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And, of course, the irony was that the Western loggers' worst enemies were...their own timber companies. The companies, untethered from limitations to their own private timberlands as they were in the upper Midwest and East, were free to go in and overharvest the public lands, let the soils erode and the watersheds deteriorate to the point where trying to rebuilt a tree farm took twice as long as it would have if the logging had been more selective and less intense.

Then the Asian markets opened up...but not for dressed lumber. Weyerhaeuser and Cavanham and Georgia Pacific moved quickly to transition from processing timber through local mills to loading raw logs and sending them to Japanese and Korean mills already set up for the non-2x4-framing methods preferred by the local builders in Asia.

The bottom line is that by the time the "tree-huggers" got into action in the 70s and 80s most of the big stands were already gone, and the timber companies were already mechanizing and automating and closing local mills. What doomed the timber communities in Philomath and Chehalis weren't spotted owls in old-growth forests, but timber company accountants in downtown offices.

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