One hears continuously that the Forest Service doesn’t clearcut anymore. Of course, what constitutes a clearcut is subject to interpretation. The following photos are all taken on the Deschutes NF in Oregon. These are “forest thinning” projects designed to reduce wildfires and “improve” forest health. How many trees do you need to leave behind so it’s not an “official” clearcut?


About The Author

George Wuerthner

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and former hunting guide with a degree in wildlife biology

12 Responses to Thinning or Clearcut?

  1. Linda says:

    Looks annihilated to me.

  2. Ida Lupine says:

    Terrible. Just imagine all the wind erosion too! 🙁

  3. rastadoggie says:

    The 80 acre clearcuts(40 plus 40 adjacent “patch cuts” – did they think we couldn’t add?)in my town have proven to be an outrage to the public and an embarrassment to the FS and fuel to oppose future shenanigans. At least the trees didn’t totally die in vain…

  4. Talk about clearcuts! and in grizzly bear habitat in the Yaak:

    Check this out:

  5. Lyn McCormick says:

    And then there is the “native invasive juniper” removal operation ongoing in the high desert. Crazy And how much did they get for that project $350 million (?) to buy all the gas guzzling heavy equipment ?

  6. Christopher J Harbin says:

    Makes one wonder what made “the cut” and what did not.

  7. Isabel Cohen says:

    unbelievably outrageous!!! How dare they get away with this!!!

  8. Thanks for the link Barrie. The clearcuts proposed in grizzly bear habitat in the Yaak via the Black Ram project are not only going to increase risk to bears by openings but also by destroying hundreds of acres of prime huckleberry patches as well by my estimate. Some of these areas I have picked for over twenty years that are now proposed as clearcuts with reserves. clearcuts + slashing young trees + burning + replanting = no more huckleberry habitat. The evidence is clear, you can walk through the proposed clearcuts with all the huckleberry forage for bears, people, bumble bees, etc., then you can walk right next to these proposed units in the very same elevation and aspect in 25-40 year old clearcuts and only find scattered individual huckleberry bushes. If carried out as proposed I call it a “taking” because it will be taking an essential food away from wildlife like bears. The sad thing is you can also see past selective thinning units in the same areas that maintained huckleberry habitat so it’s possible to log without destroying such a valuable food crop.

    • Ida Lupine says:

      That’s awful! You’d think people would want the huckleberries too. 🙁

  9. rastadoggie says:

    Yes, a taking. That fits for the dirt bike racetrack in what should be protected habitat in my Forest that the agency WILL NOT correct. Poor quality employees are part of the problem. A taking from the American public and the wild.

  10. Chester says:

    Good pickup. That’s definitely significant tree removal. Nobody in their right mind would call that just a thinning.

  11. Maggie Frazier says:

    Heres another intelligent write-up regarding the push to log & construct roads into forested lands! Good one too.


June 2021


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey