Several other foresters were asked to look over this harvest and give their opinion on whether this was indeed "Sound Forestry". When they heard the names of the foresters involved, they refused to offer an opinion. Since they did business with these foresters, they would do nothing that would affect their business dealings in the future.
Why risk future business for one forest owner or one forest????
This is not an isolated incident - we see this on a regular basis. 9 out of 10 forests that I walk through across the U.S. have been degraded by short term greed.
High-grading and over-harvesting is a national crisis on private woodlots today.
Here at Timbergreen, I regularly hear forest owners say, "Where were you ten years ago when I needed you - this is what I have always wanted!" One fellow from Western Wisconsin has told me several times how for 40 years he did everything that his local DNR forester told him to do. And he has worked with a consulting forester the last 20 years also. He has a detailed forest management plan. Now, looking back, he says, "I did everything according to the (forestry) book. I have watched my 1,000 acres of forest be systematically destroyed by these foresters. Now I see what I have always needed, but it is too late, all my timber is gone!"
So despite the hundreds of professional foresters in Wisconsin, the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer's money being spent over the years - why don't most forest owners manage their timber?
The bottom line is that forest owners do not value their timber. They have never been paid enough by the traditional lumber industry to see their timber crop as a profitable business. The government "welfare system" reinforces the message -
"You can't make money growing timber, so we will pay you to manage...."
The traditional forestry system is now fighting our work to inform and empower forest owners. An open minded government forester in Gaylord MI told a group of woodlots owners recently, "The current forestry system thrives on ignorant forest owners, and works to keep them that way." Sad but true.
This is presented as a warning to other forest owners. The hope is that all forest owners will learn the basics of common sense forestry so they will not be taken advantage of by the short-term greed of the traditional forestry system.
We now have an alternative timber market where the forest owner, the timber resource, and the professional timber harvester are respected and fairly rewarded.
Sure hope all the professional foresters read the Tree Surgeons General's Warning