Home > Uncategorized > Slogans “Buy Local” & “Sustainable Birdhouses” Provide Cover For Logging Of Public Lands

Slogans “Buy Local” & “Sustainable Birdhouses” Provide Cover For Logging Of Public Lands

After you’ve partnered with Trump, it looks like anything goes

“Jersey Grown Wood” masks corruption and logging

[Update below]

I guess when a self-proclaimed “conservation” organization has: 1) formed a “partnership” with Donald Trump; 2) taken money from a Wall Street billionaire to log forests to enhance opportunities for wealthy private hunters; and 3) formed a “Stewardship Council” with major corporate polluters, developers, and pipeline builders; then something apparently benign like a “buy local” sustainable forestry birdhouse program may seem like chump change, and just a short slide down the slippery slope of the Greasy Pole to Gomorrah (a process that Chris Hedges calls “our descent into corporate tyranny.”)

I am referring to NJ’s Audubon’s latest scam, run in cooperation with NJ State Departments of Environmental Protection (“Forest Stewardship”) and Agriculture (“Jersey Grown Wood“).

Here is NJ Audubon’s marketing pitch:

LOCALLY GROWN AND MADE HOUSES AND FEEDERS FOR YOUR LOCAL BIRDS

NJ Audubon is now offering bird houses and bird feeders made with Jersey Grown wood sustainably harvested from New Jersey forests. ….. Our bird houses and feeders are made of Atlantic white cedar sustainably harvested under forest stewardship plans approved by the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.

What could be so bad about that? Sustainable forrest stewardship? Locally grown and crafted products? Birdhouses!

I’m on the road and I’ve written extensively about all this, so I’ll be brief:

1) NJ Audubon and NJ DEP have come under extreme public criticism for their aggressive, scientifically dubious, and fundamentally dishonest campaign to log publicly owned lands in the NJ Highlands Preservation Area.

As we speak, there is an ongoing major public controversy  on DEP and Audubon proposed logging in Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

The DEP plan has been legally challenged by Beaver Lake Realty Assc., a nearby group of homeowners and opposed by virtually every NJ environmental group, including Sierra Club, the Highlands Coalition, several independent scientists, and a local group called Friends of Sparta Mountain.

2) The DEP and NJ Audubon attempted to seek legislation to authorize a statewide “forest stewardship” certification program for public lands.

That proposed legislation sparked huge public and environmental group opposition and the bill failed, through more than 1 legislative session.

Gov. Christie even vetoed a version of a stewardship certification bill that did pass both houses of the legislature.

In a brazen example of bureaucratic arrogance and over-reach, DEP and NJ Audubon are now implementing the program – on public lands – that they failed to get legislative approval of.

3) NJ Audubon recently lost certification of their logging program by the national Forest Stewardship Council for failure to meet FSC standards.

Their pals at NJ DEP will now issue the certification that NJ Audubon lost.

4) DEP recently proposed “forest stewardship” regulations.

The joint DEP, Ag and NJ Audubon program is a blatant attempt to deploy slogans and manipulate well meaning people to support a scientifically flawed policy and controversial public lands logging program. The public is not aware of the larger implications of the “forest stewardship” issue on public lands.

Audubon is acting as the PR and marketing arm of both DEP and Department of Agriculture. The relationship is way too close.

The joint DEP, Ag and NJ Audubon program is an end run around the Legislature.

The program has not been authorized by the Legislature and even DEP is just now proposing rules to implement the program.

The DEP and Audubon have undermined the regulatory process.

NJ Audubon and DEP are masking a controversial public lands logging program behind not only slogans, but taking advantage of public support for agriculture by calling logging a form of agriculture.

The program builds institutions, generates funds, and enhances personal, organizational and professional relationships to consolidate a sham “stewardship” program. It serves to subsidize and perpetuate lax regulatory oversight in order to revive and expand a long dead logging industry in NJ.

And the whole thing stinks to high heavens.

But after you’ve partnered with Trump, it looks like anything goes.

[Update: Before I am accused of conflating multiple issues and erroneously claiming that the birdhouses come from Highland logging, yes, I understand that the Audubon birdhouses are made from Atlantic White Cedar from the Pinelands, not the Highlands and Sparta Mt. WMA.

So readers should take a look at what passes for first stewardship and white cedar restoration in the Pines, see:

And yes, I understand the distinctions between DEP’s private versus public lands logging and certification programs and NJ Audubon’s various related efforts. ~~~ end update]

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