- Hardcover: 303 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (June 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671729675
- ISBN-13: 978-0671729677
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,700,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest Hardcover – June, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
The chief science correspondent for the Seattle Times here examines the many sides of the ongoing debate over the logging of America's last remaining ancient forest, on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Using the town of Forks as a focal point, Dietrich allows the participants in this drama--loggers, truckers, foresters, timber company representatives, environmentalists and politicians--to speak for their own interests. Exploring a dense thicket of social ? with 'social,' seems unnecessary and economic issues, he discovers a human dilemma at the center? since thickets don't have cores? : the plight of the men and women whose livelihood depends on the woods, tragically caught between big industry and environmentalists. The author contends that the U.S. government's shortsighted policies have led not only to these workers' loss of dignity and self-respect but also to the unnecessary destruction of thousands of acres of old-growth trees. Engrossing and well-written, this is a model of balanced reporting and reasoned analysis.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The local battle scene of this book's subtitle is Washington's Olympic Peninsula, but the conflict raged, and still rages, over the entire Pacific Northwest, Washington, D.C., Alaska, and other locales that face the dilemma of preserving natural resources versus exploiting them. Dietrich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, presents in an easy-to-read narrative style the point of view of various participants in this war, from the logger whose way of life is threatened to a biologist concerned with saving the Northern spotted owl. The chapters on the owl and the biologist provide the best account this reviewer has read of the biology and behavior patterns of this small, inoffensive, but controversial bird and why it should be the center of so much heated debate. No easy solutions to the struggle between the forest industry and environmentalists emerge from this book, but hopeful signs include the increasing awareness on the part of Forest Service personnel and the logging industry that careless, sometimes ruthless, exploitation of the remaining old growth forest is no longer feasible or even possible. Highly recommended for collections on environmental issues.
- Eleanor Maass, Maass Assocs., New Milford, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Setting that important limitation aside, Dietrich has given us a well-written, compelling story about the owl and the communities that depend on the forest. Each chapter focuses on a person as a representative of a community - - activists, scientists, political actors, foresters, loggers, and so forth. The owl also gets its own chapter. That's an effective way to capture the various sides of the debate. Dietrich is admirably sympathetic to everyone; I don't think any group would feel they were slighted in some hatchet job here.
That even-handedness doesn't hide Dietrich's basic story. It takes 500-1000 years to grow an ancient forest. We cut 85% of that forest in a century. The logging industry was going to face a major contraction with or without the owl, though the owl may have sped the change up by a decade or so. Because of the owl, we have some lower-elevation old growth left.
This, the last sentence in the book, powerfully wraps up an engrossing examination of both sides of the controversy on logging old-growth forests. Always on the side of the environmentalists, I came to understand and sympathize with the loggers who cut them down. Not an easy task for any writer to undertake. But Dietrich has done it, and done it well. No wonder he won a Pulitzer Prize. The writing is clear and sharp, and at times, poetic in imagery. Yes, I have been to the Olympic old-growth forests of which he speaks, and he is right when he says that the minute you enter them, there is magic. Even the loggers feel this. The stories of individuals, both on the side of timber and the side of trees, eloquently speak of passions and lifestyles, battles won and lost. Anita Goos is not someone I will soon forget. Dietrich tells of men and women who choose their battles, sometimes unwillingly, but who enter the fray with hearts and minds wholly in the cause.
It is well to follow this book with "The Hidden Forest" by Jon Luoma, written seven years later.