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a beginners guide to tree spiking

Disclaimer: Aggressively placing trees, habitat or the welfare of collective species NOT biologically human, granted honorary personhood, or entities identified with the rights of people will place you under the umbrella term of terrorist. Tree spiking in all circumstances is such an activity. Hence you can expect to be imprisoned without due process for an indefinite amount of time - At least within the frontiers of pax americana

Tree spiking in its widest sense, is adding components to the wood of individual trees to make the surrounding habitat unfit for consumption for logging corporations and stifles conversion of that habitat to something less complex and less sustainable.

Spiking a tree can be considered a form of antisocial behavior, terrorism, ecoterrorism, ecodefence or direct action depending on the alliance of the critic and their audience. Many different materials and techniques can be used, and not all of which are dangerous to the loggers or the health of the tree but all methods are designed to disrupt the practice of logging the specific area such as old growth forest and make certain techniques such as clear cutting unfeasible.

What exactly is 'tree spiking'?

The stereotypical picture of a tree spiker is someone under the cover of darkness walking through targeted areas using spikes, nails or other nasties hammering them randomly into trees. The tree envelopes the artifact and continues to grow as normal unperturbed by the modification

The tree now has a defense mechanism. When felled, the chain saw cutting the tree will be damaged, with an additional possibility that the operator will be wounded. The passive tree has become an antipersonnel device. The tree... on its way to become timber or paper pulp may also create obstructions to its processing by breaking the teeth on saw blades and making the finished products unusable.

In reality - or perhaps ideally, as it is not a regulated form of dissent- there often is some care taken in tree spiking
  • An area is located using publicly available forest management plans published several years in advance
  • Most spikes are driven in 2m off the ground to lessen harm to forestry workers
  • Spikes are placed at varying heights avoiding a pattern
  • Small decoy nails are hammered at random to foil metal detectors
  • Spike are driven most the way in, the head cut off with bolt cutters and then driven deeper with a punch
  • Trees are marked with a blue S in paint and the company is warned of the reduced value of the trees
  • Ideally if it is common knowledge that an area has been spiked, that is, an anonymous message was passed to those it may concern, the area will be marked on a map made available to workers in danger.

    Targeted areas

  • Old growth forest, and habitats with endemic flora and fauna
  • Areas marked for clear cutting instead of selective cutting. The reason for this being, clear cutting destroys entire habitats rather than select individual trees with harvest potential. The biomass / diversity death toll is often way out of proportion to the usable extracted timber.
  • Forested steep slopes that when cleared will cause erosion or contaminate water sheds.
  • Tree plantations are 'crops' and tend not to be spiked.

    Optimal spiking time

  • Pre emptive spiking.
    Areas that will be harvested 5 years in the future. In other words, stands of trees not in immediate danger there are two reasons for this. Little money has been invested into surveying, road building and preparing environmental assessments and the like so the authorities have less incentives to go ahead with the timber sales.
  • It more difficult to locate spiked trees years after spiking and the authorities are less likely to look for trees in roadless areas lacking easy access.
  • Timber buyers have not committed resources to the area and are more likely that they won't bid on a risky, possibly expensive proposition.
  • With harvesting years in the future and only on paper, security is likely to be low and chances of being caught even lower.
  • At this point, corporate interests have not distilled into a volatile situation and communications do not involve the media, so it is possible that there would be no public loss of face if the sale is quietly dropped and left without a bid.

    Tree spiking, by making an easy resource unavailable or a traditional practice infeasible, encourages other options to be explored. Such as using other sources of fiber to make high quality paper and better salvaging of wood for construction.

    ends part one | part 2 - Equipment used in tree spiking (currently inactive)

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