Liquidation logging—The story of Green Diamond in Maple Creek

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Green Diamond Resource Company (aka Simpson Timber) owns approximately 400,000 acres of highly valuable and productive redwood forest on the North Coast.  Despite the green-washing of the company name, the intensive and damaging logging practices of the old regime has not changed.  The Maple Creek watershed serves as a stark and grizzly example of intensive and systematic liquidation of forest resources as practiced by Green Diamond/Simpson.

Maple Creek is a perennial fish-bearing stream that drains to Big Lagoon, and then the Pacific Ocean. Maple Creek supports threatened populations of Coho and Chinook salmon, as well as anadramous Steelhead trout. The Maple Creek watershed has been subjected to a high and rate of very intense harvest over the last 13 years. The Maple Creek watershed totals 16,841 acres . According to Calfire’s GIS database of logging plans, between 1997 and 2009, 63 percent of the watershed has been logged. Over the next ten years, Green Diamond/Simpson plans to log 5,063 more acres, or 30 percent of the Maple Creek watershed.  This would bring the total logging in the watershed to 93 percent over a 23-year period.  Approximately 75 percent of the total logging over that time will be clearcutting.

The intensive and systematic liquidation of forest resources in the Maple Creek watershed left the watershed devoid of a variety of forest ages and types, and has resulted in the loss of habitat structure and complexity necessary to support the variety of wildlife that once inhabited the watershed.  In particular, the intensive rate of clearcutting in Maple Creek has lead to large-scale conversion of recovering forests to moonscapes and plantations. 

The Maple Creek watershed is just one of many examples of Green Diamond/Simpson’s overall management goals– intensive evenaged management that relies heavily on the application of clearcuts and herbicides, short forest stand rotations, and ultimately, forest liquidation. Public agencies such as the Department of Forestry (Cal Fire) and the Department of Fish and Game have utterly failed to uphold the law and applicable forest practices regulations in the context of the high rate and intensity of logging in the Maple Creek watershed.  These agencies have failed to enforce meaningful limits on logging rate and intensity in Maple Creek, resulting in the accumulation of logging impacts to fish, wildlife, streams, and forests. 

Green Diamond/Simpson’s heavy-handed approach reveals a fatal flaw in the paradigm of private industrial forestry; Logging without limits leads to watershed liquidation, and subsequently, harm to fish, wildlife, streams, and forests.  The rampant and pervasive use of clearcutting, herbicides, short rotations, and plantations on Green Diamond/Simpson lands betrays a lack of adequate regulatory methods and control, as well as exposing the wizard behind the curtain: A large out-of-town corporate entity that disregards the law, the viability of the forests, and the recovery of fish and wildlife in favor of conversion, liquidation, and sterilization of forest resources. 

EPIC is committed to confronting the intensive industrial management of our forest resources and changing the dominant management paradigm on Green Diamond/Simpson lands.  Restoration forestry, community forests, and ecologically justifiable forestry are all viable alternatives to the intensive, whole-sale liquidation of forest recourses in the Maple Creek watershed.  We will continue to advocate for these and other ecologically viable alternatives in hopes of creating a new management regime that will be more viable now and into the future.

Save the Date: June 16th Presentation on Green Diamond.  Join us in Trinidad- Location TBA

Green Diamond Planning Watersheds: Cear-cuts Near Maple Creek and Little River.