We have similar problems in western North Carolina to those described yesterday by Bill Croke, with the anti logging activists and people building deep into the mountains. Insect attacks on hemlock and white pine trees that have built up a heavy fuel load and I have been told there will be some big fires this fall and winter. In addition, a lot of our wildlife population is suffering. Those who lobby against logging don't seem to recognize that very little with nutritional value grows in deep shade. Grouse have become rarer and bears have been wandering closer to population centers looking for food as the forage plants that thrive at the woods' edge have gotten crowed out.
What amuses me is that those building the trophy homes genuinely believe they are being environmentally sensitive because they use certain so called environmentally friendly materials. Someone who was truly environmentally friendly wouldn't build on a mountain top or amid the pine woods. As for the dream of living in a log homes, like all fantasies it is best not to try and make it come true. Here in the southeast there was a reason that the early settlers built frame houses as soon as they could afford one. In our temperate rainforest climate logs are extremely high maintenance. An architect friend notes that if you want logs on the outside and all the modern conveniences like high end cabinetry and exotic wood floors inside, you better also invest in a good climate control system and have the money to keep it in operation on a year round basis. Otherwise count on warping and mold problems. He recommends frame construction with rustic wood siding as a much smarter and more energy efficient alternative.