The Bittercot National Forest in Montana is the centre of a controversy between conservationists and lumbermen over the practice of felling areas of the forest.
GV Stream through forest
GV Trees PULL FOCUS TO fir branch
LV ZOOM IN Trees
GV Trees being felled (4 shots)
GVs Clear cut areas (3 shots)
SV & LV Bulldozer forging forest road (2 shots)
GV PAN ALONG Stream to bulldozer working on road nearby
CU Stump of tree with logging road in background
GV Picturesque forest areas (4 shots)
CU Conservationist speaking (SOUND)
CU & SV Mechanical grab handling logs and loading truck (5 shots)
CU Old tree stumps PULL BACK TO new trees growing
GV New clear cut area
LV PAN New trees growing in old clear cut
CU Lumberman speaking (SOUND)
GV Forest area
SV & LV Truck carrying logs away (2 shots)
Montage of uncut forest areas and woodman felling trees (10 shots)
CONSERVATIONIST: "A forester is just what the word connotates -- forest. And a forest is not just trees; it involves the total relationship of soil, water, air, space, wildlife and right on down to the smallest micro-organism in the forest. And you have to manage the forest so that all these things are sustained in perpetuity. Now what we've had in the national forests and, I think, what gave us this cut here is not a forester, but a wood merchant."
The lumber industry counters by saying clear cutting is a sound practice which provides clear space for new trees to grow.
They also argue that many thousands of jobs are dependent on the American lumber industry.
LUMBERMAN: "It is unsightly for a year or two years but so is the scar when they took your appendix out. I imagine it left a scar, but it healed up and it was necessary. This, we feel, is a necessary scar and it will heal up. Trees if they are managed properly can be harvested again in eighty years, but within fifteen years it looks beautiful again. This is really a short time when you talk about something as far as nature is concerned."
Initials BB/1300 DF/PW/BB/1400
This film carries a commentary by National Broadcasting Company reporter Don Oliver. A transcript with a new introduction appears over-page.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Bittercot National Forest in Montana is the centre of a controversy between conservationists and lumbermen over the practice of felling areas of the forest.
Known as clear-cutting, this involves felling all the trees in a certain area for lumber.
The conservationists claim the lumbermen are taking too much timber, leaving ugly scars in scenic areas and upsetting the ecology of the forest.
The unspoiled quiet of the Bittercot National Forest in Montana belies a fierce argument over logging operations in other pats of the forest. Conservationists are lined up against the lumber industry over the practice of clearing all trees from sections of the forest. An on-the-spot report:
"This is called clear-cutting, the practice of cutting down all the trees in one area of a forest and selling them for lumber. This has been going on of a long time. But recently conservation groups have begun to cry out against clear cutting and other logging practices. They say lumbermen are cutting too much timber, cutting it too fast, leaving jagged scars on the landscape, destroying areas of great scenic beauty. They complain about logging roads, that they are unsightly and damage mountain plant life. The conservationists blame the roads and the clear cuts for soil erosion, polluting mountain streams, contributing to flooding. In some clear cut areas, they claim, the trees will never grow back. The conservationists want many more areas of national forest set aside as wilderness areas where no trees can cut. In places where logging is allowed, they say it should be done selectively, that there should be little or no clear cutting and that fewer trees should be taken."
"The lumber industry, the loggers who make their living in these woods, say the conservationists are wrong, that they are exaggerating. The lumbermen deny they are over cutting. They say the forests can take it and besides, they have to meet the lumber needs of the American public. They complain that all this talk about ruining the forest has caused the government to reduce the amount of timber they can cut. That, they say, is forcing the price up. They are worried that thousands of jobs in the timber industry may be lost. The loggers defend clear cutting as a sound forest practice which assures open space and sunlight for new tees to grow in. They complain that pictures taken of clear cuts always look like this one and not like this older clear cut. Here a lush stand of timber is beginning to grow back. The lumbermen say 98 per cent of the clear cuts will grow back naturally."
"The U.S. Forest Service controls these lands. It decides how much timber will be cut and how it will be cut. Loggers say the Forest Service has begun to cave in to outrageous demands of the conservationists. The conservationists say no. They say the Forest Service is still a tool of the timber industry. Studies have been made of the conflict; legislation is pending which would force a moratorium on clear cutting for two years. It is a sensitive political issue."