What the companies neglect to mention is that pine farming, like other large-scale, industrial agriculture, harms the environment and the economy. Pine plantations require enormous amounts of fertilizer and herbicide, much of which winds up in streams and drinking water.Canada Goose kindermaat They impoverish soil and destroy habitat, including wetlands. And they rob communities of valuable sawtimber for lumber and of real forests that produce clean water and provide recreation. Few of the profits end up in local communities, and many of the companies are multinational. Champion, for example, is owned by a firm based in Helsinki.
This is the second time the forest-products industry has marched like Sherman through the South.Canada Goose kindermaat Having grazed off the timber supply in the early 1900s, the industry migrated to the Midwest, consumed that supply, then moved to the Pacific Northwest. By the mid-1980s — with that region’s old-growth rainforests fast dwindling — the industry returned to the South, where native forests had recovered from its previous visit. With much of the second-growth hardwood of poor quality, forest removal and site preparation for pine planting had been prohibitively expensive. But the Army Corps of Engineers’ newly completed Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, connecting the rivers of the same names, offered a cheap way to transport wood fiber.
Now even the stunted, twisted, genetically inferior stuff left by generations of loggers could be run through mills that grind them into chips, loaded on barges, whisked to the Gulf of Mexico, and shipped to Japan to be turned into fax and copy paper.Canada Goose kindermaat Today there are 156 chip mills in the South — 110 of them less than 10 years old. Some can grind up to 3,000 acres of woods per year, clearing the way for vast tree farms. Between 1989 and 1995, exports of Southern hardwood chips grew 500 percent.