Clear Cut Forests

Ok, another grumpy little post. I think I’ve found my niche, I hope not. Every time I read around the internet I get myself all pissed off. Less internet might be the answer but today, the pressure built again so here I am.


Clearcut forests, well nearly clearcut forests are the issue with I love the title, there friendly and their green, they have both. Since we now live in opposite world where taxes=stimulus and socialism (change) is a new idea everything fit’s perfectly. Well our good friends at friendlygreen have made an issue of the boreal forest and Kleenex which uses fiber from the forest.

One of the ancient forests from which Kimberly-Clark continues to buy pulp for its tissue products is Canada’s Boreal forest, a forest that stretches across the northern portion of Canada, from eastern Alaska to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Boreal has evolved for over 10,000 years and is the largest ancient forest left in North America, making its protection absolutely critical. Representing 25 percent of the world’s remaining ancient forests, the Boreal forest is truly a global treasure.

And another bit

Who would have thought that the toilet paper and facial tissue we use every day are created by clearcutting ancient forests like Canada’s Boreal? It’s sad but true that disposable tissue products, used once and then thrown away or flushed down the toilet, contribute to the destruction of forests that have been around for over 10,000 years. The good news is that the tissue product industry is changing; the bad news is that some manufacturers, like Kimberly-Clark, are not.


I really do love forests and trees. I grew up in em and spend quite a bit of time in the woods every year, unlike most greenies. For my European and city dwelling readers, we are very lucky in north America to have the ability to do that. There is nothing like spending an entire day with nobody but yourself and the critters.

Clearcutting is a powerful word, it has meaning built into it. You imagine beautiful forests cut flat with no hope of recovery. As always in Green reality the devil is in the detail, and detail is not a greenie strongsuit.

Even worse, much of the virgin tree fiber Kimberly-Clark uses for its tissue products comes from unsustainably managed forests. These forests are predominantly logged in clearcuts – a devastating form of logging where most if not all trees are removed from an area of forest. What’s left behind is a barren landscape that can no longer support wildlife species such as wolverines, bears, caribou, wolves and the billions of birds that depend on ancient forests for their survival.

This paragraph is almost 100% true. Of course the keystone point is when they say unsustainably managed, this is something which I highly doubt. Rights to forests are competed over and paid dearly for by the paper industry with great zeal. Every scrap of wood fiber is used to the fullest potential of modern technology. Companies even compete vigorously for the scrap pulp and fortunes are made on 2% margin by fiber traders. Still, the look of a harvested forest is incredibly depressing.

As a young man, one of my favorite deep woods forest areas was clearcut for various wood products. I can’t describe the sick feeling in my stomach. My father who is a bit of a woodsman had similar feelings but he tempered my concern with a simple statement. – The logging companies leave seed trees in place to regrow the woods, this will all grow back in time. I listened but it didn’t look good. The seed trees left behind were small 3 inch trunk trees were scattered about, they looked far too spaced apart and far too small to do any good so I was still depressed.

Well now it is more than 20 years later, over that time span I have watched the clearcut area and seen other new clearcut areas. My favorite spot began growing back with plant life immediately but without trees it was still depressing. After 10 years everything was different, it was covered with short tree clusters around the seed trees. The surrounding woods had its tall trunks reminding me of the glory days. Still my old woods had become a perfect hiding spot for well – everything. The seed trees had done more than I could have imagined with new trees growing everywhere and the land was almost impassibly dense with plantlife at eye level. There were still no tall trees but they were at a height where the woods was impossible to see through.

Today, the trees have regrown to a substantial height, small plants have died off and you can walk through the brush below them. There are still stumps and old branches everywhere with clear chainsaw cut marks and old logging drags so it isn’t perfect anymore. But the stumps are rotting and the log drags are almost gone.

Anyone who has spent time in the woods could recognize the area isn’t pristine, but I bet half of the greenies wouldn’t be able to tell. Now that I have a bit of experience I can see the logging action on what as a young man I had previously thought were pristine forests. These same woods had been logged 50 years before I was born. The old growth which is so prevalent is second or third generation clearcut.

Close to 650,000 hectares of Boreal forest are logged each year in Canada, mostly via clearcutting. Clearcutting is a devastating form of logging where most if not all trees are cut and removed from a given forest area. Less than 8 percent of the Canadian Boreal forest is protected from large-scale industrial development, and approximately 31 percent of the Canadian Boreal forest has already been fragmented by logging and other roads.

This paragraph is important look at this particular sentence which has a bit of honesty hidden in it.

“Clearcutting is a devastating form of logging where most if not all trees are cut and removed from a given forest area.”

Most if not all, the word ‘most’ means they realize seed trees are left behind or planted. Trust me clear cutting used to happen with complete clearing. This method delayed reforestation dramatically, but when logging companies learned that all they have to do is leave a few small seed trees in the area and the recovery rate is dramatically improved that process changed quickly. This is an amazingly low cost solution. For this reason, “unsustainably managed forests” is a complete and intentional lie and IMHO quite Mannian in its proportion.

These companies, which maintain the logging roads, fully expect to come back and log more in 40 years otherwise what is the point of the roads? The forests in north america have become tree farms. If you find yourself in a tree farm in north America logged only 30 years ago, you damn well better bring a compass because if you close your eyes and spin twice in a circle, they’ll need dogs to come find you.

Paper production and consumption worldwide have serious negative impacts. The pulp and paper industry,which includes tissue product manufacturers, is among the world’s largest generators of toxic air, water pollutants and waste products. It is the third largest generator of global warming emissions, and those emissions are projected to increase 100 percnt by 2020. It is the world’s largest user of fresh water, and is among the world’s largest users of energy. It destroys natural forests that are essential for clean air and water, the atmosphere’s chemistry, wildlife habitat, indigenous culture, spiritual inspiration and recreation.

For sure clear cut forests destroy spiritual inspiration and culture. If you go to these forests, you know what you’ll find. Critters, not much else. Very cold critters this time of year as well.

This didn’t make me that mad, when I got to the part about

It is the third largest generator of global warming emissions, and those emissions are projected to increase 100 percnt by 2020.

That is where my Irish temper boiled over.

Tree’s are a biofuel by every asinine green definition, much more efficient than alcohol grown from corn. The soot from burnt trees cools the damn planet, till it rains. The cleared forests regrow quickly capturing new CO2. Why the hell should we use biofuels from corn if farming trees makes CO2. What happens to old tissue paper? It rots, it is designed to rot. Rotting is a natural process of “OXYDATION” same as burning but slower and with bugs. The a;sdwwnmcpprns haoosg aslen.

You see whagoasghaba !!!

So therefore, in conclusion the world is nuts. There is no logic, only pictures of cut forests.


Ok, deep breath.

I hate the look of cut forests. I hope that everyone can see one someday. I also hope those same people spend enough time in the woods to recognize that the ancient looking woods they are standing in was once chopped down. To finish my point, let’s look at some “clearcut” logging roads.


See the little tan color squiggles.


Same shot zoomed in, right from google North America.


In the top left you can see the height of the trees by the shadow. The sand road down the left side is a logging road which means -clearcut baby.

It also means, the woods grew back. Our forests in North America are “farms” Better management is a great idea, paper companies are spending big $$ optimizing the land area and harvest.

I promise, you don’t want to close your eyes and spin around twice without a compass in the area above. Only the squirrels and deer will find you.


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Stupid link here. It will cost you a few IQ points though.

7 thoughts on “Clear Cut Forests

  1. Jeff,

    I just attempted to post you a reply, but forgot to fill in all the fields and lost it.

    I was agreeing with you. But not sure about the billions of birds (are there that many in these northern woods)?

    In the UK we had a policy of planting monoculture trees, mostly pine, but that policy has been replaced with the more sensible one of planting native species. Much better it is too all round. Also the ancient woodland management techniques of coppicing and pollarding are making a comeback (do you have those in the New World)? Of course, we don’t have that much in the way of woodland or forests. It’s amazing how quickly neglected farmland reverts to scrub and then woodland. Nature has a remarkable ability to heal itself when left to get on with it.

    I agree about greenies. They have no practical knowledge, just talk. And the amount of intellectual effort that is wasted by them that could be put to productive use must be enormous.

    It is cold and sunny here in England, so I am about to get out the chainsaw and do a bit of woodland management and carry on preparing for the next few winters. I wonder how many greenies have ever used a chainsaw? Their knowledge probably comes from an armchair in front of the telly.

    All the best.


  2. Hi,

    There are a lot of different ways for sustainable forest management. See in continental Europe where the shortage of woods occurs in the XIX century. The area of forest increase a lot in the XX century (in France, the area of forest was 6 M ha in 1800 : now it’s around 15,5 M ha). Plantation is one of the solution, but also progressive natural regeneration or irregular forestry where you maintain on your forest area age-mixed trees (like in Alp and Jura mountains). You need to adapt your strategy with the species concerned (progressives clearing).
    I’m not sure that the clear-cutting on huge areas (more than 10 ha) is the best way for the forest, because you give a advantage to light species and exclude shadow species from the regeneration (young trees). But the fact is true : if you let a clear-cut area whitout perturbations, a new forest will grow : not the same, another one with more light species). So the battle is not : no logging of forest, but how to manage sustainably the forest, in order to keep production and jobs and also all the species, which are living in forests.



  3. Phillip,

    I’m not sure what the main techniques used are today. Stumps are typically left in place in far northern Michigan I have seen so many trees re-grow shoots but I am not sure what is being done with intent and what is simply left.


    I certainly don’t know much about proper forest management. My point is that these forests are actually farms and mother nature is a powerful beast not some frail powerless pushover and the Clear Cutting described in the article I linked is deliberately deceitful.

    I think the larger area of cutting makes more sense than small because the farm is spread around. We do have an enormous amount of woods here. Proper management would allow slower growing species to be left in place for reseeding and patches of old wood are often left in place just out of convenience. If you have too a small area from which to get your pulp needs, you would incent companies to plant only high growth rate wood. Again, not an expert.

    One thing is for sure, these forests are being well managed to protect the future of these companies. There is no unsustainable slash and burn policy in north America.

  4. Jeff,

    I know that in North America, the forest is well managed (with a lot of new practices), no worries about that. It isn’t what I would say. Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean with the word (forest) farm. 😦
    I tried to explain that the scale of clear-cutting impacts the number of trees species in the regrowth, even if let same patches of old trees. But it’s a technical discussion of course.
    I tried also to explain that there is other ways to manage forests (see in Finland also) even for pulp production. Forests industry needs pulp production, at minimum for product which are not good for other purposes.

    The Greenpeace campaign about old forests seems to focuse on Kimberley Clark compagnies : but this campaign is all over the world against the wood industry, no matter if they have done progress (some have not…). It isn’t very consistent with the use of a renewable commodity…



  5. I live in northern california and am aware about the forest issues. I don’t really agree with you on clear cutting be devestating for our forests. I also grew up living amongst the forest and i believe that clear cutting is a valuable tool that foresters use to keep our forests thriving. Without this useful tool, we would have many overgrown forests, which means more major fires and more lost forests and habitat for animals. If we weren’t able to harvest timber, we wouldn’t lose a lot of useful material and products in our homes.

  6. I have chosen this as a subject for my public art project called “Silvae”. The full life of the cut is explored in Silvae. Cutting the trees in an environmentally sensitive design and ‘illustrating’ the cut for years by replanting with specific species that change seasonally in contrast with the original species. A visual constant reminder of the undeniable use of this resource and the aesthetics of our imprint on the land.
    Check out the writings on the brochure link at

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