Another Giant Gone - Mike Newton: 1932-2022
Long time Evergreen Foundation board member, Mike Newton, died August 30 at his home in Corvallis, Oregon. He was a marvelous scientist [PhD in Botany], and a beloved Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University.
22 MINUTE READ
Another Giant Gone
Mike Newton: 1932-2022
Long time Evergreen Foundation board member, Mike Newton, died August 30 at his home in Corvallis, Oregon. He had been in failing health for several years.
I first met Mike in 1987, not long after we published our first edition of Evergreen Magazine. Dr. Carl Stoltenberg, then Dean of the Oregon State University College of Forestry had handed me the keys to the forestry school and told me to spend as much time as I wished roaming the halls.
My first stop was Mike’s office cubicle in Peavy Hall. I asked him what went on in Peavy and his answer took the rest of the morning. He then handed me a long list of scientists and economists he thought I should interview. I interviewed all of them, including the late Con Schallau, a renowned PhD forest economist, who also later joined our Board of Directors.
My friendship with Mike lasted until his death. He was a marvelous scientist [PhD in Botany], and a beloved Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University. Mike was never too busy to answer my questions - a process that often included tours of his Tree Farm in the Coast Range west of Corvallis, not far from the Oregon coast.
Mike and his late wife, Jane, started replanting cut-over pastureland they had purchased in 1960. To my astonishment, there were Douglas-fir trees the size of redwoods on the property. Proof that Mike knew a thing or two about how to grow and protect his trees. Many of the first trees he and Jane planted were transplanted from cuts and fills in nearby Forest Service roads.
Mike was a great believer in longer-rotation forestry - and thus a critic of short rotation forest practices common on lands managed by Real Estate Investment Trusts and Timber Investment Management Organizations.
“They’re leaving a lot of money on the table by not allowing their trees to grow to age 60,” he once told me. “Harvesting on 25 to 35 year rotations robs investors of years of valuable volume and wood quality. Their world is all about the time cost of money. I understand it, but it doesn’t earn any brownie points with the public. More favorable tax treatment would encourage them to adopt longer rotations.”
What better way to celebrate Mike’s life and his contributions to the many sciences of forestry than by republishing a question and answer interview we completed with him eight years ago. You will find it below Mike’s obituary. It is well worth reading for its, generational wisdom, timeliness, and completeness.
This picture of Mike talking to a log truck driver on his Farm was taken by my stepson, Eli Shotola. Yup, Mike was tall. About 6-feet 4. When he was in his early 80s, he could still walk the legs off most of his guests, me included.
Obituary for Michael Newton
Mike Newton, known worldwide as a legend in Forestry, one of the oldest and most beloved teachers at Oregon State University and loved community member went to be with his Heavenly Father and wife, Jane on August 30th, 2022, surrounded by family after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He never lost his sweetness.
Mike was born October 24th,1932 in Hartford, Connecticut to Margaret Young Newton and David Newton. Margaret was a Vassar graduate and David a graduate of Princeton. Mike was the youngest of four siblings. The family purchased a 200 year old farm in West Townsend, VT, where they proceeded to create a “Working Boys Prep School”.
Mike grew up on this farm, speaking French and Latin, milking cows and logging with horses. They cut ice chunks from Burbee’s Pond for their icehouse where they stored their food for the year. He learned to work hard caring for animals and studying to meet the high expectations of his rigorous parents. The “boys” would cross country ski for miles to go to a square dance in the winter.
When Mike was 14, he went to Loomis Chaffe Prep School for Boys. He then went to University of Vermont at age 16, where he majored in Dairy Science with a minor in Forestry and played on the UVM Football Team. He was “dirt poor,” and did odd jobs including gun-smithing to make ends meet for college.
Mike’s sister, Mary, had a roommate at nursing school named, Jane. A romance developed and they were soon married there on the farm. Mike was in ROTC, then joined the US Army, where he served at Fort Riley, Kansas, where his son Dan was born, then stationed in Germany on the Russian border. In the Army he was an explosive expert and also taught marksmanship on the range. He served two years, and then arrived in Corvallis in 1957 to begin his master’s degree in Botany and Forest Ecology, graduating with a Ph.D.
He worked two jobs to support his growing family, bought a house for $3500 and remodeled it while studying. His research was primarily in weed science and silviculture. Mike became a professor at OSU Dept. of Forestry where he taught and did research from 1959 until 1999 when he retired.
He published over 400 papers on Forest Science, taught 67+ Graduate students from 11 countries and will be remembered for his unconventional teaching techniques. He was known as a “dirt forester” who would spend more time in the field with hands on teaching, critical thinking and humor. He was known for his strength, a wonderful mentor, loved to dance, was hospitable, kind and a good father and husband. He loved working on his “stump ranch” in Eddyville rehabbing it into a beautiful forest.
If you would listen… he would teach and make you think. Mike could fix anything with ingenuity. He will be greatly missed and remembered by all who knew him, with much love.
Our special thanks and love to each of the caregivers who lovingly took care of Mike for the last four and a half years and allowed him the joy of being at home until the end. We could not have done this without you.
Our special thanks to Mike’s many friends who continued to visit and brighten our lives and to Samaritan Evergreen Hospice.
Mike is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Jane Webster Newton, his parents, Margaret and David Newton, siblings, John Newton, Marg Mechanic and Mary Western, daughter, Melanie Newton and Grandson, Andy Pederson. He is survived by his Newton children, Dan and (Kathy), children and great grandchildren, Linda & (Mike), and children, Tom and (April) and children.
Memorials are welcome to Oregon Small Woodland Association or Community Outreach, Inc. of Corvallis.
Evergreen Interview With Mike Newton - 2014
Evergreen: Mike, tell us a bit about yourself: where you grew up, your education and teaching career?
Newton: I was originally a Vermonter, where I grew up on the end of a road 18 miles from the nearest pavement until after WWII, nine miles until decade ago and dirt/gravel to this day. My father had been a teacher in a very fine prep school (Loomis Institute, Windsor CT until 1936, and decided to found his own prep school for boys in the Vermont boondocks when I was four so he could teach hands as well as heads. He hired a grade-school teacher to instruct his own kids (4 of us, occasionally a youngster needing a home and good school before entering prep school).
The School had 30 students, and the student body was the labor force for everything from logging to milking cows to shoveling manure and cutting hay. Classes from 7:30 AM till noon, lunch, then off to the woods or snow shoveling detail or whatever.
The school buildings were based on a classic Cape Cod style house built in 1780 when the town of Jamaica (our town) had only three houses. The beautiful house was built of hand-hewn timbers, mortised and pegged together, with some hand-forged spikes holding it together.
Students helped rebuild it to accommodate students in its cow barn and upstairs, extend its woodshed to make a big kitchen where my mother did a lot of the cooking and preserved garden veggies. Students learned how to shoe horses, log with them and take very good care of woods and other tools.
The whole place was piped with steam pipes and a big wood furnace was installed soon after our family moved in and all those who could participated in bringing in 60 cords a winter for it. Students filled the wood box for the big cookstove, drove the team of horses logging and bringing in firewood and sharpened axes and saws when not working outside.
Study hall was 5-6 after we came in from three hours in the woods, then a big dinner, then study hall 7-8:30, lights out at nine. With the classic education these students got in the morning, they were expected to be prepared to enter Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth.
The educational environment was incredibly diverse, demanding of energy and attention. Every graduate was a hard worker and knew a lot about classics and how the other half lived in rural areas. That is the environment I grew up in until I went away to school for a year, entering the University of Vermont at age 16, in Animal Husbandry, with minor in Forestry.
After graduating with a BS, I put on my second lieutenant uniform (ROTC) got married to Jane (1954) and pulled two years in the Infantry, half at Ft. Riley Kansas and half in Germany. Different kind of education, for sure, but provided a couple of kids!
After discharge, I hauled my brood to Corvallis to pursue a second BS and MS degrees in Forest Management. In 1958, I took a summer job with Starker Forests and fell completely in love with forestry and managed woods.
On Jan. 1, 1960, I was appointed as Instructor in Forest Management, during which I taught Watershed Management, (57 seniors and grad students my first year!), Mensuration and Protection. Also continued research on weed control started in 1958 as a MS thesis project. Simultaneously, I began to take a few courses leading to the doctorate. Finished the doctorate in 1964, and appointed Assistant prof, with tenure.
That about covers my teaching career other than a grad course I taught for many years, an advanced Forest Ecology examining the role of disturbances of many kinds in the ecology of forests.
Evergreen: You’ve been at Oregon State University for a long time. What has been the focus of your careers in teaching and research?
Newton: Apart from what I’ve already told you, I always had grad students, total about 75 in 45 years. My research has always been focused on how one can influence the regeneration, juvenile growth and environmental influence of plant cover on competitive interactions. Of course, this has a huge influence on wildlife and its sustenance. So I have generally kept several balls in the area at any given time, partly to learn the influence of plant cover of many kinds, partly learning how to manage cover toward various desirable end conditions, learning something about how critters responded to what we had provided Part of that in the last 22 years has been a heavy emphasis on streams, influence of riparian forests on their discharge and temperature and interaction of silviculture and water quality.
Evergreen: You are 81 now. Are you still teaching any classes or involved in any research projects?
Newton: I formally retired at age 67, and that ended my Ecology coursework teaching. I have had several students since then, but mostly I have focused on personal devotion to field work, incredibly assisted by Liz Cole, (Newtonian MS 1984) and summarizing our research in a few hundred publications I categorize in four broad subject areas, 1) Forest Vegetation Management, 2) Environmental chemistry, primarily pertaining to herbicides and behavior in the forest, 3) Ecology of managed forests, and 4) silvicultural practice, growth, yield.
Evergreen: We know that some of your research involving the use of herbicides has been controversial. What was the controversy about and what benefits flow from herbicide use?
Newton: There are a variety of belief systems, almost religious in nature, which lead to fear of the unknown. One cannot see residues of a tiny bit of herbicide landing from an air craft, yet a pound or two of various kinds of herbicides can markedly change composition of a forest or clear-cut. Of course that’s why they are used. My work has concentrated on how fast they dissipate, how readily are they absorbed after human contact, and the consequences of such contact. These products are registered after enormous investments in experiments, so their function is limited to sensitive plants without causing effects on consumers other than in availability of their plant as food.
The huge urban majority of citizens know nothing about any part of this, and fears tend to be aggravated by advocacy groups who want the world to be pure and free from poisons. My work has sought to provide reliable evidence of whether margins of safety for man or beast or fish are large enough to ensure safety to non-target critters like people.
The controversy comes with advocacy groups simply cannot believe chemicals are safer tools for managing vegetation than fires, power tools or hand tools. I have been exposed to all kinds of these potential dangers and have measured their consequences and compared them. Many folks think I have come up with the wrong answers. My excellent health and that of foresters, in general, are not the only indices of safety we develop, but all of them are suspect among certain groups.
Evergreen: You are a strong advocate of salvage logging in the aftermath of large forest fires. Environmentalists – and some scientists – say it does more harm than good. What say you and – more importantly – what does field research tell us about possible environmental benefits of prompt salvage and replanting?
Newton: A lot has been written about fires and salvage logging. Many of the sources of variation in scientific writing originate because writing about fires in dry forests, cool forests, hardwood forests and moist coniferous forests are dealing with different triggers for burning in the first place, how trees respond to fire, and how wildlife respond to drastic changes in their environments. And also how long after burning the writer is describing. So there is no simple one-size-fits-all answer.
I will explain briefly…
We live on the westside of the Cascades, where there is enough rainfall to grow big trees, fast. It is the timber capital of North America for a good reason. Despite abundant rains, we have a long dry spell each summer, and the tremendous vegetative growth in forests means a huge accumulation of fuel. Fires occur infrequently, but when they burn, they are often huge and intense, killing nearly all the trees and above-ground parts of brush and hardwoods. These fires destroy habitats for most bird species, including endangered species, a loss that may persist for centuries. Yet the rains come, seeds buried beneath the burned snags green up, and a new forest is born.
The new forest grows and, if no disaster or forest management shows up, eventually becomes an old forests. It grows through stages, each of which harbors its own suite of plant species, wildlife and even fungi. Over a 200-year period, it has early seral, when most herbivorous wildlife abound, mid-seral when the stand shades out nearly all undergrowth and most of the wildlife live in crowns, and late-seral where much wildlife is avian, but often includes some specialists like spotted owls.
So fires kill. But fires set up sequences that eventually include most native critters at some time, but not all the time. The dominant native species, Douglas-fir, needs light to survive as a seedling, along with many lesser plants, so something like a fire is needed to open the ground to sunlight so this species can survive. Along with many herbs and critters that feed on them.
But there is a wrinkle in calling this “good.” A fire leaves a lot of dead, dry fuel in late summer. A very high proportion of large fires somehow are ignited again not too long after they burn. The Tillamook Burn, for example had major portions of the first burn re-burn, often spreading into green timber. Each re-burn set back “succession” that needed to start “greening up” all over again, but each time with more exotic weed-seeds, and without native plant seed sources. And each time, standing dead trees carry fires up their stems, creating updrafts, tossing sparks, and burning coals often for great distances, spreading fire on many fronts. Partly dead forests are much easier to start a fire in than green timber, hence multiple burns is a fact of life. One can be for it or against it, but we all must understand the level of destruction that occurs with a hot fire. In terms of human values, large fires are incredibly costly, both in losses of the world’s best structural timber and also forest environments rich in wildlife and plant species. Big burns and re-burns are bad news to most of us. For many reasons.
Those of us who study forest ecology with a long-term outlook have learned how to provide most of the good things fires do for wildlife and species richness without the harm a fire causes. Such tools as clearcutting can be used elegantly to allow important species such as Douglas-fir and many herbs to replace themselves soon after creating a clearing. This restoration of early seral conditions, critical for our large wildlife and predators, as well as the light-dependent tree and herb species, is difficult to emulate with wildfires are re-burns, or with preservation so all forests become old growth. Old growth has among the poorest richness of the various age stages of a Douglas-fir forest, so a replacement event is essential for propagation of all those light-dependent species.
So, in this region, my vote supports salvage logging both for minimizing resource losses, and also for minimizing probability of re-burns with their terribly destructive effects on ecosystems.
Dry forests such as ponderosa and lodgepole pines, and interior Douglas-fir and thin-barked fire-sensitive species vary all over the map when we talk about fires. Lodgepole, Douglas-fir and western larch depend on stand replacement events, but not necessarily by fire or clear-cuts. Often, the dry environment leads to a shaded environment for trees to reproduce. These species are dependent on openings either by logging small patches or leaving some residual overstory to provide seeds and shelter while allowing enough light to grow those species.
Ponderosa and western larch have thick bark and often survive low-intensity fires, and this feature perpetuates those species. Older forests, dominated by true firs, spruces and other thin-barked species, cannot survive even a ground fire, and such events lead to gradual take-over by light-demanding species, leading to stands of greater economic value, and perhaps wildlife value. There are so many variations of dry forests that no generalization can be applied everywhere.
My belief is that smart foresters can manage both wet and dry forest types to maximize both habitats and social benefits with ecological science combined with modern harvest practices in enhancing all values more than can be achieved by wildfire.
Evergreen: Clearcutting remains a hot topic in the Douglas-fir region. Are there any more visually desirable regimes or are we stuck with harvesting practices that are momentarily unsightly?
Newton: Clear-cuts are widely perceived as biological deserts by those with an urban orientation and who have not spent time in a working forest. In view of nine-tenths of our population living or working in towns and cities, most of us do not see the time dimension that includes one-year-old seedlings as a necessary part of forest history.
And along with those seedlings are the grasses and herbs that make for a rich habitat for herbivores, and a desirable habitat in which light-demanding species can survive and grow. Almost every westside Douglas-fir forest had its origin in a disturbance, such as clearcutting, when nearly all overstory trees were burned or logged. And clearcutting provides more species richness than fires because there is soil disturbance that facilitates many herbaceous species. So being visually desirable does not equate with any long-term value unless the land is abandoned to brush.
Oregon Forest Practice Act rules require that every harvest must leave a stand of residual trees, as in thinning, or replant; after planting trees, landowners must make sure those seedlings are the dominant cover when five years old. Unfortunately, the average person who is not brought up in areas of working forests is able to look at a beautiful young forest without realizing that it is the result of clearcutting, weeding and other protection. Landowners spend $300-700 per acre to make sure each clearcut is a new forest that will equal or exceed its predecessor in productivity, while protecting wildlife values.
Evergreen: There is an emerging school of thought which says that riparian zones have cooled stream temperatures to the point where fish population and fish growth are suffering. What can you tell us about this?
Newton: Gradually, science is replacing perceptions about forests and streams. In 1946, logging was permitted with almost no reference to streams. Tractors dragged logs along convenient stream beds rather than build roads and scarified slopes to facilitate regeneration, leading to muddy water.
The Forest Practices Act of 1971 led to increasing awareness of the need to protect streams. That awareness has varied very considerably since 1971. One of the first actions was the establishment of buffers to shade streams. Dr. George Brown, who became Dean of Forestry at OSU later, reported that clearcutting to the water risked putting so much sun on the water that it would warm too much for fish to tolerate, and the result of that early work was that uncut strips 50-100 feet wide were required of all fish-bearing streams.
Soon after, it was observed that early logging and windstorms had deposited a lot of logs in streams, and the assumption that excessive logs had adverse effects on the fishery. The Department of Forestry then required landowners to “chunk” the streams, meaning that considerable effort was required to remove logs from streams. More recently, several scientists have observed that logs in the water provided little dams and slow water that allowed fish some sanctuaries in the stream and even on the banks where they could be safe from stormflows.
Part of the existence of buffers then was recognized as providing down logs that were among the most important features of fish bearing streams! Many streams actually became places where loggers were told to place cull logs in streams and placed so stormflow would not blow them out.
Until recently, all were convinced that stream buffers were necessary, and that for practical purposes more buffer was better in terms of the fish. Nevertheless, reports beginning in about 1950, becoming more common in the 1980s, were revealing that fish were more abundant in clearcuts with no buffers, even when water was observed to warm somewhat when sun shone on it.
More recently, evidence became clear that the primary food for fish came from periphyton, little green stuff that photosynthesized when the sun shone. Much of the food for fish comes from aquatic insects that feed on the periphyton, and behold, fish numbers rose when shade was removed.
This led to evidence that there is a paradox in the buffer regulations to protect the fish, in that the protection to keep water cool led to poor nutrition of fish. Our research has shown that a relatively thin screen of trees only enough to shade the stream during the part of the day when sun shined directly on the stream is sufficient to keep the streams from warming dangerously, and moreover, if it is warmed slightly while becoming more productive, the warmed water will lose that heat soon after it leaves the clear-cut, meanwhile decreasing productivity.
The major component of this paradox is that the EPA, in administering the Clean Water Act, has ordered Oregon and perhaps other states, to limit warming in harvest units to half a degree Fahrenheit. And that apparently requires more buffer cover than is compatible with high stream productivity.
And while we are at it, let’s remind ourselves that some huge runs of salmon have been observed after monster deforestation events. For example, the Toutle River after Mt. St. Helens blew in 1980, and the numerous streams draining the Oregon and Washington coasts on which canneries were set up to utilize huge runs emerging from denuded streams.
Please think back to the over-all picture of stream buffers, please.
Evergreen: You have long advocated for managing the whole forest – meaning trees of all ages. Yet the public seems to favor reserving old growth in no harvest reserves. Is there some reason we should not focus on younger stands that aren’t the focus of so much controversy? How does your field research speak to this question?
Newton: First, an old forest has to be young before it can be old; one cannot maintain old forests without having young renewal stands of all ages coming forward. There is no other way to have old growth dominated by Douglas-fir indefinitely.
Second, an old forest had to be young for some arbitrary number of years before it is declared to be “old.” In most areas, a young forest will harbor most old-growth-dependent species at ages 70-100 years, depending on site quality and whether intensively managed, with thinning and other measures to promote big trees.
Old growth has no single definition. The features related to biodiversity and “conservation” will be debated long after we are dead, so long as federal laws permit frivolous lawsuits. Thus my contention that growing public forests with long rotations, long enough so that half the terrain is covered with stands in the second half of life in large blocks of big trees and managing the other half of each landscape in various stages of young growth, thinned and groomed to become old growth with huge yields. In this scenario, I tend to think the end of rotation, for example, age 150 more or less, is when renewal takes place, logs are shipped, and the acreage of early seral is maintained for the shade-intolerant species and herbivores.
Each year, a one-hundred fiftieth of the landscape would be clear-cut, regenerated and for the next decade or more providing the deer, elk and small herbivore habitat with all their predators. There will always be half intensively managed for the long term, and half for the old-growth species that bring specialty habitat and huge yields.
This is managing the whole forest.
Evergreen: The fabled Clinton Forest Plan has never been implemented – a result of conflicting regulations and still unresolved federal court rulings. If the slate could be wiped clean, how would you manage the West’s federal forests for the benefits the public seems to favor: clean air, clean water and a wealth of year round recreation opportunity?
Newton: First, reinstate the boundaries of Wilderness Areas as of 1980, and put those off limits to logging or trail building so they become real wildernesses.
Second, go back to the idea of long-rotation, even-aged management as described above, with long enough rotations so that all age classes are always present in each National Forest.
Third, (perhaps first?) designate these lands as subject to no political changes for a full rotation, and no judicial review.
Fourth, proceed ASAP.
Evergreen: Would the management regime you describe be more or less beneficial for fish and wildlife?
Newton: Some would win, some would lose. Fish would definitely benefit. Herbivores would benefit when compared to the NW Forest Plan, but probably have less acreage of ideal habitat than was present in 1980 because the long rotations lead to less-frequent clearcutting.
The flip side of that is that there would be lots of thinning, operations that do lead to short-term pulses of early seral habitats. Considering how much old-forest habitat is present now, probably late-seral species would be affected little.
Evergreen: There is a public perception that forestry research is a relatively new phenomenon in the West. I know this isn’t true, but I’m hoping you can provide some historic perspective that will reassure people who fear that forest scientists aren’t much more than cowboys of another cloth?
Newton: Between 1890 and 1930, most of the research (a small enterprise, to be sure, mostly centered in central Europe and in USDA Forest Service) was on growth and yield, and on how various ways of cutting stimulated regeneration. Not much about planting.
I am not knowledgeable about wildlife research, but there was some early in the 20th century. The Forest Service Experiment Stations (about ten of them) were in all parts of the country by 1920, with tiny staffs, many of which were on horseback most of the time.
Thornton Munger and Ed Hanslik were a couple of the early researchers in the PNW, and they wrote some really very fine documents. They were wonderful observes, and in general, they saw the “whole forest.” They really wrote some of the defining documents about the ecology of Doug-fir in the Pacific Northwest, most of which was written before 1920. Leo Isaac came along in the 30s, and really expanded conceptually on the early work, often re-visiting studies his forebears had established decades before him.
In general, the forest scientists of the day did not have doctorates but were better observers than any modern scientists of my acquaintance. They asked good questions. Of interest is that there are platoons of PhD scientists employed by Forest Service and universities today, and I think a great many of them are either asking the wrong questions or ignoring some basic truths that are still valid. And at enormous expense. And they did not publish in the daily newspapers, but rather in scholarly bulletins that received almost no fanfare but did inform those who were making management decisions on public lands.
Evergreen: Your reaction, please, to an observation shared with my several years ago by a friend who is a PhD wildlife biologist in Tennessee: “When we leave forests to nature, as so many people today seem to want to do, we get whatever nature serves up, which can be pretty devastating at times, but with forestry we have options, and a degree of predictability not found in nature.”
Newton: I agree with this opinion. Today, we are confronted with a great many PhDs who have been brought up in an urban environment rather than the woods, and who are woefully ignorant about the big picture of forests, managed and unmanaged.
But many of these folks have a great many opinions and theories, and money to expand on those ideas, whether realistic really is often immaterial so long as a funding source advisory committee is of the same mind, and most likely of similar theoretical background.
There has been an amazing amount of money spent on details that do little to change how forests behave, and often fall short of conventional management for long rotations, high yields and all seral stages present.
Evergreen: What would you say is the state – the credibility and veracity if you will - of forestry research in the United States today?
Newton: I think the above statement is pretty valid. I think there is more than adequate focus on details and political agendas than is healthy. My concern is that most academics are not trained observers, and that a good portion of their published work leads to confusion and controversy unnecessary to health and productivity of this resource.
Indeed, I wish young people who have worked in the woods for a few years before seeking higher education would be a great recruiting bunch for future scientist education and training. I think this would re-focus a lot of forest research in a constructive way.
Evergreen: What can we do to overcome the widely held view that timber harvesting is just plain wrong, if not for environmental reasons then certainly on moral and ethical grounds?
Newton: I think I’ve answered this pretty well, but in scattered form. To consolidate, you are asking me whether we can overcome the widely expressed mantra that humans are foreign influences on forests. The same voices need to understand that using wildfire as a preferred substitute for even-aged forest management is unbounded disaster on the loose.
Perhaps we should draft these outspoken critics into something like the National Guard and use them to “manage” wildfires once they exceed 100 acres!
More realistically, there are examples in all parts of this country and Europe where one can take any critic into a managed forest and share some real wisdom. One of the big challenges is always going to be that the large environmental organizations are well financed and able propagandists. Overcoming propaganda, as we old folks learned during WWII as Germans fell into synch with Hitler, is a good case in point. There is a real parallel there and it is enormously destructive.