There is nothing new, normal, natural, or inevitable about what we are witnessing... What we are witnessing is not “the new normal.” Nor is it a direct result of “climate change.” It is the downstream result of congressional/federal failure to control three decades of uninterrupted tree growth in national forests that hold too many trees for the natural carrying capacity of the land.
We believe all federal forest and rangelands should be consolidated within a single cabinet-level Department of Natural Resources.
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.
This is the seventh part of Felt Necessities: Engines of Forest Policy, a series of essays tracing the history of the conservation movement in the United States, and its influence on the nation's ever-shifting forest policy.
I am going to do this by asking all of you a very provocative question - one that I hope you will, in turn, ask each other throughout the course of convention.The question is: Does the logging industry have a future in the New Intermountain West?
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”
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...
We have known of Mr. Rains and his exceptional work for many years, most recently through the National Wildfire Institute, founded by our colleague, Bruce Courtright. When we were preparing questions for Interim Forest Service Chief, Victoria Christiansen, Mr. Rains volunteered to answer the same questions...
Now that Congress has resolved the fire funding mess – at least temporarily - Interim Forest Service Chief, Vicki Christiansen, has had much to say about how she intends to more aggressively attack these fires and their primary underlying cause.
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.
So, for the past 12 years, representatives of the timber industry, conservation community, U.S. Forest Service, non-profit sector and the state of Montana have been working to get to “yes”.
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.
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...
The salvage operation was not without controversy. The smoke had not yet cleared when environmentalists announced that “not one black stick would be harvested because salvaging burnt timber was like mugging a burn victim.”
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 bottom line here is that the War on the West will continue in the halls of Congress for as long as we allow it - and for as long as we allow it to fester, the West's publicly treasured National Forests will continue to die and burn to the ground.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bruce Ward is the Founder and President of Choose Outdoors, a Colorado-based coalition of outdoor recreation enthusiasts who work to increase public support for all forms of outdoor recreation, especially activities that frequently occur in National Forests
In this interview, Groeschl answers questions concerning Good Neighbor Authority [GNA], implementing legislation embedded in the 2014 Farm Bill that permits the Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands to partner with one another on high priority forest restoration projects on National Forests in Idaho.
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.
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 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.
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.
A proposal by forester Barry Wynsma concerning the Single Use Sustained Yield Act (SUSY) as a means of improving the management of our National Forests.