Global Warming Is To Blame For Everything

It’s global warming’s fault. No matter what it is, global warming did it. As reported [here]:

Among the items on the list: acne, alligators in Britain’s Thames River, brain-eating amoebas, childhood insomnia, the risk of an asteroid strike, attacks from killer jellyfish, the death of the Loch Ness monster, killer cornflakes, the extinction of salmon, and a change in the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

Also on the list: frogs with extra heads, frostbite, witchcraft executions, traffic jams, UFO sightings, a walrus stampede, an invasion of king crabs, indigestion, short-nosed dogs, and nuclear war.

An outfit called Number Watch has compiled a list of 756 dire outcomes allegedly caused by global warming. But they can’t keep up. Yesterday Science Daily presented #757: Swiss needle cast.

Forests at Risk: Swiss Needle Cast Epidemic in Douglas-Fir Trees Unprecedented, Still Getting Worse

ScienceDaily, Apr. 12, 2010 [here]

The Swiss needle cast epidemic in Douglas-fir forests of the coastal Pacific Northwest is continuing to intensify, appears to be unprecedented over at least the past 100 years, and is probably linked to the extensive planting of Douglas-fir along the coast and a warmer climate, new research concludes.

What warmer climate? The climate in Oregon is the same as it has been for the entire Holocene. If anything, it is COOLER now than it was 6 to 9,000 years ago, albeit by only a degree or two.

Last December we reported [here] that glacial runoff from glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are enriching near shore marine ecosystems with organic debris. The debris has been carbon-dated and is 2,500 to 7,000 years old.

The evidence strongly suggests that forests existed along the Gulf of Alaska between 2,500 to 7,000 years ago but have been subsequently covered by glaciers. The crushed organic matter from those forests is being expelled by the glaciers there today. From 2,500 to 7,000 years ago the coast of Alaska was warm enough to grow forests. That is not the case today.

Neoglaciation has been occurring for the last 6,000+ years, ever since temperatures started to decline from the Holocene Climatic Optimum, entirely consistent with the decline in solar insolation due to Milankovitch cycles, which peaked ~10,000 years ago.

The Earth has been cooling for 6,000+ years as we head toward another Ice Age, a pattern that has been repeated ~18 times over the last 1.8 million years.

To make matters in Oregon cooler, 2 to 3 years ago the Pacific Decadal Oscillation [here] shifted into its cool phase, bringing cooler water to Oregon’s coast and cooling our weather patterns. Cooler, cooler, cooler cooler.

Hence, therefore, and ergo, it can’t be warmer weather that is causing the Swiss needle cast epidemic, since our weather here is cooler now.

Note: it’s 40 deg F right now. Which is a good thing because it didn’t frost last night on the fruit blossoms. However, we had hard frosts earlier this week and more are expected. Orchardists are smudging from Medford to Hood River.

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WFLC Up to Their Old Tricks

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) is up to their old tricks, and catastrophic megafires are sure to follow.

The WFLC is a Federal Advisory Board that was established in April 2002 to implement and coordinate the National Fire Plan, the Ten-Year Strategy (a component of the National Fire Plan) and the Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy. They are the group that has promulgated whoofoos (wildland use fires or WFU’s).

For A Short History of the WFLC see [here].

The WFLC excludes the public and the press from their meetings. They do however seat deep-pocket lobby groups (non-governmental organizations or NGO’s) including the Nature Conservancy and the Wilderness Society. Federal funds were passed to these lobby groups through the WFLC. The lobby groups also provide a “revolving door” of high-paying positions to former government employees formerly seated on the WFLC.

During closed door meetings in 2008 the WFLC directed the five Federal land management agencies under their purview to adopt Appropriate Management Response (AMR) and Wildland Fire Use (WFU). The agencies did so without implementing any NEPA process, without public comment or review, and in violation of the lthe Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

As a result, numerous wildfires have been allowed to burn without aggressive suppression actions. Tremendous destruction and degradation of natural resource values has occurred [here].

Two days after I posted “A Short History” (above, March 15, 2010) the WFLC, reformed by Sec Interior Ken Salazar, had a meeting. They subsequently posted a brief summary of the minutes of that meeting [here].

Those March 17, 2010 minutes are the first the WFLC has posted in 2 years. An excerpt:

The WFLC agreed to adopt the Cohesive Strategy (CS) proposal in the comprehensive form, including the three components of Landscape Restoration, Fire-Adapted Communities, and Fire Response as presented. The 2009 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR) and National Policy Framework Documents (A Call to Action, Mutual Expectations, and Roles and Responsibilities) will be the foundational documents from which the CS will be developed, and that “Risk” will be the “common currency” used for scientific evaluation and assessment of alternatives.

Before April 15, 2010, the WFLC members will be provided with details of this CS blueprint approach including, process structure, locations of workshop, categories of invitees, a plan for tribal consultation and how this will meet the requirements of the FLAME Act.

The WFLC will act as Board of Directors, oversee the invitation process, and ensure the development process is collaborative.

The CS Oversight Committee, Tom Harbour and Kirk Rowdabaugh, will send Cohesive Strategy development process details to Ryan Yates, Mike Carrier, Ann Walker, Caitlyn Pollihan, Bob Roper, and Jim Erickson. They will make suggestions about who to invite and locations for local workshops. Invitations will be based upon the principles of inclusiveness and diversity, including geographical, levels of government, non-government, and cultural. These people, including Kirk and Tom, will comprise the Cohesive Strategy Oversight Committee.

I am pretty sure I will NOT be invited to the invitation-only meetings.

Note that the WFLC has chosen the 2009 Quadrennial Fire Review (QFR) to guide their “Cohesive Strategy”. SOS Forests posts regarding the QFR are [here, here, here]. The entire QFR may be downloaded [here].

The QFR includes endorsement of the “Leave Early Or Stay And Defend” policy that resulted in 200 deaths and more than 2,000 homes incinerated in Australia in February 2009. It also includes endorsement of the expansion of wildland fire use (whoofoo’s). The QFR was supposed to be a speculative look ahead, not a policy guidance document. It was never subject to public review and was never “adopted” by policy makers. Yet here it is guiding policy — again without public input or public review.

Also noted in the March 17, 2010 WFLC minutes is yet another revision of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) authorizing the WFLC. They did not include the revisions in their posting. The MOU is the legal document that justifies inclusion of NGO’s at WFLC meetings and the exclusion of the public. It would probably require a FOIA request to obtain that document, but there is no guarantee that the WFLC will obey a FOIA request. They do not feel they have to obey other Federal laws.

The fire community is philosophically divorced and estranged from the forest community. The fire people do what they do without consideration for the multiple values that form the foundation of forest stewardship and management such as timber, wildlife, water, soils, recreation, etc., and without consideration of the laws that guide forest management such as ESA, NEPA, MU-SY, NFMA, HFRA, etc.

Fire “management” is on its own separate track, seemingly above the law in many ways. That leads to huge conflicts, catastrophes, megafires, and circumvention of forest management goals, as well as a plethora of activities that are more or less illegal. The WFLC thumbs it nose at many laws, not just FACA and APA.

Dr. Stephen J. Pyne wrote two excellent essays that W.I.S.E. has posted about the widening gap between fire management and forest management. They are apropos and very much worth reading:

The Wrath of Kuhn [here]

Friendly Fire [here]

The WFLC typifies government at its worst: exclusionary, elitist, above the law, corrupt, and hugely destructive. Our forests, watersheds, homes, and very lives are put at risk whenever the WFLC meets. The “Risk” that is their “common currency” is yours and mine, not theirs.

Be prepared to flee your homes the next time a fire erupts on Federal land. Whether you live in a small town like New Harmony, Utah, or a big city like Los Angeles, when the fire community guided by the WFLC decides to burn you out, they will, without a second thought.

The Largest Tax Gouge in the History of the Planet

Four days after Tax Day, 2010, a bill enacting the largest tax increase in the history of the world is set to appear on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Tax-Zilla is couched as an energy and climate bill by the “Three Tax-a-teers” Sens. John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman.

Crunch time for climate change bill

By Ben Geman, The Hill, 04/12/10 [here]

It’s crunch time for the climate bill in the Senate.

As Congress returns from recess, the Senate trio crafting a compromise global warming bill are under pressure to gain the traction needed for floor action this year.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) plan to unveil their long-awaited energy and climate bill the week of April 19. Earth Day is April 22.

From there, they have just weeks to build momentum and show Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that it has a strong chance of surpassing 60 votes, observers say. …

Banking on the fear generated by Algore’s global warming hoax, the Tax-a-teers hope to inflict the largest tax hike ever on an economy already reeling from runaway government deficit spending.

Socialist Obamaloids are drooling at the prospect of socking America with $10,000 per year exactions on every man, woman, and child in America. The blood-sucking will come from new taxes on energy which will cause immediate price inflation on every commodity across the nation.

But the Obama administration wants something more ambitious. White House officials are working with KGL on their legislation and pressing the Senate not to abandon emissions caps.

“We are very clear that we want comprehensive legislation,” White House energy and climate adviser Carol Browner said April 6. “Every now and then you will hear talk about maybe an energy-only bill. We think that would be unfortunate.”

Yesterday long-faced John Kerry dropped the H-bomb analogy, comparing global warming to thermonuclear annihilation [here] in an effort to inflame paranoia about what many have called the Greatest Hoax in History. Rest assured the impacts of his history-making tax gouge will far surpass any imaginary effects of putative “climate change”.

With the American economy in tatters, record home foreclosures, and double-digit unemployment, all the U.S. Congress can think of to do is tax to the max like there’s no tomorrow.

Meanwhile millions of angry voters will be protesting outrageous government theft on April 15th in TEA Parties at city halls and state capitols from sea to shining sea.

Congress is unfazed, however, knowing full well that American voters are the most gullible fools since lemmings were invented. Acne-ridden Acornistas and the hysterically paranoid set would vote for Mao Tse Tung if they had the chance. In fact, we may have already elected a Mao clone for president.

If you haven’t had enough of Socialism yet, get ready. There’s an economic train wreck coming like none ever seen before in America.

QLG Update

An excellent news report written by Joshua Sebold of the Plumas County News follows this essay. He reports on the progress that has been made by the Plumas National Forest working in collaboration with the Quincy Library Group [here].

The Quincy Library Group is a grassroots effort initiated in 1992 in Quincy, California. A group of citizens were concerned over the demise of the timber industry and the concomitant build up of hazardous fuels in the National Forests surrounding their communities. Discussions held at the local library led to a series of proposals recommending improvements for management of the Lassen N.F., the Plumas N.F., and the Sierraville Ranger District of the Tahoe N.F.

The strong community involvement also led to the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act [here]. In October, 1998, the United States Senate approved the legislation introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Representative Wally Herger (R-Chico).

The HFQLGFR Act directed National Forests in the QLG area to do 40 to 60 thousand acres per year of strategic fuel reduction in defensible fuelbreaks for five years and to implement group selection silviculture on an area-wide basis.

Numerous appeals and lawsuits followed. The usual suspects, eco-litigious pro-fire anti-logging groups, threw up roadblock after roadblock. The fuelbreaks and the thinnings were delayed. One outcome of the delays was the 2007 Moonlight Fire [here] that burned 65,000 acres and destroyed old-growth and spotted owl habitat.

See [here] for photos of the damages caused by wildfires in Plumas County and the Sierras.

But the Quincy Library Group forged ahead undeterred. In 2008 the HFQLGFR Act was extended to 2012 [here]. The fuelbreak construction has never met the 40 to 60 thousand acres per year target, exceeding 30,000 acres only once, in 2006 [here]. However, over 200,000 acres have been treated despite all the hurdles erected by eco-litigious groups.

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Jim’s Creek Restoration Photos

The Jim’s Creek Savanna Restoration Project [here] on the Middle Fork District of the Willamette National Forest is a demonstration project and model for forest restoration in Oregon. An ancient oak/pine savanna, maintained by Molalla and Kalapuya Indians, formerly extended deep into the mountains along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River above Oakridge. Today remnant old oaks, open-grown old-growth ponderosa pines, and tarweed (Madia spp) fields can still be seen, although a thicket of Douglas-fir has invaded in the last 100 years.

The USFS identified, mapped, planned, and is engaged in restoring a 450 acres near Jim’s Creek. We have received permission to share some recent photographs of the Jim’s Creek Project and nearby unrestored areas taken by Bob Zybach, Program Manager, Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc. [here]. An ORWW directory [here] containes more of Bob’s photos. Note: any use of these photos MUST include attribution to Bob Zybach and ORWW as stated above.

A culturally modified tree (CMT). The scar on this old-growth ponderosa pine was made by Molalla Indians who peeled the bark and collected the pine sap. Click for larger image.

Pictured is USFS forester/silviculturalist Tim Bailey who master-minded and manages the Jim’s Creek Savanna Restoration Project. Other key USFS personnel involved were the late Carol Winkler, USFS archaeologist, Chip Weber, former District Ranger and now Forest Supervisor on the Kootenai NF, and Dallas Emch, now retired former Willamette NF Forest Supervisor.

Elk favor the new openings created by removing the invasive, young-growth Douglas-fir. Click for larger image.

Volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have been involved in this project from its inception and built the initial exclosures about 10 years ago to measure forage response to burning and grazing by elk and deer. Bill Richardson, RMEF Oregon and Washington Lands Program Manager led the contingent, who also planted oak seedlings on the Project site last month.

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7 Apr 2010, 4:24pm
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Copyright Rip-Offs Are Uncool

It has come to my attention that a for-profit magazine has printed and published an essay of mine:

* without my knowledge

* without my permission

* without remuneration

* without any editorial control on my part

* without any link to this site

The Oregon Fish & Wildlife Journal ripped off my work without so much as a phone call to me to let me know. Now my essay appears in their journal with their copyright stamped on it.

That is so uncool.

Really sloppy, unprofessional, and probably actionable, should I choose to take legal tort action against that magazine and their publisher.

Really, really uncool.

For whatever they might be worth, my words, essays, photographs, etc. are my property. They are not free for the taking, especially not for somebody else’s financial gain.

If you want to repost in full something you see here, please ask permission. Chances are I will grant it, with the condition that proper attributions and links are included. If it’s just a few lines, you don’t even need to ask — but you should still include a link to this site.

If you want to print something of mine in your for-profit magazine, please do me the courtesy of contacting me before you do and requesting my permission. Understand that in such a case I may expect to be PAID for my art.

If you are the publisher, a subscriber, or an advertiser in Oregon Fish & Wildlife Journal, you owe me.

One appropriate course of action you could take is to make a donation to W.I.S.E. [here]. If you do, I will consider your debt to me to be paid in full.

Thank you for your support!

Mike Dubrasich, Exec Dir W.I.S.E.

Blame the Victims: The Mill Flat Whoofoo Cover-up

The US Forest Service has issued a “Lessons Learned” report blaming the citizens of New Harmony, Utah for burning their own homes down in a whoofoo (wildland fire use fire).

The Mill Flat WFU Fire (2009, Dixie NF, 12,607 acres) [here] was “monitored” until it blew up. The fire roared into New Harmony, Utah, forced the evacuation of 170 New Harmony residents, destroyed three homes and damaged eight buildings. The fire eventually cost over $6.5 million to suppress.

Now the USFS blames the victims for failing to express their wishes that the Agency put the fire out before it blew up. The Mill Flat Fire Review (4.5 MB PDF) was posted 4/2/2010 at the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (WFLLC) [here]. (Note: The WFLLC is part of the National Advanced Fire & Resource Institute (NAFRI) [here], an “interagency consortium” supported by the USFS, BLM, NPS, BIA, and USFWS.)

Background [here]: The Mill Flat WFU Fire ignited July 25, 2009, in the Dixie National Forest. Bevan Killpack, Pine Valley District Ranger and Rob MacWhorter, Forest Supervisor for the Dixie NF, decided the fire should be allowed to burn unchecked. One person was assigned to monitor the fire and a 29,000 acre “maximum manageable area” was designated. The Mill Flat Fire was declared a foofurb, a “fire used for resource benefit”, despite the fact that no benefits were elucidated, no EIS created, and no public involvement or hearings held.

Note: Foofurb is the new (2009) designation for whoofoo. After eight years of promoting “wildland fire use” (WFU or whoofoo), the propaganda meisters decided to change the name to foofurb, “fire used for resource benefit”. In fact, whoofoos and foofurbs are Let It Burn fires. The USFS hates the term “Let It Burn” so they desperately seek obfuscations.

As of August 22 the fire was 550 acres. Then a week later the wind came up, the fire blew up, and by August 31 the fire was 10,382 acres. The fire roared into New Harmony, Utah, forced the evacuation of 170 New Harmony residents, destroyed three homes and damaged eight buildings.

Some benefit, eh?

At the time Utah Governor Gary Herbert criticized the USFS [here]

“It appears the Forest Service started the fire,” Herbert said Sunday. “They should take responsibility.” …

Herbert also took aim at restrictions on federal wilderness areas. The Mill Flat fire started July 25 within the Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness Area.

Before Congress designated the area as protected wilderness, livestock grazing controlled vegetation overgrowth that causes fires to burn more intensely when they do start, he said.

“With wilderness, our hands are tied behind our backs,” Herbert said. “It sets us up for a tragedy.” …

Fire spokesman Kenton Call said questions about cost and the decision not to fight the fire earlier will be addressed at a later date.

The later date has arrived and the questions answered: the fire blow up and destruction it caused were the fault of the New Harmony residents, not the USFS.

According to the Lessons Learned report, one of the factors that led to the fire reaching town was that residents failed to inform the USFS that they did not wish to be burned out:

Several folks interviewed shared that although they had concerns or doubts about continuing with the strategy to manage the Mill Flat Fire after August 25, 2009, they did not speak up.

Evidently if you don’t scream in their ears, the USFS cannot hear you. Officious blobs of stupid will incinerate you, and then blame you for not explaining to them what a poor decision choice that might be.

According to the Lessons Learned report, the public was “confused” by the “multiple terms for various management options for wildland fire”.

“Fire for Resource Benefit”, “Suppression Fire” and “Benefit Fires” are terms and ideas that continue to narrow our vision. Labels can narrow one’s vision of management options and perhaps contribute to reduced situational awareness. … There were misconceptions among the participants regarding the interactions between wilderness and fire management policy.

One of the narrow visions that confused the public was that the USFS fuel break designed to protect the community of New Harmony would be effective at stopping a fire. The report clarifies that misunderstanding:

* The fuel break had not been maintained for years…

* The original design of the fuel break required all vegetation to be left in the drainages. This resulted in two “wicks” that, if left untreated, provided a clear path for the fire to cross. …

* The fuel break was built on the USFS property boundary; in many cases this was not best tactical location to be effective.

* The width of the fuel break was not adequate for the fire behavior that occurred.

* The fuel break was never intended to “stop” a fire but rather to reduce fire intensity to a more manageable level by reducing fuel loading and breaking the continuity between the wildlands and the community.

The fuel break was a joke. The residents of New Harmony should have known they were being played. They were told that “public safety” was the principal concern of the USFS in any fire situation. The residents were gullible enough to believe that, when the policy of the USFS over years and years was to ignore public safety with a fake fuel break that the USFS knew was inadequate and poorly designed.

Now the USFS says the purpose of the fuel break was NOT to stop fires from burning into town. The residents should have known that all along.

The Lesson Learned conclusions:

The team found that managers performed within the context of their experience and training. Their actions were reasonable based on what they knew and what they expected to happen and the policy available to guide their decisions.

Fire managers consistently made firefighter and public safety the highest priority on the Mill Flat Fire. Strong interagency relationships helped communicate with partners on fire status.

In other words, NO LESSONS WERE LEARNED AT ALL.

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5 Apr 2010, 12:29pm
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The Good Neighbor Extravaganza

Coming April 17, 2010

Where in the world…can you have a blast discussing soup to nuts with a hydro climatologist, rodeo clown, astrophysicist, renewable energy expert, education’s whistle blower, auctioneer, three attorneys and a comedian?

In Denver! At the Good Neighbor Forum, April 17, 2010 at Casselman’s Bar and Venue 26th & Walnut

From 12:00 - 5:00 PM — Public welcome ($25.00 - GNL members free) — Doors open at 11:00 AM.

and the

Good Neighbor of the Year Recognition Dinner

Hamburger Buffet & *Benefit Auction, April 17, 2010, from 6:30 - 9:30 PM — Public welcome ($75.00 - GNL members $50.00)

Co-hosts: Colonel Mark Trostel, Lea Marlene, Scott Shuman

Master of Ceremonies - Hadley Barrett (Premier Rodeo Announcer)

Recognition of Kevin McNicholas (Owner/partner K.M. Concessions) as Good Neighbor Of The Year.

Book Signing Jim Keen Photographer, author - Great Ranches Of The West, and Colorado Rocky Mountain Wide.

Music throughout forum and evening event provided by Curt Blake (Rodeo music spinner extraordinaire)

Percentage of proceeds benefit Colorado Boys Ranch.

For details, to join GNL, and to purchase tickets click [here] or [here]

***************

Good Neighbor Forum Program

12:00 Scott Shuman, Auctioneer: “This will be the most exciting thing to hit downtown Denver since the Rockies made the playoffs!”

12:00 Lea Marlene, Comedian, Actress, Writer: “Come to Casselman’s Saturday! Be super cool and make reservations in advance. It’s the classy thing to do! See you then!”

12:05 Michael Shaw, Attorney: Agenda 21 - “There are a thousand points of darkness that are now wafting upon us. What are Americans supposed to do, fight a thousand battles?”

12:35 Beverly Eakman, Education’s whistle blower: “Our psychologized classrooms are producing a nation of sitting ducks.”

1:05 Leon Coffee, bullfighter/rodeo clown: “America’s economy has changed, but God’s economy never changes.”

1:20 Dr. Howard Hayden, Retired Professor of Physics, expert on renewable energy: “People will do anything to save the world… except take a course in science.”

1:50 Robert Nagel, C.U. Rothgerber Professor of Constitutional Law, Author of The Implosion of American Federalism: “The fact that so many of the hopes and fears [over federalism] should be riveted on this supremely unlikely institution is itself a discouraging sign of implosion.”

2:20 Karen Budd-Falen, Attorney exposing taxpayer funded lawsuit racket of radical environmentalists: “Non-profit tax exempt environmental organizations receive millions of tax paid dollars from the federal government, so that they can sue the federal government to challenge the legitimate use of the land by ranchers, employers and other citizens.”

2:50 Dr. David R. Legates, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware: “We are being brainwashed. This whole discussion is not a climate discussion, it is a controlling discussion. I think there are other ulterior motives. Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant. It is NOT harmful to life on earth. If you think it’s only carbon dioxide that drives climate, you really don’t understand how the climate system works”.

3:20 Dr. Willie Soon, Astrophysicist and geoscientist at the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: “Saying the climate system is completely dominated by how much carbon dioxide we have in the system is crazy — it’s completely wrong.”

3:50 Michael Shaw — Closing remarks

4:20 Q & A Debate

5:00 Forum done. Reset for evening event.

6:30 Good Neighbor of the Year Recognition Dinner

Hamburger Buffet — Benefit Auction — Recognition of Kevin McNicholas as Good Neighbor of the Year.

*Auction items include: 1997 NFR/PRCA directors jacket, shotgun, antique wheelbarrel full of wine & roses, Breyer & Stone horses, CSU logo jewelry, Turkey & Antelope hunts, “Know Bull” limited edition posters (Leon Coffee will autograph) Coors Art Show posters, 1 day Veterinarian service, 2 NFR Tix, custom built hat, handmade boot mirror, “The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection” by Willie Wei-Hock Soon & Steven H. Yaskell, “Taken By Storm” by Christopher Essex & Ross McKitrick.

Door Prizes include: “Ol’ Satan’s Hide” Poems by Quinn Griffin [Jack Kisling composed on the Intertype in 12-point Garamond and hand printed on the Chandler & Price], and “Air Con” by Ian Wishart.

GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY [here] [here]

Easter Sunday Sunrise at Honomalino Beach

Reposted from SOS Forests, Version 1, April 15th, 2006

Honomalino Bay, one of the most protected bays in South Kona, once supported a large fishing and farming community. Numerous pre-contact cultural sites are located along the perimeter of the bay and in the amphitheater-shaped gulch inland of the sand beach. …

Low sea cliffs line most of the water’s edge of Honomalino, but a beautiful pocket beach is set into the northern corner of the bay. The beach consists primarily of black sand, but it appears gray because of an admixture of olivines and calcareous white sand. A shallow sand bar fronts the beach, but drops off quickly on the seaward side to overhead depths and a flat, rocky ocean bottom. … An extensive cocoanut grove, perpetuated by regular replanting by the area residents, covers both the backshore of the beach and adjoining Kapalua Point. Sand drifts extend a considerable distance from the nearshore vegetation into the inland kiawe groves. …

Honomalino Bay cannot be reached from the Hawai’i Belt Highway without a vehicle with four-wheel drive and without crossing private property. There is no convenient public access.

-– from Beaches of the Big Island, by John R.K. Clark. Univ. of Hawaii Press, 1985.

The ocean snores at Honomalino.

At night the only sound is the rhythmic rumble of the surf, crashing and foaming every 10 to 15 seconds. Snoring people make the most noise on the inhale; the ocean makes the most noise on the exhale, sonorously breathing out the energy of ocean swells in curling drumbeats on the sand. The waves rise and fall in a chorus line, closing their hollow tubes like long zippers around the half moon of Honomalino Beach.

Just before dawn on Easter Sunday, in a handful of colorful dome and tarpaulin tents set back in the coconut grove, sleepy campers sit up, rub their eyes, and huddling in their sleeping bags, gaze out through tent flaps at the vast Pacific Ocean. Honomalino is on the leeward side, the western side of the Big Island. The sun rises, at Honomalino, behind the huge shield of Mauna Loa, and strikes the water first while the beach and coconut grove are still shadowed in twilight. The shining ocean, the cool dawn breeze off the water, and the hypnotic snoring of the surf make it very difficult to shrug off the sleepiness.

This being Easter Sunday, however, efforts are made. Short, fat candles are lit and placed in the sand in front of tents. Prayers are said, silently and individually, by the early risers. Then one by one or in small groups, the people walk slowly down to the water, wade into the waist-high surf, and perform ablutions.

Splashing water in ritual bathing, and chanting ancient Hawaiian invocations and supplications, the worshipers sing praises first to the sea, and then turning their backs to the waves, sing praises to the island. A couple, bound at the waist by a silky white rope made of native fibers, wade together into the waves and renew their vows, to the sea, the land, the sky, and to each other.

A young man, large and strapping with long black hair over his shoulders, marches into the surf. He shouts his vows over the ocean’s roar and beats his flattened palms against the water. Throwing spray high above his head, he forms sparkling halos in the side-shafting morning sunlight. Devotions complete, he backs out of the water, always facing the sea in a gesture of respect and brotherhood. Back on damp sand, he turns, bends down, and scratches something in the sand with his finger.

He has written PA’A.

PA’A is Hawaiian for steadfastness, to hold on tight, the way a limpet clings to the rock. Even the endless, pounding surf cannot break the mighty grip of the tiny limpet. That is PA’A.

Children start to gather near the water. Little kids, toddlers even, begin to dig and splash and generally frolic in the frothy skim flowing up and back, up and back. Under the coconut trees, large women in flowered muumuus open ice chests and place enormous quantities of food on rickety picnic tables. Barbeques are lit, and the faint aroma of lighter fluid and burning briquettes spice the sea breeze. It is going to be one heck of a great breakfast. Laughter, chatter, and Hawaiian music from assorted boom boxes obscure the rumbles of the waves. The ocean keeps on snoring anyway, seemingly oblivious.

In the dawning light of Easter Sunday morning at Honomalino Beach, vows are made in front of God and Man. Bonds are reconfirmed, and commitments recommitted. Symbolic acts of devotion, love, and celebration, and expressions of unwavering resolve, are performed where sea meets land meets sky meets the caretakers, God’s Children, the keepers of the Promise, the tenders of Creation.

Restoring the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest has instituted a program to restore a portion of the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields.

The Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields are on the west side of Mt. Adams between 3,900 and 4,700 feet. In 1900 the fields covered 6,000 to 8,000 acres but probably covered 15,000 acres a hundred years earlier. At present the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields are estimated to cover approximately 1,500 acres. Only 200 acres of those are open berry fields.

From the Sawtooth Huckleberry Restoration Environmental Assessment (EA):

The Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields have served as a destination point for Indian people for thousands of years. Today huckleberries continue to be honored by Yakama Indians as a sacred food, with a ceremony that marks the beginning of the summer gathering season. In recognition of its importance to Yakama Indians, a portion of the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields was set aside for exclusive Indian berrypicking use in 1932. In the Treaty of 1855, the Yakama Nation reserved the right to gather berries on ceded lands.

Strong historical evidence suggests (really there is no doubt) that anthropogenic fire (Indian burning) maintained the huckleberry fields for millennia. In the absence of deliberate burning, trees have invaded the open berry fields. Douglas-fir, true firs, mountain hemlock, and other tree species shade the berry plants, reduce flowering and fruiting, and eventually eliminate the huckleberries (primarily big huckleberry, Vaccinium membranaceum).

Research by Dr. Don Minore and others (see Minore, Don; Smart, Alan W.; Dubrasich, Michael E. 1979. Huckleberry and ecology management research in the Pacific Northwest.Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-093 [here]) found that killing the invasive trees enhances huckleberry growth and fruit production.

Experiments testing a variety of tree removal methods were undertaken. Girdling the trees had the best and most immediate effect on the huckleberry plants. Other methods, including prescribed burning, proved to be as tough on the huckleberries as on the invading trees. After 20 to 25 years, however, the burned huckleberry plants had recovered (sprouting from underground rhizomes) and were producing abundant fruit. The long recovery period may be expected given the short growing season at the high elevations of the Sawtooth Huckleberry Fields.

The GPNF proposes to use a variety of treatment methods to remove trees, including hand lopping, girdling, mechanical mulching, commercial timber harvest, and prescribed burning on 1,212 acres. A total of 19 units will be treated. About 400 acres will be underburned; the rest will be piled and burned or else the slash will be lopped and scattered.

Selected excerpts of the Decision Notice follow, with links to the EA.

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3 Apr 2010, 10:54am
Forestry education Saving Forests
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A Factual History of the Americas for Younger Scholars

A review of:

Charles C. Mann and Rebecca Stefoff. 2009. Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster.

Available [here]

This book should be in every school.

The study of historical human influences on the environment is hampered by stubborn adherence to myths and falsehoods developed in childhood. Schools teach that Native Americans were few, savage, and insignificant wandering nomads who lived in a wilderness before Europeans arrived to tame the Americas.

Charles C. Mann’s 2005 bestseller, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus [here], exploded many of those myths. He essayed the new, developing ideas and evidence regarding pre-Columbian America indicating that the Western Hemisphere was populated by millions of people living in civilizations older and more advanced than those of the invading Europeans.

Now Mann and co-author Rebecca Stefoff have adapted 1491 into a book for school children. Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 is a gorgeous “coffee table” book filled with vibrant pictures and a text that is exciting and understandable for younger scholars.

Teachers and parents take note. Don’t let your kids grow up to be ignorant of their roots. The landscapes we live in have been cultural landscapes, shaped by humanity, for thousands of years. The heritage of place is your heritage and that of your children.

Part One of Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 examines the question “How Old was the New World?” Archaeologists keep pushing the date back, but without a doubt human beings were living throughout the Americas 10,000 years ago (8,000 BC). The first cities may have been along the Peruvian coast. The pyramids at Huaricanga are at least 5,500 years old. The residents there also built irrigation canals to water cotton fields, from which they made nets to harvest fish. Ancient mariners sailed far out into the Pacific to net anchovies, sardines, and other seafood. Their cultural stamp (the distinctive gods carved on gourds) can be seen in rock carvings and temples crafted thousands of years later at Lake Titicaca, the cradle of Incan civilization.

Part Two asks “Why Did Europe Succeed?” and includes four chapters on “The Great Meeting” (Cortez and the Aztecs at Tenochtitlan), “Long, Long Ago” (the first Americans, the PaleoIndians, and Monte Verde in Chile), “Extinction” (the demise of the megafauna, including mammoths), and “Disease-Free Paradise? (the impact of European disease on the Native Americans).”

Part Three examines “Were the Americas really a Wilderness?” It’s chapters include “Amazonia” with discussion of the fruit and nut orchards found across the Amazon Basin and the anthropogenic soils called terra preta. “Land of Fire” discusses the way in which Indians maintained an anthropogenic mosaic of prairies, savannas, and open, park-like forests, principally through the use of controlled burning. In “The Created Wilderness” the authors explain how those human-shaped landscapes were abandoned when the Indian populations nearly disappeared following the introduction of Old World diseases.

We cannot plan for the future if we do not understand the past. Forests cannot be cared for, the desired future conditions cannot be achieved, if we do not have a firm grasp on how our forests developed in the first place.

Mann and Stefoff seek to instruct our youth with the historical truth, so that as adults they can make informed judgments about environmental stewardship.

Buy this book. Better yet, buy a dozen copies and donate them to your local schools. Raise the consciousness about the distant past so that our coming future is guided by knowledge instead of myth.

1 Apr 2010, 10:39pm
Useless and Stupid
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Language Baboons Loose and Running Amok

Disclaimer: this is not an April Fools joke post. This is real. I think.

Has the English language outlived its usefulness? Might as well butcher it and hang it up in a meat locker.

That’s the apparent attitude of a mysterious “working group” who seek to reconstruct our common tongue for what looks suspiciously like political purposes.

I don’t know who these baboons are, or how they got out of their cages, but would somebody please call the zookeeper and let him know?

New Report: Environmental Justice and the Green Economy

Team WE ACT, March 22, 2010 [here]

Can the climate be stabilized without a fundamental transformation of the global economy? Can we go green while billions go hungry? Can the environment be made healthy for those who can afford it, while people of color and the poor continue to live in degraded conditions? A group of US environmental justice leaders say “no” to all of the above. In a newly released report, these leaders advance a vision in which sustainability and justice - “justainability” - must be simultaneous results; that one simply cannot happen without the other.

The report includes case studies from low income communities and communities of color in Los Angeles, Navajo Nation, Harlan County Kentucky, Miami, Chicago, San Diego, New York, and Richmond California. Our cases show a diverse environmental justice movement shaping the future of the green economy at a very critical stage. As Stimulus funds are distributed and green economy resources are earmarked for “infrastructure” projects, it is vitally important for tools such as this report to be available and visible. The report concludes with 3 broad categories of recommendations for policy makers at all levels that:

1. Strive for full democratic participation.

2. Build capacity for a truly sustainable infrastructure and green economy.

3. Create and share “green” wealth.

We hope that you will use this publication in your organizing, leadership development, policy making, research, and public education efforts. Please help distribute this report to all who are striving towards a “justainable” future. …

We are now on the cusp of a great transition, as profound as that of the Industrial Revolution. Whether we emerge as a sustainable and healthy new world or fall into ecological collapse depends on the choices we make in this moment. President Obama has set a new tone for our democracy, based on making the right choices for our children and generations to come.

The unprecedented American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Stimulus” or ARRA) is a unique opportunity to promote change on a scale that has not been seen since the New Deal. How we spend $787 billion of our Federal funds may be the start of the greatest legacy our generation leaves to the future. …

As the “canaries in the coal mine” coming from “fence-line” communities, environmental justice communities have tremendous experience fighting unfair burdens and shaping sustainable and just alternatives.

My translation? Self-appointed ACORNistas want a piece of Porkulus, so they make up a new words like “justainability” and “fence-line communities” to impress the bureaucrats who are mucking out the Federal Treasury.

Team WE ACT are more like leaches than canaries. The great transition is your money to their pockets. They are Obama’s spawn. They wish to share your wealth.

The green economy will look a lot like the red economy of the Soviet Union under Stalin.

The saving grace here is that Team WE ACT are dumpster divers who had to collect spare change on the sidewalk to fund their website. They are not a force to be reckoned with.

But what do I know? It could be that Bill, Denise, Kalila, Penn, Burt et al will be millionaires a year from now. Welfare is the new boom industry. And we could all use a little more justainability in our lives, right?

Excuse me while I go burn my dictionary.

The Smoke-Tainted 2008 Wine Vintage

Back in November, 2008, I predicted that the winegrape crop in California would be tainted by the smoke from all the fires [here].

A number of sources are reporting that the smoke from this summer’s wildfires in California may have tainted the 2008 winegrape crop. Megafires from Santa Barbara to the Oregon border poured smoke into the prime Cal winegrape growing regions for three solid months, with probable deleterious effect to this year’s wine vintage. …

The Cal wine industry is a $100 billion per year affair. …

It is not yet known what the economic impact is of wildfire smoke on the 2008 winegrape crop. What is known is that smoke can taint the taste of wine, adding a tinge of “ashtray” flavor.

The wine growers were furious with me. They did not appreciate any bad-mouthing of their product before it even hit anybody’s taste buds.

Many wine growers consider themselves to be “environmentalists” and support organizations that sue, sue, sue to stop forest management and fire-resiliency forest health treatments. They do not make the connection that banning forestry could end up in megafires that emit smoke that ruins winegrapes. Too many dots to connect.

But lo and behold, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the 2008 wine vintage tastes like wet ashtrays:

Sipping These Wines Is Like Smoking and Drinking at the Same Time

Forest Fires Taint the Pinot Noir; Eliminating the ‘Wet Ashtray’ Effect

By BEN WORTHEN, WSJ.com, March 31, 2010 [here]

PHILO, Calif.—In wine vernacular, “smoky bacon” is a prized flavor for pinot noir. Not so is “wet ashtray,” which is where the powdered sturgeon bladders come in.

The 2008 pinot noirs from here in California’s Anderson Valley are starting to show up in stores. But severe forest fires during the growing season hit the grape crop that year. The fires left much of the resulting wine with “smoke taint,” according to many local winemakers, a condition similar to that in a “corked” bottle in which one unwanted taste overwhelms everything else.

Sturgeon-bladder powder, called isinglass, is what winemaker Larry Londer added to a few gallons of his 2008 pinot noir to try to fix it. Isinglass has long been used to clear wine of unwanted elements, and Mr. Londer hoped it would remove what he and other vintners call the wet-ashtray taste.

It didn’t. …

The 2008 vintage is one some winemakers are ready to stick a cork in. Many say they are only releasing a small percentage of their wine or are reducing prices to ensure good value for consumers. …

The trouble started June 20, 2008, when a lightening [sic] storm struck. Within hours, the sky was filled with smoke. Over the next weeks, the air in Anderson Valley remained dense with soot. …

Mr. Londer, however, wasn’t satisfied with the techniques he tried. He was able to get rid of the smoke if he ran his wine through a pump with a charcoal pad at the end, but says “it left us with a one-dimensional, uninteresting wine.”

So he sold 5,600 of his 8,000 gallons of wine for about $10 each on the bulk market—which collapsed from $30 to $40 per gallon—where it will be blended with wine from across the state. He ran the rest through a reverse-osmosis machine.

He plans to produce 1,000 cases of his Anderson Valley blend, which he will sell for under $35 a bottle. He typically charges $48 or $54 for higher-end products. “There will be some real bargains out there,” he says.

Winemaker Toby Hill from Phillips Hill Vineyards, meanwhile, decided to have some fun. He blended 2008 pinots from two Anderson Valley vineyards and called the finished product “Ring of Fire.”

Recently, a couple stopped by his tasting room in Philo and asked to try it. The wife thought that it was overwhelming, but the husband liked it. “It tastes smoky,” he said.

Fires burned in Northern California for three months in 2008. Some grew to mega-size. When the fire season ended, over 650,000 acres of forest had gone up in smoke in western Northern California alone. Communities and vineyards were inundated with chocking smoke for three solid months.

In Zybach, Bob, Michael Dubrasich, Gregory Brenner, and John Marker. 2009. U.S. Wildfire Cost-Plus-Loss Economics Project: The “One-Pager” Checklist. Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center, Advances in Fire Practices, Fall 2009 [here], we wrote:

What are the actual costs of a wildfire?

Large wildfires consume more than just suppression expenses (“costs”) – they also do measurable short- and long-term damages (“loss”) to public and private equity and resources. …

Recently analysts, government officials, and the media have drawn increasing attention to the escalating frequency, severity, and costs over and above fire suppression associated with large-scale forest wildfires – including losses of human lives, homes, pets, crops, livestock and environmental damage. …

To date, our own findings paint a far different picture than that commonly reported by the media or understood by the public. We have found that total short-term and long-term cost-plus-loss attributed to wildfires typically attains amounts that are ten, 20, or 30 times reported suppression expenses. …

Using standard cost-plus-loss methods, our initial estimates are that total damages for the 2008 California wildfires will likely be at least $10 billion, and may eventually total $30 billion, or even more — and that is just one state, for just one year! …

[P]reliminary research indicates that wildfire agencies’ suppression costs may represent only 2% to 10% of the total cost-plus-loss damages to burned forests – that is, recent public losses attributable to major forest wildfires may likely, and more accurately, total anywhere from $20 billion to more than $100 billion per year. …

On private land vegetation losses include timber and agricultural crops burned or impacted by wildfire smoke, such as winegrapes

In a post at SOS Forests in 2009, Wildfire ‘Benefit’ Double Talk Jive Is Over [here], I noted that the U.S. Dept. of Justice, representing the USFS, had been awarded over $100 million in a lawsuit against the Union Pacific Railroad Company, for a fire that the USDoJ said damaged the “grandeur” of the forested landscape. The courts set a precedent in that case: “grandeur” is now a compensable loss due to forest fires.

That’s on top of all the more tangible losses, such as tainting a multi-billion dollar wine vintage, jamming hospitals with smoke-inhalation victims, and devastating vegetation, soils, habitat, wildlife, watersheds, airsheds, scenery, recreation, heritage, public health and safety, and the economy on public and private lands.

Next time you hear somebody make the claim that “re-introducing fire” to forests is a necessary thing, or that wildfires can used to benefit resources, or that we should burn our forests today because global warming is going to burn them later anyhow, stop and think it through.

It is not “necessary” to inflict $100 billion a year in damages via forest fires. There are better ways to manage our forests than burning them down in megafires. Certain “externalities” can be avoided if we encourage science-based forest stewardship rather than Let It Burn catastrophic disasters.

We might even save the winegrape crop at the same time. You can drink to that.

31 Mar 2010, 12:08am
Federal forest policy Saving Forests
by admin
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USFS Chief Tom Tidwell on the Increasing Forest Fire Hazard

USFS Chief Tom Tidwell spoke today at the 2010 Wildland Urban Interface Conference [here] being held this year in Reno. The WUI Conference is produced by the International Association of Fire Chiefs [here].

I did not attend and do not have a transcript of Chief Tidwell’s speech. All I have to go by is a journalist’s report. There is always some risk of mistakes and wrong emphasis inherent in a journalist’s interpretation. It would be better to have Chief Tidwell’s exact words, and perhaps we can obtain those sometime in the future. But for now, this is what we have:

Wildfire danger increasing across U.S., federal official tells Reno audience

By Jeff DeLong, RGJ.com, March 30, 2010 [here]

A combination of forest restoration projects, creation of communities that can survive fire and aggressive fire fighting will be needed as wildfire danger increases across the country, the chief of the U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday.

Wildfires are getting larger and burning more fiercely, Tom Tidwell told a Reno conference of wildfire experts.

Warming climate and increasing development near forested terrain will result in increasingly dangerous fire behavior, Tidwell, chief of the Forest Service since June 2009, said.

“The fire behavior that we’re seeing, that people say surprises them, that is what we should expect,” Tidwell said. “I think we should no longer be surprised.”

Climate change, Tidwell said, is “one of the major drivers” in drying overgrown forests drying and make them susceptible to insect attack, with 17 million acres of pine forest across the interior West dead or dying due to bark beetles.

“In terms of fire fuel, we’re in a whole new era,” Tidwell said.

Serious wildfire years such as 2007, when more than 9 million acres burned nationwide, could soon be surpassed by seasons consuming 12 to 15 million acres, Tidwell said.

The danger is increased as more people move closer to fire-prone public land. Between 1990 and 2000, 28 million housing units were built within 30 miles of national forests, he said. Now nearly 70,000 communities across the country are deemed at risk from wildfire, Tidwell said.

Tidwell says forest restoration projects are crucial to thin overgrown forests and treat the landscape with prescribed fire.

Between 2001 — when Congress adopted the National Fire Plan — and 2008, nearly 30 million acres of federal land were treated to prevent fire. Tidwell said at that pace, it will take 35 years to treat the amount of terrain needed.

“It is essential we build support for the type of treatment that has to occur,” Tidwell said. …

As near as I can judge given the journalistic filter, Chief Tidwell mentioned restoration, fuels, preparedness, and the threat of increasingly severe fire seasons.

By restoration, he meant thinning overgrown forests and using prescribed fire (according to the journalist). Of course, restoration is much more complex than that, but it is good that Tidwell is on the right course. Restoration does involve active management. The word does not mean abandoning forests to the vagaries of nature.

Although there was the obligate genuflection to global warming now required of all bureaucrats, the real cause of our forest fire crisis is fuel build up. Forest fires burn in forests from the Amazon to Alaska, across every climate zone. Temperature is not the driver; fuel is. A one or two degree difference in temperature makes little difference, whereas the accumulated fuels of decades of untouched growth make a huge difference in the likelihood, intensity, and severity of fires.

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All this talk of forests as carbon caches just a smokescreen

By Bob Zybach, Guest Viewpoint, Eugene Register Guard, Mar 29, 2010 [here]

Some of the basic ideas presented by Susan Palmer in her March 16 article in The Register-Guard, “A great state of carbon caches,” need to be rebutted — in particular, the concept of managing a forest primarily for carbon storage.

First, however, some basic information.

Wood is not usually considered a “fossil fuel.” Federal forests in the United States total more than 190 million acres (not 19 million). And the Willamette National Forest probably contains about 164 metric tons of carbon per acre (not total).

The article’s errors in logic are less obvious.

Is this even news?

A well-known political advocacy group, the Wilderness Society, compiles a list of “the 10 U.S. national forests with the highest carbon density.” Nine of the 10 are in the Northwest; six are in Oregon, with No. 1 (the Willamette National Forest) being located primarily in Lane County. The Register-Guard prints these assertions on its front page and produces an editorial in support of the listing.

Why?

No one in history has ever managed a forest for “carbon density,” for a number of good reasons. What happened to jobs, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation as socially accepted forest management goals?

A “senior resource analyst” for the Wilderness Society is quoted as saying the Willamette “has always been seen as an especially productive forest,” but somehow its carbon density provides “yet another reason to refrain from cutting” its trees.

Does that even make sense?

A few years ago, local environmentalists were complaining loudly that the Willamette’s managers employed too many roads and clear-cuts, used too many herbicides, planted too many seedlings, suppressed all wildfires and did not do enough prescribed burning. Couldn’t that history be a more logical cause of its current high carbon density?

Why would the Wilderness Society favor the result of all those management actions, and then call for no management now? Is the Wilderness Society simply promoting its list to help justify an agenda to stop logging in all national forests?

The average citizen likely couldn’t care less about the “carbon density” of our local forests, and probably doesn’t even know what that phrase actually means. And for those of us who do know: So what?

Is carbon more valuable than fresh water, jobs, energy production, wildlife or recreational access? The idea of managing a forest for carbon storage makes no sense at all, given the increased likelihood that coniferous forests will burn catastrophically as fuels build over time.

Some people argue that storing carbon is important because it allows people to moderate or control the climate to socially desired conditions.

This idea is becoming less popular as more scientific information becomes available, but many (including some scientists) still subscribe to this concept. Is the Wilderness Society seeking to stop logging in order to (theoretically) control climate?

Then there is the reality that the Willamette National Forest’s “carbon stock” does not even equal two years of the nation’s carbon release due to fossil fuels burning.

Last summer’s Tumblebug Fire [here], the third-largest fire in the history of the Willamette National Forest, spread ash, smoke and carbon dioxide throughout the southern Willamette Valley. Over several weeks’ time it burned nearly 15,000 acres, destroyed about 5,000 acres of old growth spotted owl habitat and killed nearly $100 million worth of timber.

About 20 million tons of dead wood were created by this catastrophic event, oozing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment for years as the timber rots, with no plans to salvage any of it.

Wildfires such as the Tumblebug are one consequence of not actively managing our forests. Untended forests predictably are killed by bugs or erupt into catastrophic wildfires.

So what can be done to manage our forests to reduce their carbon outputs, as well as promote their other beneficial uses?

One answer might be to compare the condition of the remains of the Tumblebug Fire with another area of the Willamette: the Jim’s Creek restoration project [here].

On Jim’s Creek, old growth oaks and pine are being released from invasive (and profitable) fir trees. Native species are being encouraged to repopulate the area. And fire is planned to be reintroduced carefully, to maintain and protect these important characteristics.

Local jobs are being created to accomplish these results — to the benefit of local residents and American taxpayers — and the threat of wildfire and dying trees is significantly reduced. Active management produces desired results; passive management produces catastrophic events.

It would be nice to see Oregon’s forests promoted at some point as the U.S. Forest Service’s “best managed” forests. Having an advocacy group promote them as leading candidates to avoid management because they hold so much carbon is something else entirely.

If this development is news at all, it is certainly not good news.

Bob Zybach, a forest scientist with a doctorate in the study of catastrophic wildfires, is program manager for the Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project Inc., which can be found online [here].

 
  
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