Remarks to BOF
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Remarks to the California Board of Forestry
by Vince Taylor
Ukiah, CA, July13, 2000

Dear Board of Forestry:

Thank you for the opportunity to address you. I’m addressing you as a member of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Forest.

For your information, I’ve attached a biography. In brief, I have a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in economics from M.I.T. I worked on economic aspects of government policy for twenty years, ten of which were at the Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, California. I was founder and chief executive of a software company for approximately 10 years. Since 1995, I’ve devoted myself to working on issues in the public interest.

The Tour and the Value of Beautiful Forest

I want to begin my remarks by recalling the tour of Jackson State Forest by Board on Tuesday. As I said at the time, CDF took you to the beautiful parts of JSF, rather than to past and proposed logging areas. I thought about this quite a bit afterward. I asked myself, "Why did CDF do this?" I decided that it was because CDF recognizes that beautiful forest is greatly valued by people, completely separate from timber value. They wanted to give you the most positive possible experience; so they showed you the beauty of the unlogged forest. And the appreciation expressed by Board members shows that beautiful forest is very appealing and attractive even to people whose job it is to oversee regulation of logging.

The Board needs to remember Tuesday’s tour when it comes time to evaluate CDF’s new management plan for Jackson Forest. Ask yourselves whether in developing the plan, CDF appropriately weighed the value of undisturbed forest for recreation, solitude, and inspiration.

A Forest for the Future

The purpose of the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest is to bring to the awareness of CDF, the Board of Forestry, the legislature, and the people of California and the nation the great benefits that would flow from restoring Jackson State Forest. Just imagine for a moment what would happen if the state adopted the goal of restoring Jackson State toward an old-growth redwood forest.

The beautiful parts of the forest that you saw on the tour would continue to become more and more magnificent. The wounded parts would heal remarkably quickly, attracting people to return periodically to see for themselves the improvements. New trails and camps would attract hundreds of thousands visitors annually. Salmon streams within its boundaries would recover fully and other endangered redwood species would have a large, permanent sanctuary. It would become a national center for research on restoration forestry and ecology. The research and education opportunities would be far greater and more appealing than those provided by a logging forest.

If turned toward restoration, Jackson State would become a proud symbol for the new millenium – a project whose time span reaches to the next millenium and one that embodies the moral determination to leave the world for our children better than we found it.

Jackson State Restoration Forest is a forest for the future. Jackson State Demonstration Forest is a forest of the past. Continuing to log it will bring growing public opposition, negative media coverage, and political losses to CDF, the Board, and the administration. By contrast, a restoration forest will bring ever-growing public praise, positive media coverage, and political gains to CDF, the Board, and the administration.

Measurement of the success of past JDSF innovations

CDF, as well as Board policy, emphasizes that logging in JDSF is primarily for the purpose of "demonstrating innovative timber management" for private landholders. The 1983 Management Plan for JDSF states that meaningful success of JDSF demonstrations "ultimately depends on other forest landowners learning about and implementing practices developed and demonstrated on the State Forests."

We agree with this statement, and we think measurement of the extent of implementation of JDSF innovations is absolutely essential to deciding on the extent to which in the future JSF should be managed for logging as compared to the alternative of restoration for recreation, habitat, research, and education.

To our knowledge CDF has never published any measurements of the extent to which forest practices innovated at JDSF have been adopted elsewhere. Because these measurements are essential for constructing a management plan that optimizes public benefit, the Campaign requests that the Board of Forestry direct CDF to publish quantitative measurements of the extent to which JDSF innovations have been adopted by private landowners. The publication of the report on innovations should be coincident with the release of the Draft Management Plan, because these measurements are essential for evaluating the plan.

The report on demonstration success should identify each innovation incorporated in a JDSF timber harvest plan, at least from 1983 to date, but earlier innovations should be included if possible. The report should say when and in what plans each innovation was demonstrated, indicate whether each innovation was uniquely demonstrated by JDSF and, if not unique, list the others demonstrating the "innovation" in the same time frame. The publication should also identify the mechanisms that were involved in translating the JDSF innovations into adoption by private timber holders. Most importantly, the report should provide quantitative measures of the adoption of the innovations by private landowners (such as, number of adopting landowners, acreage of timberland affected, increase in timber inventory due to adoption).

I emphasize that without data on the effectiveness of the past demonstration program, there will be no legitimate basis for evaluating any management plan proposed by CDF for Jackson State Forest.

Request for 1999 JDSF Inventory Data

In 1989, CDF introduced a new inventory system for JDSF. The new (FFI) system estimated forest inventories to be about two-thirds greater than the previous (CFI) system. For the old system, which was in place for thirty years, to be so badly in error is astounding. It implies a high degree of ignorance and incompetence within CDF staff that persisted for thirty years.

I raised questions about the FFI system in letters addressed to Marc Jameson and Richard Wilson dated April 22, 1998. I received a response from Richard Wilson on February 11, 1999, almost a year later. The response argued that the new system was accurate and that the old system underestimated inventories by an increasing amount over time, due to the increasing age of the trees over time.

In 1999, CDF carried out a new inventory on the plots that were used for the CFI inventory from 1959 to 1989. The 1999 inventory figures can throw important light on the accuracy of the new inventory system. I ask the Board to request CDF to cooperate in supplying me with data on the age-height distributions and inventory calculations for 1999, together with the comparable data for 1959 and available data for 1989. I would like to resolve the disagreement with CDF one way or the other and put it to rest. With the new data and CDF’s cooperation this should now be possible.

Sincerely,

 

Vince Taylor