Saturday, August 22, 2015

The disappearing wood in New Hampshire (6WS)

Not what you might think, however.

One of the most appalling things I can think of to happen to a tree (I think some part of me is part Druid...) is the way they harvest them today, and demolish trees into wood chips, from whole trees to finished product in a very short time.  The trees are sucked out of the ground by huge huge machines,  roots and all, and chipped into, er, chips.  This is where your pellet stoves come in.

We have two power companies in NH, one is the one we use, New Hampshire Electric Coop. Nice folks. really into recycling, reducing costs, waste, and such.  The other company is Public Service. They announced last fall or last winter that they were converting their coal fired plants to wood pellets, in an effort to conserve our non renewable resources.  Sounds pretty good doesn't it.

All them trees, yessah. Chip, chip, chip.

Now.  People have been told for years that burning wood is almost a mortal sin, as it adds pollutants to the air. (apparently oil and gas don't, isn't that good to know) and we could be shut down at anytime by the EPA, there is even a LAW against owning or using a non-approved woodstove.  And along comes Public Service to do the very thing we are told we shouldn't be doing and isn't it SWELL?

The drawback to this dance is that most of the loggers are now heading to PSNH with their truck loads, since apparently the money is much better and no one has to spend their days bucking this stuff up,  splitting it, dealing with customers, trucks, splinters, mashed fingers, and weather.  So they take their logs to a wood chipping facility instead and then race back home for more.  It hurts the people who sell wood to home owners and it hurts the homeowners like us who depend totally on wood for fuel.  By the first of July we were scrambling to find enough individuals who have a  cord here and a cord there, to spare.

We have also been told (and it does almost make sense) that selling seasoned wood is cheaper than selling green, simply because it can be stockpiled  and sold year-round, and they can charge more for seasoned.  You takes what you can get, I guess.

But what bothers me is all the wood that will be cut down, now, "in the name of' Public Service of New Hampshire".  Once that's gone (and the amount of wood chips per hour that get used for this sort of thing is appalling) what will they use?  I don't quite know how the system works on a large scale, but I do know that anyone who uses wood chips or pellets in their pellet stove has to rely on electricity to run it.  And if PSNH is using electricity to run their giant Pellet Stove in the Sky, well...


  1. We have a chip mill near here. They chip the wood and put it on a southbound train for the paper mills. The main problem I have is they clear cut. When the loggers leave, all that is left is a bare hillside. The mill accepts very small logs and hollow logs, that means clear cut.

  2. damn shame, no matter how you slice it. I dont even like spot cutting, except where the trees get put back or are allowed to recover.
    It always hurts, at some level, to see.

  3. Why is it that there are people out there who think about nothing other than profit, and cost to the planet doesn't enter their head? I don't know much about it but surely there should be some replanting done. Trees do take a while to grow

  4. I think they are facing in the right direction, but not necessarily at the pace either you or I would like to see. And the loggers are making a tidy profit. And THEY surely dont care.
    I appreciate the effort they went to to convert from coal to wood, but it's also a royal screwing for those of us who did that years ago as private citizens. they get the praise, and it will be harder and harder over the next few years to get wood sellers willing to sell to us.

    And you must admit it does make them look 'green" and concerned. Until the wood runs out.

  5. Fortunately for us in the Upper Northern part of California there is lots of wood to be had- who wants a pellet stove when the power goes out?

  6. lol yes. when the power goes out your fan stops and the last thing you need is a pellet stove running amok...but at the rate just one generator burns pellets, that could eat a sizable hunk in the greenery very fast.

    And losing our power is one reason we have the old fashioned stick-inna-stove type.

  7. I think we have to move away from dirty fuels like wood and oil etc. The jobs lost will likely be replaced by companies promoting green fuels.

    I was working at a place the other day. It was a new home and when I first saw it, there was a beautiful forest out back. The other day I went there, and it was gone. Just machines sitting where the forest used to be.

    Sometimes I think we are a cancer on this planet.

  8. Wood is cleaner than fossil fuels, and its pretty strictly regulated in plants like that. Its also a renewable resource if it's handled properly.

    What hurts my heart is to see the clear cuts, the trees being sucked out of the ground, roots and all. And those hideous stands of trees, acres and acres, not a leaf on the ground, all 'managed' for the next generation to harvest. brrr.

    We do seem to do a huge amount of damage, way out of proportion to ourselves, don't we. Its always been that way, we just didnt have the machines we have now so it took longer.