The Agriculture Secretary oversees a $146 billion annual budget. Most of it – 65 percent - is allocated to food and nutrition programs that target the needy. Five percent goes to “forestry,” mainly the U.S. Forest Service and mostly – about 55 percent – to battle forest fires.
Now that Tom Vilsack is back in the driver's seat at the Department of Agriculture, it’s time for him to stroll over to the White House and have a heart-to-heart chat with President Biden about the West’s wildfire pandemic. Here’s how it might go:
f we use insect and disease attacks as indicators of genetic simplicity, and resilience to these pests as indicators of genetic robustness, we can use harvesting to assist natural selection to build a more resilient forest ecosystem with a greater ability to survive climate fluctuations and associated perturbations. This may mean changing certain silvicultural paradigms and not selecting for the fastest growing or tallest trees - but intermediate sized trees that use their energy reserves for defense and water conservation as well as growth.