Ed raised the question of “where do people on the blog think “intensive management, thinning and prescribed burning” belong.. everywhere? roadless? primitive areas?”
So I’ll go first.
I think that for places where there is no “timber industry” currently:
A. “Thinning for protection” thinning should be done around communities and roads in fire country . We should all work together on building “fire resilient communities and landscapes.” We should analyze all the places fire could start and make sure that for every really dangerous area, there are good areas for suppression between them and communities.
We should work on developing markets for the wood removed, so rural people are employed and we can afford to do it.
We would estimate the acreages and volume through time and then encourage industries to come in and use the material. Watch dog groups would watch to make sure than no more was offered for sale than in the agreement.
When a roadless area or wilderness is in a WUI, we would bring in experienced fire folks and determine if the fire could be fought safely with a break on private land (preferred) or public land.
Otherwise the backcountry would be left alone unless there is some compelling reason for action (protecting endangered species, corridors? or whatever).
B. “Thinning for protection plus resilience” Where there is existing mill capacity, thinnings may also be done if they make stands more resilient to drought and bugs, and they make money (not that they are restoring to the past, but the past had those attributes, say open parklike stands of ponderosa).
Now I was drafting this last night in response to Ed’s question. Meanwhile, I ran across these news stories.. in the Blue Mountains Accelerated Restoration project, it appears to be “thinning for protection plus resilience.” There are several good quotes about the rationale in the story.
The roughly 50,000 acres thinned or logged annually within the four forests is probably less than 20 per cent of what’s needed, Aney said.
“We need to at least double that” to stabilize forest health within 15 years, he said.
The plan Aney will execute calls for managing the Blues in blocks of several hundred thousand acres, instead of the current 30,000-acre planning units. Logging or thinning is likely on no more than 40 percent of each planning unit, Aney said. Individual projects will have to go through environmental reviews.
Work in the woods is expected to start in summer 2014.
Veronica Warnock, conservation director for the La Grande-based Hells Canyon Preservation Council, was more guarded. She said forest restoration is necessary but should be avoided in places where science doesn’t support it, such as stands of old growth or wildlife corridors.
I wonder what “science” that is, that involves what you should or should not do…I thought the role of science was empirical rather than normative. oh well.