Trees Are for People: The New Dimension of Industrial Forestry
Stanley W. Hulett
Trees ARE for people. Hardly a surprising notion when one considers the role that the forest and its abundance has played in the development of this nation - and the world. What is surprising, however, is the dramatic change in the public's concept of the forest and the new demands and challenges the private forest landowner is attempting to meet.
Our story begins some 20 or so million years ago in what is known as the Tertiary times, when trees spread from pole to pole, and with the moderate climate of the early part of that period, species ranged throughout our world. The coming of the Ice Ages ended this homogeneous forest and we began to see the beginnings of the acclimatized forest as we know it today. Probably, our old friend the Redwood best illustrates the changes wrought by the climate, for remains of the great Sequoias have been found in fossils over most of the northern hemisphere and even in Greenland. Today, as we know, their major growth occurs in two relatively tiny areas of California.
Man's influence on the forest came largely as a response to a need. Those needs have ranged from primitive uses for fuel, shelter, food and tools to today's tremendous diversity of products, ranging from toilet paper to chemicals. As Marion Clawson said in his publication, Forests for Whom and For What?, "Everyone uses wood in some form - in such simple household uses as facial tissue, toilet paper, newspapers and wrapping materials; as paper in various forms in offices and stores; as furniture; and as an essential component of all new construction for homes, offices, factories and stores. Indeed, it is difficult," Clawson continues, "to conceive of anyone who does not use wood in some form. He would have to live in a cave, use stone furniture, bum coal picked off the surface of the land, and have found some nonwood substitute for toilet paper." Clawson goes on to point out that the water we use flows from the watersheds in the forest, the abundance of wildlife makes its home there and millions of people use the forest for the recreational pursuits. He concludes then "...no one in the United States is wholly independent of forests."
Hugh Johnson in his primer on wood and its uses, The International Book of Wood, perhaps best summed up the relation of people to trees: "we are foolish to treat it (wood) so casually. Wood has the priceless, indeed the unique, value of being the one basic resource that man can renew." He concludes his remarks by saying his book, "...puts on record for all to see what Man owes to trees and their wood. He has no older or deeper debt."
Unfortunately, man has not always recognized this debt of gratitude and, as a matter of fact and record, has chosen at times to abuse this oldest and most valuable of natural resources. These abuses were met in the past as they are today - with regulations. In 1626 an ordinance was passed in the then newly-formed Plymouth Colony prohibiting the unauthorized cutting of timber on Colony lands; in 1681, William Penn stipulated in his land purchase contracts that one acre of trees be left for every five acres cleared in the Pennsylvania Colony; in the late 1600's, the British Royal Navy attempted to reserve for its use all of the white pine shipmasts from the northeast Colonies; and, finally, much of the early legislation passed by the Congress of the United States dealt with programs to insure that the fledgling U.S. Navy would get first call on live oak timber for ship construction.
Based on the assumption that timber and forest re-sources were limitless, the sometimes reckless use of the forest in the United States continued as the new nation moved westward. And with this westward movement came the recognition that the botanical claims of Archibald Menzies, the botanist on Captain Vancouver's famous voyage of 1792, were not a fantasy - the Pacific Coast of the United States grew trees of exceptional size and diversity. But it was not until the rather perilous and incredible journeys of a Scot by the name of David Douglas, that the world learned how truly fabulous the trees of the West really were - both in terms of size and numbers.
Once again, as man appeared to be abusing the forest resource, efforts were made to lessen the effects of this abuse. Forest Reserves were created and reforestation programs were begun. Those reforestation programs, by the way, were begun first in California in 1813, by the Spanish Government. Perhaps most importantly, a recognition began to grow that our forest resources were finite - renewable, but finite. California's fledgling state government took a giant step in this regard by establishing the nation's first tree nurseries in Chico and Santa Monica in 1885, thus beginning a partnership between the forest products industry and the State that has weathered many storms, but today is imperiled as never before.
The last decade has been the stormiest, and there are many people who feel, perhaps with justification, that the forest products industry and the State are no longer partners, but adversaries. This adversary relationship grew as new demands were made on the industrial forest. These demands are multi-faceted. On the one hand, you have the phenomenal increase in demand for forest products as the country attempts to achieve its goals for housing and the nation's appetite for paper and paper products became almost insatiable. Concurrent with this tremendous growth in demand, the output from our National Forests was declining - declining, I might add, by nearly 25 percent in California in the past 15 years.
Obviously, then, in an effort to meet the demands for forest products, the industry began to intensify management of its own lands, an effort that unfortunately led to charges of overcutting and demands for additional regulation of forest practices on private timberlands. Thus began the distressing, painful and nonproductive battle between the forest owner, logger, and sawmill owner on the one hand and the State, environmentalists and other so-called "public interest" groups on the other.
Based on our history lesson, one might expect the industry to move on to new areas; areas where the regulatory pressures are somewhat less intense. Such is not the case in California however. The industry here is clearly in for the long run - with tremendous investments in plant and equipment and management programs pointed toward perpetual operation. As an example, the industry reforested over 650,000 acres in the last 10 years, clearly demonstrating long-term intentions. In addition, new nursery facilities are being built and considerable funds expended in basic forestry and genetics research. Simpson's announcement of the successful cloning of a redwood, in cooperation with the University of California at Irvine, the True Fir Cooperative and other ventures, heavily invested in by the industry, are all designed to assure a future supply of timber. While the "cut-out, get-out" criticisms of the past were sometimes valid, today's forest industry in California has reached a high level of stability with a commitment to the future, all of which is somewhat surprising in view of the lack of economic certainty in California today. Apparently a majority of the industry feels that the regulatory climate will change and there is some reasonable assurance that the tree planted today will someday be available for harvest, hopefully under reasonable and economic restrictions.
A further indication of the belief in the positive prospects of the industry's future in the State has been the tremendous interest that has developed since the Kimberly-Clark Corporation announced its intention to sell its Anderson operations. From what I have heard, the announcement that K-C wanted to sell the mill and 322,000 acres of woodlands, has provoked a tidal wave of interest, and appraisers, timber cruisers, financial analysts and the like have descended like a herd of locusts on the Anderson facility. It will be interesting to see who might be operating that facility come July 1, of this year.
I would hasten to add, however, that while there is considerable investment in land, timber and facility upgrading being made, there is no major investment being made in new facilities, such as is the case in other areas of the United States, particularly the South and Southeast. The major expenditures recently in this State have been in the area of purchasing existing operations, principally those with a large resource base. Therefore, one might conclude that the climate for significant investment in new facilities is still negative and that some relief from the regulatory difficulties is necessary to attract new major investments.
California, by the way, manifests a serious problem faced by the forest products industry nationally - which is the lack of understanding in the urban areas as to what forest management is all about. Some demographics might help to further highlight this problem. Although California is second only to Oregon in the manufacture of forest products, only three percent of the State's 23 million people live in the counties where the trees are grown and forest products are manufactured. Not only does the other 97 percent live outside the producing and growing areas, a vast majority reside in Southern California, a geographic separation of many hundreds of miles. In addition, most of those residing in the urban areas are several generations removed from earning a living from the land, therefore they have no real appreciation for the industry's stewardship of its lands and resources.
Unfortunately, the industry must shoulder a large share of the blame for the lack of education of the urban dweller. There has really never been a concerted and coordinated effort to acquaint the urban resident as to the industry's programs and policies and most of what the urban people know of the industry comes from the media that has not always presented both sides of the issues, many of which I might add, are highly emotional; such as the Redwood National Park and the use of forest chemicals, such as phenoxy herbicides. The industry's efforts thus far have been largely reactive in nature, but hopefully this will be changing shortly.
There is underway at this moment, a statewide, in-depth opinion survey, the results of which will spotlight the areas of negative public opinion and lack of understanding. These results, then, will be used to design a public information and education program aimed at increasing the public's awareness of our industry and, hopefully, improving the image of the industry as a responsible steward of its lands. This effort, will, for the first time involve all segments of the forest products industry in a comprehensive and coordinated program to inform the urban public. In the past there have been several programs, many extremely positive and effective, but most have suffered from a lack of funding and support from the entire industry. This new effort will involve all levels of the industry - from the timber growers to those who convert timber to a variety of other essential products ranging from 2x4's to toilet paper. I might add that this new public information program will be designed as a long-term effort and is not meant to merely respond to any given situation.
The obvious question that comes to mind in discussing such an effort is, what credibility will it have? How can this industry with the negative image it apparently has reasonably expect the urban citizen to react favorably to its message? Clearly, our task is going to be a difficult one, but I submit we have some allies in our informational efforts, one of which has the capability of bestowing a considerable amount of credibility on the industry, namely the Board of Forestry.
Now before my employers begin to think that I have taken leave of my senses, let me try to explain the above statement. By its very nature, the Board of Forestry is at once the industry's major regulator and its "credibility creator". The State Legislature, in restructuring the Board of Forestry a few years ago, deliberately created a Board with a majority of public members, rather than continue the domination of the Board by the industry as had been the case throughout the history of the Board of Forestry. I, for one, did not recognize the true value of the Board's work as educators, until I read a recent speech by the Board's Chairman Dr. Henry Vaux, in which he characterized the rules of the Board of Forestry in part, as an attempt to let the public know how the forest products industry intends to harvest its timber. Dr. Vaux went on to say that essentially we were all engaged in urban forestry, regardless of where our actual harvesting operations took place.
Obviously, then, the Board can have a tremendous influence on the public's confidence in the stewardship of the forest products industry, particularly in the urban areas. The awesome influence of the urban population on our activities was perhaps best capsulized by Senator Bill Greene, from the Watts area of Los Angeles, who said at the Western Forestry Conference held in Sacramento last December, and I quote, "...your prob-lems are urban, even though your activities are essen-tially rural." Green went on to say, "Your problem is with what my constituents think you are doing, which may not be what you are actually doing." Hopefully, we can change what Senator Greene's constituents think we are doing.
Obviously, those of you in this room will play a major role in improving public confidence in the industry for with you, as professional foresters present and future, rests the prime responsibility for the direction future forest management will take. While I cannot entirely accept the notion that the professional forester has a dual responsibility - to his employer and the public - I do believe that there must be an increased awareness on the part of professional foresters as to the impact their decisions have on public attitudes toward the industry as a whole.
Rightly or wrongly, what the public generally sees, and thus bases its opinion of the industry on, are the plans drawn by the professionals. One might say, then, that the professional forester is the architect of a very sensitive balancing act; one which requires him to develop plans which meet the demands for fiber, while at the same time recognizing that the public is looking over his shoulder to see that the demands of environmental protection, water supply, wildlife and recreational opportunities are being looked after.
The industry, even though besieged with regulations is moving forward with several of its own initiatives, some of which I would like to share with you this evening.
First of all, wood energy. Wood energy is probably the oldest energy technology known to man, but one of the least used or recognized by the public. As most of you know, the industry in its infancy, relied almost entirely on waste wood generated steam and electricity, primarily because there was simply no other alternative in many of the rural areas in which the industry historically located. Then, as electricity became available at very cheap rates, the industry converted from self-generated to purchased power, although some major installations around the country did continue to rely on self-generation. Now, the industry is being urged to return to the use of waste wood or hog fuel, as it is most commonly known.
CFPA, in cooperation with several State agencies, is undertaking a major effort to educate the industry as to the state-of-the-art in steam and electric power generation from hog fuel. Some of our members are currently producing excess power which is being sold to public utilities at a rate that in many cases does not allow the company to recover its cost of production. Primarily, the hog fuel for these operations is developed as a by-product of the manufacturing process, that being the only type of fuel that is currently economically viable.
However, with the ever-increasing cost of imported and domestic oil, other waste wood, such as hardwoods and cull logs, currently left in the woods, might become economic as a major fuel source. Further, there exists the possibility, that at some future date, a species of trees might be developed expressly for the purpose of energy supply. Currently, one public utility in the northeastern part of the U.S. has such an energy farm, and elsewhere genetic research is going On in attempt to develop a fast-growing tree specie with a high Btu value.
One of the major impediments thus far to significant investment in major wood-fired generating facilities has been the difficulties encountered in distributing the electrical power from a centrally located generation facility. Thus far efforts to work with the existing public utilities have proven somewhat difficult, but several State agencies have indicated strong interest and support for specific wood energy projects and perhaps we will shortly see the development of several projects for this basically nonpolluting source of electrical power and industrial steam.
The second effort currently underway deals with programs to enhance the population of anadromous fish, particularly on the North Coast. While I think most of us will agree that former logging practices had a negative impact on fisheries production, the current practices apparently have all but eliminated those negative impacts. As a matter of fact, the Department of Fish and Game, which has done a recent study of the Smith River and its tributaries in Del Norte County, has discovered that those streams immediately adjacent to areas that have been recently logged have higher spawning and habitat ratings than do those streams that are adjacent to wilderness areas and areas as yet unlogged.
In addition, commercial fishermen, have publicly stated that the current logging practices do not represent hazards to fish spawning and habitat. Obviously, then, the Forest Practice Act and the rules promulgated by the Board of Forestry have done the job for which they were intended.
Recognizing this change in attitudes, the industry began to meet with representatives of the commercial fishing industry late last year, in an effort to see what kind of mutual cooperative program could be worked out to enhance the productivity of the coastal streams principally in the Fort Bragg area. As a result of our efforts, a joint program involving the industry, the commercial fishermen and the State Department of Fish and Game has been tentatively worked out and will probably be announced officially sometime in June.
Basically, the program revolves around the industry providing the local fishermen with stream bottom land, appropriate for rearing ponds and helping with the dredging and construction of the rearing facilities. The State will provide fingerlings, of an acceptable variety, and the local commercial fishing groups will feed and care for the fingerlings prior to their release into the streams in the coastal area. In addition, the three parties are jointly working on the development of a portable egg-taking facility, which will be used to help assure an adequate supply of King Salmon and steelhead eggs, which will then be hatched at State-operated hatchery facilities.
This is a critical point in the program, since the Department of Fish and Game has stated that the major inhibiting factor in providing additional salmon fingerlings, of an acceptable variety, for the rearing pond programs, is the serious shortage of eggs. This is particularly true now, since the State of Washington is no longer in a position to sell eggs to California and many commercial and Government salmon raising enterprises are being forced to import eggs from Russia and other foreign nations.
However, the most important aspect of the whole program is the recognition by both the forest products industry and the fishermen that they can indeed exist side-by-side, a recognition that furthers the point I made earlier about the long-term nature of the management philosophy being developed by the forest products industry in California. Simply stated - it is a recognition that in order for us to be able to grow the trees we need for the future, we must have the soils in which to grow those trees and in order for the fish to spawn, they must have the quality of water and stream beds which will allow their propagation.
Finally, preliminary discussions are underway with the Department of Fish and Game to investigate the potentials of public recreational use of private, industrial forest lands. This initial effort would involve looking into the possibility of setting up game management cooperatives, wherein Fish and Game would contract with the landowner and manage the game resource, that is, determining bag limits, carrying capacities and providing enforcement of fish and game regulations. As you know some companies have allowed the public to use their lands for hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle activities, etc., for many years. Unfortunately, problems of liability, vandalism, and implied dedication to public use have caused some companies to withdraw this privilege from the public. Hopefully, through cooperative programs with Fish and Game and other State agencies, the potential for public recreational use can be increased, and with some 4 1/2 million acres in industrial ownership in California, the possibilities are considerable.
Another side benefit to these kinds of public use programs is that they would undoubtedly afford an excellent opportunity to show the general public what forest management means on the ground, since most people have little concept of a managed forest.
The three programs mentioned then, are part of the new demands on the industrial forest. These, of course, are not new uses of the forest, but the demand for them has increased almost as rapidly as has the demand for fiber. The difficulty lies in balancing these demands with the primary needs for a continuing source of fiber which forms the economic structure which supports the other uses of the forest.
I was asked last week to provide an estimate as to how many acres would be in commercial timber production in the year 2000 and what the harvest from those acres would be. Obviously, it was not a question that could be easily answered, given the historical patterns of land withdrawals and regulation that we have endured over the past several years, plus many areas of uncertainty, such as regulation of areas adjacent to California's Wild and Scenic Rivers and a new State effort aimed at developing a regulatory scheme to deal with what is known as Resource Protection Zones, or those areas in and around State Parks, natural areas and fish and wildlife areas in the Coastal Zone.
With regard to the latter, most of you are aware that we currently have special timber harvesting rules in the Coastal Zone. Now, it appears that pursuant to the California Coastal Act, buffer zones are to be considered to protect additional values in the so-called "impact area". As an example, the Department of Parks and Recreation has recommended a severe limitation on logging activity in an area approximately 10 miles long which abuts a proposed wilderness area, that the State might acquire subject to the passage of a $500 million bond measure that may or may not be submitted to the voters.
The figures I provided in response to the request for future acreage and production are not really important. What is important is that the industrial forest lands of this State have the capability and capacity of providing a continuing supply of fiber for countless future generations, particularly if those who seek to regulate our activities would accept the premise that we are in the business for the long run - "cut and run" time is over. And while we are providing the necessary fiber to meet the needs for the great variety of products from the forest, we can also provide a whole host of other benefits, such as recreational opportunities, fish and wildlife enhancement, community stability, etc.
Lest someone think that I have completely overlooked the crucial management issues on the National Forests, rest assured that I have not. Suffice it to say that National Forest management policy has a profound impact on the management of the State's industrial forest lands, but obviously, there is not time to fully deal with those critical issues in this forum.
Unfortunately, because of the tremendous demand on the Board of Forestry to deal with pressing issues on a day-to-day basis, little or no real attention has been paid to the long-range view as to the future of the industry. There is however, a bright spot on the horizon in this regard. The Forest Improvement Committee, authorized as part of the Governor's reforestation program by the Legislature last year, does provide the opportunity for an unbiased and broadly-based committee to look to the future, and, under the leadership of Dr. Vaux, we are convinced that several issues of long-range concern will be resolved, and much of the uncertainty clouding our future will be cleared away.
Trees are indeed for people - whether you are earning your living from the forest or enjoying the benefits that come from the managed forest. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the managed forest of today is the most environmentally sound use to which the land can be put. Let us hope that others recognize and accept this notion, leaving behind once and for all the emotionalism of the past and replacing it with a true sense of partnership between government and the forest products industry - a partnership that would truly be in the "public interest".
Introducing: Stanley W. Hulett
Stanley W. Hulett, a fifth generation Californian, joined the California Forest Protective Association (CFPA), Sacramento, as its executive vice president on September 1, 1977.
He graduated from Stanford University in 1960 with a degree in political science, and worked several years for the Willits Redwood Products Company in Willits.
He left California in 1969 to serve as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Don Clausen (R-2nd District). From 1971 through 1973 he served the National Park Service as Associate Director, with principal responsibility for legislative affairs.
During this period, 17 major new areas were added to the National Park System, including California's Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Fort Point National Historic Site, the Gateway National Recreation area adjacent to New York City and the Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia.
Hulett also served on the National Forest Reservation Commission which approves major land purchases by the U.S. Forest Service. In late 1973, he became Deputy Director of the U.S. Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.
From 1974 until he returned to California to join CFPA, Hulett was Vice President and Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Paper Institute in Washington, D.C. He was a founder and chairman of the Washington Environmental Coordinating Committee, which helped coordinate environmental-legislative matters among trade associations and industrial representatives in Washington.
CFPA is an association of large timber growers which own about one half of the productive privately-owned timberland in the state.