Hey KL, please don't do an expose of the Hudson Valley. If we apply your brand of ruthless logic I would run screaming from the place. I kinda know it stinks but I prefer to live in a dream world. When do you do an analysis of life in Chattanooga, Tenn? It's saving grace is that it is near NEPA an that is very important these days but I struggle to find another reason.
I am doing my research even now on the Tenn. valley Coalnewbie. And N. Ga. My train ride up into the Hiawassee valley last weekend revealed that they have done the same thing down here but trees grow faster. I was shocked to go by a Huber plant on the bus to get on the train up in Etowah. All that plant needs is chips and they don't need timber size trees for chips. Much of the river gorge was inaccessible too logging so it retains a natural balance of vegetation on the slopes at least. On one section they pointed out a strip leading to the river where they had logged the mountain and let them roll straight down hill to the river. Sort of like the log chutes in the old days in Maine.
Pellets are just another way to strip the forest down for profit. Maine already lost a huge amount of money with the tree growth law(which should be repealed) and no one talks about the fact that forest research states you can only pull 2 maybe 3 crops of wood off the land when you strip it before it will not regenerate desirable species due to depleted soils. Take take take, never put anything back. It does not work. As with the biomass boilers, they promoted chips as burning junk wood and slash. LOL They only want premium wood for either. To much resin in softwoods and junk wood and it makes poor pellets and gums up the biomass boilers even though they burn at ridiculous temps. All over Washington County the trees coming up are white birch, red maple, and other undesirable species. Now they are spraying to kill hardwoods and promote softwoods. There is a problem for the wreath companies getting "tips" to make wreaths. They are sending in TT loads of brush from N. Maine and Canada. Worchester Wreath has purchased thousands of acres and has stripped them completely, and been fined and is still fighting in court, to manage the land for fir trees, well spaced out to produce brush. It is also not a natural thing but a monoculture.
I don't hate everything new, I just see through to the reason for the shift and think I understand what the drawbacks are to the new method. I am old enough and have a keen enough memory to remember the lies told to promote the new ways. I also know the results of the spray program in the 70's to save the fir forest long enough for the companies to bring in new machines, clear cuts, and salvage all the money they could at the expense of our overall forest and health. It fits into my pessimistic personality.