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John Gordon Oral History Interview, November 2, 2016

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Samuel Schmieding: Hello, this is Dr. Samuel Schmieding, Oregon State University College of Forestry. I am here in Portland, Oregon with Dr. John Gordon, Pinchot Professor Emeritus, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. We are here in the Benson Towers, which is the condominium complex building where he lives. With your wife, too?

John Gordon: Oh, yes.

SS: With your wife. And we are downstairs in the conference room.

JG: Yeah.

SS: We are going to do an oral history interview today centered on the Northwest Forest Plan, but also, we are going to cover other subjects, which include John's biography and various aspects of his career and professional development. But, it's going to be focusing on the Northwest Forest Plan. So, John, I want to thank you for being here with me today, and being willing to take your time and share your memories and experience of this important forestry and environmental natural resource planning event, shall we say, in American history. So, thank 00:01:00you, John.

JG: Well, thank you for coming. I am flattered to be interviewed. And within the limits of my memory, I'll tell you everything I can.

SS: That's why I brought all these props [books, maps, etc.], John.

JG: Yeah, okay.

SS: They help people because this was a long time ago for everybody, and it was a complex, long, drawn-out process, and it involved many different facets and dynamics. So, now for the basic questions and biographical information. Let's go over that. Where were you born and raised, John?

JG: Well, I was born in Napa, Idaho, but shortly after I was born, my parents, who were both from Iowa [Oskaloosa], moved back to Iowa. They were in the flower and nursery business, and they bought a little business in a town called Marion, Iowa, in north-central Iowa. Well, as they say, we got our summers from the Gulf 00:02:00of Mexico and our winters from Canada, so the weather wasn't one of the pleasing aspects of the place, but I grew up there in a little Disneyesque, 3,000-person town.

SS: What was your childhood like in relation to the natural world, being in the Great Plains and the rolling hills of Iowa?

JG: Well, my father was an inveterate outdoorsman, hunting and fishing, so I remember doing both of those as among my earliest memories. And in the flower and nursery business, with the greenhouse and various nursery stock in back of the place, I was around plants and growing things all my youth. And so, I think the main reason I went into forestry was the usual kind of naïve notion that 00:03:00you'd get to live in the woods and hunt and fish, and probably get a government cabin to boot.

SS: You thought you'd be Jeremiah Johnson or something like that.

JG: Something like that, and my father had a good friend in college, who went for a while to a little Quaker college in Oskaloosa, Iowa, to do sports. But his friend transferred to Iowa State and got a degree in forestry; this is in the '20s. He then went out to the Pacific Northwest. The friend, his name was Schmeltzer, and got to writing my father how terrific it was to be a forester in the Pacific Northwest. And so, I absorbed all that while I was growing up.

SS: And the Forest Service at that time was one of the more respected, even romanticized, government land management institutions. And the Pinchot legacy carried a lot of weight, well, it still does, but especially back then.

JG: Yeah, and I was urged to read all the stuff I could get my hands on about 00:04:00forests and the outdoors and Pinchot. And so, I guess it's no surprise that I then went to college at Iowa State and studied forestry.

SS: So, what forested areas in Iowa were there? The experimental forests that were used by the college?

JG: The college had a couple of small, a few hundred-acre patches of woods: One, near Boone, not very far from the college on the Des Moines River, and one in eastern Iowa near a town called Pumpkintown, I think, that was about 600 acres. Those were the only forests the school had. There are fairly extensive forested 00:05:00areas in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Iowa, and a little bit on the southwestern corner along the Missouri River. But it's certainly not a forested state. In fact, the story was that the professor who introduced forestry there, a guy named Bessey, thought that if you planted enough trees, it would make it rain. And Iowa didn't have quite enough rain to produce the most bountiful corn crop because they get a late summer drought. So, the idea was to plant lots of trees and make it rain and grow more corn, so that was kind of a link.

SS: Along with seeding the clouds, too. Right?

JG: Well, they didn't. That school started, I think, as part of the horticulture department, in 1904. So, you know, the airplane was one year old.

SS: Okay, well, I was thinking of the '20s and after, actually.


JG: So anyhow, that's how it was.

SS: What experiences did you have as a youth that helped create an interest in environmental issues, science and forestry? I mean, you talked about your father and hunting and fishing, but any particular events or trips, even outside of Iowa, maybe up to Minnesota or somewhere else?

JG: Yeah, indeed, we used to go to Minnesota fishing every summer after the war. My father was in the army in World War II. And I got to love lakes, and indeed, as late as the time I was a freshman in college, I was taking a general biology course, and when we got to marine biology, I just lost it. I thought, this is it, I'm going to be a marine biologist. So, I went to see the professor and poured out my heart about wanting to be a marine biologist. And he said, "Son, do you know where you are?" (Laughs)

SS: Point well taken, right?


JG: Yeah, not too many inter-tidal organisms in Iowa. So, I stayed with forestry. But definitely, the excursions to Minnesota, lots of tree planting, lots of hikes, lots of hunting in the small patches of woods around my home town. And indeed, one kind of odd one. I spent the summer while I was in high school, spraying roadside ditches for the county with the brush-killer 2, 4, 5-T [active ingredient in herbicides, including Agent Orange], and got to wondering whether all that was a really red-hot idea.

SS: In terms of to you personally, or to the watershed, or -- ?

JG: Controlling vegetation that rigorously.

SS: I mean, were you thinking of the toxicity to the environment?

JG: Actually, I wasn't thinking as much about the toxicity to the environment. 00:08:00There wasn't much [active ingredient] in those sorts of herbicides.

SS: Okay. JG: But about reduction in biological diversity, the idea that I remembered in southern Iowa where my grandparents lived. When I was at my mother's parents as a little kid, you'd go out in roadside ditches and it would be full of wonderful things, everything from things to eat like asparagus gone wild, to lots of different plants, wild roses for example. And with the roadside spraying, you killed obnoxious weeds, but you killed a lot of other stuff, too. That worried me.

SS: So, you had an early lesson that made you ask questions about what is a good idea and maybe what isn't a good idea, regarding natural resource management and controlling nature?

JG: Yeah, and seeing the inception of really-intensive agriculture which came 00:09:00along there. It went from the diversified farm where people could make a living on eighty acres up through the '40s. By the end of the '50s, you had to have 1,000 [acres], and it was corn and beans [monoculture].

SS: Because it was a monoculture.

JG: I kind of wondered if that was a good idea, and that maybe people were kind of a pesky species. I had sort of early environmental leanings in that way. I've of course, come off that long since, but it was a factor. And the fact that with that intensive agriculture, came things like fall plowing, so that when the wind blew, as it always did there all the time, the air was full of soil, and the 00:10:00soil drifted in the ditches. You started seeing the clay come through on the little knobs in the fields. And it didn't seem like it was a very good set of practices to me.

SS: So, you were seeing at least in the dust area, that your little example of the "Dust Bowl," just fifteen to twenty years before. Right?

JG: Yeah, my father and his father were very eloquent about that. I remember getting many lectures on the extermination of the passenger pigeon and what an awful thing that was. And just in general, the idea that we ought to be treating the environment a little more carefully than we were.

SS: So I take it that they were positive in terms of New Deal programs that were the first major soil conservation programs in that part of the world, and the Dust Bowl was a direct antecedent of that. So, they were actually positive regarding government programs, per se, or at least those?


JG: Yeah, my father's father, my grandfather Gordon, started out as a pioneer in the telephone business, and then moved to California while my father was still in high school. But they came back-and-forth to Iowa, and I would talk to him a lot. And his opinion was that the Roosevelt and the New Deal saved the country from revolution, that there would have been revolution. He was convinced, and he was a Republican of that era.

SS: Which was a different kind than we see today.

JG: Oh, much different. I heard Paul Tsongas say once that he had a disadvantaged childhood, and everybody reacted funny, because they knew he was born with a traditional silver spoon. And he said, "Yeah, my parents were Republicans." My parents were Republicans, but they were quite a different 00:12:00breed. My mother, as was my father's mother, pretty convinced pacifists. They believed in government out of your life. They wouldn't have dreamed of, you know, the government making rules about sex. They wouldn't have dreamed of having, well, my father owned guns all his life, and I have all my life. But this business of everybody carrying a loaded weapon around and submachine gun-type of things, they would have been aghast. I mean, they wouldn't have understood it, for sure.

SS: Anyway, when you were up in Minnesota, did you ever see examples of the 00:13:00cut-and-run logging that was really one of the great precedents for, shall we say, the foundation of forestry and conservation, when we had the railroad logging up there in the upper Midwest. Did you ever see the evidence of that and did that ever make an impression on you?

JG: You know, I can't recall as a child or even as a teenager, ever seeing that. I heard stories about the fires and the overcutting. But the main image I took away from Minnesota that I think made a lasting impression in relation to forestry and forests, was seeing the old-growth red pine up in the Itasca State Park at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, these beautiful big-old, red pines. I liked those, and I thought that was a good thing to have. But, later 00:14:00on, way later on, I worked for the Forest Service in Wisconsin, and saw a lot of what we would now call pretty abusive logging, and pretty ugly clear-cuts. I am in favor of clear-cuts, if they're done right. But there's also a way to do them wrong, and I saw those.

SS: Also, scale and --?

JG: Yeah, and then, when I worked in the Pacific Northwest as a college student, I worked mostly in Washington on forest surveys. We did all the private land on the west side. It's what they now call FIA, Forest Inventory and Analysis. In those days, it was called "Forest Survey." So, we'd visit these plots scattered all over the map. And I saw a lot of old, and not so old clear-cuts that were 00:15:00pretty poorly done, down to the edge of the stream. And that made an impression, too.

SS: Let's go to your college days at Iowa State. You talked about how you had a brief flirtation with wanting to be a marine biologist, but you went into, was it a forestry track, and was that actually your degree?

JG: Forest management.

SS: Forest management.

JG: They had two bachelor's degrees in forestry, one in forest management, and one in forest products.

SS: Okay.

JG: I did forest management.

SS: Tell me about that experience, what you were taught in terms of planning and management paradigms at the time, maybe a key professor or two, and maybe like you said, the experiences you had in the Northwest, maybe doing an internship or whatever, that you did out in Washington?

JG: Summer job.

SS: Yeah, okay.

JG: Well, I think that I was really lucky. For the most part, I had excellent professors there. I think they're competitive with any I've seen since, and I've 00:16:00seen a lot since, of professors, that is. One in particular, a guy named George Thompson, taught forest measurements and conservation. And even though I had gotten good grades up to then, I never really understood anything about mathematics until I took that course. So, that opened a whole world to me. I guess I thought measuring trees was practical, useful, and good for something. He was demanding, but he also had sort of a literary turn-of-mind. So, he was a fascinating guy to listen to and he insisted that you write in a somewhat literate fashion, which in an agriculture and engineering college, was not always at the forefront. I had another professor, a guy named Fred Hopkins from 00:17:00New England, and he taught forest economics. I almost went to graduate school in economics because of him. But he taught me something, a very simple thing, that I have used again and again, and that is, his definition of forest policy was a standing answer to a recurring question. How good that it was in answering questions over time, was how you told how good a policy it was. Unfortunately, the guy who taught forest management, who shall be nameless, was clueless. So, I didn't learn anything about forest management in college as now the subject is construed. We would put a working circle on a map and say, okay, how do you get 00:18:00timber from here to there, and that was about the size of it, how do you know how much you have and how much you took away, and basic arithmetic. We had a summer camp the first year, mandatory. It was eight weeks in New Mexico up in the mountains.

SS: Where in the mountains?

JG: Right near, well, Apache Creek was the town, which was miniscule.

SS: It's in the Gila Mountains, isn't it?

JG: Yeah.

SS: Or the Mogollon Mountains?

JG: It's in the Mogollon Rim. [Mogollon Mtns. - NM/ Mogollon Rim in Az.]

SS: That's what I meant, yeah.

JG: Country that goes over into Arizona, west south-central New Mexico.

SS: Yeah, I meant to say that they call them.

JG: Reserve was the larger town [New Mexico in Mogollon Mtns.]

SS: Right, yeah.

JG: A few hundred people in those days.

SS: You're close to Escudilla Mountain, which is on the Arizona side.


JG: That's right.

SS: The White Mountains [Arizona - between Mogollon Rim and Mogollon Mtns./New Mexico] Yeah, I used to hang out there a lot.

JG: It's beautiful country.

SS: Yeah.

JG: And real high.

SS: It's also where Aldo Leopold worked, you know.

JG: Yeah, over in Arizona.

SS: Well, but in New Mexico, too. JG: Was he?

SS: In the wildernesses in New Mexico just south of there.

JG: Sure, that is right.

SS: So, that's where his famous story about the wolf with the eye. I can't remember the quote exactly, but you know the story. [Fierce green fire]

JG: Yeah, I do. I thought that took place in Arizona.

SS: Well, it was right on the border, I think, it was right in that area.

JG: But anyway, that made a big impression on me. In a lot of ways, that was the first culturally diverse place I'd ever been.

SS: Because of the Native Americans, and also the Hispanics?

JG: Several kinds of Native Americans, the Hispanic culture was the dominant one, and then there were what they called the Anglos, who were a few white ranchers, non-Hispanic ranchers.


SS: Right.

JG: And then, a company called Marine Fox had a saw mill at Apache Creek. And they had imported about fifteen black people to run the saw mill, and they lived there. So, you had this mix of black, Hispanic, white, Navajo, Apache, a couple branches of Apaches, all kind of mixed together.

SS: And for a kid from Iowa, that must have been an eye-opener?

JG: Yeah, the part of Iowa I grew up in was mostly Norwegian, as the majority of people in my home town were of Norwegian descent. And the joke was that a "mixed marriage" was when a Norwegian married a Swede.

SS: So, you probably really love Garrison Keillor's humor?


JG: Yeah, it's almost too accurate to put down. People laugh that I have a statue of the "Unknown Norwegian." I'll bet there is one somewhere in that territory.

SS: Powder milk biscuits. [Joke product on Prairie Home Companion].

JG: Yeah, there you go. So anyway, that summer camp was a great experience. And then working in the Pacific Northwest on the Forest Survey, was where I really started to- SS: And that was in Washington State. Right?

JG: That was, as I recall, it was all in Washington state. We might have spent a short amount of time around Portland, but otherwise, it was in King and Pierce counties, the county that Bremerton is in, and then, over on the Olympic Peninsula in Mason and Jefferson counties.

SS: The big topography and the big trees, I am sure, made a great impression on you?


JG: Oh yeah, and I decided then, the first summer I was out there, that I was going to live out my days in Seattle. I was taken with Seattle. And the first transformation, we went out there in early June and had worked there a couple weeks, and it rained constantly. You couldn't see anything. And we were up in the hills, the foothills around Mt. Rainier, and suddenly it cleared up and there was that huge mountain just right there, right in front of you. And that kind of did it. I've been a Northwest fan ever since.

SS: So, you have these summer experiences, you go through your program, you graduate with a degree in forest management. Right?

JG: Yeah, right.

SS: After you did that, what were your goals?

JG: Well, I had gone through ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps], but at that time, they didn't want anybody. They had just had the Berlin Crisis the year 00:23:00before I graduated, in '61, so they had vacuumed up the whole second lieutenants they thought they'd ever want. So, I had the option of doing another year and a summer in the Marine Corps, and getting a commission, and I had applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to Finland because I had a cousin in Finland married to a Finn, who wrote me about it and said it was just the place for a forester. And I got it [Fulbright]. So, I went to Finland and I was there in the forestry school at the University of Helsinki for a year-and-a-half. That was fascinating. I learned a lot about forestry there, and particularly, about forest policy.

SS: What did you learn that was different there from what was going on here, especially at that point in your career?

JG: Well, I was fortunate to work in a government research laboratory near 00:24:00Helsinki, so I got to work with new ways of measuring photosynthesis and respiration with equipment that I didn't even know existed before I got there, and worked closely with some really good forest scientists. So, that was good. The big lesson I got there was that forestry could actually be good for something. I had always kind of looked at forestry as something you do, not why do you do it, but something to do. There, they had a catechism that their main thing was to maintain national independence, that it had lost some to Russia, who whacked off parts of their country, but didn't occupy the whole country. But they had to pay heavy war reparations. So, to pay that, they had to export to get hard currency. What did they export? Forest products, seventy percent of 00:25:00their exports.

SS: Was it mostly softwood conifers?

JG: It was almost all softwood, up to a point. They connected efficient forestry directly to their national existence. I thought that was impressive. Another kind of lesson that I learned, was that they, to keep productivity of conifers up, they were getting rid of birch, which was mostly just a firewood up to that time, even the nice birch, which has wood about like the yellow birch, very nice, but they were poisoning it. Just about that time, everybody in Europe decided they wanted lightwood kitchen cabinets made out of, guess what? Birch veneer. So, the idea that you get rid of everything that isn't immediately useful, turned out to be a bad idea.


SS: So, they stopped that practice before it had been completed, right?

JG: Yes, they did.

SS: So, you were somewhere in the middle, like what would you say the percentage of elimination was? [Birch trees]

JG: I don't know. I don't have any idea.

SS: What did that teach you about biodiversity and the limitations, not just economically, but ecologically, of a straight utilitarian, economic, monoculture mentality? That must have made a big impression on you?

JG: Yeah, it did. And there, I still bridle in comparisons between, say, a conifer plantation here or in Finland, and a corn field, as monoculture.

SS: Oh, yeah.

JG: There's lots of species in there, even if you cultivated just a few.

SS: Well, when people use monoculture to describe forestry, they're just mainly talking about whatever the dominant tree is, not because there are lots of other 00:27:00plants in there.

JG: And they function over long times, even in a forty-year rotation, that's forty years longer than a corn rotation. So there is no equivalence. However, the idea that you want to look at a whole system in how it works, there were other benefits of the birch in suppressing certain soil-born diseases, and the old spruce functioning as a nurse crop for young spruce, and the trouble everywhere with spruce, was spring frost. If you had an over-story of hardwood, it helps with that. They eventually discovered the white-backed woodpecker, which only nests in rotten, old birches.

SS: Their "spotted owl," so to speak.

JG: Their spotted owl, yeah. I went over there to talk about the Northwest Forest Plan at the invitation of the Finnish Academy of Sciences, years ago. And 00:28:00that had just come on the scene. So, this idea, that well, I don't know how to put it, where I finally came down and where I still am, is that forest variety is important. It's just as important as biological variety. And you ought to have a lot of different kinds of ways of going about it. But many of them should include a full deck. I also did the work for a master's degree, which I never got, because I would have had to buy another plane ticket and go back and march in a parade, given their European idiosyncrasies, so I didn't do it. One of my professors in Finland, a guy named Pete Semicola, is a forest microbiologist, and that was a whole new world to me. I got interested in nitrogen fixation, which some years later I picked up as kind of a main research theme, and started 00:29:00looking at the components of natural forests and planted forests that included biological nitrogen fixation.

SS: In other words, the biogeochemistry, the cycling of nutrients, and how they were related together?

JG: Right. And the taking of nitrogen from the air and putting it into the soil in a form available to plants, intrigued me. When I came to the Pacific Northwest and saw the war on red alder, I tried to talk people out of it.

SS: Because you saw that there were these other, less obvious, biological and ecological, purposing for these things?

JG: Yeah, there was kind of a natural rotation, actually on the west side, between red alder and Douglas-fir and other conifers.

SS: The red alders usually come in first, correct?


JG: Yeah.

SS: Especially if they're on a riparian path?

JG: Or if they get an expanse of mineral soil and a good seed catch. So, yeah, that was kind of a major direction for me. SS: So, you came back from Finland, you didn't get your masters. What did you do next?

JG: Well, the first thing I did; it was 1963, January of 1963, and I went to see my draft board because I had to have a deferment to go out of the country to take the Fulbright. And I wanted to go, I'd been admitted to Iowa State and to UC-Berkeley for a doctorate, and I wanted to go to one of them, but I didn't want to get drafted the day after I went there.

SS: Because this was right before 'Nam?

JG: Yeah, but there was nothing like that on the horizon.


SS: Right, right.

JG: You know, no citizen-level concern about a war. The Berlin Crisis had died down.

SS: We had a few advisors over there [Vietnam], but yeah.

JG: Yeah, I don't know how many, and I guess I knew that.

SS: It wasn't on the radar of most people, the media or anybody.

JG: So, I went to see the draft board and said, "If you're going to take me, take me now." And they basically said, "Well, how old are you?" I think they knew, and I said, "I'm 23." They said, "Well, we send you old guys to the Army and you just cause trouble." And so, they were clearly looking for a reason not to. I don't know if it was unusual or not, to tell you the truth, but in rural Iowa, a lot of the young men were eager to get drafted. One guy wrote home and said, "They let you stay in bed till five in the morning. You can't believe it!"


SS: It's all about context, isn't it? The rooster crows before reveille, right?

JG: So, anyhow, I didn't go. I went back to Iowa State, but I also had a chance theoretically to go to Harvard, and they actually told me I'd get a $1,700 scholarship. I thought, "Gee, that's great," until I looked up the tuition and realized I'd have to get another $1,700 from somewhere, just to go to school, so I didn't do that. So, I went back to Iowa State and I got a doctorate in plant physiology and silviculture; a minor in biochemistry.

SS: So, how would you describe this whole process from your undergraduate where 00:33:00you got a forest management degree, which you obviously weren't all that excited about aspects of it, you went over to Finland which was a great experience, but you didn't get your masters, and then you got your doctorate. How did these things all fit together to turn out the person you were entering the professional life?

JG: Well, I think it really started when I was an undergraduate. I was both a teaching and a research assistant. I liked both of them, but I really liked the research. So, I think from that time forward, I was sort on a track to become a forestry researcher rather than a manager, and that's how it wound up. After I got my doctorate, I went to work for the Forest Service in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and I spent about five years there in a project called "Pioneering Project in Physiology of Wood Formation." That was very rewarding. I learned a lot. My boss was a guy named Phil Larson, who was one of the scientists. In 00:34:00those days, the Forest Service would pick a scientist and let them be as good as they could at their scientific job, and they didn't have to take on more personnel responsibilities to get promoted. And there were four or five of them, all pioneering scientists, and he was one of them.

SS: Did you work out of Madison, their famous laboratory there?

JG: No, I worked in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

SS: You weren't connected with Madison at all? That's what I meant to say.

JG: No, no, not at all, actually. We were part of, when I started out, the Lakes States Region and the Lakes States Forest Experiment Station. Then it became the Amalgamated Two Region, and later it became the North Central Forest Experiment Station. But I also worked a lot with people from Madison from the Forest Products Lab, and with people from the University of Wisconsin.

SS: So, you were actually at an experiment station, then?


JG: Yes.

SS: How would you describe your time there, and how long did that last?

JG: It lasted just under five years, from '66 to '70. And it was a great time in that you didn't have to do anything but research, and didn't teach. So, it was an intense learning time, and I was able to put out some publications and get some notice. Probably would have stayed in the Forest Service the rest of my life, probably in the research branch, except suddenly, they came and said, "You've won the lottery, we're going to make you a project leader." I was very young for a project leader. It promoted me to a GS-13, and then they said, "You 00:36:00can have your own big project." The project was in Stoneville, Mississippi. I had a four-year-old son, there were no functioning public schools there we could find out about, so I started looking for another job, and wound up going back to Iowa State on the faculty of forestry.

SS: And what did you teach when you were there?

JG: Just about everything. Let's see, my main job was to teach silvics and silviculture, but I also taught forest influences, which is what they called watershed management in those days, in Satterlund's [Donald] book. And I taught graduate courses in those things. Let's see, what else did I teach? I taught wood chemistry for quite a while, and freshman forestry. I taught for a little 00:37:00while, forest protection, which is what they called fire studies in those days, with a little bit on disease and insects and all that.

SS: Now, you're at Iowa State in the '70s. Basically, all the laws that would change everything, were either already passed, were being passed and implemented, and the landscape, culturally, politically, legally, was changing in paradigmatic, major fashion. Were you aware of that, or was it kind of like, you were in academia, and this was happening out here?

JG: No, no, on the teaching side of things, it was a revolution.

SS: Okay.

JG: And it really changed things a lot.

SS: And how would you describe your evolution from, let's say, the traditional 00:38:00silviculture forestry that you were taught when you were in college? You obviously learned some new things in Finland. But how did that change you, from what you originally had to do, and what you became as you evolved during that period in the '70s?

JG: Well, a lot of the discussion in forestry circles was around those issues, the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, all the legislation of the time.

SS: Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, etc., etc., Wilderness Act, yeah.

JG: And the Clean Water Act changed the structure of the forest products industry. In Wisconsin, I think, it had 300 paper mills before the Clean Water Act, and about thirty afterwards. Those are very rough figures, but it was a transformational thing. So, the whole idea of forestry being about more than 00:39:00moving wood, growing it, moving it, which is fine, but that era and the debate about those rules, when I was an undergraduate, and the Wilderness Act was a big thing. Why should we have wilderness, what does it cost?

SS: The battle went on from '56 to '64 [Over Wilderness Act, in U.S. Congress]. It took them eight years to get it debated, passed and signed.

JG: Yeah, and that absolutely bracketed when I was an undergrad.

SS: That's why I brought it up, because it was a long process.

JG: And lots of talk about it, so I would say that during that whole era, I was changing with the times to take a more comprehensive view of forests and forestry, and learned more and more about their components. That was the same time I got this deep interest in nitrogen fixation and other microbiological 00:40:00processes that go on in the forests, and was particularly interested in how nitrogen fixes in trees and its role in ecosystems, nitrogen fixing in shrubs and all this, so that when I got to the Pacific Northwest, it was kind of like having this whole new laboratory just shoved under your nose.

SS: You went to Oregon State after Iowa State. Correct?

JG: Yeah.

SS: So you were at Iowa State for how many years?

JG: About seven.

SS: So, that was till '78?

JG: '77.

SS: Seven, okay, and then you came out to Oregon State?

JG: To Oregon State early in '77, late '76, I don't actually remember. Anyway, I was there until '83, when I went to Yale.

SS: So, did your own evolution just kind of continue out in Oregon, the same thing that had been going on at Iowa State, or did it accelerate because you 00:41:00were in a new environment, especially culturally, out here in the Pacific Northwest?

JG: Well, I think it accelerated, because by that time, the old growth was an issue. We had a Society of American Foresters task force on old growth about that time, '83-'84. And the argument was, is there a better place for you to be or --?

SS: Just a second here. (Audio skips.) Alright, so continuing, you were at Oregon State, and we were talking about how things kind of accelerated when you got out here, and you were talking about the old growth, a conference on old growth.

JG: Yeah, we did censuses on old growth for the Society of American Foresters. The usual suspects were already there, Jack Ward Thomas, Jerry Franklin.

SS: Norm Johnson?


JG: I don't think Norm was, I can't remember. But he's in about everything, so I would guess, yes. And then, there was also at that time, the controversy about the use of herbicides. Being there at the [OSU] college of forestry, Carl Stoltenburg, when he hired me actually said, "Well, I want you to talk about this to people," knowing I had some chemistry background. So, I did. I'd go around and talk to different groups. And I guess in the first year, I kind of cynically figured out that everybody in rural Oregon was either a dope-crazed hippie or a chainsaw-wielding redneck, which is kind of a harsh, inaccurate way to look at things.

SS: A simplistic dualism, but I understand the point. (Laughs)


JG: But it was really an eye-opener. So, gosh, it was, it was a full life, and there were always controversies, always things to get, to make you think. the school of forestry [OSU] had a full spectrum of views about forests, including not cutting them, and cutting them.

SS: So, you had basically your own culture war going on in the department?

JG: Yeah, pretty much. And it was, to some degree, healthy. I mean, if people talked about things that was good. At the same time, what we now take for 00:44:00granted as kind of a simple-minded kind of forestry, the industrial forestry model, sometimes called short rotations, intensive-culture, it was just being invented. And a lot of it was invented right there, from getting nursery stock that would actually grow when you planted it, to controlling the vegetation, to the silvicultural treatment of dense young stands. Now, we take all that for granted. We didn't really know how to do it then, it just was coming along.

SS: How innovative did you consider Oregon State University to be, not just then, but in the context of your whole career, having taught at some of the leading institutions in forestry?

JG: Well, a guy I respected greatly, who was the director for a while at the Pacific Northwest Station of the Forest Service, Bob Tarrant, liked to say that Corvallis had the greatest concentration of forestry research and forestry 00:45:00researchers in the world. He said nobody ever contradicted him. But I suspect he was right. And one of the things that I think the college of forestry, particularly, doesn't get enough credit for, is that they really, to a large first approximation, not exclusively, but largely inoculated that campus with ecology and the ideas of sustainability.

SS: Meaning, in other words, something that, shall we say, cross-pollinated across colleges and departments into the other earth and science departments there across OSU?

JG: I think so, yeah. It was a really exciting time to be there. And despite the fact there were some fairly sharp personal disagreements from my perspective, at 00:46:00least, I seemed to be able to get along with everybody. So, it was a fun time.

SS: What do you remember about the "Forest Wars," which were actually called that a little later in the '80s? And do you remember the beginning of how that was going, and where clearcutting started having environmental groups, and I don't know if the litigation had quite started yet, but they were definitely protesting? And you had the "Old Guard" [traditional forestry] digging its heels in the Forest Service and in industry.

JG: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

SS: What do you remember about that?

JG: A lot. I mean, it's hard to know where to start.

SS: Any anecdotes or stories, particular stories or anecdotes?

JG: Well, I'll tell you an anecdote. It has names in it, so I don't know what happens, as a result, but it's true. One of the letters I had on my desk when I 00:47:00got to Oregon State from Iowa was from Bill Hagenstein, who is a legend in Northwest forestry, with the Western Forestry and Conservation Association for years, just a big presence, even then. He just died recently. He's always been highly-regarded. So, I had a letter from him demanding that I fire Jerry Franklin and Dean DeBell because they had written an article saying that sometimes Douglas-fir grew in the shade. And that was, it's pretty close to accurate, I don't remember the exact words. I was able to write back and say, "Well, I might think about doing that, except neither one of them works for me. Jerry Franklin works for the Forest Service and Dean DeBell works for Crown Zellerbach. And in fact, maybe you could tell me why I have Douglas-fir growing 00:48:00under oak in my back yard." And I lived out in the west hills there [in Corvallis].

SS: So, it's kind of like?

JG: Sounds smart-alecky, yeah. But I got along with him after that. And I think he just wanted to see, test a tenderfoot a little bit, and see.

SS: Well, Jerry Franklin, he was an independent guy and he made his "bones," and as he developed what became "New Forestry," he ruffled a lot of intellectual, institutional and personal feathers along the way. Would that be correct to assume that?

JG: Oh, sure, yeah. That's true. That was one of the big controversies; could you grow Douglas-fir without clearcutting it? I think the answer is yes, but not 00:49:00very well. So, you give up something, if you don't give it light.

SS: How would you characterize the dynamic of industrial forestry clearcutting on federal lands, also private lands in the interfaces, BLM lands and all that, so not just on federal lands, at that particular time? What do you remember? Was it sustainable in your eyes at that time, what you saw that was going on?

JG: Well, not all of it, certainly, not all of it. I remember that we had particular regeneration problems in southern Oregon at that time.

SS: Because of the dryness, right?

JG: It's dry and it's hot, and there are all kinds of problems. You get a lot of ravel, just gravity moving stuff down the slope, and it covers up the little trees and the elk eating them. And there are a lot of problems, but they were 00:50:00exacerbated by some of the practices. One was using high-ground pressure equipment, mostly tractor vehicles, big caterpillars on steeper land. [Practice causes soil compaction]

SS: And over-aggressive yarding?

JG: Packing of soils, and I remember in particular, looking over some land that had been owned by the Robert Dollar Lumber Company, where it had been CAT-logged and really messed up. Now, it's hard to keep trees from going in a climate like western Oregon, so we'll get some but-

SS: But it will just be a much slower regeneration process?

JG: Yeah, and this outfit hadn't even bothered to plant any trees, but this was in the first days of the Oregon Forest Practices Act [Enacted in 1971, and required reforestation], which was a great thing. Now, it's kind of popular to grouse about it, and surely, like everything else, it can be improved.


SS: Are you talking about the aspect of it that mandated you replant within whatever the period of time was? JG: And that you leave some shade on the streams, which a lot of people didn't in those days.

SS: Which changes the fisheries and the water quality. [Also temperature]

JG: So, it was a time that the industrial forestry model, I think I mentioned, was just being really invented in a way that could work. And one of the controversial things I guess I mentioned, and still is, the use of herbicides and other pesticides on insects. If you look at a comparison, we started a cooperative to study different means of competition control. [Control of 00:52:00competing vegetation] And from every aspect, except that which says any artificial chemicals in the environment are bad, herbicides looked real good as a way of competition control, compared with mechanical control where you put people in there with chainsaws or hand-slashers.

SS: Wasn't one of the people in Corvallis who was doing work on that, Logan Norris?

JG: Logan Norris, Jack Walstad, yeah. There were quite a few.

SS: When you came out of Corvallis in 1983, and went back to Yale, what would you say you learned in that period of time that you then took back East in terms of your own development, intellectually and in terms of how you saw the whole 00:53:00gamut of forest planning, forest management, etc.?

JG: Well, I guess, I took two main things. One is, I had continued my research direction in nitrogen fixation, and I took that to Yale and did some work on it there. The other one was just in how you manage academic people and units. And I think I learned a lot about that at Oregon State. I learned from Carl Stoltenberg. I learned from the other people there in jobs like that; John Beuter, George Brown. [Stoltenberg and Brown were OSU COF deans] And I was really fascinated by what many people think of as an oxymoron, academic management. So, I got to apply those at Yale, because at Yale, unlike Oregon 00:54:00State, which is a very hierarchical, almost paramilitary kind of institution, Yale was Yale College, and had so-called graduate professional schools. And the graduate professional schools just kind of let you out in the pasture, and told, you've got to pay your bills, you must meet your academic standards for students and faculty, and so, go to it. So, it was kind of like running a little business, a little $15 million-a-year business. And I got to use more of the things that I thought I had learned at Oregon State and Iowa State.


SS: Was that in terms of developing the curriculum there?

JG: Yeah. By that time, I was an enemy of curriculum [strict], as a concept.

SS: Okay, define what you mean by that? You mean, in terms of curriculum being locked in?

JG: Yeah, I'd say, "Okay, Fred, you need two of these and four of those, and one of these." You know, the argument is, well, if you don't have a curriculum, then students will just take anything. Well, my answer has been, don't teach anything. If you don't want them to take basket-weaving, don't teach basket-weaving. Teach stuff that's good for 'em, and then, how can they take stuff that's bad for 'em? And the undergraduate professional school, you know, we had to be sensitive, they really have to know some things by the time they get out of there.

SS: Right, something they can use.

JG: Yeah, and so you have to make sure that they take that. But rigid curriculum is not the only way to do that. You can give choices, you could say, you can 00:56:00have two of those and three of those, or one of those and four of these. And that's a form of curriculum, but it's-

SS: You just loosen the strictures up a little bit, is what you're saying?

JG: Yeah, and I think a lot of the learning that goes on in graduate school particularly, is from the other students, so you need diversity, you need a variety of kinds of people to maximize learning, and you get those kinds of people by letting them, to a very large degree, construct their own future and their own curriculum. I think it works. But I got to try it out anyway. At the same time, we were able to grow and change. We added a thing called the Tropical 00:57:00Resources Institute, to give our students a chance to go other places and do other kinds of forestry and environmental things, and to bring in people from other countries to make that mix work.

SS: And Yale's reach, and also, the endowments, made it possible to do some more assertive international work, correct?

JG: In the beginning, it was almost all grants.

SS: Okay.

JG: Particularly, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and several others, who provided the venture capital. But I learned that, I think, at Oregon State, where there wasn't any venture capital. All you had was appropriations and tuition. And the appropriations even then, were on the way out.

SS: Yeah, we were at the point where the public institution funding calculus was already in a downward slide. Right?

JG: Yeah. But at Yale, it was easier to raise money, just because of the name 00:58:00and reputation, and because it was private. It didn't have any legislative source. If you go out to raise money for a public institution, and my hat's off to people who do it, because the first thing that a donor says is what did you do with the money the government gave you, how come you can't live on that? They couldn't say that at Yale.

SS: Can I go back and ask you a question about Oregon State, before we move on to the Northwest Forest Plan? We're getting close chronologically.

JG: Yeah.

SS: The one thing that impresses me about Oregon State is its close physical proximity, but also cross-institutional collaborative dynamic between the Forest Service, other federal institutions, and the college of forestry, but also like you said, with the spectrum of earth science departments. What would you have to 00:59:00say about OSU in terms of that dynamic?

JG: Oh, it was excellent. It was a great source of strength. That was, you know, Tarrant's comment about the greatest concentration of forestry researchers.

SS: Right, right.

JG: He didn't mean just forestry; he meant forestry, wildlife, geology, geochemistry, that whole bag of tricks, statistics. And Oregon State was very open to that kind of boundary crossing with some exceptions, and at Yale, things tended to happen if there wasn't in those days, much structure, and so you could pretty well do whatever you wanted to do in that regard. We established joint 01:00:00programs with the business school, epidemiology and public health, development economics, the Connecticut Ag [Agricultural] Experiment Station; I don't know, there were a couple others, but we had a lot of joint programs.

SS: You're teaching and you're back at Yale now. How did you see professors and students growing in understandings of it, seeing differences between managing natural resources, forests and otherwise, and the various biomes in geographies of North America and the United States. I mean, there are vast differences between here in the Northwest and the Northeast, the Appalachians, in terms of private and public lands, those things. How did you like to see that taught in terms of people understanding that matrix?


JG: Well, as my friend, Clark Binkley, who was at Yale then, said, "Yale was in New Haven, but not of New England." So, we tried to have people, and they did, come from a variety of places and to work on lots of different places. So, there was no real parochial New England thing there, that, unlike in the old days here, when I got to the college of forestry, it wasn't just an Oregon forestry school, it was a westside Oregon forestry school.

SS: You mean, like wet forests?

JG: Like, wet forests, like the Cascade west.

SS: Right, and the Coast Range, right?


JG: Saltwater.

SS: Right, okay, I got you.

JG: And-

SS: And so, who was teaching the dry forest stuff here in the West?

JG: We had a professor of pine silviculture, a nice guy, I can't remember his name, but that was about it. We didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the east side.

SS: So, you'd probably be looking at University of Montana, Northern Arizona University, Idaho [University of].

JG: Idaho, particularly.

SS: Yeah, but would be the ones that were taking care of shall we say, east of the Cascade ridge type ecology, that biome, and then you were taking care of the wet, west side. I mean, that's fair to say?

JG: Right. And it's changed a lot. And it was changing at that time.

SS: Right.

JG: That was the heritage. One of my favorite student stories was, we had a good master's student in our Department of Forest Science, who said, "Well, I particularly want an industry job." This was in the timber depression about '81, 01:03:00and there were very few. So, we went out, I went out and beat the bushes as it were, and it turned out the Potlatch had a job over in Idaho. And I said, "Oh, you're in luck. Just go see them." So, he came back, and I said, "Did you take the job?" He said, "Well, they offered it to me, but I didn't take it." And I said, "What?" And he said, "Yeah, I wanted to work in the Pacific Northwest." So, this was in western Idaho, which didn't qualify as what was Northwest. [for him]

SS: You were originally from that area, weren't you? JG: Well, I was born there, but I didn't know anything about it.

SS: But you didn't spend any time there? But it's funny how you talk about regions and associations with what is the Pacific Northwest. A lot of people consider Idaho the Pacific Northwest, and then, other people, don't.


JG: Yeah, that's right. Well, this kid obviously didn't, so.

SS: Yeah. So, regionalisms and how we perceive things, it really does have an effect on politics, on economics, science, how we do things.

JG: Well, that's one of the things I learned at Oregon State, and it was pretty true with Yale, was that science and science ideas flow north and south a lot better than they flow east and west.

SS: Could you describe and clarify that?

JG: Well, we had, at Oregon State, we had in those days very close ties with not only Berkeley and the University of Washington forestry people, but also British Columbia, University of British Columbia. So, things, people and ideas, went up and down that corridor. And it was pretty similar on the East Coast, it just 01:05:00didn't cover quite that much distance linearly.

SS: Interesting, interesting. So, let me think about this. So, you're at Yale in the '80s and I'm going to ask you this because we're going to go into the Northwest Forest Plan dynamics shortly. You saw the beginnings of the "Forest Wars" [Debate over clearcutting federal lands] and that whole schism, and the whole thing changing. And the owl was, by the early '80s, it was known that the owl was an indicator species and it was going to be listed, but it hadn't been yet listed, and then it was during the '80s.

JG: Right.

SS: As you're watching this from Yale, what do you remember thinking about this, "Hum, I wonder what's going to happen out there," which preceded your involvement in the Gang of Four and the whole Northwest Forest Plan process? What got you involved in that whole deal? JG: Well, my involvement actually began with that SAF [Society of American Foresters] study that was launched by Jim Lyons, and which had most, the rest of us old-duffers in it. And then at 01:06:00Yale, of course, it was a hot topic, and we had all sorts of speakers on all sides when the questions came in.

SS: About the Endangered Species Act?

JG: Yeah, the Endangered Species Act, the specific old-growth controversies. A lot of people came and talked about how you do environmental activism; lawyers and other folks. And so, it was very much "on the boil" at Yale all during the '80s.

SS: And, you tie this into the-what was it, the snail darter at the Tellico Dam [Tennessee], the whooping crane [Nebraska], kind of the immediate predecessors, and you even have to go back to the Migratory Bird Act [1918] to see some of the ways it all got tied in, because I believe the spotted owl was actually in that treaty at one time, in the '30s?

JG: It could well have been.

SS: Yeah, I've been reading a little bit up on this lately and how all these 01:07:00things are interconnected long before Earth Day.

JG: Yeah.

SS: And the environmental age.

JG: Yeah, and a lot of that went on while I was at Iowa State.

SS: Right.

JG: For example, it was there and it was a presence. And we had one visiting lecturer, Rick Boyce, who was a biologist and butterfly guy, actually, but lived in the Northwest, and who was very interested in the spotted owl controversy and very much opposed to any kind of timber harvest, at least on public lands. But he gave a talk that I'll never forget. He said, "You wait and see, the spotted owl is going away, no matter what we do." And he was kind of mysterious about it, but he said, "They're not a sustainable species. They're a relic of, you know, glacial margin, or whatever, and they're gonna go." And I thought, "Uh, 01:08:00all this fuss." But I didn't know what he was talking about until we realized what the barred owl was up to, so he had a point. But there was nobody to listen to it at that time.

SS: Now, the barred owl is showing that Darwinian dynamics [natural selection] are often bigger than all of us together, right? (Laughs)

JG: Right. Yeah, and the whole, I'm very skeptical. I guess, I was solidified in this, probably instructed by Jack Ward Thomas, that species plus species preservation, is a loser ultimately. And I still think so. You've got to work on habitat in general, not crafting it for each mouse and each owl.

SS: I just think it is part of the reason that you had, number one, the real dynamic of creating indicator species, which is one way of measuring or seeing 01:09:00effects, and then tying a specific species to a legal paradigm which also goes to a cultural/political paradigm, and becomes a weapon. JG: Sure.

SS: And then it becomes a symbol.

JG: Yeah, and when the environmental activists would come to lecture to us at Yale, that's exactly what they instructed, here's how we do that. And that's fine. I mean, that's politics, but it's not biology, and it's not very good biology, I don't think. But, I guess, I was involved all through from, gosh, decades, on these questions, and on various panels and commissions and the alphabet soup that was supposed to construe about them.

SS: So, how do you remember old-growth forests? They called it "virgin forests," 01:10:00there's been a lot of different names for it, being taught or conceived within the professional community at the beginning of your career, and how did that evolve? I mean, obviously, you met Jerry Franklin, who's called the "guru" of old growth and all that stuff, but I mean, it's a lot more complex than that. But how do you remember the evolution of what you originally thought it was, were taught about what it was, and how you came to understand it?

JG: Well, as I mentioned, I thought from childhood, that big-old trees were really special, I wasn't exclusive to conifers like Jerry, but I liked big-old trees. But at the beginning of my career, the problem was how do you get rid of old growth, how do you get to a sustained-yield level where you have balanced age classes to produce wood continuously?

SS: An economic model.

JG: Yeah, an economic model. Actually, sort of an economic model, anyway.

SS: Well, it's a little of both.


JG: Anyway, it was the way you did forestry. And to do that, if you had a lot of old, slow-growing trees, you wanted to get rid of them, so you had young fast-growing trees. That was how you wound up with these huge harvests where you had an age imbalance. Where you had it according to that model, and where you had a lot of old trees and not very many young trees, you had to get rid of the old trees to make room for the young trees.

SS: To increase productivity?

JG: Increase productivity and to keep the forest healthy.

SS: Right.

JG: So, that was where I started out in forestry. And now, a lot of people in places say, well, you cut the young trees and you leave the old trees, which is the opposite. So, that's a big difference.

SS: When did you first start talking to the people that became the Gang of Four, 01:12:00and what was the lead-in to you becoming involved with the congressional hearings, and beginning of the planning [NWFP] process?

JG: It was really that SAF study. Have you ever seen that? It was called "Scheduling the Harvest of Old-Growth Timber."

SS: I'm not sure I've seen it.

JG: What we wound up with, and Jim Lyons was the SAF policy person, and he later became the congressional staffer who put together the Gang of Four. And so, that's the continuity for me.

SS: You knew Jerry Franklin, you knew Norm Johnson, you knew Jack [Ward Thomas], so you guys were already compadres, professionally at least?

JG: To some degree.

SS: But you knew each other?

JG: Yeah. And technically, Jerry, by his courtesy appointment, was in my department at Oregon State.

SS: Right, before he went up to UW [Washington], later on, right?

JG: Right.

SS: So, there's lawsuits, but the big one was the Seattle Audubon Society 01:13:00lawsuit which led to the listing [ESA-spotted owl], and then it led to the injunction. I just handed to John what's often called the "Gang of Four Report," which is not the title. Do you want to read it off?

JG: "Alternatives to Management of Late Successional Forests of the Pacific Northwest or Reported to the Agriculture Committee and the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, by the Scientific Panel on Late Successional Forest Ecosystems."

SS: Now, what do you remember about working on that document and the research behind it, and compiling this?

JG: Well, it was a pretty intense exercise. The thing I remember the most, and I think it was Jerry Franklin's idea, was that we got together staff from all federal forest units in sort of a geographically correct array in the Coliseum 01:14:00[Memorial] here in Portland, and had everybody do the analysis on their part, and with the elements we had determined that ought to be included in a new plan, late successional reserves, corridors, etc. And that was one of the most creative ideas I think I've ever heard about in forestry. And as I say, I think it was Jerry Franklin that came up with that.

SS: You mean, the kind of-

JG: Get the people all together in the same room.

SS: In other words, collaborative "encampment," if you will. Right?

JG: Yeah, and the geographic correctness, so that, if you're a Forest Service person with a BLM chunk next-door, you can just walk over to their table and say, "What do you have here? What, how do you do this?" And so, that was 01:15:00fascinating. That's my, other than the congressional testimony, is my most vivid memory. And also, if I remember, I think people showing up from industry associations, and indeed from federal land management agencies, administrators, trying to-

SS: Lobby?

JG: Lobby, if not disrupt, what was going on.

SS: So, in other words, the rules of the game that would happen two years later [FEMAT] in the "pink tower" [U.S. Bank Building] here in downtown came about in large part, because of what you're just talking about.

JG: I think so.

SS: I believe you had to wear, a fluorescent traffic vest and badges if you were, one of the "other" people? Correct?


JG: Yeah, and I think we told several high-ranking federal people, they couldn't come in. I remember that. And I know, there was one fellow, who was an industry association representative, and I don't remember his name, but he got really nasty and personal. People felt very strongly about that, and everybody assumed, and they were right, that the timber harvest would come down drastically on federal land if any of this became rule. So, people were stirred up about it.

SS: And of course, when this was going on, the injunction had already taken effect. So, essentially, new sales and harvests were shut off for the time being. Correct?


JG: Yeah, that was the whole reason for the exercise, as far as I can tell.

SS: To basically get something done quickly?

JG: To get something done quickly to get the injunction lifted.

SS: Which it didn't-

JG: Why more people didn't see that, I don't know.

SS: It's almost like they thought you were plotting some secret takeover of the federal lands. You were actually trying to free things up, so something could happen. Right?

JG: Yeah, that's right. And, you know, Tom Tuchman wrote a resume of the forest plan and from the regional ecosystem office point-of-view, and he points out quite correctly that it was done to get the injunction lifted, and the injunction got lifted. So there. But many people saw it and still see it, I think, as kind of a personal insult or thing that shouldn't have been done.

SS: You're talking about the fact that they did this, well, I'm not going to 01:18:00call "closed door," but they did this thing over there in this-how long did it last, was it thirty days, two weeks?

JG: The Gang of Four, I don't remember.

SS: I am talking about the first one at the Coliseum?

JG: Oh, just a few days.

SS: Oh, okay, because I know the pink tower was sixty, and then it was extended to ninety. Correct? Ninety days?

JG: Well, I wasn't involved in the Pink Tower.

SS: Oh, you weren't? Okay. JG: No, I was an "auslander" [German for outsider]. I think everybody had to be from Oregon or Washington to get into there.

SS: Okay, I got you.

JG: And no, I couldn't. I had a full-time job. I couldn't go sit [long period].

SS: What was your greatest contribution to this report, really the report that was the foundation for FEMAT, and the Northwest Forest Plan? The ideas and concepts were already there, they were going to be shaped-out into what's what, how much is this and how much is that; that still had to be determined. But the 01:19:00main ideas were put in place during this? Correct?

JG: Yeah, that's really the synthesis. I think I came up with the idea of a "matrix"[one zoning category in Northwest Forest Plan] approach, where you'd say, okay, you do these things, and then you get these things. And we wound with however many options. I think that structure persisted through the whole process until the forest plan was completed.

SS: Well, you had the Late Successional Old-Growth Reserves, you had the Riparian Reserves and the buffer zones, and you had the Matrix areas and the AMA's, [Adaptive Management Areas] and what am I missing? [Northwest Forest Plan Zoning Categories in caps] There's another one.

JG: Yeah, the AMA's were the part that never got done, and that's too bad.

SS: Well, they were put out there for many different reasons, but only a couple of them ever had much action on them [Applegate in Southern Oregon, Central 01:20:00Cascades near H.J. Andrews Forest], and they just kind of fizzled.

JG: Well, and they got, they were supposed to be places where you had more latitude in action than on the Matrix lands. They wound up being places for various reasons, mostly opposition from environmental groups, where you had less latitude in action. So, that was too bad, but it was a synthesis effort, as you say, the ideas were there and this was putting them together in different ways to see which mix made sense. And I think it did guide the final plan in many ways. As far as saying what I did and what others did, it's really hard, particularly at this distance in time, for me to pick it apart and say, well, I did this, because I don't really know.

SS: In general and conceptually, how did your presence affect the process, and what do you think the most important thing was in terms of your impact on this 01:21:00process? You talked about the Matrix already.

JG: I think that's probably it. I think I was perhaps the most friendly toward timber harvest on federal lands in this group, probably not too different than Jack Ward Thomas. So, I think I contributed that perspective. And then, when it came to the transmitting the thing to Congress, who if I remember, that's who we were talking to at this juncture.

SS: At that time, yeah.

JG: My statement was, okay, you pick one of these and you will probably do a lot 01:22:00better than we're doing now, but you've got to pick. We've done the science, now you do the politics. They didn't, and got mad about that.

SS: Who was that? Who got mad?

JG: Well, the one I remember is Norm Dicks, who was a congressman from Washington. But it was a general opinion, I remember they were saying, "Can't we have this timber and this certainty, about wildlife," even though they did not match? I said, "Well, there's no free lunch." I think it was a Congressman from 01:23:00Oregon, I can't remember his name, who said, "I don't see any lunch here at all," which I thought was a pretty smart comment.

SS: Les Au Coin, was he there then?

JG: It wasn't Au Coin. Was there a Smith there?

SS: Well, Gordon Smith was a senator.

JG: No, not Gordon Smith.

SS: He was a senator later.

JG: Yeah, I know him. A different one.

SS: I'd have to look back. [Denny Smith, R-Oregon, 5th Cong. Dist., 1983-90]

JG: Anyway, who knows at this stage?

SS: What do you remember about the congressional hearings?

JG: The thing I remember the most didn't come from the hearings per se, it was during the meeting that Clinton had here in Portland.

SS: Oh, the "Summit," yeah. [April 1993]

JG: So, I was going down the hall, and there was Charlie Bingham, the Executive Director of Weyerhaeuser, who was a friend of mine, and he said, "Well, you know, all we care about in this is that you just stay out of private land, and 01:24:00do whatever else you want." And I said, "Weren't you at the hearing when we presented the Gang of Four?" He said, "Yeah." And said, "Did you hear Jack Ward Thomas say that if Congress will legislate this on forest land, on federal land, he thinks the spotted owl will be delisted?" Charlie just looked like he'd been hit by lightning, and said, "No, he didn't say that." And I said, "Look in the record, if you guys had turned your congressman loose, this owl might be history now." You know, the owl controversy. He couldn't believe it. But that's true, and I know that's true because I sat next to Jack when he said it under oath.


SS: So, he meant that if this plan or these ideas were used, that it would lead to the delisting of the owl?

JG: That's right.

SS: Because it would save enough environment so you could no longer make the argument there wasn't sufficient habitat?

JG: The owl would not go extinct.

SS: Okay.

JG: I mean, Jack knew more about that than anybody after those "umpty-ump" [many or lots] exercises in modeling owl populations. The other thing I remember about the congressional charge was-when we were talking to Congressman Volkmer [Harold, D-Missouri], who was on the House Subcommittee on Forest and Fisheries, I think, for the Ag Committee.

SS: He was from the Midwest.

JG: Yeah, he's from Missouri.


SS: Right.

JG: So, we're almost walking out of the office, and he said, "And remember, don't let us get blindsided by no damn fish." That really what was interjected into the broad construction of the Gang of Four report, and when we picked up Gordie Reeves and Jim Sedell to work on the fish part.

SS: In other words, the Gang of Four became the "Gang of Four Plus Two." [Original Gang of Four - Jerry Franklin, Norm Johnson, Jack Ward Thomas, and John JG: Two added, Jim Sedell and Gordie Reeves.]

JG: Yeah, it was really should have been Gang of Six, and then probably Gang of a Thousand after everybody got done working on it.

SS: That makes perfect sense that if you think about it, the terrestrial and the aquatic are together, and you're in the Northwest, where fisheries are kind of a big deal.

JG: It always struck me as interesting that it was a guy from Missouri who pointed that out to us.

SS: Sometimes, it takes somebody "outside the pond" just to see what's going on. 01:27:00Now, I was told by Gordie and others, that when he was back there, Gordie testified along with, was it Jim? [Sedell] JG: I think so.

SS: And that there were some rather unhappy folks in the Forest Service that this new major element had been interjected into this process midstream?

JG: Oh, yeah. A lot of people wanted it just to be about timber, one way or the other, even some on the environmental side.

SS: Right.

JG: But, yeah.

SS: What do you think that did to the whole process scientifically, but also politically?

JG: Well, for one thing, it was a political process. From beginning to end, or beginning to now, it's politics. And I think that's inevitable, you know. This 01:28:00idea that scientists can say what's right and it's everybody else's duty to do it, shouldn't really be the case in a democracy, it seems to me. People say the scientific results were politicized. It's inevitable, I think.

SS: Well, when people are involved, politics are involved. And it doesn't matter, as there is no pure process that's free of politics, even if it's not in the mainstream political arena, per se.

JG: No.

SS: The other people on the Gang of Four, just a little bit about your experiences and interactions with them professionally over the years, specifically on the Forest Plan, and starting with Jack Ward Thomas. Just tell 01:29:00me a little about Jack and what you knew of him, and his influence in science and policy?

JG: I knew him first when he was a researcher in eastern Oregon working on elk, as I recall. And he'd been other places, including New England, and had a very strong reputation at that time as a wildlife scientist. And I always found him really easy to work with, real straight-forward. If he disagreed with you, he'd tell you, but he'd be willing to listen. He had not only a tremendous font of knowledge, but was very good at summarizing, at putting together the kernels at 01:30:00the heart of something.

SS: In other words, bringing it together in like something like this.

JG: Yeah, in one graph or one sentence, what this was about. He's a very good speaker. And he was, it's not too much I think to say, he was a great leader in natural resources, natural resource science. SS: Well, it's no accident that he was kind of the lead guy in this. Correct?

JG: Well, I still think that-

SS: Or is that not true?

JG: He said that.

SS: Oh, I don't know, I'm just saying-

JG: No, he did. [In FEMAT process, he was designated lead person]

SS: Well, okay.

JG: Actually, I think the lead guy in terms of providing the glue and so on, was Norm Johnson. That's my opinion, for what it's worth.

SS: But Jack brought something. He had a real presence to him?


JG: He had a presence and he was just a good guy to have on your side, you know what I mean?

SS: He was very vocal.

JG: Vocal in a telling way. He wasn't a gas-bag, but he did make his points clear.

SS: What were, do you think, the main points he made in the whole Northwest Forest Plan process, if you were going to crystalize one or two things?

JG: It's hard to do, as I say, to pick it apart, because it really was a synthesis effort. But his knowledge of the owl was a key. He had all the facts after the "God Squad" [BLM/US F& WL] and all those things. And then his testimony. I think he got listened to more than any of us in Congress. SS: And 01:32:00you're talking about at the congressional hearings.

JG: I'm talking about the congressional hearings. And you know, I really don't know much about the-

SS: FEMAT process?

JG: FEMAT process. Yeah.

SS: He gave strong testimony in Congress, and they listened.

JG: Well, they didn't listen closely enough, or their supporters didn't listen closely enough. Because, I couldn't believe it when I heard Jack say, we think we can get the owl delisted. I thought there'd be confetti and champagne, and it just fell flat.

SS: Well, it's obvious.

JG: I guess by that time probably, I don't know this, but that Congress had decided they weren't going to do anything, and this is the third rail they 01:33:00weren't going to touch.

SS: So, they were having the hearings?

JG: Yeah, that's what I thought.

SS: Exactly.

JG: I think one of the best things in the hearing came from Norm Dicks [D-Washington], who, when we were giving him the alternatives and how much timber they'd give up to get this level of protection, said, "I told you guys you should have liked the owl report," in which they called for much lower reduction of timber harvest.

SS: That was the 1988 report, I believe. There were two or three of them.

JG: I think so. Anyway.

SS: What about Jerry Franklin? Since I've been involved with the Andrews Forest, he's kind of the big name that came out of the Andrews, and he's the old-growth guy. Tell me about you knowing Jerry and working with him, in general, both before this [NWFP process] and in regards to this.

JG: There are times when Jerry can be a little hard to work with, but he's a visionary. And he is the most effective advocate of big-old conifers that I've 01:34:00ever run across, and I've run across a lot of them. He has always taken kind of a taxonomic approach to science, and he thinks that way. It's a pretty handy way to think, even politically, to kind of think of categories of things and how they relate to each other. And he's an innovator. He came up with this idea of having all the people in a gymnasium in a geographic arrangement. [Gang of Four planning mtg.]

SS: And that same idea was carried through to the "pink tower." [FEMAT]

JG: I think it was, yeah.

SS: Maybe that was his idea that led to an even bigger idea with the pink tower? [FEMAT planning session in Portland over ninety days]

JG: But I think his principal role was as a visionary, who had a very clear 01:35:00vision of the role of old forests, and why they were good for something, and he could communicate it.

SS: He's kind of almost a missionary in a certain sense?

JG: Oh, yeah. He's definitely an old forest advocate. And he's pretty astute about politics.

SS: Talk to me about Norm Johnson?

JG: Brilliant guy, brilliant.

SS: I mean, his thing is planning, but he's done much more than that.

JG: Yeah, and he knows a lot about everything to do with forests and forestry. His forte is planning, but it's really about understanding rules and regulations, how they take effect, and why they have a given effect. I'd say, 01:36:00that's his forte. And that really had a lot to do with the structure of this report, the Gang of Four report. I mean, he not only wrote a lot of it, but he took an approach that, to me, should have been very understandable to regulatory people, as well as scientific sorts of people. He has been all, ever since I've known him, an advocate of quantitative measures of outcomes and quantitative measures of inputs, some of which I disagree with. But he's a very disciplined thinker.

SS: So, you say that his fingerprints are as strong as anybody, at least on this document, certainly.

JG: Well, to me, he was the guy who really studied the process, and then, really 01:37:00absorbed the outcome and knew all the nuances.

SS: Now, the 1976 [National] Forest Management Act was what was trying to be implemented, forest by forest by forest [each national forest], coming up to this whole process. And right as they were starting to finally get all their forest plans done, boom, a bomb hits. What do you think that did to the Forest Service at the regional and national levels, but even at the district and forest levels, in terms of all that work, and then, kaboom, it didn't really come to pass, because society said this isn't good enough?

JG: Yeah, well, I think regardless of the Northwest Forest Plan, it wasn't going to work anyway.

SS: You're talking about the previous plans, the forest-by-forest plans?

JG: Yeah.

SS: And that was because it wasn't including--?


JG: It wasn't integrated. One forest didn't necessarily have anything to do with the next forest and the next piece of federal land [BLM/NPS] that wasn't in their agency. And the idea that you can specify inputs carefully enough so that you know exactly what output you get, is a wrong idea. It was the golden age of computer-based planning in the old sense. And Norm developed FORPLAN, this idea that you get, if you got good enough at specifying the inputs, you can know exactly what the outputs were, which we weren't anywhere near sophisticated enough to do in those days.

SS: You're talking about nutrients, biomass, etc.?

JG: I'm talking about measured inputs, you can say, okay, here's how much growing stock and-

SS: Oh, you're talking about-

JG: And here's what aspect of slope and-

SS: Right, and it still wasn't developed enough then?


JG: And I don't think it is now. I think that kind of forest planning has seen its day. But, I don't think it was the Northwest Forest Plan that finished it off. I think it fell on its own weight.

SS: You think, because it was not impossible, but impractical in the real world?

JG: Yes.

SS: To qualitatively quantify many things in that complex matrix, meaning the ecology of something or a place or a region, it was just too much.

JG: Yeah, I think that's correct, and that it was also too circumscribed.

SS: In terms of forest-by-forest.

JG: Yeah.

SS: In other words, the very shortcomings of us realizing how arbitrary political boundaries are. JG: Well, it's classic silviculture to say you have to work at the stand level.

SS: Right.

JG: Well, that's a lot smaller than a forest level.


SS: Right.

JG: So, in a way, I think that it kind of was the fallacy of the middle. We didn't want to go right down to the stand level, whatever, 40, 100 acres, and we were afraid to go to the region level.

SS: And then, there's the landscape level, however you define that. How do you define "landscape," by the way?

JG: Well, one of the books I have my name on, says it's about 100,000 acres. But who knows? It's bigger, and depending on the specific landscape which matters, I'd say it's anywhere from 50,000 to 350,000 acres, that kind of area. But the idea really isn't about boundaries, the idea is about how the landscape works, 01:41:00how one chunk relates to another, and our western tradition and resource management is to break it up into pieces, like we've got water and wood and wildlife, and that's not really how it works. You need other sets of measures, and the thing that I have talked the most about, is using overall net primary productivity, and then seeing how that flows into different things, some of which can be competing, some of which may not be. I think we need a new planning idea, other than zoning and landscape construed as acreage in a kind of zoning.

SS: We've been going against those ideas ever since Powell [John Wesley]. For 01:42:00instance, he criticized how we were dividing up hydrological areas [politically], and he said this is ridiculous because this isn't how water works. Right? And that's the most basic idea in my experience, when we started coming up with that. Well, okay, that doesn't work, let's go to this level. And you remember how he was rebuffed. [By Congress in early 1890s for trying to divide West into hydrological districts by watersheds].

JG: Exactly, right, yeah.

SS: By Congress.

JG: Yeah, I know.

SS: He was actually fired for it.

JG: And I have studied that and have written about it more than once. And there again, in a democracy, I suppose it should be okay to be wrong. In other words, when Congress didn't pay any attention to Powell after he said the West should be cut up by water, not by rectangular cadastral survey, they were "right" because they were in political power. They were wrong scientifically, clearly. 01:43:00But that's the way it's going to happen.

SS: It's called the human condition, I'm afraid.

JG: Yeah.

SS: So, you stepped away from the Northwest Forest Plan process after the hearings in this document. Correct?

JG: My last direct involvement was to testify at the Clinton hearing in Portland. [April 1993]

SS: Tell me about the Clinton hearing. This was televised, and was a big deal.

JG: It was a big deal and it was the first time, far as I know, since Teddy Roosevelt, that a sitting President convened a forestry meeting.

SS: I believe you're right. You know, I don't even think FDR, I think he passed that all off on the Secretary Ag [Henry Wallace] and the Forest Service, and Harold Ickes in Interior.


JG: I think FDR's big forestry idea was to plant a shelter belt in one fell swoop from Canada to Mexico, which they finally, fortunately, convinced him wasn't possible. So, it was a big deal and was well-done [Clinton mtg.]

SS: What did you sense about the new regime? The Reagan years and the Bush years were, especially the early Reagan years with Watt and all that, were not environmentally friendly. Did you sense a sea change that came in with Clinton? I mean, Bush was more moderate than Reagan, Bush I.

JG: Well, I think it's going back to normal. I think Clinton was the last president to exhibit any particular interest in forestry or natural resources, other than oil, gas, and coal.

SS: Right.

JG: I don't think Obama's been very engaged. He likes to announce new national 01:45:00monuments and stuff, but I don't think the countryside is much on his agenda.

SS: I think he's also been consumed with surviving amongst the hostile [political] waters, too.

JG: Yeah, I can't blame him for that.

SS: Yeah, right.

JG: But in any case, Clinton gets a lot of credit in my book for doing that.

SS: Well, he promised it during the campaign, and he did it first thing. Right?

JG: Yep.

SS: Now, tell me about the details, what you remember about the actual event itself and what your part was in it?

JG: Well, it was well-orchestrated. They had twenty hits, like me, and spotted owl guys, and Norm and Jerry.

SS: Jim Sedell was there, too, I believe?

JG: Jim Sedell and a whole bunch of people, and each gave their [points]. He wanted us to answer the questions, what should we do, and so we told him mostly the smallest items based on this. Eric Forsman gave the background on the owl, 01:46:00and his struggles. I think that's the part I paid the most attention to. I listened to some of the testimony, and one of the things that I thought he did that was very good, was he had some tribal people testify and speak, which wasn't very common in those days. The whole thing was just done professionally, I thought. And I think it had quite an impact. People still talk about it, and it was a long time ago.

SS: They've got the transcripts, recordings and other stuff at the Oregon State Library, too. I've seen some of them. We had a forestry display there that I was part of putting together, and Jim Sedell's papers are there. Anyway, I saw some of that. But speaking of tribal peoples, you've done a lot of work with native interests, not just in this country, and I've heard different opinions about 01:47:00whether they got their due in the Northwest Forest Plan, or had adequate involvement. What is your opinion on that? They've certainly done follow-up monitoring studies. Do you think that their rights and interests were properly prioritized? Give me your take on that.

JG: To me, and I have to stress, I was not a part of the actual Northwest Forest Plan creation, after the [Clinton-Gore] meeting. It was mostly a creature of "ologists"-- scientists and foresters -- and there wasn't much public involvement of any kind I ever heard about. There was supposed to be a component of local communities, but I think it came along at a time when you could still 01:48:00get away with that, not involving very many people other than the in-crowd. I don't think it would be done that way today. Look at the forest collaboratives that are springing up, a very different kind of approach. The Indians were not included much there, either.

SS: They weren't in the pink tower, were they, at all?

JG: I don't think so.

SS: If I remember answers from different people, if asked the question, "Were tribal leaders involved?" I haven't heard that they were - from anyone.

JG: I don't think they were. Right about that time, '91, I think it was '91, the National Indian Forest Resource Management Act was passed, a significant piece of legislation in several respects. But Indian forestry and federal forestry 01:49:00were moving along different tracks at that time.

SS: And how did that change things?

JG: Well, we've learned since then, I think, in the congressionally-mandated studies of tribal forestry is that, and in a way, you know, it's hard to make generalizations about all 200-300 tribes.

SS: Because there's such a vast difference [land, politics, culture, economics].

JG: But, there is a thread of similarity, in that on the whole, they manage their forests pretty well, both for environmental values and for timber. And they manage in a different way. They are kind of naturally within a tribe or a set of tribes within a reservation. They tend to be more collaborative in their approach to management than non-Indians.

SS: Well, it's because the decision-making processes are generally less hierarchical. They're more circular, more holistic.


JG: There is a buck-stopper that's right there. I mean, it goes to the tribal council, and then, they're subject to BIA approval, but BIA is mostly Indians, so it's a much shorter, "flatter" kind of organization. But beyond that, this idea that gets overhyped sometimes, that Indians see all things as related, but it's true. So when they have an interdisciplinary team, mostly we construe it as, "I speak for the elk, I speak for the trees, I speak for the fish, and my job, if I speak for anything but trees, is to get the number of trees cut down, because that will make my part better, and the tree people think getting more trees cut is going to be better." So, it's kind of this quasi-legal 01:51:00adjudication. And where I've seen it work best in tribes, everything decides what they want to come out the other end. Yeah, we like fish, but we want money from timber, too, then everybody works to see if that can be made to happen, which is quite a different approach.

SS: In the Northwest, it would seem like they would be the ones most interested in having both sides of the terrestrial and aquatic spectrum of management respected equally, if you look at things historically. And certainly, fishing is central.

JG: And currently, if you look at elk, they almost always prioritize things other than timber, but they want that, too. And so that's-

SS: What are the biggest tribes on timber here in the Northwest?

JG: In Oregon--

SS: In terms of resource base mainly?

JG: Warm Springs.

SS: Yeah, that's what I thought.


JG: Biggest in Oregon, and then there are the five Coastal tribes, four of whom have moderate forest holdings, modest, I guess you would say. And then in Washington, there are many, many tribes centered on fishing around Puget Sound, and some of them manage significant amounts of timber. But the biggest ones are the Yakima and the Colville on the east side.

SS: Yeah, right, they're pretty big reservations, too.

JG: A fellow, Larry Blythe, was pointing out to me that Indians are not, that's a white person's term, that we don't see ourselves as X [Indians], we see ourselves as Cherokees or whatever. [Tribes, clans, families, etc.]

SS: Right.

JG: He said, for example, we Cherokees are very enterprising people. So, one story he had was that, I think it was Dennis Banks, the activist, the Sioux.


SS: Right, the whole Wounded Knee [protests and incidents, early 1970s].

JG: And a Cherokee who was terrified, rode into the national park there in North Carolina, and he had on a big Sioux headdress. The guy said, well, that's culturally inappropriate. You never had headdresses and this, blah-blah. And Blythe said, yeah, but he gets $10 a pop for those. To me, that's culturally appropriate. And the other one was that when they were having big trouble was about the tomahawk chop of Atlanta [Braves].

SS: Right, the Atlanta Braves, but also the Seminoles [Florida State]. They're still doing it. [Practice continues today, includes Kansas City Chiefs fans] JG: Yeah, and he said, we had people out by the road selling handmade tomahawks for $20 or so.

SS: Go figure. So, you weren't involved in the FEMAT process, but you were doing your thing at Yale. Still, were you consulted on it?

JG: Yeah, I talked with Jack [Ward Thomas] and Jerry [Franklin].

SS: Okay, tell me about your still being involved from a distance as that was 01:54:00going on. Was this after the pink tower, or actually during that when they were in their "cram sessions"? [12-16-hour work-days over 90 days.]

JG: It was more after the pink tower when there were different kinds of meetings on the outcome.

SS: Right.

JG: And some, well, I guess, everybody on the Gang of Four, was really unhappy with the final outcome in that. It included "Survey and Manage," and it pretty well emasculated the Adaptive Management Areas, and never did more than kind of give a passing glance to the timber targets. [Specific policy prescriptions and methods following FEMAT, prominently in the Record of Decision/Standards and Guidelines, and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Record of Decision; both 1994].

SS: Now, with "survey and manage," I understand the principle of the thing. But it seems to me, just on first reaction, that it's problematic.


JG: It was not just problematic, it's impossible.

SS: Well, I'm trying to be diplomatic, and Jack Ward Thomas was very strong in his opinion that he thought that was a mistake to have that in.

JG: Oh, yeah, and so did Jerry.

SS: Who added that? How did that get added?

JG: I don't know. See, I don't know.

SS: I've heard different stories, that's why I'm asking.

JG: I know what came out of the pink tower. The numbers escape me, but I think it was Option 9 [Alternative was term used] that was chosen finally. And I think it was about like Option 12 for-

SS: I'm handing John a map of Alternative 9, or "Option" 9. JG: Yeah.

SS: Basically, the zoning that it was.

JG: You know, wonderful you've got all that stuff. [Maps/reports]

SS: Well, it helps jog the memory sometimes, and gives us context as we talk.


JG: I think Jerry's comment was, "they stole my baby." That he really was heavily invested in "9" and when it ground through the management guidelines, it really wasn't that anymore.

SS: So, it was Alternative 9, only on the map?

JG: Yeah.

SS: But not necessarily in how?

JG: How it was implemented. [Guidelines-not done by FEMAT team]

SS: Not as to how it would actually be implemented or not implemented?

JG: Yeah, right.

SS: I'd like to find more out about Survey and Manage, because my first reaction when I saw that was, okay, I see why biologists, or I've heard it was different people, wanting to add that in because they wanted a matrix of species, the ecology, the whole-ism of "the thing," to be included, but in real time and real space, especially at a time when agencies are already struggling to deal with all of these laws and having to provide evidence to either refute or support whatever. I thought, "How do you do that?"


JG: Well, the point at which you do that in contradistinction to actually measuring things and see how, what outcomes you had.

SS: Right.

JG: I mean, that's all input measurement, which is, I don't want to say, mostly a waste of time and effort, but a lot of it is. And what you really want to know is what happened because of what you did.

SS: Exactly.

JG: So, if you keep track of what you did, and then measure what happened, you can't help but learn things. But when, until very recently, in talking with federal agency people, land management people, they said, "Well, we'd monitor, but we don't have enough money." Well, they don't have enough money in part, because they spend it on other things, not that.

SS: In other words, they're not harvesting enough timber to pay for things that 01:58:00used to be paid for with that? Is that what you are saying?

JG: That's the argument, but they're still spending a lot of money, $5 billion a year, that must go somewhere, but it clearly isn't going much into monitoring, at least so they tell me. Now, I haven't audited the figures or anything. But I do know that one small tribe I work with, the Coquille, down out of North Bend and Coos Bay; they're the only tribe in the country that's mandated to manage under the standards and guidelines of surrounding federal land, which until recently was the Northwest Forest Plan. So, they managed for ten years, fifteen, well, almost twenty, under the Northwest Forest Plan. They've met all their targets.

SS: Which would mean the murrelet there, too, especially?

JG: Oh yeah, murrelet, owl, fish, water quality, but they know they've met their targets, because they monitor them. They have data. And they have way more 01:59:00people per acre on the land than the federal agencies. Now, the federal agencies have way more people in offices somewhere else. But they monitor what they do and so they know if and when they go wrong, and they can change it. My impression is that the federal agencies do a very poor job of that, because they spend their money on other things. I don't know what all those are. All of it's on fire now, and that's inevitable, I guess, the way we do things, but anyhow.

SS: Now, you mentioned Adaptive Management Areas. I interviewed Tom Spies recently, and he said, "That's one of my big ideas that I brought into this process in the FEMAT process." And he's been very disappointed that it hasn't panned out. I mean, there's been a couple of minor mini-successes for periods of 02:00:00time, but ultimately, they hadn't really happened.

JG: Yeah.

SS: And why do you think that's true?

JG: Because to answer a lot of the questions bound to be asked based on what's happened under the forest plan, would require research that calls for the harvest of trees, and there are a lot of people who don't want any trees harvested, at least on federal land. They oppose it. I think the other one is money. I don't think, I never knew if the appropriations were there for the Adaptive Management Areas. But the idea, we talked about in the Gang of Four days. Okay, they want this injunction lifted, we could give our best estimate of what will do that now and different ways to do it, but we don't know for sure because we haven't tried any of it. So, there's bound to be mistakes. What we want to do is have a mechanism that will learn what we ought to do. But there 02:01:00was no learning mechanism other than the Adaptive Management Areas, which weren't allowed to work, in my view. There was no other learning mechanism built into the Northwest Forest Plan, other than periodic reviews, ten, twenty years.

SS: They're just coming out with their twenty-year publications now.

JG: Yeah.

SS: And so, that didn't work. Now, why do you think they didn't meet their timber projections, I mean, even come close? It's what, one-fourth of what they had hoped, which is already diminished from what the traditional harvests were by quite a bit?

JG: Well, I think one of the big changes was to move the definition of old growth to the approximate culmination of mean annual increment for Douglas-fir in the Northwest, which is eighty years. So, suddenly, anything over eighty years was true old growth, which is further from the truth if you look at the data.


SS: Which is not. True old growth is really 200-plus years? Correct?

JG: Yeah, right. What we started in that SAF study, is I think when we established that, and then after Franklin and others got more data, just because it's 200 years old, doesn't mean it's old growth. If it doesn't have the layered character, it doesn't have the right amount of dead wood, it doesn't have flat-top trees, it just doesn't have the characteristics you'd associate with it. [Old-growth forests]

SS: And wouldn't you also consider that a certain, idealized-vision of old growth? I understand the layered aspects, I understand that, but it seems like that's a kind of romantic primitivism applied to a scientific paradigm?

JG: Well, I don't know. I think it's scientific, and you can measure it, at least.


SS: Well, yeah, but I'm just saying, can't there be different kinds of old-growth forests, and it's not this "perfect thing"?

JG: Well, that's what gave rise to those romantic notions, was people saying, well, what the hell do you mean, old growth? What is it? Tell me what it is? Well, it's got to be any tree that's over eighty years old somehow, which puzzles me. But that had a lot to do with not meeting the timber targets, because they got sued and they chose not to do NEPA compliance documents that would stand up in court. That simple. SS: Regarding the role of environmentalism, how would you characterize the evolution in general from its early days to now, especially referring to the subject that is the central point of our interview here today?

JG: Well, I think it's evolved a lot, and evolved in very many positive ways. 02:04:00You know, environmentalists, the label covers a multitude of kinds of people. And no generalization will be perfect, but on the whole, I'd say it's moved from the environmentalism that is keeping things safe, and just metering them out very slowly, to more now, yes, we're stuck here on a planet with lots of people in it and lots of other things, and so we have to find ways that we can go forward that are sustainable in the sense that you can keep operating. The definition of sustainability is not, to me, saving things and metering them out very slowly. It's having the tools you need when you need to them to cope with 02:05:00an unknown future, with a future that surprises you. This means you have to have a whole array of things ready, and part of that array is having areas that are so-called natural areas, that are reserved as well as possible from humans messing around in. But it's also having a lot of other areas where things are tried and monitored in a scientific way, so you know what tools you have as things change. I think as climate change goes on, we're already behind the curve in that we could have been preparing for this for a long time, at least twenty years. So my first helping of it, actually, it was forty years. My first helping on global warming was when I was in the Forest Service in the '60s.


SS: In Wisconsin?

JG: Yeah, the Washington office asked us to prepare what would happen under different climate change scenarios, including warming, for what's going to happen to the trees. So, periodically after that until now, it's kind of gotten popularized by Al Gore and company. But up until then, for the preceding twenty years, it was on people's minds and people were working on it, but we didn't really set out to learn in an organized way what we could do in the face of it.

SS: But what do you foresee climate change having an impact on the Northwest?

JG: Well, the smart people I know say that it will have less impact on the west side in the Northwest, than almost anywhere else in the country.

SS: Do you think that's true?

JG: I don't know.

SS: You don't think the drying will create more catastrophic fire regimes?


JG: Well, I think it already has.

SS: Yeah.

JG: But there were catastrophic fires, time out of line, here. So, we don't have any huge conurbations it sounds to me, in places like Coos Bay, but we don't have any huge population concentrations on the coast anywhere, and the coast rises pretty sharply out of the sea. It's not like Florida, so sea level rise, which is one of the biggest consequences that we're not dealing with, won't hurt Oregon and Washington near as much as California and the East Coast. I think we'll get more fires, but that's compounded. We're letting our federally-owned forest get older and older, and the older they get, the closer they are to 02:08:00burning up. And right now, I guess it was last fire season, 2015, that 23 out of 24 lightning strike fires started in old-growth stands on federal land.

SS: Were they more on the east side?

JG: No, I'm talking only west side.

SS: Only west side, okay, I got you.

JG: But east side, wow, who knows?

SS: How did you stay in touch on the FEMAT? You consulted on that. What do you remember about your input and what was your critique, some of the main points, leading up to the actual final report, the Record of Decision and all that? [NWFP Implementation guidelines and final report].

JG: Other than a series of conversations with some of the participants, I may 02:09:00have done some reviewing. I probably did. I honestly don't remember. And then as soon as it was promulgated, of course, there was a lot of talk about it at meetings, and I went to those and spoke at some of them. Then the ten-year review. I was in on that to a small degree.

SS: What do you remember about the ten-year review and your part in it? And what was your critique, your assessment of it?

JG: Well, what I was supposed to do was review the part on old growth.

SS: Okay.

JG: And I did. I found it a very happy story except for the owl's part in it. But the actual acreage of old growth was increasing over that ten years, which was one of the objectives.

SS: Right.

JG: And unfortunately, the owl population was declining at the same time.

SS: That was because the barred owl was starting - ? [To encroach on spotted owl habitat]


JG: Well, they didn't know that then.

SS: But it was already starting by then? Right?

JG: I think so, yeah. Nobody talked about it much then that I remember. But I thought at the ten-year review time, I thought that there were a lot of things wrong with the Northwest Forest Plan, but there was a lot right, and it was a good thing to have done, and I still think so.

SS: And how would you break down the good and the bad of the Northwest Forest Plan, in retrospect?

JG: Well, the bad was the public dismay at not meeting the timber targets. I mean, we'll pay a price for that forever, because there are a lot of people who just threw the whole thing out and said, well, you don't do what you say, so why should we pay any attention? So that was the biggest flaw. And then we've talked about not doing the AMA's. We've talked about having "Rule B" rules in there 02:11:00like "Survey and Manage." But, on the whole, I'd say forests and fish and wildlife are significantly better off than they would have been without the plan.

SS: Now, what kind of a model or method do you think that this whole process provides planners, managers, scientists, scholars, in the United States?

JG: I hope what it will provide is, first of all, a fairly positive outcome of the zoning approach. And secondly, it shows us that a zoning approach isn't the best approach, that we need a more integrated way to look at forests and manage them. So, those are the two.

SS: And now, I've been told that a lot of international people took note of this process, too, and you've done a lot of international work. How would you 02:12:00characterize how the rest of the world, developed or less developed countries, took note of this process?

JG: Well, I think it served to really highlight the idea that forests are more than just wood production factories, and all over the world and people took that to heart, which is pretty obviously true. This [NWFP] publicized it. I think in other places like Finland and New Zealand, two I would name, that took the zoning approach to its logical conclusion. They looked at their natural forests, and New Zealand said, okay, we'll just put those off limits and we'll rely on plantations. Now, that wouldn't please a lot of the environmental people other places, but they seem to like it in New Zealand. And Finland, they looked at 02:13:00their federal forest estate, which wasn't nearly as large in percentage terms as ours is in the West, but they said, okay, these are the really ecologically significant parts, the old growth, if you will, or unique assemblages of species and things. And we'll be turning those into national parks. We're going to sell the rest of it, we're going to turn the rest of it into private forest land, of which 60-70 percent of Finland was anyway. And now they have a very strong forest practices act. So, the only other place I can think of where it actually worked in sort of that vein, was in Tasmania and Australia, where they had old-growth eucalyptus and most of it was in a park in the western part of the 02:14:00island, and a camper, a good environmentalist, set his toilet paper on fire and burned up the whole thing. So, suddenly, they had very little old-growth eucalyptus grandis, which are the size of old-growth Douglas-fir.

SS: And those eucalypts burn hot.

JG: Yeah, that's right. And that's the key, they have to burn to get eucalypt back, they have to burn at just the right temperature.

SS: But not a crown fire type temperature. [Very hot, stand-replacing fires]

JG: What happens is, it turns into what they call rain forest, which is a fairly-low forest of evergreen stuff. They wanted to know what to do about it, and a group of us suggested that they set aside a third of what they had left, sell a third, and then use a third to figure out how to get more. So, I think it had a lot of effect internationally, I really do.


SS: What do you think the future of forestry and this plan are, going forward, if you had a crystal ball and were going to say, this is what may happen? What would you say in twenty years?

JG: Twenty years, I think, we'll be doing much more active management on federal land. It won't necessarily be mostly for timber, but we'll realize you can't run millions of people over it and have mother nature handle it. So, particularly in terms of fuel hazard reduction and fire management, even on the west side, and finding solutions that both enhance wildlife, fish and allow a reasonable rural economy of some kind based on timber, because right now we're throwing away rural Oregon and Washington.

SS: Speaking to that point, and we spoke off the record about the incendiary politics in the United States right now, I'm of the belief that it's one of many 02:16:00reasons behind the whole rural-urban dynamic, which has just been a stress point for decades and decades and decades. But also, this more intensive, ecological, post-modern scientific management of resources, has led to what I think a lot of people in rural America perceive as the complete exclusion of their interests.

JG: Well, there's no doubt about that.

SS: Even though I don't think that's necessarily the intention, it seems to be the result. And I wondered what you have to say about how that gap should be addressed?

JG: Well, it ought to be addressed. One thing, it isn't now. The urban people make the rules, and the rural people are supposed to obey them. And that's what got you the American Revolution, among other things. I think we're seeing echoes 02:17:00of that now, where some think, "Okay, you don't want to listen to me, I'm gonna do something you'll have to listen to." I think the smugness of us people who live in these places, in places like Portland, just goes beyond all bounds. That really hit me four or five years ago. I was down at Coos Bay, actually, in Coquille, the town, not the tribe, and in the county [Coos] facilities. They couldn't afford to heat any room that didn't have people in it all day. So, both the chamber where the county council met, and the men's room, at least, I wasn't in the women's room, had no heat. Now, how long would that fly in Portland? No rural protection they say. If you get robbed, you'll be lucky if you report it, 02:18:00and you get a letter.

SS: Well, they've had to defund the sheriff departments in a couple southern Oregon counties, I think, Josephine and Curry, one of those. And there's basically no law enforcement.

JG: And the answer I hear around here is, well, why don't they pay taxes to support themselves like we do. Yeah, but to do that, you've got to have a job. I think it's a real crisis and it's a lot of what's behind our political divide.

SS: Yes, I tend to agree. I've seen that from afar, and as I've researched in the Southwest and now here, I see a disconnect between the people that say they have all the people's interests at heart, and the reality on the ground. Certainly that is how it's being perceived out there in red state America, I 02:19:00don't even like using the "blue-red" thing, because it creates a bifurcation that doesn't help find the solution.

JG: Well, if you really look at maps carefully, there are blue counties in red states, and red counties in blue states. And you can guess about which ones they are.

SS: Exactly. JG: So, I'm big on the breaking down the rural-urban divide. If I knew how to do it, I'd be famous, but I think it ought to be done.

SS: But in terms of timber and this situation, the Northwest Forest Plan is merely part of it; there's BLM lands, there's private lands, there's state lands. What would be an ideal you would at least like to be considered that would help bring back those economies, if indeed harvesting more timber in a responsible way, would be part of that?

JG: Well, I think it could be. And I think, there's a real, insidious thing going on as the federal timber stream has dried up the last twenty years, and 02:20:00the mills are going away from rural areas.

SS: And it's hard to bring them back.

JG: It's real hard to bring them back. It's hard to find the capital, it's hard to find the people. People move away, so I don't know. But I think, for example, one thing the tribes have been pushing through the Intertribal Timber Council, is this idea of anchor forests.

SS: What is that?

JG: Anchor forests.

SS: Okay, I'm sorry.

JG: I'm sorry, I'm losing my voice, so I'll have to shut up here soon.

SS: Yeah, we're almost done.

JG: But they say, we have these big tribal forests, particularly on the east side, but if we could band together with other landowners, including the feds, who also have a lot of timber over there, we could guarantee timber supply to mills. Now, this seems like an echo of the old sustained-yield unit idea, and it is in a way, but in another way, it's a private-based effort that I think would 02:21:00have some chance of working. I think there are a number of places where new mills could be sited, if you would produce, say, half the timber. Jack Ward Thomas used to say that we probably could cut half the growth nationally on the national forests, and we don't do anything like that.

SS: But you'd also have to create, you'd have to have different abilities of these mills to process different sizes of logs as well.

JG: You bet.

SS: Because you're not going to bring back the large-scale old growth [harvesting], or even smaller scale old growth except in limited cases.

JG: Right, over time. But in the short run, that's very true.

SS: But you're right, though. Once you've destroyed the demography of an area and a mill shuts down, and it's just a dead building sitting there, it takes more than just money and resources to start it up again.


JG: I think it's going to take something like the Marshall Plan and all its facets.

SS: Basically, a Marshall Plan for rural America.

JG: Yeah.

SS: Interesting. A Marshall Plan for, I don't know how you describe that really, but it's an interesting concept.

JG: Nobody remembers what the Marshall Plan was any more but-

SS: I do.

JG: That would be a story. I used to ask my Yale classes, graduate students, mostly from, Andover, Harvard and Yale, and I'd ask, when was World War I? They might say, 1950. So, history isn't in the front of everybody's mind. But the Marshall Plan did work and it didn't cost much compared to its effect. I think you could do the same thing in rural Oregon or rural anywhere.


SS: You talk about infrastructure improvement in the United States, obviously, they're talking more about roads and bridges, and the electrical and internet infrastructure; they're talking about that. But this is also part. I mean, it seems to me like a lot of these infrastructure things are merely to strengthen the urban-center dynamic.

JG: Sure.

SS: Would you read it that way?

JG: Well, the urban people make the rules, so they get the stuff.

SS: That's right. Anyway, let me make sure we're done here. What do you think the most important thing about the Northwest Forest Plan is legacy-wise?

JG: I think the fact that it was a regional forest plan that got implemented and worked probably better than most people expected it to.

SS: I do want to ask one more addendum question here. I forgot to ask you about 02:24:00two other important people. Jim Sedell, first of all, and somebody who we lost not that long ago, who was a shooting star. I didn't meet Jim, knew of him, but he got sick just when I was coming on to this position. Tell me about Jim Sedell. I want to make sure we get something for the record on Jim.

JG: He was another extremely bright guy and very effective in working in groups. He had a good sense of humor. Just a pleasure to be around.

SS: What about Gordie Reeves, the other half of the aquatic team?

JG: Gordie is one my all-time favorite people. He tells it like it is. He's not always very moderate in his expression, but he's a dedicated aquatic scientist, and knows his business. And he is good at taking science toward policy. Very 02:25:00good. I don't know when I have had more fun than the relatively few times I've been able to be out with Gordie along streams and along watersheds and listen to him.

SS: What's your favorite memory from your time at Yale? This is kind of an aside, but I just thought I'd throw this in.

JG: I guess it was the first graduation we had when I was there at the school, and seeing people I'd been with all year get their degrees. And I made my own speech, and nobody threw any eggs. And it was just a wonderful feeling to see 02:26:00those bright, young folks going out to save the world.

SS: Is that what you loved the most about academia, watching people evolve and become newly-forming success stories?

JG: Yeah, you know, you bet.

SS: Very good. I think that's probably about enough for today. I think we've both run out of energy and we've covered pretty much everything.

JG: Well, I'm glad, and I thank you for coming. I'm going to have to scramble out of here.

SS: I very much enjoyed it. Thank you very much, John.