RAINS: “...It is an honor to work for the Department of Agriculture and I work for the greatest organization in the world.” So, I am in no way being critical of the fire responders; never.
Improved organizational efficiency – as we have discussed it here -would be one of four top priorities. The other three are: restoring fire to the landscape, landscape scale conservation along a complex rural to urban land gradient, and community stability...
This is the first segment of a five-part interview with Michael T. Rains, who was Director of the Northern Research Station at Newtown Square, Pennsylvania for 15 years and, concurrently, Director of the Forest Products Laboratory at Newtown Square for three years. He retired from the U.S. Forest Service in 2016.
In our interview Christiansen addresses some tough questions on harassment, fire borrowing, staffing, fire management, wildfire and safety, forest management, collaboration, the budget, sawmill infrastructure, pace and scale, performance standards and reviews, and more
Dennis Becker is the Director of the Policy Analysis Group [PAG} within the College of Natural Resources [CNR] at the University of Idaho.
Ms. Christiansen, who was appointed March 9, following the March 7 resignation of Tony Tooke, said all the things you would expect an incoming Chief to say in her first public outing, but she made no mention of the sexual misconduct difficulties that led to Mr. Tooke's resignation.
The U.S. House of Representatives has belatedly fixed the fire borrowing mess that has for several years forced the Forest Service to borrow taxpayer money from its forest restoration budgets to pay its ever- increasing fire-fighting bills.
Federal Court has ordered the United States Congress, the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fishers Service to make this statement about the health effects of secondhand wildfire smoke...
Although it will seem counter-intuitive, our advocacy for science-based forestry has led us to the conclusion that a publicly-granted license to practice forestry is the best defense against criticism that a forest landowner – public or private – can ever hope to attain...
Our colleague, Bruce Courtright, who chairs the National Wildfire Institute [NWI] at Fort Jones, California, has shared his organization's Vision 2025 document with us in hopes we will share it with you, which we are delighted to do.
Rodney Smoldon is the Forest Supervisor on the 1.1 million-acre Colville National Forest in northeast Washington. From his office in Colville, he commands a staff of approximately 135 permanent employees and an additional 100 summer employees. His annual budget is about $12 million.
The Forest Service's abysmal won-loss record at Silver, Biscuit and now Chetco Bar [0-3] is a detriment to every living creature struggling to right itself within our fire-scarred landscape. Is this the best you can do?
We who own this damned wildfire mess need to start asking Congress some tough questions. I can think of no better place to start than the Forest Service's draft plan for picking up the pieces at Rice Ridge. Of 160,000 acres burned, the agency proposes to salvage some standing dead timber from 5,947 acres.
The American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association both have lots to say about cigarettes and air pollution. And they should. It's their job. Shouldn’t they also be waving red flags about wildfire smoke? They don’t seem to think so.
Kurt Pregitzer is an affable and unpretentious man, not what you'd expect from a PhD forest ecologist who ranks in the top one-half of one percent of the world’s most frequently cited authors.
The six living former Chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service have jointly signed a letter to the U.S. House and Senate majority and minority leaders urging them to fix the fire borrowing mess that annually sabotages the agency's ability to treat diseased and dying National Forests before catastrophic wildfires destroy them.
This must be a bitter pill for Seeley Lake residents who last summer endured weeks of smoke so thick that air quality meters could not accurately measure carcinogenic pollutants generated by the fire. The “new normal” we're told.
Just when I thought I'd said all that need be said for now about the cancerous risks of wildfire smoke, a friend sent me a copy of the “Montana/Idaho Wildfire Carbon Emissions Inventory for 2013-2017."
I've been trying for more than 20 years to interest the nation’s health care industry - including the American Lung Association - in this story. “Too controversial,” I was told, again and again. Such is the murderous influence of the “Don’t worry, it’s natural” crowd.
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.
Mitch Friedman is the Founder and Executive Director of Conservation Northwest, a Seattle-based conservation group...In this interview, Friedman discusses Conservation Northwest's collaborative successes, still bothersome regrets from his Earth First years and his belief that collaboration offers the best hope for resolving still contentious issues concerning the management of the West’s National Forests.
If we choose wisely, relying on the mechanical thinning, prescribed fire and managed fire, we can still protect most of our remaining forest assets, including the soil and water. But over much of the Intermountain West, the forests in our future are not going to look much like the forests we've been enjoying for the last 60 or 70 years.
Change. In this exclusive and quite timely Evergreen interview, Governor Otter offers his thoughts on the significance of President-elect Trump's improbable victory and the millions of acres of federal forest and rangeland that is in environmental crisis. Somewhere between 80 and 90 million acres of federal forest land in the West are on the brink of ecological collapse. These lands are vital to our entire nation’s social, economic and environmental health. We have a lot of work to do and not much time left in which to get it done.
There is something unethical about allowing a person or a group that refused to participate in the collaborative planning of the project to file an appeal on the project. The essence of collaboration means that you work through the issues within a project and help solve the problems. Bring a solution, not litigation.
McGee discusses collaborative success. "As a direct result of all their hard work we have a pathway forward. We also have the science, tools, technologies and skill sets needed to move forward with the restoration work necessary to protect forests that are the cornerstones and building blocks of both our rural and urban lifestyles."
In forests that have traditionally supported timber economies, we can use ecological restoration strategies that rely on mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. Elsewhere, we advocate for managing wildfires at the right place and time – when conditions are right. Just as there is no simple answer to the good-fire bad-fire question, there is also no single approach to conserving the forested landscapes we all treasure.”
"I would absolutely encourage anyone to pursue a career in forestry or any other natural resource-based career. The more we can introduce local kids to the career opportunities available in their backyard, the better. There's also a shortage of professional truck drivers. We need young people to bring their families back to their hometowns to fill those jobs, especially in light of recent mill closures that will have serious social and economic impacts on communities."
It is a myth to say Categorical Exclusions will over-ride federal environmental laws and exempt logging from any analysis or disclosure of adverse environmental impacts and eliminate public involvement
Commissioner Goldmark discusses his growing concerns for the rapidly deteriorating condition of national forests east of the Cascades, related economic and environmental impacts, and what might be done to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in Washington's forests.
The world's consumers aren’t using less wood, nor should they. Wood is the most environmentally friendly structural building material on earth, and good forestry is key to reducing civilization’s carbon foot print. That’s my story and I intend to keep telling it. Erin Bradetich
Strong partnerships are forming between federal and state resource management agencies, county governments, community leaders, conservationists, recreation interests and lumbermen, all in pursuit of a common and cohesive vision that, at the implementation level where we work, is already producing new and very exciting economic, environmental and social benefits.
The National Environmental Policy Act is the legal foundation on which all successful collaborations rest. You cannot saw this branch off the legal tree and expect that diverse forest stakeholder collaboratives built on trust and mutual respect will continue to prosper as citizen, project-based tools for resolving disagreements over how our national forests should be managed.
The Forest Service shares Governor Bullock's concern and his goal. Minus the presence of local, competitive and sustainable larger timber manufacturing infrastructure, the kind of collaborative forest restoration work we all envision is not possible. We are basing this forest’s five-year planning revision on the Governor’s Priority Landscape project on this forest.
We are at a crossroads with forest health, our mills and the future condition of our forests. The aftermath of a years-long mountain pine beetle epidemic, stalled projects on thousands of acres of national forests, and continued threats from wildfires provide a strong basis for increased focus on how we manage forests and how we ensure we have a vibrant wood products industry providing good-paying jobs for Montanans.
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.
When cases are litigated misusing the intention of the Equal Access to Justice Act, the losses add up - whether the agency wins, loses, or the case is settled. Collateral damage includes lost local and regional business activity, decline in community health, lost timber sale revenue, foregone and delayed work, and analytical and administrative costs the Forest Service must pay from public funds.
Litigation is not a management strategy. Without injunctive relief, there can be no certainty in our active forestry management plans and the years of hard work our collaborative's have invested in forest restoration planning will also be lost.