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forest defense

Forest Management is Capitalist Ecocide: Photo Essay, Pt. 2 of 3

photos and reflections from the Willamette National Forest, near Eugene
On the first full day (and what was to be the last day) of the action camp, a few of us went out on a hike to walk some units of the Pryor timber sale, in the Willamette National Forest.

This is unit 7 of the sale. Natural fires swept through this area several times from 1863-1910, so there are few very old trees, but it is uncut native forest.

The beauty of the spot is impossible to capture in a photo or even to describe. One of the emotions here, though, was sadness. Trees marked with orange will theoretically not be chopped down. The rest will go. The vast majority of the trees were unmarked.

The Forest SerVice has deemed this to be an "unhealthy forest", and is planning "overstory removal" for it, which will cut all but 15% of the trees. They claim that the younger trees will be unable to grow without the destruction of the older trees around them. This is clearly bunk, as younger and older trees have been able to work it out together in forests all over the globe for several hundred thousand years without Forest SerVice assistance. Remember, the Forest SerVice is under the Department of Agriculture, and exists primarily to assist in the transferrence of the "resources" (that is, living things) on public lands to private corporations. The timber sale program is not even profitable, btw, which means that taxes are subsidizing lumber company profits. Forest "management" = capitalist ecocide.

This is a collage of 3 photos put together. Almost everything you see here is slated to be cut. It fucking sucks.

We stopped and rested for a little while near this spot. I sat up on a big fallen tree trunk, with the sun streaming down around me through breaks in the overstory. Ferns, bark, and rhododendron leaves shined in the light. It was very quiet. I could smell the earth and needles and leaves. There was no buzz of electricity or cellphone hum, like you always feel in the city. I could feel that everything around me was alive, and growing together in a big interdependent system. In the city, you see tree and gardens and rosebushes and people and cats and dogs, but there is not at all that feeling of everything being alive. In the city, at least for me, the life is struggling to move and breath in the chokehold of concrete, steel, glass, fencing, pollution, and noise, but is not at all free. This feeling of freedom in the woods is also not expressable in photographs, or easy to put into writing. But I felt it there very strongly. Awash in that feeling, I felt my eyes filling with tears. I didn't cry because I am not that free myself (at least not yet).

It's a whole nother set of tears that happen when you imagine it all being cut down. Those tears burn with rage. These tears were filled with love. They are closely related.

This is a tree in a section of woods next to unit 9 of the Pryor timber sale. Unit 9 has been cut -- those pictures are next. This tree survived the forest fires that came through before, and is a few centuries old. It had quite a power around it. There were a handful of other trees in the area of the same size.

But the forest is not at all just the trees. As I said before, the forest is an interconnected web of beings; we notice the trees first and foremost, perhaps, but so many other things grow and live there. This is a fungus that grows on trees. These live several to many years. (You can count the rings in them like you would on a stump).

This is a lichen (I think). I'll need to go on more species-identification hikes before I can remember the names for all these things. This growth is somewhat brittle feeling, and you see it everywhere in these forests.

Again, I don't know the name of this plant, but it grows all over the forest floor. This is one of the plants that dies when the trees around it are cut, because it can't survive in direct sunlight all day long.

I love slugs! They're cool! That's the boy in me, I guess. If so, maybe more people oughta keep in touch with their younger selves, because this slug won't survive a cut either.

[ Part 3 ]

Plant ID 14.Apr.2003 20:28

David B.

The low trailing vine with the glossy leaves is Twin Flower (Linnea borealis). As the name implies, it gets pinkish-white flowers in pairs in the late spring or early summer.

Sorry, I'm not up on my fungi or lichens (and the latter require chemical tests and/or a microscope to identify at the species level anyhow).

Portland, OR

Thanks, David B.! 14.Apr.2003 22:34


hey thanks for throwing in the info. i love indymedia!