Eye on Green Diamond: Forest Stand Descriptions

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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Green Diamond’s methods for disclosing pre-and-post logging stand descriptions are by far the most informative descriptions provided by any large industrial timberland owner.  However, the generalized discussions of vegetation and stand conditions provided in Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) are very vague and potentially materially misleading.

Green Diamond usually discloses the average age of stands to be logged as well as pre-and-post harvest stocking information.  However Green Diamond’s method, which is dictated by the Forest Practice Rules, fails to bring out large, old trees, or residual stand components.

The Forest Practice Rules only require disclosure of what are considered to be “late successional forests”, which are defined as areas of 20 acres or greater.  Thus large, old trees or residual stands or stand components are not expressed in the THP stand descriptions, and because Green Diamond averages out the basal area over entire units, these components are hidden behind the guise of the young, monoculture stands that now dominate Green Diamond lands.

Recently Cal Fire has begun asking landowners to address what are considered “late seral” stands and late seral stand characteristics, if Cal Fire inspectors designate them as such.  However, Cal Fire has thus far not made such recommendations to Green Diamond, although it is clear that some large, old trees and “late seral” stand conditions still exist in some watersheds.  In Jacoby Creek for example, Green Diamond is currently operating on a plan which it states contains stands of very young growth, even though it is clear from the logs coming out of Jacoby Creek that some large, old trees and “late seral” components exit and are being removed.

Green Diamond is able to mask its destruction of “late seral” forest characteristics under the guise of stand descriptions that do not bring out such stand components.  In the end, this allows Green Diamond and other large industrial landowners to employ aggressive evenaged management practices without regard for essential forest elements and “residual” forest characteristics.