More than half the nation's federal forest estate – some 100 million acres – is either dying, dead or has already burned. About 73 million acres have burned over the last 10 years – most of it in western national forests. 9.6 million acres this year.
Back in February 15, 2015, Evergreen published my proposal for Congress to pass a Single-Use-Sustained Yield Act (“SUSY” for short). My proposed law would essentially designate a small percentage of Federally managed forests for “focused forestry”
Mr. Rains wrote the President a five-page letter on June 19. We posted it on our site then and it can be read again here. After President Trump's Latest visit to the site of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, Mr. Rains writes to the President once more
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...
Most all of us have rolled the dice in Monopoly a time or two. Buying up properties on the Boardwalk can be tons of fun until you land in Jail. That's when its lovely to have a “Get-out-of-jail-free” card in your hand. It sure beats having to sell properties to bail yourself out of the clink.
The 2018 western wildfire season is already underway, and the news is not good in the Southwest or Utah. Dire predictions have also been issued for Colorado, where mortality in National Forests exceeds annual growth by a wide margin.
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
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.
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.
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."
We can learn much from our nation's forest priorities, policies and practices, which have always tracked with our country’s ever-shifting felt necessities. But the blame game is a useless and unhelpful exercise. What would be helpful is a more constructive rural-urban dialogue about the losses we are all suffering, and what we can do collectively [politically] to mitigate them.
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.
The U.S. Forest Service estimates that 90 million acres of the nation's federal forest estate are in Condition Class 3 or 2 – a fire ecologists’ rating system that attempts to account for the ecological damage a wildfire might do to a forest. Class 3 forests are said to be “ready to burn,” while Class 2 forests soon will be.
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.”
CLT is an engineered wood product. By that, I mean that it is a product assembled from pieces of lumber, usually two-by-sixes, eight feet wide, 40' feet long, layered at right angles to one another, like the layering of thinly sliced veneer used to make sheets of plywood. Picture a laminated wood beam, with the layers all running one direction. Now remind yourself that, in CLT, the layers run at right angles to one another, like plywood. The product is incredibly strong for its weight, which is about one-third that of steel. Some refer to CLT “plywood on steroids.” It’s a very apt description.
“The people in my life – my family and friends – helped me restore my faith in myself; you surround yourself with good people, so you always know where you stand, and you trust each other to do what you say you will do. Show me your friends and I will show you your future."
“It was downright scary in the beginning,” Schwartz says of what it was like the first time he navigated 80,000 pounds up and down winding, one-lane roads with turnouts that allowed loaded and empty trucks to pass within a whisker of one another. “You're in mud or slush or snow or dust all of the time. You keep an open mind and learn everything you can from more experienced drivers, or you won’t make it.”
"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.
Our country's National Forests – once viewed as the gold standard by which all other public forest ownerships were judged – are dying and burning by the millions of acres annually. Their precipitous decline signals a forest health crisis unprecedented in American history.
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
Technology does most of what strong backs and keen eyes did for generations. And it does it with more speed and efficiency than can any human. Of course, humans are the still ones invent, install and run this stuff, so the message here is that succeeding generations of mill workers will need to be technologically more knowledgeable than the previous generation. Jesse Short
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.
Many young people don't see a future in hauling logs. But the world isn’t using less wood, so these jobs with companies like Olson Trucking will always be here for men and women who enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes with doing a good day's work.
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.
Resolving differences is what collaboration is all about. It's time to move beyond the extremes that have controlled the forest debate since the 1980s and reinvest in the land and in the people who can best care for it.