Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When Ideology Becomes Nature: 'The Pulp Fiction of Industrial Forestry'

Nature World News
Many folks will have heard of the infamous Swastika Forest made up of yellow Larch Trees that revealed themselves every spring and fall for brief periods just outside of Berlin, Germany.  The tree's leaves, which turned yellow at the end of every year, stood out against an otherwise evergreen conifer forest. The trees covered a 3,600 sq meter (4,300 sq yd) area where the Nazi symbol was only discovered after the new unified German government conducted aerial surveys of the newly acquired state-owned landscape. This German swastika which was created back in the 1930s, no doubt by bogus Hitler Youth conservation forest programs, certainly isn't the first time human beings have manipulated living trees for their own vulgar ideological purposes.

When I first came to Scandinavia, the very first thing which came to my mind were the Idyllic scenes of pristine forests properly managed by a culture practically said to have Eco-Green genetic material actually encoded into their very DNA. At least that's what all the propaganda brochures told me. Seriously, in my view such beautiful country settings as seen below would surely be the norm when I went for a walk in the woods.

Sweden has given itself through a sophisticated marketing and public relations campaign the reputation as being the world's most environmentally progressive nation for which all other nations must model themselves after the Scandinavian pattern. Sad to say, it's these inept special interest forestry laws that have been allowed to be decided upon by the timber companies themselves and as a result, large checker boards swaths of a once biodiverse landscapes have been corrupted in the economic interests of harvesting such indigenous natural resources for sale to world markets across the globe. Take a look at some pictures below which clearly illustrate the reality of the Swedish countryside many foreigners quite often do not see.

Photo by Silvaskog AB

We instead are treated to a lifeless monoculture crop forest plantation in which very little wildlife if any is able to eek out a living. This includes various birds and squirrels. There usually is no greenery of multispecies of forest floor plants under the dense dark canopy. These trees are force shaped and eventually thinned to develop the desired cash crop for the landowner and forestry company. The photo below illustrates the lack of other biological life within the boundaries of just such an Industrial Forestry situation. Much like industrial dark enclosed Mega-Poultry Houses or Beef Feedlots where the animals are forced into an unhealthful maturity, so trees are dealt with in the same manner. Most all wildlife is unable to make any type of living under this industrially force grown canopy.

It should be noted that this failure of responsible custodianship of the land is not unique to Scandinavia, but across the whole of Europe as well. I have seen this same exact improper land management in Germany, Poland and elsewhere in the European Union, but it's interesting how this News item is never really documented to folks over in the USA by the political groups that want North America to be the carbon copy of everything E.U.  The USA  also has it's own set of unique failed land management policies and neither of the two major political entities have the answers for correcting the situation for the benefit of sustainable environments.

Below is an interesting documentary which offers a view of what is happening in the country of Latvia, but it also clearly illustrates what is wrong with every country around the globe. Any country's economic problems are quick fixed with cash from it's own natural resources. Obtaining these resources is very destructive and there are no real solutions on the table for handling things with a more effective holistic solution. Give yourself about 25 minutes to watch this documentary and remember to keep in mind that this is just not a Latvian problem. The video is 25 minutes in length.
People & Power - Latvia's pulp fiction

In Scandinavia, much of the forest plantations as mentioned earlier are monoculture conifer crops replanted and it must be noted that there is a vast difference between the terms forest and plantation. A forest is biodiverse and healthy. A plantation is monocultured to allow only one or two living things (in this case firs & pines) to grow and prosper with the surrounding environment devoid of all other life. Incredibly terms and stats are manipulated to colour the Ecological picture from the reality of what some of these governments and corporations  want the public to know and understand. For example, more forested land will be reported than what actually exists in reality. Tree plantations freshly planted with 10s of thousands of few inch high trees are considered a forest in the record books. Take a look at the photo below. Would you call this an actual forest ?

Image - (WRM)

Stora Enso and GM trees (Swedish & Finnish Company)

How many reading believe the above picture is a forest by the traditional definition and not the Big Business economically re-defined for political expediency definition ? Funny how opponents of  Chaparral ecosystems refuse to even give Chaparral consideration as a real biodiverse Elfin Forest, yet 10s of 1000s of 4-6 inch high conifer seedlings are suddenly considered a forest on the paperwork ? Why the hypocrisy ? This bogus forest definition shell game reminds me of something just as stupid and idiotic the Sate of California did back in the 1990s. They went through and redefined what was considered to be violent crime. Why it was said that the world had changed to a more enlightened age and a redefinition of what we now know and consider violent crime to be was in order. So many crimes formerly considered as a violent crime were now a misdemeanor. Suddenly the Violent Crime Statistics for California were far much lower than before and added greatly to the Public Relations propaganda for state tourism, economy and living standards brochure which now looked much brighter to economic interests outside the State. I also remember is how we all joked about this stunt way back then knowing full well the truth of the reasons behind it. So the redefinition shell game of calling a massive clear cut landscape replanted with a monoculture of 6 inch conifer seedlings is no different when it comes to the we're Eco-Green Scandinavians Public Relations  game. This then allows them to point the finger around to the rest of the planet to those evil countries not getting with the Green Solutions Program.

The problem here with the average Scandinavian citizen is that they won't see their country/s as an equally unhealthy mess as any other country on the planet. What they see with their untrained ideologically trained eye is GREEN everywhere, therefore we must be doing something right. What they don't realize or understand is that this place is only green because it continually rains here all the time. Take that away and things seriously start turning Brown & Dry rapidly. This actually happened a few years back when it didn't rain for a month and a half in spring of 2008. Many of the various plant ecosystems here are not that deeply rooted and untrained shallow rooted plants which have no need of growing deeper into the soil suffered great die back. Given climate change possibilities (especially the latest report on Scandinavia being hit the hardest in Europe by climate change), this could at anytime change over night, despite their flawed ideological view that nothing bad happens to Sweden. Every country on Earth has it's own politically  flavoured brand of Kool-Aid and it takes a discerning responsible educated palate to know when they are being given the ideological shaft.

The other incredible thing over here in Scandinavia is that most of the manual labor for replanting these clear cut forests are done by guest workers from underdeveloped countries like Nigeria and Cameroon who are promised good money for their labor. It's certainly not being accomplished by the more affluent homogeneous blonde haired blue eyed natives who view such work beneath them. Ironically, I always thought from the News Media reports where I originally come from that such a thing was unique only to the United States. Well as Gomer Pyle USMC would say - "Surprise , Surprise , Surprise" it's not just the USA, it's also an E.U. issue as well. Funny how I've never heard any of this before moving over here. Like the States with it's Hispanic Entrepreneurial hucksters taking advantage of their own countrymen, many of the formerly African business sub-contractors who are also from those African native lands take a great deal of advantage of their fellow countryman who are truly at their mercy. They are often not paid as promised and are often times left stranded when time to go home.

Dare we forget our wonderful friends from IKEA who harvest of the old growth forests over in RussiaSwedwood Karelia LLC owns a logging concession of over 740,000 acres of Old Growth Trees. The entire globe has all of these same issues referenced above. It's not just a Scandinavian or an E.U. problem. It's a global issue.  Recently the Swedish Company IKEA was exposed for buying old growth forest wood from Russia by a company called Swedwood Karelia LLC for manufacturing it's line of cheap furniture goods. This was all exposed by a Swedish Media Watch Dog Group which exposed IKEA for it's  contribution in harming the biodiversity of Siberian forests. Pity this group couldn't see it's country's own lack of old growth forests through the dense Industrial Planations trees. But Industrial forestry isn't through there yet either. Take a look at the Canadian documentary called "A Silent Forest" which is narrated by Geneticist David Suzuki. Genetically Modified Forest Trees are the Franken-Organism of the future, but with massive amounts of flaws and consequences released out into the natural world in the form of genetic pollution. Give yourself about 46 minutes to watch this enlightening, yet very scary real threat to the natural world all in the name of global progressive economics.

For a time warp view of what Swedish natural forests use to look like, follow the link here to our trip to a place outside of Göteborg Sweden where beautiful examples of old growth Oak Woodland still exist in pockets. This example of woodland was the most common type of habitat centuries ago before wood sailing ship building industry came along in southern and western Sweden.

Gunnebo Estate or Castle and Gardens

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