Just to the west of Jishou City in the first mountains you see from the city four men where burning this tree so that it would be easy to push over and haul away. This tree was alive and green. It had been hacked on one side, which allowed the sap to flow and this sap was then lit so the tree would burn in one area and weaken allowing it to be easily pushed over. There were four men doing this. None of them would speak and for most of the time we were there they looked down at the ground and would not look up. They also would not respond to questions and remained mute. They were asked why they were doing this but they would not respond. A very short distance away people were playing mahjong. They had a direct view of this and showed no concern.
By coincidence an official from the forestry division was walking by this site. We did not learn of his connection to the forestry division until further up the trail. When queried about the burning and taking action on this he showed little concern even though this is an illegal act. He said it was common.
Jishou City, Hunan, China