Segments in this Video

Complicity of Forest Service (01:39)


The public is the victim of sustained forestry practices that ruin land, rivers, and streams. The Forest Service is complicit in granting corporations rights to log forests.

G.H.W. Bush on Forests (02:17)

In the 1992 Presidential campaign, G.H.W. Bush runs on a platform of saving the forests. President Bush opens logging on 4 million acres of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Jobs vs. Environment (02:20)

In Washington, Oregon, and Montana, the issue of logging rests on the pillars of jobs and environment. The logging industry and its critics do not see eye-to-eye. Bill Moyers discusses the purpose of the Forest Service.

Whistleblower Is Fired (02:17)

The Forest Service bows to pressure from influential Congressmen and allows over-forestation contrary to environmental law. A whistleblower is forced to resign for revealing this fact.

Congress Approves Environmental Degradation (01:59)

The Forest Service has a history of letting employees go when they reveal the truth about clear-cutting and environmental degradation. The Forest Service seems to be about cutting trees at any cost.

Timber Industry Campaign Contributions at Work (02:58)

Money and power buys influence in Congress. Well-placed men with logging interests are put in charge of the Forest Service. The goal is to cut timber without regard to environmental degradation. Forests are intact ecosystems.

Value of Old Growth Forests (01:59)

Old growth forests provide clean water and absorb and hold atmospheric carbon. Trees grow on top of old, disintegrated trees. When all the wood is removed, the soil lacks nutrients for forest growth.

Forest Devastation (04:11)

Excerpts from The Forest Through the Trees" (1990) shows the devastation of old growth redwoods. A private businessman purchases the Pacific Lumber Co. with one goal in mind--cut down every tree to make money to pay down debts.

Journalists Punished for Telling Truth (03:35)

A journalist is penalized for telling the truth about logging in Montana. He reported on timber companies that abandoned sustained yield logging practices and opted for clear-cutting instead.

Timber Jobs (02:02)

Timber companies justify their actions by claiming they provide jobs. These jobs are non-existent once the land is cleared. Today, forests are clear-cut with no respect for the patterns of nature.

In Defense of Forest Practices (02:17)

A Washington State Republican congressman defends forest industry practices. He comes from a family of loggers. He receives large contributions from the timber industry.

Logging by Hand (01:32)

Archival film footage shows men cutting down large trees with axes and handsaws.

Jobs Dependent on Logging (03:42)

Men who rely on logging for a living tell their side of the story. They want their jobs preserved just as the habitat for the spotted owl is preserved. Loggers feel threatened by environmentalists.

Loggers and Corporate Owners (02:10)

A logger explains the need to understand forest cycles. He and others look 100 years into the future. Corporate timber company owners think only of next quarter's profits.

Environmentalist vs. Logger (02:47)

An environmentalist and a logger discuss forestry issues. The environmentalist stands up for the integration of life and ecosystems. The logger argues that not all life is equal.

Complex Issues of Forest Management (02:23)

Is it possible to get back to a sustainable level of harvesting trees? This and other complex issues surrounding forestry, logging, and the environment are considered. Bill Moyers participates.

Logging: Machines, Humans, and Capital (01:53)

Over time, sustainable forestry supports sustainable communities and jobs. Today, logging is capital intensive with larger and larger machines doing the work of people. Are loggers being swept aside?

Politicians and Forest Policy (02:46)

Archival film footage from 1992 shows G.H.W. Bush campaigning in the forest and quoting Bible passages. Bill Clinton expresses his philosophy of forestry and logging.

Clinton, Bush, and Quayle on Timber (02:19)

Both Clinton and Bush have ties to the timber industry. Dan Quayle supports blocking the appeal process for individuals against timber companies.

Timber in Northern Rockies (01:54)

Timber cutting in the northern Rockies is more costly to the environment than in the Northwest. It takes 120 years to grow a tree to maturity in high elevation. Baring the slopes can cause massive landslides.

Solutions to Forestry's Problems (02:42)

Amidst all the controversy and feelings of victimization on many sides, there may be some solutions to the complex issues of needs of the timber industry and needs of the environment.

Scientists Sound Alarm (02:04)

Scientists first sounded the alarm about the collapsing ecosystems resulting from forest management and logging. For decades, national leadership on these issues has not existed.

Who Owns the Forests? (01:22)

Who owns old growth timber? They, like other national treasures, belong to all Americans. Should a Wall Street owner be allowed to clear cut old growth timber for the sake of paying down debts? The national government can save America's forests if it wants to.

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The Politics of Trees

Part of the Series : Listening to America with Bill Moyers
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $99.95



This program with Bill Moyers looks at the ongoing debate on how we manage the rapidly disappearing old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest. Is the timber industry pressuring the forest service to cut trees in violation of environmental laws? Are environmentalists hurting the economy of the Pacific Northwest? What effect has overcutting on private land during the 1980s had on our environment? Featured in the program are environmentalists, politicians, and industry representatives who debate these issues. (60 minutes)

Length: 47 minutes

Item#: BVL5062

ISBN: 978-1-4213-9296-7

Copyright date: ©1992

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.