John W. Cox, MFA
Field Notes: BLM Lumber and Wild Horse Corruption – Same Issues
It’s hard to imagine, those of us that have known the Bureau of Land Management over a few decades now, that they also manage a lot of our forestry in the 11 Western States. We find many BLM allotments, or timber stands/sales, in Washington State, Idaho, Oregon, California, and other states having developed timber-harvesting, with no environmental assessment, or any type of land management strategies, directly related to any dynamics of sustainability. Even though, they tell the general public they do so . . .
Examples abound in the matters of timber being harvested; then, not so ironic, failing to regenerate (proper reforestation) the land or timber-stands for future harvesting. So, these lands had been turned over to the BLM’s Grazing Permit Programs! Yup, cattle ranching.
Not so surprising, these lands eventually become nothing more than sagebrush mixed with weeds (directly related to Cattle grazing), or what the BLM refers to as “grasslands”. Ironically, some of these lands I mention here obtained a BLM – supposedly – Environmental Analysis. These documents targeted many timber-harvested areas for the reestablishment — or future timber harvests and forest stands, and yet become what we refer to as “Sagebrush-Grasslands.
Keep in mind that any type of reliable forest-management dynamic and accurate data, is directly related to sustainability. This is the fundamental dynamic toward proper Lands Management, inclusive of forestry and the Grazing Permit Program related to ranching. Further investigation shows the BLM simply does not manage our Public Lands for profit nor sustainability, what so ever – in another words their forestry programs are not related toward reforestation trends, cutting rates, or environmental law; we find shadows of the Grazing Permit Program with similar characteristics. . .
It is interesting to note here, that the BLM requires a 10 year Reinventory of Forest Lands for Timber Harvesting, as policy. What the actual, or reality, circumstance is – they do not do a 10-year Reinventory of Forestry Lands, but rely on situations and Reinventory reports from the nineteen seventies, nineteen eighties, nineteen nineties, and early 2000 Reinventory Reports.
Yes, just as they do the Environmental Impact Statements in the Wild Horse programs in the BLM. . . They take data and information from previous reports, both Reinventory Reports, as well as Environmental Impact Statements, from many decades ago — change the dates and some of the information contained at a desk in their office on their computer, stamp it with current dates, and submitted as a current management tool – for Timber Harvesting, or harvesting Wild Horses. It is all the same to them — to taxpayer’s not so much, because it costs $-millions!
The BLM budgets are then obtained, from this data, despite policy or regulatory issues that conflict with it directly, toward these antiquated reports, acreage statistics, and supposedly present timber stands. Then, because there is no transparency, they get away with what can only be explained as — continued “fraudulent activity”.
Upon review of several management program reports, myself and others found after 30+ years, there is no real modernization-activity in their forestry management programs and reporting process and methodology. As one attorney stated, “. . . the situation is clearly a contradiction with DOI / BLM laws and policy.”
So here is a new term for us all – phantom forest syndrome: BLM trees exist everywhere – on paper that is, in computer models and in resource plans – but not on the ground. If we looked hard enough, we would probably see a phantom Wild Horse behind every one of these phantom trees . . .This situation was looked into in the nineteen nineties as well as the early 2000’s, and it still exists today.
BLM has an inability to reforest, directly, any dynamic favoring sustainability, or areas within a planned time. This issue directly affects projected yields, and sustainability and economic returns for industry and government alike. Reforestation and restocking (i.e. inventories of tree stands) failures lead to overly optimistic sale projections, which results in over cutting and overabundant timber harvesting. I wonder if this has anything to do with the odd situation of Logging Corporations also have ownership and Grazing Permit Lease arrangements with the BLM – and the fraud and corruption goes on and on . . .
Due to these phantom forests, reforestation often compounded by livestock trampling and weed infestation. Reforestation failures have resulted in brush fields, where trees planted, die from nutrient and moisture stress.
I have also found several areas, and due to misinformation from old environmental assessments or old Reinventory reports, that promoted current BLM Lands that were previously clear-cut back in the eighties, nineties, and 2,000, still having regeneration problems today. And you know who gets the blame for these regeneration problems? Wild Horses.
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