richardsongroveEver wonder why there were so many scandals about the spotted owl and Julia Butterfly in the ’90′s that we don’t hear about anymore? Maybe you’re like me, and you can’t remember, or were too young to follow all the nuances of this story. Or maybe this is one of the many complex stories about allocating resources that doesn’t fit neatly into the typical news media sound bite. In either case,  This article in San Francisco Magazine helps to sort out the recent history of California’s Redwoods, and, surprisingly, tells of how they might be saved, along with jobs, species, and rivers, through sustainable forestry.

Seeing the forest for the trees
By Jaimal Yogis, San Francisco Magazine, October 2010

“Because we are a family, and because we’re local, we could allow the trees to grow over a long period of time and end up with a healthier forest,” John [Fisher] says.

…The nation’s timber industry is in decline. Plunging home construction, fast-falling prices, the bad economy, and the high cost of meeting government regulations have all done damage, and much of our wood now comes from places with more lax regulatory environments, such as Indonesia, South America, and Canada. In this dark environment, where desperate companies might be inclined to cut faster, it seems that much more important to push all of big timber to adopt the Fisher business model rather than the liquidation model…

Three shifts that will rebuild the redwoods

1) More consumers buy sustainable.
2) Sustainable foresters are rewarded with lighter regulations.
3) Carbon trading takes off.