Tree thinning projects have been conducted in the Pine Barrens, some of which posters here and on the PBE site have lamented. The process to conduct logging has been streamlined, eliminating red tape, which has attracted loggers to the Pine Barrens. The onerous regulations, which kept loggers out, have been lifted. Also, the feds have a say in what goes on in the Pine Barrens, and recently, a bill was drafted (I'm not sure of its status) to prevent the endangered species act from being invoked by environmental extremists as a tailsman to get their way. What a bunch of spinning cry babies these groups (as reported in the article) are by whining that the agencies will have more disgression which will give an unfair advantage to loggers. The agencies make the final decision. They solicit public comment to help them make decisions for the public good. The reforms were put in place to prevent environmental extremists from fillibustering and from having an unfair advantage.
Did you hear that Mac Greedy went to Ireland, at taxpayers expense? It is said to cost taxpayers about 100 thousand dollars. Maybe he's going there to track down St. Patrick, who used a stick from an old growth forest to drive all the snakes out of Ireland. I understand that Mac Greedy is privy to intellegence that St. Patrick is in hiding in Ireland and plans to return to the Pine Barrens to drive out the snakes for good. It is believed that the Pine Barrens Rattler is endangered because St. Patrick drove many of them out. St. Patrick was spotted chasing out the snakes and he had to flee to Ireland before he could finish the job. I can see a movie about this now. THE FUGITIVE, starring Governor James Mac Greedy as Lt. Gerard.
The clearcuts that have been discussed on Pine Barrens boards are the savannas that were mentioned in a article that I believe you posted, Guy. I can understand clearcuts near roads getting negative attention. A volunteer who worked at a PA state park in north central Pennsylvania told me that clearcuts are done on public land, but, for public relations purposes, they are not done near roads. When people drive along the road in a wooded area, seeing a clearcut is not always the best first impression of the area, even though it's just a relatively small clearing in the vast forest. To get a better perspective on savannas in the forests, visit the Cape May Courthouse Zoo, in Cape May Courthouse, NJ. At this zoo, which is larger than Philadelphia's, a boardwalk takes you through hundreds of acres of mature forest, to the edge of a savanna, where the giraffes and other animals live.
I started reading a book of John Muir's writings. I've gotten a good impression of him. I like his writing style. Very creative in getting his message across, which is forcefull and clear. A year or two ago, I read a preface to a congressional forests and forest health subcommittee hearing by former chair Helen Chenoweth Hage (sp?), where she said that Sierra Club founder John Muir advocated responsible tree harvesting. This is clear from the two essays by Muir I've read. John Muir's problem was the overcutting and the waste of our forests. He pleaded to stop the insanity of cutting but not replanting the forests, which were being decimated through wholesale destruction. Muir spoke against the waste left by loggers, as they wasted more than they used. Timber practices then caused wildfires and kept forests from regenerating. Muir had a problem with the loggers who cut and burned much more forest real estate than necessary and sheepmen who burned the forest wholesale and overgrazed. Interesting, wholesale destruction of our forests by burning, either intentional, vis-a-vis a controlled burn or as a result of completely banning tree harvesting (which the Sierra Club and others advocate) has been the case for the past few decades. Unlike today's Sierra Club, Muir advocated protecting the forest FOR humans, so they can use and enjoy it for generations to come.
As was the case for John Muir, we need to remedy the problem that was brought on by poor forestry practices. The feds now have the cure. Let's just hope that King James Mac Greedy doesn't find it in his best interest to kowtow to the tree huggers and become an obstacle to the tree thinning plans in the Pine Barrens. As it is, the state is making money from lumbering, filling the state coffers which are drained for things like trips to Ireland. If done properly, and not compromised by Greedy politicians, logging in the Pine Barrens should help keep the forest healthy, keeping it for future generations to enjoy.
Actually, it was you, Bob, who posted the article on PBE that reported on savannas being recreated through tree harvesting.
Re: Protecting Communities from Wildfire (BobM)
Posted: 6:57:47 pm on 4/2/2002 Modified: Never
The below is an example of the state doing something dumb and unnecessary based upon suggestions from hunters and timber companies. Note who is benefitting from doing this; the timber companies, who are making computer paper and hospital gowns from the pulp.
Note also that suppression of wildfires appears to have started the problem (if it really is one) in the first place.
By Lawrence Hajna, Courier-Post Staff, March 28, 2002
You probably never realized New Jersey has too many trees. But this
concept could lead to the clearing of thousands of acres of state-
Savannas - grassy areas interspersed with some trees - once spread
across many parts of the state, providing habitat for a variety of
wildlife. However, that was centuries ago, before fighting forest
fires was necessary to protect property.
Now more than 400 acres of pine and oak woodlands at the state's
Buckshutem Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County are being
cleared to re-create this ecosystem.
This pilot project will provide habitat for bobwhite quail, the red-
headed woodpecker, the American kestrel and numerous other bird
species whose numbers are declining because of habitat loss, officials
Thousands of more acres of forest could be re-created as savannas if
the pilot project is successful, officials said. But the NJ Audubon
Society and the state's chapter of the Sierra Club contend wildlife
managers should leave woodlands alone.
"If you want to create savannas, create them in existing fields.
Don't destroy the forest," said Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel,
arguing clearing will displace squirrels, chipmunks and bird species
that live in forests. "Here's a novel idea: Tear up a parking lot at a
strip mall instead."
Steve Quesenberry is a project director for the South Jersey Resource
Conservation and Development Council, a private nonprofit group based
in Hammonton. It acted as a go-between for the state Division of Fish
and Wildlife and a timber company.
"I know cutting down trees sounds ungodly, but you have to imagine
what you're going to see out here," Quesenberry said as heavy
equipment shredded tall pines at the project site. "It's going to be
an improvement for all wildlife."
The state is saving about $2.5 million by allowing South Jersey
Timber and Chip Inc. of Elmer, Salem County, to shred the bark for
sale as mulch and the wood for pulp, used to make computer paper and
The Division of Fish and Wildlife will leave between 20 and 40 trees
per acre, simulating savannas that were common before European
settlement. The division hopes grassland birds will return naturally
once this habitat is created.
Biologists may burn the cleared areas periodically to encourage the
natural return of prairie grasses, a process that could take at least
five years. If federal funds become available, biologists will
accelerate the process by planting switch grass, Indian grass, broom
sedge and other species that provide food and cover for grassland
"You still find these (grass) species in New Jersey; they' re just
not as prevalent because of our fire-suppression practices," said
Laurie Pettigrew, a Division of Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Before European settlement, wildfires ignited by lightning would
sweep through forests from time to time, clearing them of dense
undergrowth and keeping them much sparser than they are today. Lenape
Indians also set fires to improve their ability to hunt and move
around the forests.
The state agency is developing a similar management plan for the
Greenwood Wildlife Management Area in Ocean County. Pettigrew said
savanna restoration "has the potential to encompass thousands of acres
(across the state). Whether we end up doing that, I don't know."
Stuart Chaifetz, founder of the League of Animal Protection Voters,
argued the project's real aim is to improve deer habitat and
populations to improve hunting, even though the state already has
problems with too many deer. The budget for the Division of Fish and
Wildlife is largely subsidized by fees for hunting and fishing
"What are we saying now, that trees are bad?" said Chaifetz, a Cherry
Hill resident. "What about the oxygen they create?"
Deer will likely use the savanna, and hunting of game species will be
allowed on the land, Pettigrew said. But she insisted the project is
designed to restore bird populations.
"Just about anything you do aside from completely devastating an area
will improve deer habitat," she said," but this is certainly not being
done to improve deer habitat."
The savanna will provide open fields for the kestrel, the smallest
member of the hawk family, to hunt rodents and other prey, she said.
Some dead trees will be left behind to provide nesting areas for the
woodpecker, while quail and other grassland birds will be able to nest
in tall grasses, she said.
Quail Unlimited, a South Carolina-based hunting and conservation
group, approached South Jersey Timber and Chip Co. about the project
several years ago.
"There are pockets of quail here and there (in New Jersey)," said
John Battistini, Quail Unlimited's state chairman. "If you make the
habitat, they will come."
Robert R. Williams, a forestry consultant for the timber company,
said creation of savannas may displace some animal species, but their
overall populations should not be greatly affected.
"Land needs to be managed," he said. "If people think you can have
all this land and just let it go, you're losing all kinds of species'
diversity by allowing an unnatural situation to continue."