Understanding our Forests
Idaho has some of the most beautiful and pristine forests in the United States. For decades Idaho foresters have dedicated their lives to maintain the health of our forests but are now faced with an agenda of destruction. Part 1 introduces the reader to the history and constitution of the lodgepole pine, the Targhee National Forest, and forest management practices up to 1980. The purpose is to understand what management practices are needed for forest health. For anyone who loves the forest this first part is the beginning introduction to understanding how our forests are being destroyed.
Who owns Idaho forests? According to Idaho Forest Products Commission the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) own 79%, or 17.3 million acres; corporations, Tribes, and Family Forest Landowners own 15% or 2.6 million acres; and the State of Idaho owns 6%, or 1.5 million acres through State Forests and State Parks . The objectives of these different groups vary, from producing wood products, promoting wildlife habitat, and promoting a mix of environmental and economic values.
Historically, the federal government expanded the amount of land and their control over Idaho forests from as early as 1906 with local opposition at the same time, and which continues today. Since that time the government has continued to expand their control over other Idaho forests.
The characteristics of Idaho forests vary so for the purpose of this article the focus will be on the lodgepole pine as it is a widely distributed species in Idaho. In order to understand how our forests are being destroyed it is important to understand the constitution and care of forests that contribute to forest health.
According to the USFS, some constitutional aspects of the lodgepole pine include its ability to thrive in a wide variety of topographic situations, grow in pure stands and with other western conifers, tolerance of different environmental factors, and being a prolific seed producer especially in clearcuts where cones attached to the slash scatter seeds over the forest floor when knocked down during slash disposal. Another unique lodgepole feature is its ability to regenerate after a fire as the cone releases seed at high temperatures, but it does not require fire to regenerate. During early growth lodgepoles require good sunlight and absorb higher concentrations of carbon while a dead tree emits almost all of its stored carbon into the atmosphere. Lodgepoles show good response to thinning at an early age (17), with poor sites and overstocked stands requiring thinning as early as age 10. Along with thinning, lodgepoles need a clean forest floor, free from excessive debris, slash, and grass in order to regenerate.
Detriments to lodgepole regeneration include intolerance of shade, excessive grass or slash which inhibits seed germination and survival, overstocking, stand density, and competition from other plant species. Mountain pine Beetle epidemics also destroy vast acreages of lodgepole.
The mountain pine beetle, a natural forest species, is the most severe insect pest of lodgepole pine. Harvesting is considered a preventative measure for mountain pine beetle epidemics as the beetle will migrate to adjacent stands. Another pest to the lodgepole is the pine engraver which develops in logging slash, especially slash that is shaded and does not dry quickly. Prompt slash disposal is an effective control measure along with clearcutting and locating unit boundaries to minimize reinfection from surrounding stands. Mortality from beetle epidemics often creates large amounts of jackstrawed fuel that ignites easily from lightning and other sources, which in turn hamper fire control efforts.
There are different methods of harvesting forest wood. Clearcutting removes all trees in a stand; seedtree removes the majority of mature trees; shelterwood is selective harvesting; group selection harvests mature trees and thins intermediate trees; and single tree selection a highly selective system removal of individual trees, leaving the majority of the trees on a site standing while removing dead and diseased trees from the forest. It is important to understand harvesting methods as variables such as tree species, age, diseases, and restoration determine which harvesting method is used, and can be a source of conflicting views.
Idaho has a history of protecting its forests. In the 1940's the Keep Idaho Green campaign was launched to educate the public on preventing forest fires. In 1950 Idaho introduced the Guberif as a reminder for Idahoans to exercise responsibility while enjoying our forests and prevent forest fires. The Guberif was a huge success, seen everywhere, and was a symbol children understood.
By the 1960's the Targhee National forest was overgrown and considered to be full of old growth. Because of a mountain pine bark beetle epidemic and increased fire hazard a forest restoration project was started in the 1970's to clear the forest of old growth and plant new trees, while putting the deadwood to good use.
The proper maintenance of lodgepole pine is discussed in this 1970 research paper stating, "Maintenance of lodgepole pine forests requires both a greater understanding of the continuing biological processes and a high level of management". Historically pine beetle epidemics have occurred multiple times, as early as 1870 to present, attack the largest, or older, trees first, then moving to smaller trees or adjacent stands. A forest destroyed by the pine beetle is more susceptible to fires and loss of residual trees due to windthrow, and the cost of fire fighting is doubled. According to this paper the probability of a stand being infested in Targhee appeared to be rather high. Suggested management practices to reduce pine beetle epidemics were to replace lost lodgepoles with a different tree species, tree size rotation, and plant species and age class mixtures.
By 1980 more was understood about protecting the lodgepole from beetle epidemics. This research article references necessary forest health to protect watersheds, game habitat, and provide raw materials. Often lodgepoles regenerate too abundantly causing dense stands that inhibit their own and other species growth, and young lodgepole growth which need sun for rapid growth. The report also recognized that "Plans developed to prevent or to reduce mountain pine beetle population buildup in lodgepole pine stands must consider renewable-resource silviculture."
To reduce beetle epidemics at the time of this report several methods were recommended. Type Conversion is the replacement of a lodgepole with another species such as a Douglas-fir to serve water-shed management and other purposes. It could be accomplished naturally through culturing the understory or artificially by cutting, then planting or seeding the desired species. Other recommendations included Short Rotations or selecting trees for product requirements, creating mix species stands, age and species mosaics, stock control (a method of single tree selection), repeated thinning, partial cuts, and clearcutting being the best management practice. A "do nothing" approach was also reviewed and was found to be the most detrimental where, "the infestation continued, and 39 percent of the trees, or 52 percent of the basal area, was lost to the beetle." One other side effect of this devastation is the release of carbon from dead trees. The first 5 years after harvesting were very encouraging in reducing beetle epidemics.
In the discussion of fires, 2 methods out of 6 found either to be favorable regarding the pine beetle. "Allow "safe" lightning fires to burn, allow for some other wildfires that cannot be controlled, but prescribe enough additional controlled fires to assure the natural fire regime...which would provide approximately the natural fire regimen and avoid the risk of letting wildfires get out of hand before control is attempted." Secondly, "suppress all wildfires to the extent feasible, and duplicate the natural fire regime with prescribed-controlled fires." Fire suppression was to be used concomitantly with other practices such as thinning, harvesting, and prescribed burns. Another adverse effect of forest fires is the release of carbon into the air.
Most interesting of all was number 6. "Abandon the ideal of natural ecosystems and turn to full-scale vegetation and environmental manipulation by mechanical and chemical means, seeding, planting, and so on. Attempt to produce desired vegetation with the tools of applied forestry."
Recommended management objectives included a three-phase harvest program over a 21-year period, clean up the mess and reduce the fire hazard, mitigate adverse effects on soil, water, and wildlife, regenerate stands quickly, and utilize wood fiber, thereby maintaining the forest and its resources.
In summary, focusing on the lodgepole pine and the Targhee National Forest in Southeast Idaho, efforts on the part of Idahoans to mitigate the loss of our forests to fires and pine beetle epidemics prior to 1980 included specific forest practices of harvesting trees and protecting the other forest attributes such as wildlife and watersheds.
The destructive policies and imposed regulations contributing to the destruction of our forests will be explained in part 2.
The Destruction of our Forests
Hopefully, the reader now has a better understanding of just one pine tree, forest management practices that maintain forest health, and practices that are detrimental. So, just how are Idaho forests being destroyed? Looking at the historical events provides a timeline of events.
There have been consistent forest management values from the early 1900's to present. These values include recreational and economic resource use, wildlife habitat, grazing, and watershed protection. Although already understood in the early 1900's, The Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act (MUSY) of 1960 recognized these values for the development and management of forests, and continued forest vitality. The Multiple-Use Management concept was a good idea but the United States Forest Service (USFS) and other groups took it to an extreme that has led us to the forest destruction we see today.
According to the Forest History Society, forest management from 1910-1929 was based on a European model. The major consideration at the time was the economic impact from forest harvesting, not only for local communities but for the state as well. From his Reconnaissance of the Targhee in 1910, C. E. Dunston's report recommended establishing best silvicultural practices, preventing fires and bark beetle epidemics (which to this day are still considered primary forest enemies), and both selection and clear cutting for continued forest health and product yield for the Targhee Forest. It was also found that piling and burning of slash was best as the material did not deteriorate rapidly enough, hence being a fire hazard. Reforestation efforts were attempted but not economically feasible. During the 1920's increased efforts to prevent fires were instituted including lookout posts and training. They found that fires threatened sustained-yield management and in the period before 1929 the outbreaks of bark beetles were the worst. Focus on developing forests for recreational use, creation of national monuments, and game management also began during this time. The forest service itself continue to grow from these early beginnings.
The USDA Forest Service - The First Century booklet describes how common sense practices from the past morphed into a huge conglomerate of "specialists" (starting with MUSY) that originated from expanding federal laws, heavily advocated for by environmental groups, and who believed every forest species should be protected or untouched. It is virtually impossible to practice good forest management without a secondary effect to other species, but it is necessary for the protection of the forest and all forest species which seems to escape environmentalists understanding. In other words, they can't see the forest for the trees. Mentioned in the booklet is Gifford Pinchot, the First Chief of Forest Service, who began the idea of conservation and founded the Society of American Foresters (SAF) in 1900. Another forest service worker, Aldo Leopold, first wrote about setting aside forests for special protection in wilderness areas in 1914 and was also one of the founders of the Wilderness Society in 1935.
This booklet gives a timeline from the late 1800's to 2005. Some highlights include their perception of how man has destroyed the forests, increased USFS acquisition and control over forests despite opposition from communities, the beginning of environmental groups who from the 60's and 70's have actively engaged in advocating for practices that are destroying forests and instituted endless litigation, increasing regulations that have hampered our ability to properly manage our forests, and federal laws that contribute to the mess. It was in the early 80's when forest management started to change.
Laws of particular note from the 1970's are:
National Forest Management Act (NFMA) 1976 - with a 2012 update - established forest management requirements and plans in national forests
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 1970 - requires an environmental impact statement (EIS) prior to any project
Endangered Species Act (ESA) 1973 - placed restrictions on forest use and protection of habitat
Other laws impacting forest management can be found here.
This booklet also outlines the overall explosion of expanded government control over our forests and dwindling importance of what lodgepoles and forests need to thrive. What the focus became is fully outlined in the first paragraph on page 155, individuals who don't understand forestry but only their own specific focus and interests. A shorter forest service timeline from the late 1800's can be found here.
The United States Forest Service (USFS) operates under multiple federal laws. The forester must know and follow regulations that cover everything from how to cut trees, from where the tree can be cut, which tree can be cut, how far from a stream a tree can be cut, what insect or animal makes its home in a pile, which bush grows where, and the list goes on before a tree can be touched or slash cleaned. For the interested reader those regulations can be found at the bottom of the link under Policies. All of these laws were heavily lobbied for by environmental groups in the 1960s and 1970s and large national organizations such as the Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council surged in membership, lobbying to pass legislation such as the Wilderness Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. From the early 60's environmental groups engage in extensive litigation to stop projects, a Targhee case can be found here. A USFS study showed the impact to local jobs and tax revenue as a result of these lawsuits. An effort to stop these groups from massive litigation, which typically center around stopping any efforts for better forest management, was introduced in Congress this year.
The reader is invited to read all of the detailed requirements in 36 CFR 220, from NEPA. Highlights of these restrictive requirements include: any action being subject to USFS control; detailed EIS; justification and explanation of the project following scoping; further analysis if a critical habitat, watershed, roadless area, or religious site is perceived by the USFS (or environmental group) to be affected in the EIS; plus restrictions on reforestation, hazardous fuel reduction, harvesting, salvaging, and pest control.
In Part 1, Understanding our Forests, one can see why these requirements contribute to the loss of our forests. These requirements make it almost impossible to properly remove diseased trees, slash, dead wood, or promote regeneration. Even reforesting becomes difficult. These requirements have set up our forests for increased beetle epidemics and wildfires over the last 25 years with millions of forest acres lost. Wildfires have been increasing to the point where Congress tried to intervene in 2002 by reversing these destructive practices. This timeline from 1980 to 2014 shows the increased number of fires including those over 100,000 acres. This map shows the highest mountain pine beetle infestations are in Idaho wilderness areas where forests are "protected", with no management practices highly recommended by environmental groups, the forest left to beetle destruction.
In response to the increasing problem of forest fires the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 was an attempt to start managing forests to reduce fire hazards. Following are Targhee and Island Park "proposed actions" that lay out the complex steps that have to be taken to protect forests.
The Porcupine Pasture Project in Targhee and surrounding Island Park area was undertaken to reduce the amount of fuel load for the purposes of preventing a potentially high risk wildfire in 2011. This "environmental assessment" includes justification for the project, environmental mitigation measures, environmental impact on vegetation, old growth, botanical, hydrologic, soil, scenery, wildlife, recreational, range, and travel resources. All those specialists at work. Any one area considered to be adversely affected by this project would halt it. Meanwhile, the Lodgepole just has to sit and wait for that fire or beetle outbreak. It can take up to 4 years to complete these studies.
Following the Targhee Revised Forest Plan this 2015 "scoping" document to reauthorize grazing in the Island Park area outlines which cows can graze, where they can graze, and how long they can graze. Grazing can actually be beneficial as it reduces fire hazard overgrowth. This 2010 document for the revised plan proposes keeping old forest growth for habitat.
In this document a final decision was made to expand the Black Canyon Trail. It verifies that a "specialist analysis" was conducted and that at any point in time a project can be shut down for a consultation with a specialist.
A final decision was reached to reduce fuel loads for fire risk reduction in Northern Island park in this 2015 document. Because of an owl, some neighbor opposition, and the possible "disturbance" to some Bald Eagles, the Bootjack area was omitted from fuel hazard reduction. Isn't it logical that not reducing a fuel hazard will increase the chances of a fire destroying the whole area? If they survive, where will the owl and eagle live then? Or the neighbors? How long will it take for that area to regenerate? Each of these documents follow the same format from initial justification to proving no harm will be done to anything. Hey, what happened to what the lodgepole needs to thrive? With these expanded regulations, at some point, it will become impossible to do anything with our forests. A full list of proposed actions in the Targhee area can be found here.
In 2000, the Idaho Forest Products Commission wrote an article about increasing fires and land management. It wasn't until the 1970's when environmental groups entered the picture and pushed the government to leave the forests alone, stop logging, and let the fires burn that the catastrophic destruction of forests began. Up to that point preventing forest fires was the mantra while at the same time effective management practices of logging, thinning, and prescribed burns were standard. Even more appalling, the very practices environmental groups promote paradoxically make forest health worse. Thinning lodgepoles improves the environment by allowing young trees to capture more carbon while removing old growth or dead trees prevents the release of carbon into the air. Fires release vast carbon storage into the air and destroy wildlife homes they so adamantly say they are protecting. Lodgepole overgrowth after a fire chokes out other species and inhibits regeneration of new growth. Not clearing the forest floor of slash prevents new growth while fire hazards are increased in addition to making fires more difficult to contain.
This publication on the Warm Lake fire in 2007 explains it all and provides pictures of a treated forest versus a untreated fire ravaged area, clearly validating practices of fire suppression with other management practices such as reducing fuel loads and forest thinning. Does a garden need to be thinned and weeded? Well, so does the forest.
One last note is the climate change scam that warmer temperatures and less moisture are the cause forest destruction. Well, climate change wasn't around back in the early 1900's, the population was less, then why was there so much forest destruction by fire and pests back then? Well, man wasn't there to take care of the forest, the forest was on its own and left to mother nature, the "do nothing" method. As man began to understand forests and management needs, then putting those protections into practice, the forest destruction declined. From what the reader now understands, this National Wildlife Federation video sums up the illogical blame on climate change.
It is understood that forests need to be managed from an approach that protects all habitat and species. But, in doing so, there will be secondary effects that cannot be avoided. Should it not be the goal to limit, rather than restrict, secondary effects as much as possible while still achieving the goal of maintaining the forest so all species can continue?
Go back, take a minute and think about the lodgepole and its needs. Trees are the foundation of a forest, without them nothing can live. If not protected as a tree, nothing is protected. The USFS, laws, regulations, and environmental groups have made sure the lodgepole is forgotten. The "specialists" mandated by federal laws are being used as pawns in forest destruction.
So, the lodgepole can regenerate without fires, flourish by thinning and letting the sun help new growth while lessening water and other species competition, thrive with a floor clean of debris and slash, and thereby making life more difficult for the beetle to take over but still exist as part of the natural habitat. During periods of warmer weather with less available moisture, if a tree is healthy, it is less stressed.
Part 3 will take a look at other sources of forest destruction besides our own government.
Sustainability & Certification Scams
National and Idaho forest lands are governed by federal laws, the United States Forest Service (USFS), and the Idaho Forest Practice Act (IFPA). But how can corporations and private land owners prove they are being responsible forest managers. Who is going to "monitor" them like the government lands are? Certification schemes, that's how. Certification programs are "voluntary" but the public has been led to believe that a piece of wood coming from a "certified forest" has somehow been more properly managed so there is considerable pressure for family forest owners and forest industry companies to become certified.
There are two major certification organizations in the U.S., the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). There are others but these are the primary programs. Certification requires certain forest management standards are met which implies the forest is being managed "sustainably". Although they use different standards, and even fight between themselves, both promote "sustainable" forest management. If a corporation or family forest owner is "certified" one could be lead to believe that somehow they are practicing more responsible forestry. There is much disagreement between these two organizations.
The FSC was formed by environmentalists and European industry leaders in 1994, headquartered in Mexico, and has members worldwide including Idaho. FSC has 10 principles it operates under, several of which are similar to the USFS such as assessing environmental impact, developing a plan, and monitoring the plan. They claim private land owners, if certified, are better at "protecting" forests, having a special category for "Family Forests". Boasting about its Gold Standard for Forest Management, some practices include limited clearcutting, protecting old growth, and restricting forest conversion. Every log is tracked by Chain of Custody (COC) and kept separate from "non-certified" material, however non-certified material can be mixed with certified material called controlled wood. Forest Management Certification requires adherence to standards that are as restrictive as USFS regulations and can be found under the US Forest Management link. Of course there is a cost (North stands for wealthy countries, South for poor) to become certified but you can also get a group certification for cost sharing. Those costs are passed on to you, the consumer, when you buy FSC products. You can recognize FSC products by its label. In general FSC is heavily supported by environmental groups.
SFI was also launched in 1994, similar to FSC in that it has a COC, has 15 management standards similar to the FSC principles with a guide to implement them, and promotes "sustainable forest management." SFI partners with major corporations to promote their cause. Although there is "no fee for COC certification" obtaining COC certification involves a "body" which conducts an audit for $2,000 to $3,000 per site with annual renewal required. Again, this cost is passed on to the consumer when SFI products are purchased which can be identified by their labels. FSC is global and SFI is in "North America" as noted on this FSC/SFI comparison sheet by SFI. As two examples in Idaho, Boise Cascade is SFI Wood Products certified and Idaho Forest Group is SFI COC certified.
Another voluntary certification program, the Idaho Tree Farm Program (ITFP), an affiliate of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), promotes "better forest management among nonindustrial forest owners", preferably known as family forest owners. ATFS just came out with new 2015-2020 standards that require a plan that accounts for forest species; protection from fire, pests, disease, and destructive grazing; reforestation; harvesting for sustained yield; and the requirement that all federal laws are followed. One goal of the State committee for ITFP is to, "Establish and maintain standards and procedures for Idaho lands, certified under the American Tree Farm System."
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an organization that endorses forest certification systems (except national forests) with its own logo. SFI and ATFS, Boise Cascade, Potlatch, and Idaho Forest Group are PEFC certified. PEFC has standards, believes private land owners should be certified to prove they are "demonstrating respect" for their land, and comply with "internationally benchmarked" standards. Idaho forest owners voluntarily meeting "international" standards, in addition to Idaho state required standards.
There is also a "certification" for foresters through the Society of American Foresters (SAF), established in 1994, and again "voluntary". Standards include following all regulations on environmental quality and management of forest resources.
All of the federal laws, regulations, and certification programs sound important for protecting forests. Promotion and protection of the "ecosystem", "habitat", "cultural", and "biodiversity" really does sound like the right thing to do. But, stop and think. If these protections weren't there 60 years ago then why were those same forest attributes still present when the environmentalists decided they needed protecting? Wouldn't they have disappeared, especially from all the "harm" being caused by man? They didn't because the forest has the breathtaking ability to regenerate itself. As a renewable resource it is our responsibility to help the forest regenerate, not set it aside for "preservation" whether by making it untouchable or creating rules that are illogical attempts to leave it in the same state at any given moment in time. Forests are living, breathing, and evolving miracles on their own without humanity trying to outsmart Mother Nature, man will never be smarter than her.
Natural habitat should be protected when harvesting forest resources, as much as possible nature should be left in the same shape as when it was disturbed to promote regeneration, much needed watersheds should be protected from damage, forest management should continue in a way that wildlife can continue to thrive, and we should be held accountable for enjoying recreational activities without forest harm. There is nothing wrong with any of this. But, the hidden agenda and the true managers of the forest, who most are not aware of, will be discussed in Part 4.
Who Really Controls Our Forests?
Where did all of these regulations come from? Was it the federal government, expansion of the United States Forest Service (USFS), the environmental groups, corporations, or something else? How did it all get started? Now that the reader understands forest history, the USFS, environmental groups, federal laws and regulations, and certification programs, another parallel timeline needs to be considered.
The UN created the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 1945 having 3 goals, one of which is the "sustainable management and utilization of natural resources". Forestry is one FAO department which promotes "sustainable forest management (SFM)", a "toolbox" that outlines proper forest management, and Fire Management guidelines. The FAO has been monitoring forests since 1946 with the first Forest Resources of the World report completed in 1948 and includes U.S. forests with an FAO post-2015 plan under #15. This new plan includes conservation of ecosystems, halting loss of biodiversity, protecting and preventing loss of endangered species, and integrating biodiversity values into national and local planning which they have already accomplished. The U.S. joined with the FAO in 1946, and provides reports to the FAO, here is the 2010 report. Another FAO goal is re-inventing the USFS. The North American Forest Commission (NAFC), of which the USFS is a member, carries out its assigned FAO "mandate" as one of six regional forestry commissions. This FAO 2010 Global Forest Resources Assessment defines how forests should be managed globally.
The FAO also developed a list of Criteria & Indicators (C&I) for "Sustainable Forest Management" in line with Agenda 21 Forest principles and also supported the concept of certification originally created by the FSC, actually tracking certification, pg 40. The C&I are being implemented through the Montreal Process of which the U.S. is a member and which the USFS uses. The FAO Model Code of Harvesting Practice can be used for policy and legislation by members which the USFS also uses. The USFS openly partners with the FAO.
The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), founded in 1948, is another UN NGO that influences global policy on conservation including forests. The USFS is a corporate member of IUCN.
In 1972 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a treaty called “The Convention Concerning Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage". Among other things Article 4 and 5 call for the conservation and preservation of natural heritage sites, meaning wilderness areas and national monuments which environmental NGOs advocate. Once a wilderness area or national monument is under federal control it becomes easier to further restrict access and use.
Established by the UN in 1983, the Bruntland Commission released Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987, which proposed "legal principles" for environmental protection and sustainable development", a forerunner to Agenda 21. The goal of environmental assessments, conservation, maintaining ecosystems, and environmental protection standards are just a few principles that have already been achieved in the United States.
In 1992 G.H.W. Bush signed the UN Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, then implemented by W.J. Clinton in 1993. Chapter 11 discusses strengthening forest related national institutions; enhance management and SD of forests; strengthen institutions for forest education and training as well as forestry industries; protect endangered species; prepare national forestry action plans; accelerate research for a better understanding of problems relating to the management and regeneration of all types of forests; strengthening UN organizations for technical support; carry out environmental impact analysis; plus a cadre of other ideologies. Chapter 12 covers ecosystems. Chapter 13 goes further with goals to generate and integrate forest data bases (started by the USFS in the 1998 Farm Bill); establish natural reserves and protective areas; exchange information with the World Bank and NGOs; promote education on SD; assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of projects; and support and establish partnerships with NGOs. A more condensed 1992 report can be found here. All current forest management includes these objectives. The 1994 Montreal Process started the process for international forest standards. Referring to the International Forestry program in the booklet USDA Forest Service - The First Century, it states, "The 1992 signing of the Forest Principles and Agenda 21 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) - "The Earth Summit" - was coordinated by this new branch of the agency."
The Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA), created by the UN in 1995, gave justification for biodiversity assessments in forests and other landscapes.
The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) was created in 2000 of which the United States is a member. The goal of the UNFF is to promote “… the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end…”, is based on Agenda 21, and uses UN accredited NGOs to implement their objectives. They require national reports, here is the 2005 U.S. report to the UNFF on progress towards implementing UNFF objectives. Under their Global Forest Watch they can track Idaho forests.
Four Global Watch Objectives on Forests were agreed upon by the UNFF and member states in 2006, one of which is increasing the area of protected forests (wilderness areas and national monuments), sustainably managed forests (certification), and increasing products from sustainably managed forests (certification). No wonder Boulder-White Clouds and Island Park are targets and certification is promoted.
As a side note the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UN NGO, reviews U.S. progress from 1996-2004 for meeting international objectives, with recommendations for progressing further on forest management practices and SD.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO)
NGOs originated with the UN. UN NGOs "Play a major role in advancing United Nations goals and objectives". One of the other responsibilities is networking and supporting other UN NGOs and UN business partners. The following Pdf lists the previously mentioned UN NGOs who partner with the federal government and other organizations, who have been responsible for influencing the changes in forest management, and who are instrumental in putting our forests under UN governance. The Society of American Foresters (SAF), which certifies foresters is also a UN NGO. Not only does the UN capture our forests, they have a mechanism to capture our foresters for the promotion of SD.
In meeting Agenda 21 and other UN organizational objectives to establish natural reserves and protective areas, several agendas have been underway by environmental groups, with both federal and state governments, to designate land for limited or even banned use. UN NGOs have made tremendous progress in meeting the UN objective for establishing protected areas and reserves through many schemes. This Pdf lists some of those agendas related to Idaho forests.
UN Business Partners
As previously noted, UN accredited NGOs network with other UN NGOs and UN business partners. Both are responsible in advancing UN goals and objectives, primarily SD goals, based on Agenda 21. An example of another UN generated certification scam, which the forestry industry is most likely unknowingly involved, is explained.
UN NGO, FSC, partners with Home Depot, a UN business partner. As UN partners, Home Depot works with FSC by selling FSC certified products. It is the responsibility of UN partners to support each other.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been a UN NGO since 1997 and in 2000 started a "certification" program, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), which promotes "green building leadership". USGBC and LEED promote the use of FSC products. Construction companies, such as the Gardner company in Boise, promote their LEED certification and have been heavily contracted by Boise for downtown development. Here is the cost for certification. In 2002 the US Department of Interior even signed an MOU with the USGBC to build federal buildings with LEED standards and support "green building standard design and practices". Another UN business partner, Coca Cola, commits to FSC products. But it goes farther than that.
As an UN NGO, the USGBC mission is, "To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling a sustainable, socially-responsible, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life for all." Members who belong to the USGBC include organizations such as US Airforce, US Army, Target, Kohler, Waste Management, Weyerhaeuser, UPS, even Ada County, and other UN business partners. The goal, to change "the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated." That means changing buildings to how the UN wants them built, supporting more UN programs and businesses, and the UN having a monopoly on businesses. Idaho even has a chapter.
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) launched the Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI) in 2006 to promote environmentally friendly construction which promotes LEED certification. In an effort to broaden this UN agenda of promoting "green" buildings, Green Globes certification was licensed for use under the "green building" initiative, a UNEP program, and will capture SFI and ATFS certified products Like LEED, certification is required. The Department of Energy approved Green Globes for building in 2014. Your tax dollar going to UN managed programs. EPA is also there to support "green building".
The UN Global Compact and IUCN now have a "framework" for business partners to incorporate "biodiversity and ecosystems services" (BES) into business activities to increase profits, and establish partnerships with NGOs and other businesses. The IUCN openly supports BES. This booklet explains how businesses can accomplish that task. The UN Global Compact is a conglomerate of huge corporations who advance UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and plan to transform businesses. Members can be searched here.
This former World Wildlife Fund (UN NGO) scientist, Lara J. Hansen, created EcoAdapt, which appears to be based on the UNEP "Ecosystem-based Adaptation” strategy to help humans brace for climate change disasters, which the USFS is integrating into forest management. Of course this group has a multitude of UN NGO partners, even working on projects such as Y2Y.
In summary, Idaho forestry businesses and family forest owners are "encouraged" to voluntarily become certified by UN NGOs. As a result, more money is put into UN programs; more certified products are sold at a higher cost benefiting Home Depot; construction companies pay UN programs for certification in order to compete; all of which ultimately promote UN ideology and objectives. The other planned effect not discussed here, through UN business partnerships, is the goal of "corporate governance" as defined by the UN. Because of this UN monopoly through partnerships there is a negative impact on smaller businesses who are unable to compete. It has been suggested this is a form of corporatism, forcing Americans into a "green economy".
Whether knowingly or not, the Idaho forest industry has been taken over by UN scams within federal laws, USFS regulations, certification programs, protected areas, products and businesses. The consumer has been indoctrinated into believing that sustainable forestry and certified products should be preferred, wilderness areas and national monuments are the right thing to do, and building "green" is the way to go, when all the while the real story is they are supporting UN goals and objectives, their tax dollar and money are taken to promote those scams, and the UN is becoming more powerful. Their goal? Global environmental and economic governance which is monitored by The Federalist Society through Global Governance Watch. The majority of climate change science is generated by UN scientists such as the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), UN NGO, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate change is the scam being used to promote the justification for sustainable development and transforming the world economy, as stated by Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC. The lodgepole has long since been forgotten underneath this massive agenda ridden ideology. Concluding remarks will be in Part 5.
Congratulations to those who have read through Part 1-4. Sadly, this information on forests only scratches the surface. These articles have progressed from understanding Idaho forests to the needs of the lodgepole and forest, through the regulations and federal programs that contribute to its destruction, land grabs that are slowly removing Idahoans from the forests that are rightfully theirs, NGO and business involvement with the United Nations (UN) to govern our forests, how education programs are used to indoctrinate on sustainable development (SD) and UN ideology, and the deep involvement of the UN down to a very local level. No information could be found where the UN was not an influence on any forest policy.
There are businesses and people who really do have the best interests of forests at heart. Although not in Idaho, the Sustainable Lumber Co. in Missoula, Montana, owned by Ryan Palma, coined the phrase, "We are the true tree huggers". They salvage beetle kill pine and fire damaged timber, while leaving behind a healthier forest, and produce some of the most beautiful wood products you will ever see. There are legitimate reasons to remove dead beetle killed growth for forest health as explained by this article, which environmental groups are unable to grasp, as well as other reasons explained in this article. Holding the same ideology as the UN, environmental groups believe any salvaging or forest management through logging or thinning is deforestation or profit motivated. However, as this company demonstrates, every tree taken is for the forest's benefit as a renewable resource and a constant watchful eye is kept on each tree's health. For the true tree huggers such as this business, foresters, and family owned forest landowners, frustrations are felt. They understand how these practices are contributing to forest destruction. Although they buy wood from local certified business and family forest owned land, this company practices good forest management, a skill that far exceeds any certification program, because they have a love of trees and forests that exceeds any profit motives, and without any hidden agenda to take land away from Americans. Glen Bailey is a Bonner County Commissioner in the Idaho Panhandle and has some interesting comments about collaborative relationships between all the parties involved with forests.
This series of articles is intended to inform, educate, and enlighten Idahoans about forest management in Idaho, and the UN influence on how our forests are managed. If this has led to concern about Idaho forests, perhaps one will become motivated to take Idaho land back. The American Lands Council (ALC) is doing just that, fighting to take back control of state land from the federal government. The numbers are against Idahoans, both by individuals, groups, and financially. But Idahoans can disengage with groups who promote UN ideology, create their own groups of resistance, educate others about this information, and boycott all businesses or products promoted by the UN. It is up to Idahoans. Rather than Welcome to the United Nations of Idaho Forests, it would read much better as Welcome to Idaho Forests.
This website is non-partisan and is solely dedicated to removing the harmful controls placed on our state and nation through Agenda 21 and its associated programs. We invite all Idahoans to join us in this fight for freedom!