, and I think some people in the logging industry only consider the singular tree and it's dollar potential.
 
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To me it is simple, because I live with the realities of this very question.

I am clearing land, and have been for several years because with Maine's paper industry in shambles, especially paper mills that made brown paper, which uses the type of trees we have abundantly in Maine. So my forest has no value. 3 paper mills closed in a week. They consumed 2500 cords of wood per day, 365 days a year. When you live in a state that grows way more wood than that, it is devastating. You have to have a reason to grow trees fiscally speaking.

I am clearing land for one reason; the value as a forest land has not kept pace with property taxes. I sent a load of wood to the paper mill yesterday in fact, and I got $250 less than I got 25 years ago! Yet taxes have tripled. (I make $480 for 10 cord of wood).

The only way to combat that is to clear useless forest that has no value into something that does. I intended to raise sheep since I can make far more per acre with lamb then I ever could with wood. So I clear cut over 100 acres of land, and will turn that into fields. I got cancer and cannot farm sheep any more, but that was the plan. Even as hay though, I will make more money per acre then I ever would as a forest.

It is absolutely sickening. We have been logging here sustainably since 1746...I am even part of the American Tree Farm System, but the wood has no value. Somehow I have to pay the taxes.

I am not alone in this. As I write, within a few miles of me there are four of us clearing forest to make way for fields. I would say in the last 60 days, probably 90 acres of forest has been cleared to make way for new fields, and it has been like this for the last four years. The State of Maine is at a loss of what to do. Now that the trade war is on, we have no market for hardwood logs, because if you look at Maine, you see our markets. Canada surrounds us, and yet we can no longer ship logs to them.

Beat me up. Rub my face in it. Do whatever you want, I just plain have a hard time paying property taxes, and my land just has to pay for itself. Hay, sheep, small grains...whatever...but it is no longer forest products that pays the property taxes.

(By the way, I would be logging now, but it is down pouring rain).
 
Eric Hanson
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James,

You will get no argument from me regarding the mono cropping.  I am increasingly realizing just how damaging mono cropping is to an environment.  Also, like I said in my first post, clear cutting really bothers me, largely because of habitat destruction.  At the very least (and really, I mean least here) is that a tree field is habitat for 7-10 years before it is cut.  And while I don't really like cutting any tree, much less clear cutting, at least there is some habitat whereas if the land is converted to strip malls and parking lots there is no habitat whatsoever.

This is the part where my head and my heart start having an argument.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Travis,

I get your dilemma.  You are not exactly clear cutting, but rather cutting as you need and replacing the woodland with productive agricultural acreage.  Highly commendable that you try to improve upon that which you clear.  Sad that you can hardly get any money for your work though!

Eric
 
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By the way,  I thought I would add in a picture of the family farm, if for nothing else, for nostalgia's sake.  And just for reference, every single tree in this picture was deliberately planted.

This picture was taken in the Spring of 1984
The-Farm-1.jpg
The family farm, Circa 1984
The family farm, Circa 1984
 
Eric Hanson
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When I think of the farmer that I could have been had I had the knowledge when I was younger, I was thinking of this guy.  OK, "this guy" is famous around here as it is Gabe Brown.   I thought I would include one of his (shorter) videos.

 
 




Eric
 
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Thanks Eric, that is a wonderful video from an awesome gentleman!
 
Eric Hanson
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Thank you Mike,

I am becoming quite the Gabe Brown fan.  I have spoken to a couple of farmers and even got one quite interested in the “Gabe Brown” method (is that a thing?).  Mostly he was interested because he would not have to buy chemicals.

Eric
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:To me it is simple, because I live with the realities of this very question.

I am clearing land, and have been for several years because with Maine's paper industry in shambles, especially paper mills that made brown paper, which uses the type of trees we have abundantly in Maine. So my forest has no value. 3 paper mills closed in a week. They consumed 2500 cords of wood per day, 365 days a year. When you live in a state that grows way more wood than that, it is devastating. You have to have a reason to grow trees fiscally speaking.

I am clearing land for one reason; the value as a forest land has not kept pace with property taxes. I sent a load of wood to the paper mill yesterday in fact, and I got $250 less than I got 25 years ago! Yet taxes have tripled. (I make $480 for 10 cord of wood).

The only way to combat that is to clear useless forest that has no value into something that does. I intended to raise sheep since I can make far more per acre with lamb then I ever could with wood. So I clear cut over 100 acres of land, and will turn that into fields. I got cancer and cannot farm sheep any more, but that was the plan. Even as hay though, I will make more money per acre then I ever would as a forest.

It is absolutely sickening. We have been logging here sustainably since 1746...I am even part of the American Tree Farm System, but the wood has no value. Somehow I have to pay the taxes.

I am not alone in this. As I write, within a few miles of me there are four of us clearing forest to make way for fields. I would say in the last 60 days, probably 90 acres of forest has been cleared to make way for new fields, and it has been like this for the last four years. The State of Maine is at a loss of what to do. Now that the trade war is on, we have no market for hardwood logs, because if you look at Maine, you see our markets. Canada surrounds us, and yet we can no longer ship logs to them.

Beat me up. Rub my face in it. Do whatever you want, I just plain have a hard time paying property taxes, and my land just has to pay for itself. Hay, sheep, small grains...whatever...but it is no longer forest products that pays the property taxes.

(By the way, I would be logging now, but it is down pouring rain).



Travis, I didn't mean to suggest that those who have to convert forest to other production are guilty of some vile depradation. My opinions apply only to the concept of specifically converting wild forest to a tree monocrop enforced with toxic gick, and continuing to perpetuate that production model over ones more permaculturally aligned.

One of my many sins, according to some environmentalists with whom I have conversed on many topics, is my penchant to want to find a way to derive a livelihood off of projects,  especially long-term management projects, for those living in close proximity to them, even, and perhaps especially, if the main motivation for the projects are conservation or rewilding, or generally to contribute to ecological welfare.

I am accused of greed, to which I respond that if the project is irrelevant to anyone's livelihood or well-being, nobody but whoever you pay to look after it will care, or protect it; a failure to engineer in such a spirit of vested interest is doomed, and the product of short-sightedness and a narrow field of vision with regards to resilient design.

I wish there was a model that could help you transition from pulp paper trees to maybe higher-value lumber in a silviopastoral arrangement, but you know what you're doing, and are a beacon of sustainability and resilience for the rest of us; no criticism was meant at all, and I apologise for any misunderstanding.

-CK
 
Eric Hanson
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Tereza,

Great post!

I kinda grudgingly agree with many of the points you made.  In many respects, these are no longer forests but tree farms, and you are also correct in that once the true forest is gone, something has to be done with the land.

It is tragic that so much of the Amazon is being not just clear cut but burned right down to make for more clear land.

Thanks again,

Eric
 
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Chris Kott wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:To me it is simple, because I live with the realities of this very question.

I am clearing land, and have been for several years because with Maine's paper industry in shambles, especially paper mills that made brown paper, which uses the type of trees we have abundantly in Maine. So my forest has no value. 3 paper mills closed in a week. They consumed 2500 cords of wood per day, 365 days a year. When you live in a state that grows way more wood than that, it is devastating. You have to have a reason to grow trees fiscally speaking.

I am clearing land for one reason; the value as a forest land has not kept pace with property taxes. I sent a load of wood to the paper mill yesterday in fact, and I got $250 less than I got 25 years ago! Yet taxes have tripled. (I make $480 for 10 cord of wood).

The only way to combat that is to clear useless forest that has no value into something that does. I intended to raise sheep since I can make far more per acre with lamb then I ever could with wood. So I clear cut over 100 acres of land, and will turn that into fields. I got cancer and cannot farm sheep any more, but that was the plan. Even as hay though, I will make more money per acre then I ever would as a forest.

It is absolutely sickening. We have been logging here sustainably since 1746...I am even part of the American Tree Farm System, but the wood has no value. Somehow I have to pay the taxes.

I am not alone in this. As I write, within a few miles of me there are four of us clearing forest to make way for fields. I would say in the last 60 days, probably 90 acres of forest has been cleared to make way for new fields, and it has been like this for the last four years. The State of Maine is at a loss of what to do. Now that the trade war is on, we have no market for hardwood logs, because if you look at Maine, you see our markets. Canada surrounds us, and yet we can no longer ship logs to them.

Beat me up. Rub my face in it. Do whatever you want, I just plain have a hard time paying property taxes, and my land just has to pay for itself. Hay, sheep, small grains...whatever...but it is no longer forest products that pays the property taxes.

(By the way, I would be logging now, but it is down pouring rain).



Travis, I didn't mean to suggest that those who have to convert forest to other production are guilty of some vile depradation. My opinions apply only to the concept of specifically converting wild forest to a tree monocrop enforced with toxic gick, and continuing to perpetuate that production model over ones more permaculturally aligned.

One of my many sins, according to some environmentalists with whom I have conversed on many topics, is my penchant to want to find a way to derive a livelihood off of projects,  especially long-term management projects, for those living in close proximity to them, even, and perhaps especially, if the main motivation for the projects are conservation or rewilding, or generally to contribute to ecological welfare.

I am accused of greed, to which I respond that if the project is irrelevant to anyone's livelihood or well-being, nobody but whoever you pay to look after it will care, or protect it; a failure to engineer in such a spirit of vested interest is doomed, and the product of short-sightedness and a narrow field of vision with regards to resilient design.

I wish there was a model that could help you transition from pulp paper trees to maybe higher-value lumber in a silviopastoral arrangement, but you know what you're doing, and are a beacon of sustainability and resilience for the rest of us; no criticism was meant at all, and I apologise for any misunderstanding.

-CK



No apology needed on your end, it was more of it being a very crappy day on my end. What I said is all true, but I apologize for the "tone" conveyed as I should have us chosen my words better.

There is various reasons why I am being forced to log areas of my forest that I really do not want to.
 
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A problem in my view is that we're not using forests for much more than paper, pulp, cardboard, toilet rolls and to burn it for heat. Some 95% of the Scandinavian forests are used for these purposes, only 5% is used for sustainable building materials.
In the building world, since the early 20th century, steel and concrete are the main materials used, but they're very polluting and responsible for high CO2 emissions. I recently saw a documentary in which some architects, one of them being Andrew Waugh, advocated building in timber, partly as a solution for the world's CO2 problem. Obviously they urged for lots of trees to be planted as well, not just to slash forests.
Part of their argument was that production forests are storing CO2, then if you build houses with it, that's what's storing the CO2 for much longer. The building process itself is also much cleaner using wood. Modern wood builders especially seem to use Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), made from inferior wood, but assembled into a strong and thick type of plywood.

Obviously the use of timber for paper just gives a very short cycle. I'm not sure it's wrong, but the use of so much wood for just inferior products instead of more long lasting materials is wasteful.
 
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A paper mill in Berlin NH, now torn down, once had a experimentation lab where they invented new products for paper. One new invention was paper used for making pipes for water districts. I think they would last 100 years, but they were all made out of special paper. You would think with todays aging water pipes, that would have an interest. I mean consider the nonsense Flint, Michigan has gone through. Using cast iron ductile pipes is expensive!

A paper mill that I supply (one of the 6 that are left in Maine) makes antibiotic paper for the medical industry. No longer is Neosporin needed for a cut, the paper the band aide is made out of kills bacteria instead. But that paper has other uses as well.

Here in Maine, plastic is taking a beating. Plastic drinking straws are banned, and so are plastic bags for getting groceries. If a person does not have reusable bags, they are put in paper bags.

There is a plant here that makes wooden timber bridges out of laminated lumber. But there is not a lot of demand for those kind of bridges.
 
Tereza Okava
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Travis Johnson
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There is nothing wrong with these wooden buildings and structures, but they need to be expanded in a huge way.

Maine alone has 16 million acres of wood, and here we grow sustainably 1 cord per acre per year. That means we can harvest 16 million cords of wood per year forever. But we only have (6) paper mills left, so they are only consuming 5.5 million cords of wood per year. This is what causing the value of forest land to go down. It is supply and demand; the supply far, far outweighs the demand, which is why I am getting $250 less per 10 cords of wood then I did 30 years ago.

But I am lucky I can still cut wood. It literally is a race to cut as much wood as I can off my farm. Between the Emerald Ash Borer arriving, and only (6) paper mills left, next year I might not be able to sell any wood at all. Then what? I burn it to get rid of them so I can make money farming instead?

 
Travis Johnson
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A clear cut is not always bad, but I admit that appears that way because the change is so drastic. But keep in mind, I say this as a Mainer, we are the most heavily forested state in the nation, which means trees make up 90% of the land. If I stop mowing for even 1 year, trees take seed and start to grow. I spend a lot of time on keeping my trees trimmed back. Still the drastic change is what people really hate.

I have a mature forest, and it is VERY hard to manage. The smaller trees have more value, yet it is the bigger, aged trees that I want to harvest and sell. Where I am cutting now is especially tough. It has big hemlock, but big hemlock tends to get blackheart (rot) and shake (no adhesion of its rings) so while they look great, they should be removed. Yet, they have NO value. I literally could cut one hardwood log, and make more money then I could with a whole truckload of big Hemlock Logs.

But we got into this situation because of poor forestry. All our lives we have always cut pulp and firewood from smaller trees “saving” the bigger trees in case we need them. In 2015 I found out how silly this was because when I built my barn, I cut (15) big hemlocks, got 45 logs out of those trees, and built an entire 24x48 foot barn…from 15 trees! I have thousandths. What the heck am I saving them for if I only need 15 to make a barn? More so…how many barns am I going to build in my life anyway?

But then there is the problem of actually logging big trees. Just felling them wipes out the little trees, and then you have to pull them out of the woods destroying more little trees.

It may sound crazy, but in terms of wildlife, in terms of forest diversity, the best thing I could do for my forest, and especially the 70 acres of clear cut I made last year, is to just let it grow back. I will have a healthy, young forest that wildlife can really thrive on. I cannot do that. I cannot wait the 35 years to grow into marketable trees because property taxes are so high, so I must clear the land into fields.

But just because there is massive change, does not mean it is a bad thing. But this is Maine, we have a lot of forest we can cut. And it is not just forest, at 200-300 trees to the acre, it is 16 million acres of dense forest.

The picture shows what I mean by mature forest. It took 15 of these trees to build my 24 x 48 foot barn. Yet...a whole truckload of these sized trees, which would take me (2) days to cut, would make me $350. Not $350 per tree, but the entire truckload...$350, or $175 per day to cut them. It is not even worth cutting them, even though they are big.
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