excerpt from LAKE SUPERIOR: STORY AND SPIRIT (288 pages), written and
photographed by John and Ann Mahan (1998), describes perfectly why Lynn
Rogers, Ph.D. formed the White Pine Society.
Our Forests are Safe Now, Right?
Unfortunately, no they are not. There is a strong disconnect between
rhetoric and ground truth. The truth on the ground in our publicly
owned forests is that surprisingly little has changed. Our forests
are still being mined. Much of the legislation has very weak, or
nonexistent, enforcement powers and is administered by agencies still
committed to the old "get the cut out" mentality. The public, who
should have ultimate say in how forests are managed, is rarely listened
to. In spite of encouraging statements about biodiversity and
sustainability, Ontario has approved the use of clear-cutting in 90
percent of its boreal forest.
Ecologist and professional forester Herb Hammond underscores this threat:
"In Ontario the timber industry controls 70% of the productive forest land
in long-term forest management agreements." And how well have they
managed these forests? (Keep in mind that large-scale clear-cutting
isn't forest management, it is forest removal.) Terry Carleton at
the University of Toronto, an expert on boreal forest ecology, described
clear-cutting that has already "occurred in northern Ontario to yield an
effective clear-cut area of 259,000 ha [640,000 acres]. It is
visible from space with the naked eye..."
U.S. Forest Service foresters, scientists, and researchers are committed
to their forests and to the public, and are heartsick at the continued
destruction in our forests. They have banded together in the Forest
Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) and are courageously
speaking out and risking their jobs.
Rogers, a widely respected U.S. Forest Service research biologist, became
concerned about the remaining white pine in Minnesota. His research
has documented the importance of white pine to nesting eagles and osprey.
In the last 30 years, "80 percent of the bald eagle nests and 77 percent
of osprey nests were found in white pines." White pine seedlings are
not surviving blister rust and deer browsing. The large white pines
are, but they are not surviving the U.S. Forest Service's logging sales.
Rogers also illustrates how industry is still allowed to externalize costs
onto the public: "Currently, when industry cuts white pines on public
land, taxpayers must pay for replanting... taxpayers should not have to
pay to regenerate what industry has cut."
described his findings in an article published by the Minnesota Department
of Natural Resources and also took his research and concerns to then U.S.
Forest Service Chief, F. Dale Robertson. Within one month, the U.S.
Forest Service was "investigating" Lynn Rogers. They confiscated his
data, canceled his study, locked him out of his office for three months
and made numerous allegation against him. Rogers was subjected to
huge legal fees, and his 23-year black bear research was ended. When
the case was moved out of the Forest Service's jurisdiction, the Service
quickly settled, avoiding negative publicity. The white pine sales
Lynn Rogers. He became cofounder and director of the White Pine
Society -- committed to public education and "sustainable yield
management" of the remaining 2 percent of Minnesota's white pine.
Government and industry's "kill the messenger" response backfired on them.
"With all the publicity I brought to the issue," Rogers says, "the white
pine cutting has really gone down." Recently honored as an
environmental hero in Minnesota, Rogers continues working with others to
pass legislation in Minnesota that would insure a sustainable approach to
white pine management.
Published by Sweetwater Visions
P.O. Box 1774
Gaylord, MI 49735