[permaculture] questioning Douglas-fir thinning

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Mon Mar 10 12:38:16 EDT 2008

Rain says

"Permaculturists on the West Coast, and probably elsewhere, often recommend 
thinning young Douglas-fir forests which have dense growth due to clear-cutting 
and fire-suppression. Thinning the forests out reduces fire danger, speeds up 
succession, improves the growth and characteristics of the remaining trees, 
reduces disease, and provides extremely useful building materials and fuel. 
This is how I got the poles for my home. However, thinning also destroys habitat 
for certain species."

Not certain of the status of Douglas firs on the West Coast. But lodgepole 
pine along the continental divide are nearly all dying or dead by now due to the 
practise of allowing uninhibited dense growth. Near-monocultural stands of 
these trees has encouraged the mother of all pine beetle infestations. Forest 
rangers have told me it could be a couple of centuries before the natural 
succession again returns these lodgepoles to the top of the ecological heap.

I also understand the wood is not very useful. Otherwise the national forests 
would be having a grand fire sale, to get rid of all the red stage trees 
before they become black stage trees, and pose an imminent fire hazard. Removal 
efforts when I was there this past summer were lackluster and sporadic.

I'm guessing the extent of damage at the time I saw it was 75-80% in the 
Arapaho and Routt National Forests. Anyone needing lodgepole timber in trainload 
quantities should contact the National Forest Service.


More information about the permaculture mailing list