Posted by R. Berg on June 28, 2003
In Reply to: Salvageable posted by peppin on June 27, 2003
: Not so many years ago the immense fires that blackened the dense forests on the Bitterroot Mountains south of here would have been labeled an unmitigated disaster, millions of board feet of timber down the drain. Many of the trees that were salvageable would have been quickly logged.
: This is the first paragraph of a news story of New York Times. On understanding the last sentence, we formed two opinions:
: 1. The trees that were salvageable were not quickly logged, so they were actually devoured by the fire.
: 2. The trees that were salvageable were not quickly logged, so they were saved.
: The above is the link to the full story. Please help us to sort it out. Some of us are really confused. Thank you very much!
: non-native speakers
The news story reports a controversy over the Forest Service's plan to cut down and sell trees that were damaged by the fire but still have some commercial value as lumber. Opponents of the plan want the trees left standing. The controversy is all about what to do after the fire has stopped, and so interpretation #1 is incorrect.
I think the writer intended something closer to interpretation #2. Cutting down a dead tree for lumber is salvaging it (though not saving it).