31 May 2008, 8:40am
Climate and Weather
by admin

Climate Debate Rejects Science For Ideology

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, Investor’s Business Daily, May 29, 2008 [here]

I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’m a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can’t be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.

Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems — from ocean currents to cloud formation — that no one fully understands.

Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.

Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation.

“The largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity,” warns Czech President Vaclav Klaus, “is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.”

If you doubt the arrogance, you haven’t seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over.

Consider: If Newton’s laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming — infinitely more untested, complex and speculative — is a closed issue.

But declaring it closed has its rewards. It not only dismisses skeptics as the running dogs of reaction, i.e., of Exxon, Cheney and now Klaus. By fiat, it also hugely re-empowers the intellectual left.

For a century, an ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous knowledge class — social planners, scientists, intellectuals, experts and their left-wing political allies — arrogated to themselves the right to rule either in the name of the oppressed working class (communism) or, in its more benign form, by virtue of their superior expertise in achieving the highest social progress by means of state planning (socialism).
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Eco-Profiteers Infiltrate, Subvert U.S. Military Lands

You probably thought that U.S. military bases are used to train soldiers, sailors, and marines for combat missions. You thought wrong.

Under new guidelines issued by the Department of Defense, military bases across America are to be used for “conservation” and land acquisition by the multi-billion dollar, multinational Nature Conservancy.

The DoD Legacy Resource Management Program has formed a “partnership” with TNC designed to restrict training on U.S. military bases in order to “promote natural habitat restoration and protection” at the expense of military readiness. As base lands are converted from military exercise use to TNC “nature” holdings, U.S. forces will be sent into harm’s way with inadequate training.

A recent memo from Pedro Morales, Natural Resource Management Specialist — DoD Legacy Resource Management Program, indicates that:

We [DoD] will invest in forward-looking approaches that promote natural habitat restoration and protection, thereby preventing the listing of additional plant and animal species. We encourage projects developed from the regional TER-S workshops. We will not invest in traditional inventory projects, as these should be programmed for funding by the DoD Components. Instead, we will invest in projects that will enhance DoD’s ability to access, evaluate, and use existing inventory data. We also encourage new approaches and creative partnerships to promote natural resources management on DoD lands. In particular, we encourage efforts to integrate the goals of DoD’s integrated natural resource management plans (INRMPs) with those of the State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategies (State Wildlife Action Plans). …

This process promotes adaptive management, sustainable use for ecological and human purposes, and the best available science. It also promotes the protection of species on adjacent non-DoD lands, thereby encouraging partnerships and reducing the management burden to DoD. We plan to apply this proven planning process to other regions of interest to DoD or to specific ecosystem types with significant DoD landholdings (e.g., desert, coastal, riparian, or grassland).

Rather than military training, U.S. military bases are to be used for “heritage tourism”:

To improve public perception, the agency should promote and interpret the cultural resources under its care. Projects can highlight a particular preservation effort, a program, a product like a training video or adopt innovative approaches to allow access to information as a means to create heritage tourism opportunities.

Former public property mandated for military training and readiness is to be transferred to a BINGO (big international non-governmental organization):

Projects in this category could also include partnerships with preservation organizations to solve encroachment issues, following the example set through partnerships between DoD and the Nature Conservancy.

During time of war, the DoD is supporting eco-radical groups that lobby against U.S. military actions overseas:

It is important for DoD to be able to participate in certain national and international conservation initiatives. We will emphasize active participation in national partnerships such as the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI). National Public Lands Day (NPLD), North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC), Save America’s Treasures, and the National Fish Habitat Initiative (NFHI)… We will invest in other national and international initiatives that complement DoD conservation objectives. …

During the period FY 1991-2008, Legacy has invested more than $290 million to fund more than 2,880 projects.

There was no indication in the memo regarding the involvement of Henry M. Paulson, Jr. former Chairman of the Board of Governors of The Nature Conservancy and now United States Secretary of the Treasury. Before coming to Treasury, Paulson was also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs since the firm’s initial public offering in 1999.

My observation from working with the Army and National Guard is that they would like to train with tanks, helicopters, 50-cal machine guns that fire tracer rounds, armored humvees and half-tracks, artillery, land mines, and a lot of stuff that trashes the ground. All of which is completely reasonable. I want our soldiers well-trained for their own safety as well as for accomplishing their dangerous missions.

The eco-overlay regulations foul up the training. If the land is to be a nature preserve, then the Army shouldn’t own it. Military training ground and nature preserve are conflicting and incompatible land uses. Excess lands should be declared surplus and sold in the open real estate market, not conveyed to TNC. Nor should TNC be “partnered” with DoD in the purchase of additional military training areas.

The Nature Conservancy has no place messing with Army-owned training ground. Sweetheart backroom deals with a multi-billion dollar corporation is NOT the way to manage public lands, especially not military bases and training sites. We need transparency and openness in our public land transactions, not the deception and profiteering that is going on now.

Note: If you live anywhere near a Department of Defense installation and own property — including Pinon Canyon/Fort Carson — please read this post very carefully. Whether “wilderness designation,” “Army Compatible Use Buffer,” or whatever language deception is used, not one more acre of private property is needed for anything governmental or military. The Base Realignment and Closure program clearly illustrates that excess land is already owned by the military. Its partnership with the likes of The Nature Conservancy has nothing to do with national security! — Julie Kay Smithson, Property Rights Research [here].

27 May 2008, 12:34pm
Forestry education Saving Forests
by admin

The Genesis of Old-Growth Forests, Part 3

Part 3 — Restoring Old-Growth Forests

Most North American forests arose during millennia of frequent, human-set fires, i.e. anthropogenic fire. For millennia, anthropogenic fires were so frequent that they engendered open, park-like forests wherein individual trees grew to great ages.

During the last 150 years (more than that in eastern regions) anthropogenic fire has been eliminated (along with most of the humans who set them). The absence of anthropogenic fire has allowed our forests to accumulate an abundance of fuel in the form of young trees, duff, debris, litter, dead trees, etc.

When fires enter modern forests, they combust hugely and decimate the forests. Vast tracts formerly covered with trees are converted to brushfields because the intense heat, fueled by extreme fuel accumulations, kills everything-heritage old growth trees included.

Stand-replacement fire is not the historical development pathway that led to our old-growth forests. Old-growth forests of today are strongly multi-cohort, and the older trees arose under a different ecological pathway, one of regular, frequent, seasonal anthropogenic fire.

Formerly forests were open and park-like with widely spaced trees. Because frequent, light-burning fires in open, park-like forests did not kill all the trees, individual trees lived for incredibly long lifespans. Those conditions gave rise to ancient trees. Modern forest conditions preclude the opportunity for trees to attain great ages.

To save our old-growth, and to restore the development pathways that lead to old trees, we must also restore the appropriate forest conditions and disturbances.
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24 May 2008, 10:09am
Forestry education Saving Forests
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The Genesis of Old-Growth Forests, Part 2

Part 2 — Open, Park-like Forests

Throughout the Holocene human beings have significantly altered Western Hemisphere landscapes in purposeful ways; i.e., people burned the land to make it human-friendly, generally-speaking. Frequent, regular, seasonal, fire aided hunting, gathering, agriculture, and other human endeavors.

Evidence of frequent fire can be seen in fire scars and the structure and composition of old-growth forests of today. Most are dense thickets of mostly young trees with a a few emergent old-growth trees, but 150 years ago they were open and park-like forests. Forests stands can be backdated by counting rings and compiling age distributions. Extensive evidence indicates that 150 to 200 years ago in forests across the western US there were only 5 to 20 ancient and giant trees per acre, of different ages, widely-spaced, crowns not touching, except in occasional groupings, trees otherwise often singular and separated by 40 or 50 feet or more from their nearest neighbors. The understory was grassy, nearly devoid of shrubs, although small pockets of low-growing bushes and younger trees appeared here and there.

The old forests were not a continuous blanket across the landscape. Indeed, ancients forests occurred in widely dispersed pockets, more like islands of trees in an ocean of praire. Even in the cool, moist Pacific Northwest, forests were fragmented. Treed areas were found along streams in dendritic (finger-like) patterns. In between were grassy slopes, vast berry fields, and veldts with wild food crops, such as tarweed (Madia) tracts, bracken fern brakes, and camas meadows.

Early Euro-American explorers reported this same open, park-like condition in forests from Mexico to Canada, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. Western pioneers spoke of forests so clear of brush and thickets that they could drive wagons for miles through avenues of towering trees.

The structure of open, park-like forests (OPLF’s) was similar across much of western North America, but the species composition varied. That is, regardless of tree species, forests were open with tall, widely-spaced trees and grasses or prairie type-plants underneath. Pre-Columbian forests were more savanna-like, except in fire refugia.
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23 May 2008, 3:20pm
Forestry education Saving Forests
by admin
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The Genesis of Old-Growth Forests, Part 1

Iain Murray, the author of the preceding post, is not a forester or forest scientist. Yet his understanding of the development of our American forests is remarkably cogent and perceptive:

With wildfires burning, it is useful to turn to the wisdom of the ancients. When the pioneers first entered the great forests of America, they found that the Native Americans had managed the forests for centuries. Their woodlands contained very few big trees—maybe fifty such trees per acre.

Apparently the Indians had set regular, low intensity fires which burned away accumulations of undergrowth, deadwood, dying trees and particularly small trees growing between the big trees. The larger trees were unharmed, because of their thick fire-resistant bark.

That in a nut shell is the way our old-growth forests developed. Frequent anthropogenic fire gave rise to open, park-like forests, largely uneven-aged at large-area scales. Forest scientists refer to such trees as “older cohort” because they are quite different than the even-aged thickets of trees (younger cohort) that arose following elimination of anthropogenic fire (aka “Indian burning”).

True old-growth forests contain older cohort trees. Those trees are remnants of the the former open, park-like forests that covered much of forested North America, and they may also be viewed as relics of our ancient culturally-modified landscapes.

In this 3-part series, I discuss in greater detail how our old-growth forests came to be here. The issue is important, because we must understand how old-growth forests arose in order to protect, maintain, and perpetuate them. If we value old-growth, and that seems to be a widely-shared value, then it is vital to understand their development.

Part 1 — Historical Forest Development Pathways

Fifteen thousand years ago the Wisconsin Glaciation reached its maximum extent. Continental ice sheets and tundra covered much of North America. The forests of today did not exist at that time, except in refugia in southern regions, coastal strips, and isolated mountain tops. Most of the acres covered by forest today were not forests 15,000 years ago.

Then, in accord with variations in the Earth’s orbit known as Milankovich Cycles, the planet warmed and the ice retreated. Over time, forests developed where they did not exist before (at least not for the previous 100,000 years or so). The progressions of vegetation change (from ice/tundra to forest) that actually occurred are called the historical forest development pathways.

Historical forest development pathways are not theoretical; they are the actual changes in vegetation types and species that actually occurred in actual landscapes. Since we have no time machines, we must reconstruct and deduce historical forest development pathways from empirical evidence of the past.
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21 May 2008, 9:45pm
Saving Forests
by admin
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Treehuggers against trees

by Iain Murray

This guest article is adapted from Chapter Four of “The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Won’t Tell You About - Because They Helped Cause Them,” published by Regnery [here]. Iain Murray also writes regularly at www.openmarket.org.

With wildfires burning, it is useful to turn to the wisdom of the ancients. When the pioneers first entered the great forests of America, they found that the Native Americans had managed the forests for centuries. Their woodlands contained very few big trees—maybe fifty such trees per acre.

Apparently the Indians had set regular, low intensity fires which burned away accumulations of undergrowth, deadwood, dying trees and particularly small trees growing between the big trees. The larger trees were unharmed, because of their thick fire-resistant bark. These fires kept the forest healthy by providing a barrier to disease.

The pioneers, however, used much more wood in their civilization than the Native Americans. They needed it for housing, for boats and river ships, for railroad sleepers, for carriages, and for town infrastructure.

To them, fire was an enemy. Quick growth of new trees was important. Policies were put in place that suppressed all fire. This culminated in the creation of Smokey Bear in 1945. Three years later, his catchphrase was born: “Remember — only you can prevent forest fires.”

The price was a degradation of the health of American forests. Private logging firms continued to keep forests healthy where they operated, by clearing out the underbrush and deadwood and harvesting trees to clear spaces between other trees. Where loggers did not operate, undergrowth and deadwood began to accumulate.

These are dangerous, because small trees, for example, provide ladders for the fire to climb to reach the crown of mature trees, where the fires can take hold instead of being shrugged off by the thick bark below.

Meanwhile, more and more land came to be controlled by the federal government, and therefore came under the control of an under-funded bureaucracy.

In the 1970s, the birth of the environmental movement made American forest policies worse. Environmentalists are dogmatically opposed to man’s interference with nature. They objected to the “unnatural” control of forest fires created by natural means—by lightning strike, for example.

A new policy replaced the previous one of suppression of all fires. Natural fires were to be allowed to burn until they burned themselves out - a return to a natural cycle of death and regrowth. One environmental activist put it succinctly: “Save a forest; let it burn.”

Environmental dogma combined with bureaucratic collectivism to create disaster.

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Collaborating With the Enemy

US Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell has been collaborating with the Wilderness Society in order to undermine and sabotage the USFS and to incinerate America’s public forests. Kimbell’s subversive actions are not secret but overt and arrogant, and the rank-and-file of the agency are well-aware of it.

While the field operations of the Outfit (as the USFS is fondly referred to by dedicated life-long employees) have been severely constrained by forced adherence to Byzantine environmental laws, NEPA processes, and endless planning, Gail Kimbell has ordered Let It Burn fires, at the behest of the Wilderness Society, with no planning, no NEPA, and no adherence to any environmental laws or regulations.

Case in point: after eight years of a planning exercise called the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment [here], one that involved thousands of people, hundreds of meeting, and tens of thousands of documents, studies, reviews, rehashes, monitoring, and re-monitoring, a Federal judge last week enjoined a fire-preventative thinning created under SNFPA guidance with the judgment that the planning was not “rigorous” enough to satisfy him [here].

That suit was brought by the Wilderness Society, and in effect destroyed eight years of effort by USFS employees to comply with the law.

Yet the Wilderness Society sits on the highest planning body of the USFS, the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, and has ordered, via Gail Kimbell, the USFS to conduct Let It Burn fires (termed Wildland Fire Use fires of WFU’s) with no planning, no hearings, no studies, no NEPA process, and no adherence to any U.S. environmental law, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, or the Clean Water Act.

The Wilderness Society had every opportunity to participate in the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan planning exercise. That was an open process with public hearings and public involvement every step of the way. Indeed, the Wilderness Society was invited and even begged to participate, to become part of the process, to meet with local residents, to resolve differences in an amicable and collaborative fashion.

Instead the Wilderness Society chose to shun that process and instead to sue to kill it, in concert with the Sierra Club, the Center For Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign (who recently changed their name to Sierra Forest Legacy in a marketing/branding move).

The Wilderness Society conspired to sabotage the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan, not only in cahoots with other so-called “environmental” groups, but with the blessing and assistance of USFS Chief Gail Kimbell.
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Half of All Oregon GHG Emissions Come From Forest Fires

Half of all Oregon greenhouse gas emissions in 2007 came from forest fires. This information was revealed Thursday, May 15, at a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) meeting in Portland.

The meeting was a public hearing held to gather comments regarding Governor Kulongoski’s proposed Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rules now under consideration by the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC), the board that oversees the DEQ.

The DEQ began the meeting by presenting a pie chart and a graph that indicated total GHG emissions in 2005 were 62 million tons (U.S.). The pie chart broke those emissions down by the following sectors: Transportation (34%), Waste (3%), Residential (17%), Commercial (14%), Industrial (25%), and Agriculture (14%). No forest sector was listed.

Then Mike Dubrasich, Executive Director of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment headquartered in Lebanon, OR, presented an analysis of GHG emissions from forest fires. According to Mr. Dubrasich (that’s me), in 2007 approximately 56 teragrams of GHG’s (principally CO2) were emitted by the 750,000 mostly forested acres burned last year in the state. One teragram equals 1.1023 millions tons (U.S.), so after conversion 61.7 million tons of GHGs are estimated to have been released by fires.

Mr. Dubrasich (me) told the DEQ, “You are missing an entire pie!”
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The Wilderness Society Wants to Incinerate Your Forests

Let us connect the dots. Pay attention now. I will do this carefully and slowly, because I don’t want your brain to explode.

The Wilderness Society lives in Washington DC. They are a corporation. They have assets: in 2006 they reported assets of $54,000,000. They have income: in 2006 they reported revenues of $37,000,000. They have a president. His name is William H. Meadows. They have members, because they are a kind of club. TWS (that’s their pet nickname for The Wilderness Society) claims 300,000 members.

TWS is what is generally known as a “special interest group.” They have special interests. They lobby Congress. They get involved in elections. They sue people, especially the Federal Government. They also sit on important boards and commissions.

We mentioned one of their lawsuits two posts ago. TWS sued the US Forest Service, specifically the Plumas national Forest, for an “improper” SEIS, which is the acronym for Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

It seems the Plumas NF wanted to thin some forests, to make those forests less likely to burn up in catastrophic forest fires. They called that proposed thinning “creating Defensible Fuel Profile Zones” which are areas approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide where fuel loadings are reduced, usually along roads. In order to do the thinnings properly and legally, the Plumas NF first did a plan and analysis, called an SEIS (see previous paragraph).

That involved making a plan, evaluating it, and presenting it to the public for the public’s input. It was all very “by the book.” The Plumas NF followed all the laws, such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Planning Act (NEPA), and even one you may not have heard of, the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. In the HFQLGFRA the U.S. Congress directed the Plumas NF to do exactly the the kind of forest thinnings they laid out.

That’s how closely the Plumas NF followed the law; they were told by Congress (and President Bill Clinton, who signed the HFQLGFRA) that they MUST do these thinnings and so they did, or tried to anyway.

But the Wilderness Society (TWS, remember them? see the beginning of this essay) did not like all that. TWS is very stuffy about the law. They felt that, somehow, the laws was not being followed just right, so they sued. TWS sued in Federal Court, but they lost at the trial level, so they appealed. TWS’s appeal was accepted by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, and last week that court ruled in favor of TWS [here].
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17 May 2008, 8:24pm
The 2008 Fire Season
by admin

The Honeybee Fire: A Whoofoo Blows Up In California

The Honeybee Fire is a whoofoo (wildland use fire) currently burning out of control in the Inyo National Forest. The Honeybee Fire was ignited by lightning on May 6. Although the fire could have been readily extinguished with little effort and expense, Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch decided to Let It Burn.

Today the Honeybee Fire reached over 1,150 acres in size. It has burned from the Pacific Crest Trail near Haiwee Pass (30 miles south of Lone Pine, CA) westward into the Kern River watershed. The fire has crossed the Kern River in the Kennedy Meadows area, and is burning onto the Sequoia National Forest.

The Honeybee Fire has grown nearly 4-fold in the last two days. The 8-man fire use management team (FUM) assigned to the fire was unable to manage or “steer” the fire as high winds swept over the Sierra Crest.

Today (May 17) two 25-man crews were sent to fight the Honeybee WFU Fire. As far as we know the official status of the Honey Bee Fire is still WFU although suppression efforts have been applied.

No notice has been issued regarding the Pacific Crest Trail, but we assume it is either closed or very dangerous from Haiwee Pass to Olancha Pass at the moment.

At this writing there is no mention of this incident on InciWeb. Most of the on-the-ground info comes from Cal Fire News [here]. No cost to date information has been released.

Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch apparently believed that they would watch this fire burn from May until October or November. They issued a press release [here] that states:

Fire management officials from the Inyo National Forest are working closely with fire management from the Sequoia National Forest in the monitoring of the Honeybee Fire to ensure that it continues to meet resource objectives as it burns.

What those “resource objectives” are is not stated. No NEPA planning, no Environmental Impact Statement, no Environmental Analysis, and no public involvement of any kind were implemented prior to the decision to let the Honeybee Fire burn for six months.

Now the “unplanning” has backfired and nearly 60 firefighters are risking their lives to stop a fire that could have been extinguished by one man with a shovel 11 days ago. Many millions of dollars will be spent on the Honeybee Fire. It could blow up and become one of the largest fires in California history. That possibility is real because Inyo NF officials led by Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch are still operating under the delusion that the Honeybee Fire is “good” for resources.

Your tax dollars are being spent to destroy your forests by the most irresponsible and lawless agency of the Federal Government, the US Forest Service.

The Honeybee Fire will go down in history as a catastrophic mistake. Remember, you read it here first. As of the time of this writing, no other news outlet has carried this story (except for Cal Fire News [here], a stellar source of fire info in California).

For more late-breaking information on the Honeybee Fire, see the W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking Site [here].

16 May 2008, 8:46pm
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin

Incinerating California Judiciously

The lamebrained leftwing arsonist judges on the 9th Circuit Court have done it again. This week they issued an “opinion” that enjoined the USFS Plumas National Forest from implementing pilot thinning projects called for in the 1998 Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act.

The Plumas proposed thinning thicket forests overloaded fuels and crowded trees to create DFPZ’s (Defensible Fuel Profile Zones: areas approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide where fuel loadings are reduced, usually along roads) that would have saved hundreds of thousands of acres of Sierra forest from catastrophic fire [here].

Last October, Judge Morrison C. England of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California issued a written judgment denying the injunctions demanded by a coalition of environmental groups led by Sierra Forest Legacy, formerly known as Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign. Others in the coalition are the Center For Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Wilderness Society.

The Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction on grounds that the Slapjack, Basin and Empire Projects risked irreparable harm to old forest habitat and imperiled wildlife including California spotted owls, Pacific fishers and American martens. However, no fishers or martens have been seen within 200 miles of any of the project areas during the last 40 years.

The Projects are forest thinnings in the Wildland-Urban Interface, that most dangerous of fire zones. The Empire Project will treat 2,500 acres immediately adjacent to five communities at risk: Quincy, Massack, Greenhorn, Keddie and Butterfly Valley. The 35,00 acre Slapjack Project is near the communities of Brownsville, Challenge, Clipper Mills, Dobbins, Feather Fall, Forbestown, and Strawberry Valley, which collectively are home to between 5,000 and 7,0000 people. The Basin Project is 1,300 acres of similar selective thinning.
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13 May 2008, 9:17pm
2007 Fire Season Federal forest policy
by admin

Enviros OK Salvage Logging

I missed this one. You people are supposed to keep me in the swim. But here it is anyway, two weeks late.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Mark Rey, Undersec for the USFS at the USDA, asking him to expedite salvage logging on the Shake Table and Egley burns of last summer. Not only that, but sue-happy enviro outfit OregonWild gave their benediction, promising not to sue over this particular salvage logging deal. How generous of them!

From the Ogre-onian [here]:

Wyden pushes for quick OK on logging Salvage - Timber firms and environmentalists work out an agreement for two counties hit by fires

by Matthew Preusch, Thursday, May 01, 2008, The Oregonian

BEND — Sen. Ron Wyden is asking the U.S. Forest Service to speed approval of logging in areas of eastern Oregon burned by two recent wildfires.

The two salvage logging sales are the subject of a proposed agreement between the timber companies and environmentalists that would log about 38 million board feet of timber in Grant and Harney counties.

“The conservation community, the timber industry and the local elected officials in Eastern Oregon have proposed an agreement that will salvage valuable timber, provide needed product for local lumber mills and aid the ailing economies in a rural area of my state,” Wyden, D-Ore., said in a letter Tuesday to Mark Rey, the undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the Department of Agriculture.

Eastern Oregon’s timber industry has been teetering during the recent downturn in home construction.

One of Grant County’s three mills shut down last year. Another, Malheur Lumber in John Day, furloughed its 80 employees more than two weeks ago and has been idle since because of a lack of logs, said Mike Billman, the mill’s timber manager.

The quarter-century-old pine mill, which supplies lumber for window and door manufacturers, gets about 10 percent of its logs from the surrounding Malheur National Forest. In 2006, about 16 million board feet was cut from the Malheur National Forest. That’s about 5 percent of what it was 20 years ago.

Environmentalists traditionally oppose salvage logging, citing harm to soils and habitat. Tim Lillebo, east Oregon field representative for the group Oregon Wild, said his organization is making an exception in this case because it wants to ensure that local mills survive the present economic downturn so the timber industry can perform future thinning and conservation projects on public lands.

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11 May 2008, 11:09am
Climate and Weather
by admin

The Cost and Futility of Trading Hot Air

by Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, Friday, 09 May 2008

Full text [here]

Excerpt from The Cost and Futility of Trading Hot Air:

With climate change, politics regrettably predominates. This time, there is a dangerous complication: politicized science. The surprisingly small group of scientists who started and still stir the “global warming” scare have undesirably close financial links with politicians and corporations. Yet the notion that “global warming” is so severe a threat that it demands major increases in taxation and regulation, coupled with deep, strategic cuts in the Western economies, would only be defensible if all of the following propositions were true –

1. “The scientists, politicians, and news media behind ‘global warming’ are honest”: They are not;

2. “The debate is over and all credible climate scientists are agreed”: It is not; they are not;

3. “Temperature today has risen exceptionally fast and above natural variability”: It has not;

4. “Changes in solar activity do not significantly impact today’s global warming”: They do;

5. “Greenhouse-gas increases are the main reason why it is getting warmer”: They are not;

6. “The fingerprint of anthropogenic greenhouse warming is clearly present”: It is absent;

7. “Computer models are accurate enough to predict the climate reliably”: They cannot be;

8. “Global warming is to blame for present and future climate disasters”: It is not;

9. “Mitigating climate change will be cost-effective”: It will not;

10. “Taking precautions, just in case, would be the responsible course”: It would not be.

Each of these ten conformist propositions, every one of which must be shown true before substantial policy changes can be considered advisable, is demonstrated to be questionable at best, false at worst.

There has been serious, serial scientific dishonesty, misrepresentation, and exaggeration. Increasing numbers of peer-reviewed papers are expressing open doubts about all of the main points of “global warming” theory. Today’s temperature is well within natural climate variability. The Sun’s activity is now declining from the recent 70-year-long solar Grand Maximum, during which the Sun was more active, for longer, than at almost any similar previous period in the past 11,400 years. Climate models have exaggerated the effect of all greenhouse gases on temperature, and have also increased the feedback multiplier by more than half in a decade, without explanation or justification. The models do not accurately represent major features of the climate, and it has long been proven impossible to predict the long-run evolution of any mathematically-chaotic object, such as the climate, unless one knows the initial state of the object to a degree of precision that, with the climate, is in practice unattainable.
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10 May 2008, 10:59am
2007 Fire Season Federal forest policy
by admin

Long Valley Voices

The incineration of the Payette NF (and the Boise NF) did not go unnoticed by the local residents. The following words and photos are excerpted from Discover McCall Idaho, a local promotional website, and the McCall Star-News. Special thanks to Joe B. for providing the links. Satellite photo courtesy NASA.

July 19, 2007 [here]

Loon Lake Fire marches toward vacation homes — Secesh residents advised to evacuate

by Tecla Markosky, The Star News

Residents of Secesh Meadows northeast of McCall were advised to evacuate their homes on Wednesday in the face of the growing Loon Lake Fire. …

About 80 people attended a community meeting Tuesday night. Estimates says between 40 and 50 buildings are in the area occupied by between 50 and 100 part-time residents.

The atmosphere was congenial at the beginning of the meeting but immediately switched when the fire management team began its presentation. …

Bob Frye of the fire management team said firefighters can work to protect a home from igniting, but do not have the training to fight a house fire.

“If a house is on fire, it’s gone,” Frye said.

Elsewhere on the Payette, the Krassel Complex includes four lightning fires being allowed to burn through the forest where they can improve forest health, managers said.

These fires started on June 17 and may burn throughout the fires season as long as they continue to be beneficial, said Jack Horner, public information officer for the California team watching those fires.

July 26, 2007 [here]

Secesh residents breathe easier as Loon Fire quiets

by Tecla Markosky, The Star News

… Vern Peterson, a 20-year fulltime Secesh resident, said he is frustrated with the Forest Service over the management of the local lands.

“As thick as that forest is, the Forest Service knows that if they don’t de fuel it, we’re going to continue to have this problem,” said Peterson, a retired logger.

“Yet they don’t have timber sales,” he said. “This is totally out of control. It was a time bomb waiting to happen.”

Last weekend, Peterson had especially good visibility of the encroaching flames.

“My neighbors a few homes down could see the trees go off like roman candles,” he said.

Sept. 20, 2007 [here]

Acres burned this year blow away previous records

by Michael Wells, The Star News

This year’s forest fire season has shattered previous record years for both the Payette and Boise national forests.

Fires have burned 394,313 acres on the Payette forest as of Tuesday, Payette forest spokesperson Denise Cobb said.

The previous record on the Payette forest was 343,347 burned acres in 2000.
Fires have burned 243,316 on the Boise forest this year, Boise forest spokesperson David Olson said.

The previous record on the Boise forest was 207,000 acres in 1992.

This year’s burned area represents 16 percent of the Payette forest’s 2.3 million acres and 9 percent of the Boise forest’s 2.6 million acres.

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9 May 2008, 9:12am
2007 Fire Season Federal forest policy
by admin

The Incineration of the Payette

Since 1993 over a million acres of the Payette National Forest have been incinerated. In 1994 300,573 acres burned. In 2000 343,347 acres burned. In 2006 over 70,000 acres burned. And in 2007 a whopping 470,529 acres of the Payette NF went up in smoke. That’s 1.27 million acres in 4 of 14 years (I don’t have data for the other intervening years).

The Payette NF is 2.3 million acres in size, so using the data available, 55 percent has burned in the last 14 fire seasons. I have been told but cannot confirm (because I don’t have all the data) that the actual burn percentage is 70 percent .

The nearly half million acres of the Payette that burned in 2007 was more or less deliberate on the part of the US Forest Service. They planned it, and then carried it out.

Following the 2006 fire season (70,000 acres) USA Today ran the following article [here]:

Forest fire strategy: Just let it go, USA Today, November 2006

In the worst year for wildfires in nearly half a century, it may seem odd to celebrate how well some of them burned. But the Payette National Forest in central Idaho is doing just that.

“It was a real long season, but we got some nice fire effects,” says Sam Hescock, a fire management officer on the 2.3-million-acre forest where more than 150 fires this summer and fall burned about 70,000 acres. “We’re pretty happy with what we got.”

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