My Summary of The Timber Industry
As a country develops, trees are usually seen to be in the way of progress. The land is cleared for higher uses, and the attitude is that "trees are for the taking". The forest, forest owner, and small logger are taken advantage of for the profit of the big mill. Once the trees are gone, the industry takes its profit and moves south.
No forest owner that I have talked to is happy with the timber industry or forestry profession.
There has been no alternative to the traditional market system that is dominated by big corporations. A few forest owners have learned to make the best of a bad situation, but this market actually discourages sound forest management on small private forest ownerships. I gradually found that I can't change it and can't beat it - it is too huge.
But I found that I can walk right around it!
A New Market Alternative
At Timbergreen Farm, we have developed a new and separate timber market that encourages and rewards sound forest management on a small forest ownership. There has been great resistance in the U.S. from the forestry profession in making this available to other forest owners. Foresters have worked hard to protect their ineffective "professional" system, thus protecting their jobs
Cooperative Business Ventures
To bring about significant levels of forest management over the landscape, I have proposed starting community-based value-multiplied cooperative businesses since 1997. Our goal was to control the marketing of our own timber and capture the huge middlemen's profit. So far in the U.S. the efforts to establish these "Sustainable Woods Cooperatives" have been blocked by the traditional forestry profession that is afraid of a successful forest owner business venture. Everyone says that this is a "great idea", but in reality the foresters don't want to see any change.
Another major factor in preventing success cooperatives was the efforts of non-profit organizations that took over the idea. They offered "free money" and "free assistance" to the new landowner groups. To keep getting their free money from traditional sources, the non-profit organizations compromised the landowner's vision and sabotaged the original movement. This segment of the U.S. non-profit organization "industry" feeds on good ideas, but ends up focusing on their own salaries, benefits, meetings, conferences, and travel, and meetings, and conferences, and meetings, and market studies at the expense of those they were supposed to serve.
The few sustainable forestry cooperatives that still exist in the Midwest have been steered by the professional foresters with the free money, back to the things that forest owners are "supposed to do"; attend educational field days featuring "expert" foresters, attend inspirational walks in the woods, and hold meetings to talk about some group marketing of trees into the traditional timber market.