Author’s Notes from Will Parrish, A Profile of MRC’s logging plan and herbicide use.
As I noted above, my method of collecting data for this study was simple. (I’ve resisted the temptation to use the word “methodology,” since one of my implicit purposes is to show it’s possible to do this sort of study without an academic research grant, and also without using inaccessible academic jargon.) Here is a short explanation of what I did, complete with screenshot images.
In March, I logged onto the Cal Fire Watershed Mapper page and searched for information on timber harvests in Mendocino County, as below.
I scrolled through every watershed number and collected the data it had to offer. My computer screen looked like this when I clicked on each watershed number.
From there, I saved each watershed’s data file using the “save spreadsheet” option built into the watershed mapper system (just by clicking on the icon in the lower left corner of the data set). I saved each file by watershed number so that I could check later to avoid errors of repetition or duplication when it comes to saving the files. The files saved as OpenOffice Spreadsheet files (which are convertible to Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs). Here, I’ve created fake file names for some of the files in the folder where I kept the data to protect my privacy.
Then I consolidated all of the resulting OpenOffice spreadsheets into a master spreadsheet, and used the program’s “Sort” function to aggregate Mendocino Redwood Company’s THP data together and delete all the other THP data from the file. Ultimately, that process resulted in a master file that you can download by clicking here. I used this file to generate all of the data I used in this article.
As I noted, I have edited my data somewhat since first publishing a piece about this study in the AVA three weeks ago. The basic conclusions I described in that piece remain the same. I decided, however, to omit 2013 data (which is incomplete in the Watershed Mapper) and remove canceled logging plans from the data file. I also checked through CalFire’s THP library for North Coast THPs to make sure logging plans for which MRC has not filed a completion report remain active. If they were active, I kept them in the master spreadsheet. In one case, I discovered a THP (1-09-003MEN) that Cal Fire scuttled after initially approving it, and thus removed that THP from my data.
I initially sought to determine how MRC’s recent large Timber Harvest Plan acreages compare to historical totals. I determined, by the way, that the recent THPs do not – contrary to what many environmentalists and investigative journalists suspected – do not signal an increase in harvesting rates based on the available acreage data. MRC is logging about as much acreage as usual in the last few years — as Mike Jani has maintained in public statements. (I did not, however, look at the historical intensity of harvests on an acre-per-acre basis. That line of inquiry remains open.)
Here are some studies in the same bailiwick and may be worthwhile: a comparative study of MRC logging data and logging data of a comparable timber corporation, such as Green Diamond; a study of tree diameter sizes MRC harvests in its THPs; and a GPS study illustrating the intensity of harvest by watershed.