Friday, December 18, 2015

We Have A Deal

Over 190 countries have agreed to reduce their carbon emission enough to limit the global temperature average to a 2.5 degree Farenheit rise over pre-industrial standards.

The few countries that did not contribute to the agreement are ones whose own government is in turmoil due to civil wars.

"If trees absorb carbon, why can't we fight increased carbon doixide levels by planting more trees?" The WIllow asked me.

"hmmm, I am not sure, perhaps the location of the carbon in the atmosphere -if it is in the upper levels, for example, it may not be readily available for absorption by plants," I responded.

But I was't exactly correct.  Because part of the limiting of carbon emissions is calaculated to how much CO2 the plants and oceans can absorb.

Perhaps that's why when I drive around my own small community, my gut wrenches when I pass gravel pits that are gangrenous holes in the Earth.  Clearcuts where the local loggers go in and level everything, leaving a scarred landscape.

We have a new neighbor.  A little ways up the road, a lot was selectively cut a couple of years ago and then put on the market.  20 acres, with pond frontage.  I didn't think it would sell, it sits rather close to some folks that take living out in the country a little too seriously and give meaning to the word ramshackle.  (so do I ,but they have a bit more going on than I do)

This fall a nice little camper appeared, and the guy started clearing some of the lot.  After a few weeks, the camper was gone.  About a month ago, the gravel trucks started banging up and down our road.They were brining it in, not taking it out.  They made a very long drive out of sight in the direction of the pond.  I have been dying to go snooping and see how close he went to the pond.  But the WIllow has suddenly turned righteous and won't allow it, so I plan on waiting until the pond freezes over and then walk up the pond and see what I see.

I did talk her into loading our neighborhood on google Earth.  We could see that he would have to go quite a ways to build down by the water.  We could see all the neighbors houses up the road, and their fields and yards and outbuildings.  But we could not see our house, or our drive, or the goat pasture, or the lawn.  I could see the trees did look a little thinner than in the woods directly behind us, but I was glad to see that in the 20 years that I have been here, the canopy has not been harmed to a noticeable extent.

Now the woods farther behind us is a different story.  Between our road, and the next road that runs parallel to it, there is about 2 miles of woods, and that runs for at least five miles before it is intersected by another road.  An acre is 200ftX200ft, a mile is over 4000 that's a lot of acres of woods behind us.

But a big chunk of it is owned by Plum Creek lumber.  About five years ago I could hear heavy equipment in the woods.  It went on for two years.  I tried to sneak in there at one point, but chickened out.  Google Earth tells the story.  They raped it.  A vast expanse of lighter vegetation-stump growth-and exposed rock.

There is about a half mile along the road between my place and the next house on my side.  When I bought this land, it was old growth forest.  Then the local lumberjack went in and over cut it.  He didn't clearcut it, but the trees he left were too spindly to withstand the microburst that came the next year.  Then it was a clearcut.

I sat at my desk looking out the window the next summer and watched clouds come over the house.  As they drifted away and reached over the clearcut, they disappeared-they dissipated.  That's how much heat was rising off the scarred landscape.

That was about ten years ago, and the balsam fir and white pine seeded and had enough light to grow.  The stump growth started to grow as well.  This fall I asked permission from the landowner to tip some greens for garlands, and he gave it to me, gladly.  I was psyched, it looked like it would be very easy to gather some brush.

He told me he had given someone else permission to tip there a year or two ago as well.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I decided to start tipping.  I found that the previous person had stripped the trees.  The younger firs had trunks and tops and that was it.  The larger firs had been tipped back so hard they hadn't recovered.  The stump growth was ten feet high and so thick I couldn't get through in places.  I would see fir trees, bushwhack my way through the blackberry brambles and stump growth, to find two or three decent tips in a grove.

I did get two deer ticks lodged in the back of neck as a bonus.

I gave up.  I ran a little short on balsam tips for a garland order, so I headed down to my firs on my own property.  The tips were GORGEOUS.  I have been tipping those trees nearly every season for almost 20 years, but I always tip looking toward the next year.  If the tip is small, I leave it.  On bigger branches I take small tips and leave the branch to grow out more tips for the next season.

But tell that to people who want to make money.  Tell them to leave some for next year-ask them to leave a few trees to maintain a canopy-

do you think they'll  make that deal?