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PopeWatch: Forests

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

 

Pope Francis made some unprepared remarks over the weekend that might have been better left unsaid:

 

 

In an address at the university of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, Francis said the Earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited.

“This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation,” he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall.

“When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land … that can no longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her,” the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks.

Go here to read the rest.  Actually forests in the United States have been stable since 1900, steadily improving in the quality and size of the trees.  One-third of the acreage in the United States is forested.  Of course some deforestation is necessary to support human life, as was the case with forests cut down and turned into farmland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries alone the east coast of America.  Land cut for timber is routinely replanted, hence the stability of forest acreage in the US.  The Pope does not seem to understand the connection between forbidding the use of land for environmental purposes and the unemployment he rightfully decries.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

61 Comments

  1. The Pope appears to be referring to the felling of tropical rainforest. The climate of the Southern Cone of South America is such that it has next-to-no tropical rainforest. Other parts of South America do and, yes, you can do permanent damage to land by felling tropical rainforest. Rapid biogeochemical cycling cause the nutrients in tropical rainforest to concentrate in the plant life rather than the soil, so when you remove the plant life you end up with low productivity savanna or (if the chemical composition of the soil is a certain way) a barren rock-like stratum called ‘laterite’.

  2. I think the Holy Father does understand most issues but has fallen into a bad media habit of paying what I call rhetorical Politically Correct jizya. I could live with it if he would occasionally offer one Catholic teaching straight with no chaser.

  3. And, consign a couple or three billion people to misery and poverty.

    In Africa, the population living in the tropical rainforest biome is about 135 million. They’re already poor and miserable, by and large. It is possible that a majority do earn their living from agriculture, pastoralism, and raw materials. The injury to them would be the difference between their living from extracting forest product and their living from short term extraction followed by pastoralism. The population in that biome in South America is about 160 million; most people in Latin America are not earning a living from primary sector activities (whether they are poor and miserable or not). Moist and broadleaf forests in South China have largely been cleared for cultivation. And so forth.

  4. My own country shows a melancholy history of loss and degradation of our forests.

    After the retreat of the ice-sheets, almost the whole of Scotland was covered in forest. Now, native woodland accounts for less than 1% of the land area.

    Woodland cover began to decline, largely under the influence of early agriculture, so that by the time of Agricola’s invasion in 82 AD, at least half of the natural woodland had disappeared, especially in the south and east. What remained was heavily exploited for timber, charcoal and tan-bark. Bear and Beaver, Wolf and Lynx lost their habitats and became extinct. By 1900, woodland covered less than 4% of Scotland’s land area, fragmented into many small and isolated blocks and three-quarters of that has disappeared over a century.

  5. He is going to write an encyclical on man’s relationship with nature
    If I were going to write such an encyclical I would look for Wisdom in the Bible, the saints, and human history. I would look at the agricultural development of the swampy areas and heavily forested areas of Europe by monks. Not mendicant monks, but pray and work monks. And look at the Cistercians. I would not look at it negatively like a Marxist at a an environment being used up. But in a positive transformational way – like making a desert bloom. How much more of the earth is now habitable and productive because of human efforts and use. Then I would write the encyclical .

  6. The Pope is probably thinking about what is going on in the Amazon basin. Some deforestation there is definitely needed for agricultural expansion, but some is not. Once again, the U.S. experience is an outlier, although we should note that multispectral satellite imaging shows that the forests outside the Adirondack Park in NY look much different than the forests inside the park, which has never been logged. Forestry experts say that it will take at least 500 years for the biodiversity now seen in the Adirondack Park to redevelop in the rest of the eastern U.S.’s renewed forests.

  7. Many complain of the pope not seeing things as they are, and in terms of forestation the United States and Canada have done a fairly good job, but the rest of the world, and especially South America? He is spot on. We come once again the meaning of what it means to be ‘in the image of God’, here the question is not concerning human ecology [for example the dignity of the person or meaning of marriage as between one man and one woman in life giving/love giving communion] but what it means to ‘have dominion over all creatures’

    What is shocking is this is not a new issue or crisis. Like ‘man’ himself, marriage and human society, our relationship with ‘creation’ which should be one of stewardship [image of the gardener/farmer] has also been effected by original sin-from the very beginning. This precedes ‘civilization’, ‘industrialization’ etc. I was stunned when I was studying and found that the original human beings entering the continent of Australia [now called the Aborigines] burned the forests that were there in order to ‘farm’ and hunt more easily-that was forty thousand years ago!

    For those Lord of the Rings fans think of the difference between Saruman and Gandalf and Radagast. Saruman cut down the forests in order to make his machines and armies; he also lay waste to the Shire and was finally conquered in the Shire. Radagast, a hint of St Francis of Assisi cared for creation etc while Gandalf cared for the peoples of Middle Earth. But it was in the speeches of Treebeard that CatholicTolkien let loose on the decimation of creation.

    And Pope Francis is not alone in this theological emphasis on ecology. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and Metoropolitan Zizoulas (hopefully correct spelling) have also been writing and speaking on “Christian ecology”. It is not a purely secular subject. There are vast ramifications in this subject that the so called ‘environmentalists’ who often are nothing but ‘tree-huggers’ who want to save the ‘baby seals’ and ‘tortoise eggs’ but not the unborn child just do not get at all.

    Bottom line however, since the ends do not justify the means, having dominion over creation does not mean the rape and destruction of our ‘cosmic siblings’. Christ’s Paschal Mystery envelops the cosmos through His Incarnation and transforms it-not destroys it.

  8. THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS A COMMON RESPONSIBILITY
    PEACE WITH GOD THE CREATOR, PEACE WITH ALL OF CREATION.
    Pope John Paul II World Day of Peace 1990
    interesting

  9. “Many complain of the pope not seeing things as they are, and in terms of forestation the United States and Canada have done a fairly good job…”

    But the complaint is valid if the Pope does not make the distinction that some places are doing well but others not. Rather, it comes across as a blanket condemnation of current practices around the world.

    So the complaint of, yet again, imprecise statements is valid.

  10. “Radagast, a hint of St Francis of Assisi cared for creation etc…”

    Also, Tolkein later wrote that Radagast was overconcerned with plants and animals and ultimately did not fulfill his role as a Wizard. So I have seen it with some clerics.

  11. “Many complain of the pope not seeing things as they are, and in terms of forestation the United States and Canada have done a fairly good job, but the rest of the world, and especially South America? He is spot on.”

    Reforestation in Europe is increasingly picking up steam. Ironically the Pope’s homeland of Argentina is one of the few success stories in efforts to reforest in South America. A further irony is that the more capitalist a country is the more intensive reforestry efforts tend to be.

  12. Donald,

    The Pope was not speaking of capitalism. But again the fundamental question is the ‘bonum humanum’ [the human good] which cannot be reduced to merely materialist or this-worldly categories. Just as Church teaching does not call for an either ‘man’ or ‘capital’ approach in reflecting on and teaching the social teachings of the Church but calls for an ‘economy’ that is both moral and promotes the bonum humanum, so too, we cannot get sidetracked into an either ‘man’ (and the economy) or ‘the environment’ but see the interconnection between human ecology [Christian anthropology] and the ecology of creation. Again not an ‘either/or’ but the Catholic: ‘both/and”

    Philip,

    I am not sure you realize that ‘ecology’ is actually a theological issue. It certainly is in correcting the neo-paganism of certain elements of environentalist fundamentalism but it is a subject for theological reflection and teaching-from the first pages of Genesis etc.

  13. “But again the fundamental question is the ‘bonum humanum’ [the human good] which cannot be reduced to merely materialist or this-worldly categories.”

    I disagree Botolph. The Pope was speaking of forests and they are a very material concept. The Pope seems to have quite an aversion to capitalism and yet when it comes to forests capitalist economies tend to be the ones with the best ecological records. When a Pope makes a factual statement it has to be analyzed based upon the facts. If the Pope wishes to propose some sort of new economy which will do a better job than capitalism in regard to the environment and providing material well being for societies, I eagerly await detailed, factual proposals from him as to what such an economy would look like in practical terms.

  14. “I am not sure you realize that ‘ecology’ is actually a theological issue.”

    Yes I am. What have I said that leads you to think otherwise?

    But one must think rationally when discussing theology. If one says “All A is B” when in fact the truth is that “Some A is B”, then one has spoken falsely and this will lead to false conclusions

    This is what the Pope is doing here – or at least that is what one can reasonably infer. He appears to be saying that all current cultivation techniques do not respect Creation. What he should be saying is that some cultivation techniques do not. Thus the failure in his country but the success in America and Canada as you admit.

    This is the complaint that we have. He thinks poorly. And when one thinks poorly, one’s theology will be poor.

  15. Donald is so obsessed in criticizing the Holy Father that he concludes things that weren’t even said and always try to see something to punish him.
    Donald, please wake up!
    The world is on (bad) fire.
    People are suffering in your town in my town in the middle east, people are away from God and your worries, your obsession is criticising the Pope because of a forest statement that you took out of context. Give me a break !

  16. “Donald is so obsessed in criticizing the Holy Father that he concludes things that weren’t even said and always try to see something to punish him.”

    Untrue MRC, as anyone who regularly reads PopeWatch would understand.

    “People are suffering in your town in my town in the middle east, people are away from God and your worries, your obsession is criticising the Pope because of a forest statement that you took out of context. Give me a break !”

    PopeWatch subjects the words and actions of Pope Francis MRC to factual analysis. I am sure that Pope Francis would prefer this to mindless agreement or flattery, based on this statement of his:

    “In his wide-ranging interview with the Italian newspaper published on Tuesday, Francis touched on his formative years, his philosophy and his vision for the church. In the process came an admission that in the past, heads of the church “have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers.”

    “The court is the leprosy of the papacy,” he said.”

  17. Common sense, tho uncommon, is still basic to prudential judgments. There just has to be common sense and I hope to hear that from the pope in his coming writings.
    .
    Humans are unique and the high point in God’s creation; and must work with the rest of creation in order to live. .. I don’t understand this, botolph : ” since the ends do not justify the means, having dominion over creation does not mean the rape and destruction of our ‘cosmic siblings’. Christ’s Paschal Mystery envelops the cosmos through His Incarnation and transforms it-not destroys it. ” Who are our cosmic siblings?
    .

    We can not discount man’s God-given ingenuity in solving problems. As has been indicated, conscientious capitalists ( albeit often regulated) have done a good job of protecting the environment in farming,fishing, mining, and forestry.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/peace/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_19891208_xxiii-world-day-for-peace_en.html

  18. My own country shows a melancholy history of loss and degradation of our forests.

    More precisely, no one has seen fit to plant and maintain them in the current decision making matrix. If you’re concerned about imposed distortions, you need to revamp your property taxes. Partition countryside properties into three parcels: buildings, driveways, and associated grounds (up to three acres); tree stands; and the remainder. Assess the first according to resale value, the second at $0, and the third according to the market for farm land. You can supplement that with an excise laid on tree-harvesting and perhaps also a bounty for tree-planting. If your forest inventories are not much affected by that, it’s because people have better uses for the land in question. Scotland ain’t Maine.

  19. Some deforestation there is definitely needed for agricultural expansion,

    1. IIRC, the modal use has been pastoral, not agricultural.
    2. Again, depends on the soil. Moist broadleaf is the default in southern China, which has been for centuries devoted to agriculture. In Brazil, that’s not (as a rule) an option for very long. Land titles in Latin America are often hazy, which induces a bias toward environmental damage.

  20. Analyze,

    Every creature and force in the cosmos, visible and invisible are our ‘cosmic siblings’ because God is “the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth”. This is what Saint Francis was getting at in his Canticle of the Sun. In the visions of Revelations 4 and 5 we see the same truth in ‘ word images’. We do not become centered on our siblings, however, but on the Most Blessed Trinity

  21. Donald,
    Pope Francis has criticized capitalism, this is true, but so did Poope Benedict in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor-and that was a magisterial document for all Catholics-not some interview with the media. Nor was Pope Benedict the first, nor, I am sure, the last pope to do so.

    As for the issue of the bonum humanum, you certainly knew what I meant concerning it not being limited to materialist or this worldly issues-but it certainly includes them.

    It is important here to be clear that economic and ecological issues are moral/theological issues as are life, marriage and sexual issues. Progressive and conservative Catholics want to be selective, but, while there is a hierarchy within these issues, the issues remain. The Catholic vision takes in all of them

  22. Thanks for your reply botolph. I always read that passage from the Creed: “…the Father, the Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth” WITH the comma between Father and Creator. That Is I read it as God as the Father of humankind who are made in His Image and do not think of Him as “Father” of rocks and stars, but as their Creator. He is our Father And our Creator isn’t He. but Father indicates a familial tie that I just don’t feel with sister moon, no matter how poetic the theology of St Francis may be. God is Person. WE are persons. We recognize that He made each and every Thing that is created. The difference between a person and a thing. There’s plenty I don’t understand about saint francis and also the Ignatian spirituality of de Chardin etc.

  23. Re: “Pope Francis made some unprepared remarks over the weekend that might have been left unsaid”

    As is becoming the norm…

  24. If I were the parent or grandparent (!) of a student, farmer, or worker at that university hall, then I would be happy that Pope Francis proposed the idea of their conversion to a people that knows how to respect creation. Using forests as an example is important as these produce air for breath, something he must acutely understand. Molise, described as agricultural and industrial, sounds similar to my area of experience. Farmers have passed away, with heirs dividing and developing once ‘fruited plains’; a little ski and recreation mountain became a quarry, and home of cell towers; paper and silk mills abandoned to become a point of museum history and crumbling piles of bricks; old family homes became rentals and on; tree-lined streets now uncommon; and, just because it’s summer, I’ll mention the ubiquitous lawn weed spraying services – unwanted manual labor is needed to protect and beautify land – caretakers for the earth could keep people from being idle everywhere. The wildlife has become small – chipmunks, squirrels, and moles with hawks watching for them. Zoos, visiting-available farmstands , and yearly fairs seem to be the only places to find kinds of horses, cows, oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and ducks. This comment is very provincial. Maybe the Pope is fighting pervasive materialism by instilling a greater conscientiousness of creation using forests, rather than the trees that compose them. Wouldn’t it be great if some of the government money spent on support were remunerated by a kind of reparation industriousness – small offices with large workforces doing things as needed – ? Anyway, forests are closer to the Creator than intangible -ism-ish subjects for people to consider.

  25. Art Deco, “More precisely, no one has seen fit to plant and maintain them in the current decision making matrix”
    No. Planting and maintaining has gone on apace. 17% of the land area is covered in forest and will rise to 25% by mid-century. But this consists, almost entirely, of non-native species, grown for profit, mostly fast-growing softwoods like larch and spruce. Only dedicated conservation groups are planting alder, aspen, broom, elder, gean, juniper, whitebeam and wych elm. Even our parks are full of Chesnut and Lime (Plane) trees.
    Of our surviving native woodland, only a tiny fraction, among remote and inaccessible crags is pristine, with no trace of human interference, such as patches of Rassal Ashwood near Kishorn or Glasdrum Wood on the slopes of Ben Churalain, both of which support rare, if not unique, lichens.

  26. “He appears to be saying that all current cultivation techniques do not respect Creation. What he should be saying is that some cultivation techniques do not.”

    What a completely subjective unprovable statement. Those currently in charge of determining what “damages” the ” environment” here in the US, in other countries around the world, & at the UN are absolute anti-man (as in the concept of the Biblical creation of mankind as a triune being made in the image of God) who are motivated by greed (i.e. they will no longer have a job or retirement if they cease to claim environmental damage,) self righteousness ( their beliefs re: the environment are a pseudo religion,) power hungry, busy body, wannabe do gooders ( we little people must have the environmentalists to tell us what to do–the population at large needs to be told what to do/controlled) as well as pseudo-scientists (if the data doesn’t fit the current crop of environmentalists’ politically preset conclusions–then the data is simply changed/invented until it does fit the preconceived/politically motivated conclusions.)

    Don’t even get me started. I could write a 1000 page book on this crap. The mess-ups of the Arkansas Game & Fish in their attempts to manage the land/natural resources here in Arkansas would provide enough fodder for a 1000 page book–all by themselves.

  27. No. Planting and maintaining has gone on apace. 17% of the land area is covered in forest and will rise to 25% by mid-century. But this consists, almost entirely, of non-native species, grown for profit, mostly fast-growing softwoods like larch and spruce. Only dedicated conservation groups are planting alder, aspen, broom, elder, gean, juniper, whitebeam and wych elm. Even our parks are full of Chesnut and Lime (Plane) trees.

    First you complain there is not enough woodland. Now you complain it’s the wrong trees. You want a garden, buy the land and plant it yourself.

  28. Don’t even get me started. I could write a 1000 page book on this crap. The mess-ups of the Arkansas Game & Fish in their attempts to manage the land/natural resources here in Arkansas would provide enough fodder for a 1000 page book–all by themselves.

    Non ci credo.

  29. “What a completely subjective unprovable statement.”

    Though it seems from what is argued by Don and conceded by Botolph is that cultivation techniques used in US and Canadian forests have both benefitted society and respected Creation. This as opposed to pure slash and burn techniques.

    Of course bringing this up is to prove the inability of the Pope to articulate the Truth of the Faith well.

  30. Barbara Gordon wrote, “What a completely subjective unprovable statement.”
    There are very simple, objective tests: are biodiversity and population numbers increasing, stable or reducing and why?

  31. Art Deco wrote, “First you complain there is not enough woodland…”
    No, I wrote, “Now, native woodland accounts for less than 1% of the land area…”
    Obviously, once pristine native woodland has been modified by human activity, it cannot be restored; all that can be done is to conserve what little remains. It would take another Ice Age to restore the status quo ante.

  32. Obviously, once pristine native woodland has been modified by human activity, it cannot be restored; all that can be done is to conserve what little remains. It would take another Ice Age to restore the status quo ante.

    Why would you wish to do that, MPS? What you’re referring to is ‘old growth forest’ and putatively there are enhanced environmental services derived from it which suggest it should be sequestered. The United States has enormous federal forest inventories, but only 2% of the total is old growth forest. People actually live here (and in Scotland, at least that’s what I’ve heard). You want a museum for aesthetic reasons? Fine. But trees are trees and they ‘give life’ whether they be old growth or not.

  33. “. . . but only 2% of the total is old growth forest.”

    I suppose that is where the sasquatches have found refuge.

  34. “This as opposed to pure slash and burn techniques.”

    My family for generations fed multitudes on acres of farm land after this so called “slash and burn” technique was used to deforest the fields of our farmland. Right now we have 7 billion plus mouths to feed with an expected 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050. Stats I have seen show that 25,000 people a day are currently dying of starvation–not due to a lack of food but due to waste and governmental policies.

    What makes one method of creating usable farmland “respectful” of Creation and another method “disrespectful” of creation? The delineation between respect & disrespect is pure subjective opinion.

    The land that my grandfather did not use directly as farmland–& therefore was left wooded–was “burned off” annually to get rid of underbrush thereby allowing livestock to travel back and forth between watering holes, pastures, and the safety of our stockyard/barn on a daily basis as well as getting rid of pests and parasites such as tics & mosquitos. The annual “burning off” of the acreage meant that the portions of our property not used directly in producing crops were used directly in the raising of livestock/poultry–thereby not being left in an state untouched by man. Did we altar the ecology/environment of the land by using it to provide food for ourselves and others? Absolutely. Do I think there was anything we did that was immoral/disrespectful of Creation? Absolutely not.

    I have found that those who complain the loudest about damage to the environment are those who have never found themselves at risk of missing a meal nor starvation. Have you ever known anyone who starved to death? I have. Let me tell you–looking at the modern environmental movement from the perspective of having witnessed starvation gives one a completely different perspective. Our modern day environmental movement, despite all of the lip service paid to a higher good, is all about money and control.

  35. “Again, depends on the soil. Moist broadleaf is the default in southern China, which has been for centuries devoted to agriculture. In Brazil, that’s not (as a rule) an option for very long.”
    Very true Art. Hence the scientific interest in ancient Amazonian soil enhancements.

    “Land titles in Latin America are often hazy, which induces a bias toward environmental damage.”
    Again, very true. I looked into purchasing a home in Costa Rica, where I have family connections. I was shocked to find out that one of the most modern and developed countries in Latin America, and the one that most escaped the hacienda system thanks to its small family farms, has no title insurance! It is no accident that Costa Rica with its mixed economy has done much better in the area of conservation than its neighbors who have been more tempted by socialism.

  36. MPS wrote: “There are very simple, objective tests: are biodiversity and population numbers increasing, stable or reducing and why?”

    The standard stated above is filled with politically correct overtones and is in fact very controversial and is used here in the US as a tool of complete control/destruction by federal and state agencies all across the country. To deny the damaging reality of what is taking place under the guise of maintaining or increase “biodiversity” is very alarming. Right now, thousands of acres of what was until recently rich, highly productive, multi-generational farmland in the state if California—is now turned into a dry desert waste land due to the actions of our federal bureaucracy in their supposed efforts to protect one tiny species.

    Not only are all of the jobs & industry that were created by those farms gone, but all of the food produced is gone as well.

    Now, anyone with any sense knows that the biological diversity of the land that was once California farmland has been decreased by these dictatorial federal actions. What kind of “respect” does that show for Creation?

    I have seen stats that show that 60% of the people in the world earn $1 or less a day and spend 90% of that $1 or less on food. That means if the prices of food for these people increases by 10% at any time then all of their earnings go for food. If the prices of food for these groups increase by more than 10% then they go without food. Hence my reference above to knowing someone who starved to death. I spent time in Honduras when staple food prices increased by 300% due to government rationing–and poor people starved to death as a result. And those who are stone cold dead do not include those who suffer illness and disability due to the lack if nutritious food and needed protein–including the unborn whose mothers do not gave sufficient nutrition–and those under the age if 2 who do not have sufficient protein and Vitamin A to develop normal minds, eye sight, and bodies and must live out their lives disabled.

    I wish our pope would address the practical realities of the need for affordable, available, nutritious food rather than make vague, leftist comments re: forests!

  37. Barbara is correct. As Robert Heinlein wrote in Notebooks of Lazarus Long within his novel, Time Enough for Love:
    .
    There are hidden contradictions within the minds of people who “love nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature.” The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature”–but beavers and their damns are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver damn (erected by beavers for beaver’s purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purpose of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race–i.e., his own self-hatred. In the case of “Naturists” such self—hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate. As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. Sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women– it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly “natural.” Believe it or not, there were “Naturists” who opposed the first flight to old Earth’s Moon as being “unnatural” and a “despoiling of nature.”
    .
    I will note this: all those who say they love nature are the very same people who oppose replacing one ton of coal burning with a thumbnail sized uranium dioxide pellet. It takes lots of energy to fuel a highly technical advanced civilization – 22 rail road cars of coal every two weeks into a 1000 MW plant which could be replaced by a nuke that gets refueled but once every two years. Instead, naturists advocate less than 30% capacity factor wind and solar that always require spinning fossil fuel backup. From one of the many training course that I have developed and teach: if wind power were to replace all 100 US nuclear reactors, then a land area the size of Minnesota would have to be deforested, and if solar power were to replace all 100, then a land area the size of West Virginia would have to be deforested. And even then you would get electricity less than 30% of the time compared to nuclear’s +92% capacity factor. Green power, black death.
    .
    PS, 2 million people die every year world-wide from that bonanza of green energy called biomass burning. Want to know how forests get deforested? Prevent people from developing low cost, pollution free, safe and secure energy (aka nuclear).

  38. Art Deco wrote: “Non ci credo.”

    Mr. Deco, with all due respect, you belief or lack thereof does not matter to me in the least. We are having to live it here in Arkansas. By the way, the Game and Fish in our state are a completely independent agency. They are funded by tax dollars however are not accountable to our state legislature or anyone else. Due to their efforts we now have a lake that is over run with invasive species of plant as well as an invasive species of Asian fish. They also completely lost control if a mammal species and reptilian species within the last 15 years after introducing those animals ostensibly to solve problems–and thereby creating more problems. I will not take the time to explain in more detail as you have already discounted earlier comments–and if seriously interested you may research the matter yourself. 🙂

  39. “I will note this: all those who say they love nature are the very same people who oppose replacing one ton of coal burning with a thumbnail sized uranium dioxide pellet.”
    And those people also oppose the only effective way to get rid of the waste from that pellet: burying it into the part of the earth’s crust that is about to be subducted into the mantle. Same people also have killed millions by stopping the use of DDT for malaria control.

    I am all for biodiversity. Science has shown that it has value, including value to us. But we are the stewards of this planet, and might become the stewards of this galaxy, and we need to manage things wisely. Becoming a slave to Gaia is not wisdom.

  40. ““Again, depends on the soil. Moist broadleaf is the default in southern China, which has been for centuries devoted to agriculture.”

    Well, here in the state if Arkansas, governmental reforestation has resulted in a long term (as in my life time or linger) change in the pH of huge portions of the land in our state. Deciduous trees are what have grown naturally (historically) in our state. Our bureaucrats saw fit to replant what was originally/primarily deciduous forests with nothing but pine trees–thereby changing the pH of the soil–and again impacting “biodiversity,” “ecology,” and the “environment” in their efforts to restore all three. :-/

  41. We ARE stewards, Tom D! 100% correct. So not to diverge down a rabbit hole, but consider the following. Sadly, I know nothing about forestry or land care and management, but I do know energy and I suspect that how we treat forestry use is how we treat energy use:
    .
    1000 megawatt power plant emissions.
    .
    Sulfur Dioxide Emissions
    .
    Coal = 70,000 tons / year
    Natural Gas = 0 tons / year
    Oil = 30,000 tons /year
    Nuclear = 0 tons / year
    .
    Nitrogen Oxide Emissions
    .
    Coal = 25,000 / year
    Natural Gas = 16,000 tons / year
    Oil = 14,000 tons /year
    Nuclear = 0 tons / year
    .
    Carbon Dioxide Emissions
    .
    Coal = 6,000,000 tons / year
    Natural Gas = 3,000,000 tons / year
    Oil = 5,000,000 tons / year
    Nuclear = 0 tons / year
    .
    Aint no such thing as “natural” gas. It is methane, pure and simple: explosive, dangerous and polluting.
    .
    Energy Source Death Rate – guess which is lowest even including TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
    .
    Coal: 161 deaths per terawatt hour
    Oil: 36 deaths per terawatt hour
    Natural Gas: 4 deaths per terawatt hour
    Biomass / Biofuel: 12 deaths per terawatt hour
    Solar: 0.44 deaths per terawatt hour
    Wind: 0.15 deaths per terawatt hour
    Hydro worldwide: 1.4 deaths per terawatt hour
    Nuclear: 0.04 deaths per terawatt hour
    .
    Nuclear Used Fuel
    .
    The nuclear used fuel in the United States comprises some 48 thousand metric tons. Let us put this in perspective. A single coal fired power plant on the Cape Fear River in North Carolina recently dumbed 39 million tons of toxic coal plant sludge into the environment. This toxic waste never ever decays away. The current used fuel repository in the US pales in comparison and is a fraction of this coal fired power plant waste. Additionally, the used fuel repository would occupy a volume of a football field some five yards deep. But bear in mind that only 5% of the fuel is used. 95% of the energy remains within it, and if reprocessed and reused in fast neutron burner reactors, only 2.4 yards width-wise of a football field five yards deep would be required to contain the leftover ash which (unlike coal plant sludge and natural gas turbine exhaust) decays after 600 years.
    .
    PS, a coal plant annually gives off more radioactivity in the form of uranium, radium and thorium in coal than any nuke.
    .
    If we are stewards, then WHY are we NOT living up to our stewardship? Why do we NOT use the safest, most effective, most reliability, most environmentally friendly form of energy (yes, even including Fukushima which killed less than one dozen outright and none from radiation).

  42. Mr. Deco, with all due respect, you belief or lack thereof does not matter to me in the least. We are having to live it here in Arkansas.

    Whatever you’re living, sister, I don’t believe you can write a 1,000 page book telling the fish and game department how to do their jobs. Public agency has its problems as a delivery system. That does not mean that public agencies are without expertise.

  43. “I am all for biodiversity. Science has shown that it has value, including value to us. But we are the stewards of this planet, and might become the stewards of this galaxy, and we need to manage things wisely. Becoming a slave to Gaia is not wisdom.”

    Amen!

  44. Art Deco wrote: “Whatever you’re living, sister, I don’t believe you can write a 1,000 page book telling the fish and game department how to do their jobs.”

    Please reread what I have actually written above, sir. You will find that I did did not write what you are saying that I have written. Those thoughts may have been in your mind–but they are not in my written comments.

    AR G&F’s expertise has not stopped them from messing up one thing after another in a big way–hence the fodder for a 1000 page book reporting the actual consequences & details surrounding the very public mess ups. Have they had successes? Of course–their expertise has given some successes as well. I was particularly irritated at one point when I found it necessary to warn my relatives, who were headed to SE Arkansas for deer camp, that the AR Game and Fish had reported to the media that they were unable to locate some of their released large canivorous reptiles (AR G & F had let these carnivores loose obstensibly to kill an extremely over populated mammal– AR G&F had also introduced the over populated mammal in question from Louisiana a few years before–in an attempt to solve a 3rd over population problem–no I an NOT kidding.) The press release regarding the deer hunters was to let the hunters know that these reptilian carnivores were out and about– in order to avert a hunter getting attacked on land/water. As was said before, you are capable of doing the research for yourself if interested.
    😀

  45. PWP wrote: “If we are stewards, then WHY are we NOT living up to our stewardship?”

    Politicians control our stewardship. The last consideration in politics (if it is even considered at all) is our God given responsibilities/what is best/what us right.

    Politics is ruled by greed/power/what makes me look good & my opposition look bad–I am sad to say.

  46. Phillip wrote:
    “Barbara,

    That is fine. But again you missed my point. Read the last sentence.”

    Thank you, Phillip. I did miss your point. Thank you for the redirection. I believe you are right on with your last sentence. 🙂

  47. Barbara Gordon, this is precisely what you said,

    Don’t even get me started. I could write a 1000 page book on this crap. The mess-ups of the Arkansas Game & Fish in their attempts to manage the land/natural resources here in Arkansas would provide enough fodder for a 1000 page book–all by themselves.

  48. Art Deco wrote,
    “The United States has enormous federal forest inventories, but only 2% of the total is old growth forest… But trees are trees…”
    But trees form part of an overall ecosystem and “old growth forest” and “native woodland” constitute unique systems with life-forms, (mosses, lichens, fungi, insects and birds and mammals that have developed with them and that depend on them. So, no, trees are not just trees.
    Barbara Gordon wrote,
    “Our bureaucrats saw fit to replant what was originally/primarily deciduous forests with nothing but pine trees.”
    We have seen the same madness in Scotland, with imported species like larch and spruce. The object was profit: to produce cheap, fast-growing timber for the construction and paper industries.

  49. Art Deco said: “Barbara Gordon, this is precisely what you said, – Don’t even get me started. I could write a 1000 page book on this crap. The mess-ups of the Arkansas Game & Fish in their attempts to manage the land/natural resources here in Arkansas would provide enough fodder for a 1000 page -book all by themselves.”

    And Art Deco said: “Whatever you’re living, sister, I don’t believe you can write a 1,000 page book telling the fish and game department how to do their jobs. Public agency has its problems as a delivery system. That does not mean that public agencies are without expertise.”

    *long sigh* as in dealing with an immature, presumptuous, arrogant teenager who is lifted up in pride by the knowledge (I did not say wisdom) they have gained so far in life.

    The statements say that I made are not the statements that you say I have made. Again you have heard things un your mind that I did not say.

    Why are you so presumptuous as to assume that you know my background, training, and experience in this area? I am not one to get into a pissing contest with folks about my qualifications on a blog unless it will provide needed resources to someone in need or aid in my explanations surrounding a moral argument.

    Mr. Deco, since you regularly behave as a bully and comment on the posts of others in the rather insulting manner of a sophomore in high school, I will point out the following very plainly.
    1. Please learn some blogosphere manners and practice them when pointing out what you see as weaknesses in others thoughts or reasonings.
    2. You literally do not know who you are dealing with on these blogs, and we do not know who you are as you do not use a real name.
    3. Your comments accusing others of defacto lying–as you have accused me of doing on this blog-causes others not to trust your comments (just like an accusation of infidelity by one spouse makes the falsely accused spouse wonder about the fidelity of the spouse making the accusation. Application: Your accusation of my saying things I did not say and then attempting to post your way into appearing that your accusation was correct, results in my no longer trusting your posts. Our accusations toward others–speaks to our own motives.

  50. MPS wrote: “Art Deco wrote,
    “The United States has enormous federal forest inventories, but only 2% of the total is old growth forest… But trees are trees…”
    But trees form part of an overall ecosystem and “old growth forest” and “native woodland” constitute unique systems with life-forms, (mosses, lichens, fungi, insects and birds and mammals that have developed with them and that depend on them. So, no, trees are not just trees.
    Barbara Gordon wrote,
    “Our bureaucrats saw fit to replant what was originally/primarily deciduous forests with nothing but pine trees.”
    We have seen the same madness in Scotland, with imported species like larch and spruce. The object was profit: to produce cheap, fast-growing timber for the construction and paper industries.”

    The object of replanting every area of the state controlled by government bureaucrats here in Arkansas with pine, rather than the native deciduous tree is/was profit. We have had a very politically active paper industry in our state for an extended period of time. Replanting in pine produces a cheap, fast growing supply for our timber industry in Arkansas as well. Of course, many private land owners have chosen to replant pine on their privately held land–but that is quite different in the amount of land under consideration–and there is no direct use of tax payer monies in the replanting/harvesting of privately planted pine.

  51. Barbara,

    Art directly quoted you on a comment you left on this thread, I believe it was the second or third one you made. He did not make it up.

    Regardless, you two please pay nice now.

  52. The object was profit: to produce cheap, fast-growing timber for the construction and paper industries.

    Michael, trees are crops. Given the decision matrix producers face, that’s what producers assess as in their best interest. Alternative uses might be arable farming, pasture and meadow, or real estate development. There’s nothing ‘mad’ about it. You seem to think public policy is producing perverse results, and agriculture is so laden with cross subsidies, state-run cartels, administrative allocations, and tariff protection that you may be right. The thing is, you can dismantle every perverse incentive and institute bounties and excises to attempt to capture externalities and you’re still not going to get what Michael wants. People put in gardens for home enjoyment and local communities set aside parkland for collective enjoyment. Recreation is a small part of any economy, even in and among the world’s most affluent states. I’m not sure what objection you’d have to timber and paper production per se other than the ambient odors the processing can produce, which can be addressed through excises on effluvia, tradeable waste permits, &c. As long as you do not induce a bias toward deforestation with your tax regime (and property taxes will do that), the timber producer has every incentive to take proper care of his holdings and local land use regulations and the tort system can address injuries to the interests of his neighbors.

    ==

    Mr. Deco, since you regularly behave as a bully and comment on the posts of others in the rather insulting manner of a sophomore in high school, I will point out the following very plainly.

    I am not bullying you by quoting you directly and telling you I do not take you seriously. I am sorry it has not entered your head that you really are not in a position to be lecturing anyone else on the subject of manners or calling grumpy middle-aged men ‘high school sophomores’.

  53. PZ said: “Art directly quoted you on a comment you left on this thread, I believe it was the second or third one you made. He did not make it up.”

    Paul,

    He did not make up my quote that he copied. He simply added things to it that I did not say in his comments and insisted that I said them.

  54. I would like to point out some of the smoke & mirrors (and pure bologna, surrounding the idea of nature being left untouched by man (as in mankind.). PWP did a beautiful job of addressing some of the facets of these falsehoods (I would call much of it downright brainwashing) with his reference to the novel, Time Enough For Love.

    Besides the false assumption that anything man does in nature is evil, there are many examples of animals being released into the wild (returning them to a natural state) in which the animals promptly died or were eaten by predators. Also out west, due to the complaints of environmentalists (lawsuits & so forth) there have been huge areas of land that was not burned to remove underbrush that due to lightening strikes (natural phenomenon) burned uncontrolably killing wild life, plant life, firemen attempting to bring it out if control –as well as damaging huge amounts of property as in homes etc. Before the complaints of the environmentalists to their politicians & through the courts about the regular burning of underbrush out West–those practiced underbrush burns helped keep wildfires under control and limited the damage of fires in the areas under question.

    I also have been infuriated by the number of birds being killed–including some of those that are at risk of becoming extinct–by these infernal wind farms that are supposed to be “good” for the environment.

    There are several species of wild life that would have ceased to exist long ago here in the US if it had not been for efforts/interventions by early, private conservation groups who wished to be able to continue enjoying the sport of hunting these species.

    If managed deer hunts were not practiced across the South, we would have deer literally dying from starvation & disease due to competition over limited food sources.

    Currently, several states are attempting to bring their wild hog/swine population under control. This invasive species has done untold damage to land, plant species, property, etc. Wild hogs not only multiply rapidly, they also carry disease and will attack humans when given the chance. One of my friends in the northern portion of our state has recently killed a wild swine that weighed over 300 lbs –this gives a clear picture of how much damage can be caused by one of these animals.

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