Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

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1130Super
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Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by 1130Super » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:01 pm

I have 7 acres of very densely wooded land in rural MN. Last year I had a company come by and gave me an estimate saying I could get around $7000 for most of the bigger trees. Mostly Oak with a little Popple & birtch. I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to let happen. Any sustainable lumber companies out there? Any thoughts?

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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:09 pm

how long did it take the trees to grow?

What would happen to the land once the trees are felled?

Would there be any plans to repopulate there or elsewhere?

what would happen to the value of the land once the trees are gone?

some articles:
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/um/index.html
https://doitgreen.org/topics/house-home ... -products/
https://woodfromthehood.com/
https://www.lampertlumber.com/blog/lumb ... ifference/

can't speak to the immoral part. Forests do need to be managed from what I understand. Does anyone do that for your land?
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Silk McCue
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Silk McCue » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:11 pm

It isn’t immoral but it’s a great way to destroy a piece of property and likely diminish its value. We’ve removed plenty of trees for the purpose of forestry management but I’m not going to ruin a beautiful piece of property for $7k.


Cheers

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Bogle7
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Post by Bogle7 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:14 pm

Visit http://www.longviewforest.com/
Become educated.

dbr
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by dbr » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:16 pm

As far as sustainable forestry you should probably consult your county extension agent, state forestry people, U Minn, or someone for advice. There can be state and federal programs to enter land in sustainable practice and status. Sorry I don't have a specific link. Some decades ago I had land that was converted to a timber designation rather than farm which involved planting state supplied trees and entering a restriction to not clear or farm the land. This was not in Minnesota. I believe this was a Federal forestry program but don't remember the details. It might have been state or even county as part of the deal was property tax status.

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David Jay
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by David Jay » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:19 pm

Modern forestry suggests thinning forests is needed for best growth. We have a lot of sustainable forestry across the lake here in Michigan, start with your equivalent of our Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for loggers who can do this properly and sustainably.
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by ScaledWheel » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:42 pm

Silk McCue wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:11 pm
It isn’t immoral but it’s a great way to destroy a piece of property and likely diminish its value. We’ve removed plenty of trees for the purpose of forestry management but I’m not going to ruin a beautiful piece of property for $7k.
That's probably $7k/tree, white oak is a desirable hardwood. But I agree selling off every valuable tree is not a good idea.
1130Super wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:01 pm
I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to let happen. Any sustainable lumber companies out there? Any thoughts?
If you don't need the money then I would probably just let it be. Much easier to do nothing. What I would consider is having a woodworker friend exchange a gorgeous piece of furniture for the lumber from a selected tree.

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1130Super
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by 1130Super » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:55 am

Thanks for the input, I’m going to look into it more and get a couple quotes and do some research. It really is amp most overly wooded with old trees. I imagine it wouldn’t be too harmful to thin it out some and have the opportunity for some new growth. One more question would this be taxable income?

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FiveK
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by FiveK » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:14 am

1130Super wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:55 am
One more question would this be taxable income?
Yes.

See Financial Implications of Selling Timber for starters.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by BlueCable » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:41 am

You can hire a forester to work with loggers to ensure they are considering the long-term health of your forest.

I've done a lot of hiking Minnesota forests, and after a while even a novice can identify forests that have not been maintained and are unhealthy. Sometimes the best thing to do for those forests is to clear cut them, but culling trees before the situation gets bad can keep your woods healthy.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:54 am

What is immoral is not maintaining the forest at all, and allowing the trees to grow old, die and rot.

Get someone who works for the state to "cruise" your land (timber cruiser is a legitimate occupation) and go from there.

If you have been contacted by a private timber cutter, you have almost certainly been given a lowball estimate.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:18 am

1130Super wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:01 pm
I have 7 acres of very densely wooded land in rural MN. Last year I had a company come by and gave me an estimate saying I could get around $7000 for most of the bigger trees. Mostly Oak with a little Popple & birtch. I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to let happen. Any sustainable lumber companies out there? Any thoughts?
Immoral is a very strong word and implies all sorts of complex personal calculations.

Best practice is not to clear cut but to "manage" meaning a sustainable cutting programme. Otherwise the forest eventually gets old (top cover prevents new trees growing) and then dies off. In nature things like forest fires would naturally thin it - but since humans are already there, that's not usually a possible combination.

Oak trees are rare in the modern world (relative to the past). They grow more valuable as they get older but there's a limit to that, they then die and the value is lost.

(Rotting trees are actually important to the local ecosystem. Lots of creatures up to including small animals and birds live in rotting trees, or dine on the insects & funghi thereon. So a well managed forest still has rotting trees._

Coppicing in the word I am looking for. There is a large literature re coppicing. Silviculture is the study of forestry and forest management.
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

Deblog
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Deblog » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:33 am

I would make sure someone is with them when they cut. We built a house and needed the area cleared out for home site and a few others were marked. They took more trees than what were marked. Some big beautiful trees.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:38 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:38 pm
1130Super wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:01 pm
I have 7 acres of very densely wooded land in rural MN. Last year I had a company come by and gave me an estimate saying I could get around $7000 for most of the bigger trees. Mostly Oak with a little Popple & birtch. I just don’t know if that’s a good thing to let happen. Any sustainable lumber companies out there? Any thoughts?
It's totally immoral.

As is using fossil fuels, wearing clothes made in foreign sweat shops, eating meat and non-organic, locally produced vegetables, buying water sold in plastic bottles, using any plastic, use of refrigerants, and supporting companies who don't offer their employees health care, bathroom breaks or a living wage.

Looks like none of us are going to heaven after all.
The problem is that 1 billion of us live a lifestyle that confronts the planetary resource limits - what it can provide, and what effluent it can absorb.

And there are 8 billion of us, say, and there are going to be 10-12 billion of us.

This article, and one in Nature, introduced the concept - it has a big follow-on of debate in the literature.

https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

heikejohn1
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by heikejohn1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:45 am

Neighbors had their property thinned out.
It turned into a big mess!!

The loggers only took the big trunks, left all branches and stumps behind, their machines tore up the ground, they ran over smaller trees in order to get into good position to cut the large ones.

Their contract did not specify who was responsible for clean-up; so of course they left that mess behind.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:47 am

heikejohn1 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:45 am
Neighbors had their property thinned out.
It turned into a big mess!!

The loggers only took the big trunks, left all branches and stumps behind, their machines tore up the ground, they ran over smaller trees in order to get into good position to cut the large ones.

Their contract did not specify who was responsible for clean-up; so of course they left that mess behind.
Like with any contract, specifics need to be listed.
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Nate79
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Nate79 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:05 am

Get references and go visit properties that the loggers have done recently so you can personally see their work. Sustainable logging is the opposite of immoral.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by stan1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:29 am

Seems like best approach would be to hire one person to identify which trees to be cut (with sustainability in mind balanced with value if you tell him you want to make some money out of it too) and then hire another person to actually cut down the trees that are tagged. It does become a bit of a project but it is how you balance your own concerns.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:50 am

When looking at the trees and which if any to cut, consider the effect on wildlife. My neighbor cut down several old white oaks and did not realize that in one a raccoon was living and in another a pileated woodpecker (they are freakishly large - as big as crows) had set up its home. Neither are endangered, yet there are times of the year when at least their young won't be killed by cutting down their home. (The raccoon had a distinct limp and earned the nickname Beverly in the neighborhood; she set up her new home in a neighbor's abandoned garage attic.) Your state's wildlife dept. may be able to provide insight. On my property, I noticed some very odd looking flowers. Turns out it is a rather large stand of Chimaphila umbellata (Pipsissewa) which is protected in some states, listed as threatened in others; the extension agent said he had never seen it before in my county. Anyone working on my property needs to be aware of it.

But as pointed out above, sustainable logging is the opposite of immoral. It just has to be done right. An urban forester will be able to provide some insight. Natural thinning of forests by fire is no longer a viable option in most areas. This is an alternative.

I'm a bit of a colonial Virginia history nut. "Natural" forests have not been around in eastern Virginia for well over 1,000 years. The Native Americans managed them by fire; there has been a lot of scholarship in this area. The book Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America’s Origin gives a brief overview of Native Americans managed the forests of eastern Virginia.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by z3r0c00l » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:01 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:54 am
What is immoral is not maintaining the forest at all, and allowing the trees to grow old, die and rot.
Well this is ecologically wrong, since old growth trees, standing dead trees, and fallen trees are all essential parts of a functioning forest. Even the pits and mounds left behind from tree falls are important. Any human interference in a natural ecosystem will cause diminishment. Sustainable forestry isn't the opposite of immoral, it is only a little immoral compared to say clear-cutting for a Walmart.

Will pulling a few trees make a big difference in the long run? Probably not, but don't pretend you are helping the forest. If you only want to make a choice based on the ethics or science, the proper thing to do is to keep the forest untouched. But the world needs wood and paper so sustainable harvesting of wood has to be done somewhere.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by gd » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:11 am

Dead trees are the keystones of a forest. I've read claims to the effect that there are more living organisms in a dead tree than were cells in the living. Microorganisms, fungi, plants, insects, birds, mammals live and feed in dead trees both standing and fallen. Managed forests are productive for human enterprise.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by retiredjg » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:14 am

1130Super wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:55 am
Thanks for the input, I’m going to look into it more and get a couple quotes and do some research. It really is amp most overly wooded with old trees. I imagine it wouldn’t be too harmful to thin it out some and have the opportunity for some new growth. One more question would this be taxable income?
"Thin it out some"? I would not count on that. Clear cutting is much faster and cheaper and more profitable.

Even when only selected trees are targeted that is semi successful at best. They have to cut some to get their equipment in there, trees fall on other trees and break them, the equipment backs into some trees damaging the bark and they may die as well, there will be huge brush piles (they don't take all those limbs) and the roads they cut/build to do the work will be essentially permanent for decades.

Logging is just visually ugly. If you don't want that, don't do it. If you find someone to do some pretty logging (which I do believe can be done), you will likely have to pay them rather than vice versa.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:17 am

Do you use lumber? Or paper? How often do you consider the sourcing? The morality of forest products was determined by you long ago.
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by daheld » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:22 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:17 am
Do you use lumber? Or paper? How often do you consider the sourcing? The morality of forest products was determined by you long ago.
Thank you. The cognitive dissonance around issues like this is at times mind bending.

I see a lot of really poorly constructed opinions from folks who likely have zero first hand experience in a rural area, much less in logging, timber and forestry. Do yourself a favor and consult a forester. Start with your county's extension office.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Nowizard » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:24 am

We once sold a piece of property and then backed out of a legal agreement when discovering the purchaser planned to clear-cut, costing us $15,000 but retaining our view on the situation. Others would do differently and purchase with the intent of clear-cutting or selectively cutting. Your choice. Trees will grow back. The time is possibly the issue, along with esthetics. After all, forest fires are a sustaining part of forestry.

Tim
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by jimmo » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:25 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:54 am
What is immoral is not maintaining the forest at all, and allowing the trees to grow old, die and rot.
This is so far off base, I'm glad others have addressed this.

To the OP, it is your land and your decision ultimately. If you choose to harvest some larger trees, do your research and work with experts and those reputable in the field. And not someone that came by and gave you an unsolicited quote; they're there for a quick buck.

However, for just a 7 acre property, I would prefer to enjoy it as is. I love walking through a woods and finding those massive old white oak trees that have taken hundreds of years to get to that point. These massive oaks are like the town square in a forest, teeming with wildlife and activity. Once they are cut down, it will take literally hundreds of years to replace it. Is $7K in your pocket worth it for that?

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:27 am

First, who is qualified to judge one's morality?

Second, the proper way to manage a forest is with expert guidance. Those experts would have zero ability to profit off their advice.

in my expert, moral opinion (tongue-in-cheek), DBR's answer is the right one. Consult the experts. Then make your own decision.

Oh, and don't forget to rake it, I hear that is very important. :wink:
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:27 am

Work with a forester and expect instead of $7k, perhaps you end up with $2k and woodlands that will sustain itself and the wildlife in it. In another X years (ask the forester), you have it done again.

I forest manage my own property which surrounds my house and am in a state program (chapter 61) that gives me tax breaks for doing so. We've got those pileated woodpeckers and they are amazing to see and hear. I've gone into the woods thinking an intruder is using an axe to chop a tree only to find one of these things. Part of my management plan is to leave some dead trees up specifically for woodpeckers. I only wish they'd stick to the trees and not go after the house.

In any case, never leave lumber companies alone to decide what they're taking down. The owner before us had these clowns clear 2 acres when clearing lots for a neighboring development. Sorry, but these guys are idiots and will cut anything they think is worth money. In that case, it was a clearing company and they were cutting to firewood size on site. This has all grown back in during the 25 years I've owned the place.
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by fru-gal » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:30 am

CurlyDave wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:54 am
What is immoral is not maintaining the forest at all, and allowing the trees to grow old, die and rot.
Excuse me, that do you think happens to trees in nature? Trees that die/decay improve the soil, nourish beneficial organisms, help prevent erosion, provide shelter for some animals, etc.

Here's what the National Wildlife Federation says:
“In terms of the benefits to wildlife, trees are important throughout their life cycles,” said David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the organization. “Even dead and dying trees offer critical habitats to birds, insects, mammals and other forms of wildlife. If possible, keeping these dead or dying trees in the landscape is hugely beneficial to wildlife, as long as the trees don’t post danger to person or property.”

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:33 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:27 am
Work with a forester and expect instead of $7k, perhaps you end up with $2k and woodlands that will sustain itself and the wildlife in it. In another X years (ask the forester), you have it done again.

I forest manage my own property which surrounds my house and am in a state program (chapter 61) that gives me tax breaks for doing so. We've got those pileated woodpeckers and they are amazing to see and hear. I've gone into the woods thinking an intruder is using an axe to chop a tree only to find one of these things. Part of my management plan is to leave some dead trees up specifically for woodpeckers. I only wish they'd stick to the trees and not go after the house.
Thank you for this. As lumber has become more valuable and biomass is now used for wood burning power stations (in Europe - do not get me started ;-)), there are fewer and fewer dead trees and that has nearly extincted some bird species.

Storks are doing (relatively) well in Europe, largely because of an old folktale in Germany & Central Europe that if you hour house has a storks nest, the family in it will be blessed with children. So people do not remove storks' nests.

(in Iceland, for new construction, a Troll Report is required, that considers whether the dwellings of these mythical creatures will be disturbed by the proposed road, etc.).
In any case, never leave lumber companies alone to decide what they're taking down. The owner before us had these clowns clear 2 acres when clearing lots for a neighboring development. Sorry, but these guys are idiots and will cut anything they think is worth money. In that case, it was a clearing company and they were cutting to firewood size on site. This has all grown back in during the 25 years I've owned the place.
Good point re short term cutting habits of lumber companies.

Woods should be coppiced but you need to know what you are doing.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by Nate79 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:37 am

Well this thread has degraded rapidly. Poor forest management practices has resulted in extreme risk of forest fire in the West. Man and forest need to live in a balance but this topic is fraught with politics, personal opinions related to extreme ecology, etc.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:49 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:27 am
I forest manage my own property which surrounds my house and am in a state program (chapter 61) that gives me tax breaks for doing so. We've got those pileated woodpeckers and they are amazing to see and hear. I've gone into the woods thinking an intruder is using an axe to chop a tree only to find one of these things. Part of my management plan is to leave some dead trees up specifically for woodpeckers. I only wish they'd stick to the trees
We live near Jack FFR1846, and he's not lying about those woodpeckers. We left a river birch, finally dead after many weather assaults, standing because the woodpeckers seem to love it. We have unfortunately lost 10 red oak trees in the past year, victims of a drought and two successive years of gypsy moths. I think that they might also have felt the effects of climate change, but we are new to the area so I am relying on the previous owner's opinion. They were majestic beasts and we miss them.

Our town has a program where volunteers take dead trees in the town forest, buck/split/stack them, and then deliver to town residents with a special price for seniors. `There are many people here who rely, in part, on firewood to heat their homes. We never take any tree that isn't dead already, and there are very many left for nature to have its way with. I recommend volunteering at such a thing if it's available in your area; the time spent with the codgers (in my late 60's, I'm the youngest in the crowd, so do the math) is one of the highlights of my week.
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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by jimmo » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:51 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:17 am
Do you use lumber? Or paper? How often do you consider the sourcing? The morality of forest products was determined by you long ago.
Paper comes from fast growing softwood trees - mostly pines. It's a quickly renewable resource that I wouldn't consider the morality in question. Paper companies plant them in neat and tidy rows and regularly harvest. They're basically all nursery raised, hard to consider them a functioning forest.

Going in and culling a virgin old growth forest is completely another thing. There are oak trees in a nearby state park that are over 300 years old. They were here before the founding of our country. Would I consider it immoral to cut them down for profit or development? Yes, absolutely.

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Re: Is selling trees for lumber Immoral?

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:52 am

This thread has run its course and is locked (ethical question, not actionable). See: Non-actionable (Trolling) Topics
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