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Old 02-01-2006, 08:54 PM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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Clear Cutting

I had always thought that fishemen and hunters were pretty much united in opposition to clear cutting. On our side, siltation, problems associated with lowering of the water table, and other factors resulting from clear cutting have shown that this practice is detrimental, sometimes devastating, to our streams and rivers.
In an article in the January 29 Buffalo News, however, a Dr. Michael Zagata proposes that some clear cutting is desirable to enhance ruffed grouse habitat. Zagata, executive director of the Ruffed Grouse Society, says that grouse thrive in the regrowth following the cutting. His proposal comes on the heels of complaints by grouse hunters of reduced birds in recent years.
The clear cutting battle has been tough enough when it was mainly going up against the rich, greedy, logging interests. But now it looks like we may have yet another foe to contend with.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:27 PM
SSPey SSPey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chromedome
I had always thought that fishemen and hunters were pretty much united in opposition to clear cutting.
The fisherman aren't even united on this, at least not in my neck of the woods.

This is a complex issue, so I'll share some (potentially) counterintuitive information based on the latest science around this issue. Obviously, clearcuts benefit some species and hurt others. Let's focus on fish and rivers.

The overwhelming majority of siltation problems arise from the roads punched into watersheds. Yes, roads, not the cutting, provided there are riparian buffers in place. Overland flow is very rare in forest soils, even those that have been cut. Without overland flow to carry particles, it's darn hard to get silt moving. Roads are the problem with chronic siltation. I drive on these roads to access remote fishing areas. Guilty.

Cutting certainly accelerates massive land failures. Again, often roads are to blame because of altered hydrology and perched water. Landslides are often a punctuated input of rocks and silt and debris to rivers. A massive shock, but the fish and rivers will recover.

More interesting, landslides can be a good thing! Many watersheds have bedrock channels and lack adequate spawning gravel. Landslides are nature's own gravel replenishment mechanism. Dumps in big new rock, quickly, without the slow steady bleed of silt over decades and decades as occurs with roads. But a problem arises when landslides occur w/o big trees. Trees that fall into rivers act to retain gravel. If you have a clearcut (few or no trees remaining), then a big slide, there is nothing in the river to retain the rocks that are added. They'll sluice through the river and not contribute to spawning habitat.

nature is cool, much going on, but it's dinner time! more later if needed...
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Old 02-02-2006, 06:47 PM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSPey
The fisherman aren't even united on this, at least not in my neck of the woods.

This is a complex issue, so I'll share some (potentially) counterintuitive information based on the latest science around this issue. Obviously, clearcuts benefit some species and hurt others. Let's focus on fish and rivers.

The overwhelming majority of siltation problems arise from the roads punched into watersheds. Yes, roads, not the cutting, provided there are riparian buffers in place. Overland flow is very rare in forest soils, even those that have been cut. Without overland flow to carry particles, it's darn hard to get silt moving. Roads are the problem with chronic siltation. I drive on these roads to access remote fishing areas. Guilty.

Cutting certainly accelerates massive land failures. Again, often roads are to blame because of altered hydrology and perched water. Landslides are often a punctuated input of rocks and silt and debris to rivers. A massive shock, but the fish and rivers will recover.

More interesting, landslides can be a good thing! Many watersheds have bedrock channels and lack adequate spawning gravel. Landslides are nature's own gravel replenishment mechanism. Dumps in big new rock, quickly, without the slow steady bleed of silt over decades and decades as occurs with roads. But a problem arises when landslides occur w/o big trees. Trees that fall into rivers act to retain gravel. If you have a clearcut (few or no trees remaining), then a big slide, there is nothing in the river to retain the rocks that are added. They'll sluice through the river and not contribute to spawning habitat.

nature is cool, much going on, but it's dinner time! more later if needed...
Thanks, Steve, for ur input. So much there I wasn't aware of. But in this one river I fish, I recall there was this landslide complete with the trees going in as you say. Well you guessed it. The next year the trout were trying to spawn down river from the slide, something I'd never seen in that stretch before. I attributed that to the changed hydrology, but from what you say its likely the after effect of the slide was the major contributor.
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:03 PM
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Feiger Feiger is offline
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A clearcut is not a clearcut is not a clearcut...

definitions are everything. A clearcut in the north cascades steep topography Douglas fir country is not likely the same thing as a clearcut in the rolling hills of west Pennsylvania or New York, or Michigan, for that matter. What the Ruffed Grouse Society is proposing are small "clearcuts" (called such only because it's a complete removal of overstory vegetation) in order to spur developement of new, dense, young forests to provide cover, food, and shelter to, among other things, ruffed grouse. W/ the lack of fire in eastern hardwood systems (yes, fire, both wild/natural and native american/aboriginal), those forests have become, essentially, old growth, or very old. And do not provide any habitat for species dependent upon early seral/young forests. RGS is proposing breaking up that canopy of smaller (under 40 acres perhaps) patch cuts that will open up and allow generation of young forest conditions. ruffed grouse, and a wide variety of migratory song birds (many of which are a stones throw away from ESA listing) would benefit.

The term clearcut is really been bastardized, and conjures up images of 1,000 acre burned over swaths of destruction. Often, that's not the case. My point, investigate the whole meaning of what an agency or group is proposing before getting to alarmed, just because you see the word "clearcut."
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:06 AM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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I see there's a lot more depth to the clear cutting issue than I'd imagined. Perhaps there is a kind of clear cutting, as Feiger claims, that overall does more good than harm. I recall an auto trip years ago where we were driving from California to Portland OR. Along the way we could see where the sides and tops of small mountains had been totally denuded thru clear cutting. For the life of me, I can't see how that kind of activity benefitted anything other than the logging interests.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feiger
definitions are everything. A clearcut in the north cascades steep topography Douglas fir country is not likely the same thing as a clearcut in the rolling hills of west Pennsylvania or New York, or Michigan, for that matter.
Absolutely true. In steep topography they really ruin the streams because water brings a lot of silt material down the sides of the hills into the streams. When the trees were in place, the water would soak into the soil because there were lots of barriers keeping it from flowing downhill, and lots of roots to hold the soil in place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chromedome
I recall an auto trip years ago where we were driving from California to Portland OR. Along the way we could see where the sides and tops of small mountains had been totally denuded thru clear cutting. For the life of me, I can't see how that kind of activity benefitted anything other than the logging interests.
If you've never flown over this area then you can't even imagine how bad it really is. It's really unbelievable. I'd say about 50% or more of the land has been clearcut in patches all over the place. It ends up looking like a checkerboard.
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