Why We Need to Salvage and Replant the Rim Fire

Greg asked why we should bother with salvage logging on the Rim Fire, and I tried to explain how bear clover would dominate landscapes. He also seemed confused about modern salvage projects, here in California. Everything, here in California, is fuels-driven, as wildfires happen up to 13 times per century, in some places in the Sierra Nevada.

This picture shows how dense the bear clover can be, blocking some of the germination and growth of conifer species. Additionally, bear clover is extremely flammable and oily, leading to re-burns. This project also included removing unmerchantable fuels, including leaving branches attached. Yes, it was truly a “fuels reduction project”. You might also notice how many trees died, from bark beetles, after this salvage sale was completed. Certainly, blackbacked woodpeckers can live here, despite the salvage logging. Hanson and the Ninth Circuit Court stopped other salvage sales in this project, in favor of the BBW.

P9256073-web

When you combine this bear clover with a lack of fire salvage and chaparral brush, you end up with everything you need for a catastrophic, soils-damaging re-burn and enhanced erosion, which will impact long term recovery and the re-establishment of large tree forests. Actually, there has already been a re-burn within this project since salvage operations in 2006. Salvage logging greatly reduced that fire’s intensity, as it slicked-off the bear clover, but stayed on the ground. Certainly, if the area hadn’t been salvaged, those large amounts of fuels would have led to a much different outcome.

Now, if we apply these lessons to the Rim Fire, we can see how a lack of salvage in some areas within the Rim Fire will lead to enhanced future fires, and more soils damages and brushfields. When the Granite Fire was salvaged in the early 70’s, large areas were left “to recover on their own”, in favor of wildlife and other supposed “values”. When I worked on plantation thinning units there, those areas were 30 year old brushfields, with manzanita and ceanothus up to eight feet high. Those brushfields burned at moderate intensity, according to the burn severity map. Certainly, there were remnant logs left covered by those brushfields, leading to the higher burn severity. It was the exact same situation in my Yosemite Meadow Fire example, which as you could see by the pictures, did massive damage to the landscape, greatly affecting long term recovery. Here is the link to a view of one of those Rim Fire brushfields, surrounded by thinned plantations.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.999904,-119.948199&spn=0.003792,0.008256&t=h&z=18

I’ve been waiting to get into this area but, I expect the fire area will remain closed until next year. The plantations were thinned and I hear that some of them did have some survival, despite drought conditions and high winds, during the wildfire. In this part of California, fuels are the critical factor in wildfire severity. Indians knew this, after thousands of years of experience. They knew how to “grow” old growth forests, dedicating substantial amounts of time and energy to “manage” their fuels for their own survival, safety and prosperity. Their preferred forest included old growth pines, large oak trees, very little other understory trees, and thick bear clover. Since wildfires in our modern world are a given, burning about every 20 to 40 years, we cannot be “preserving” fuels for the next inevitable wildfire.

We need to be able to burn these forests, without causing the overstory pines to die from cambium kill, or bark beetles. That simply cannot be done when unsalvaged fuels choke the landscape. We MUST intervene in the Rim Fire, to reduce the fuels for the next inevitable wildfire that WILL come, whether it is “natural”, or human-caused. “Protected” old growth endangered species habitats may now become “protected” fuels-choked brushfields, ready for the next catastrophic wildfire, without some “snag thinning”.  We cannot just let “whatever happens”, happen, and the Rim Fire is a perfect example of “whatever happens”. Shouldn’t we be planning and acting to reduce those impacts, including the extreme costs of putting the Rim Fire out, and other significant human costs? Re-burns are a reality we cannot ignore, and doing nothing is unacceptable. Yes, much of the fire doesn’t have worthwhile salvage volumes, and that is OK but, there are less controversial salvage efforts we can and should be accomplishing.

Here is an example of salvage and bear clover, six months after logging with ground-based equipment. This looks like it will survive future wildfires. You can barely even see the stumps, today! The bear clover has covered them.

clean_salvage-06

116 Comments

  1. What the scientists had to say about this in 2006.

    March 14, 2006
    Dear Members of Congress:
    The United States has made great strides by relying on science to inform our decision making. Science helped us travel to the moon; advance medicine and health; and understand the complex web of life on land and in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Science has also opened our eyes to the workings of forests and provided blueprints for federal plans to better protect the abundant natural resources of our public lands.

    When we, as scientists, see policies being developed that run counter to the lessons of science, we feel compelled to speak up. Proposed post-disturbance legislation (specifically the Forest Emergency Recovery and Research Act [HR 4200] and the related Forests for Future Generations Act [S. 2079]), crafted as a response to recent fires and other disturbances, is misguided because it distorts or ignores recent scientific advances. Under the labels of “recovery” and “restoration,” these bills would speed logging and replanting after natural disturbances.

    Although logging and replanting may seem like a reasonable way to clean up and restore forests after disturbances like wildland fires, such activity would actually slow the natural recovery of forests and of streams and creatures within them. Many scientist-reviewed studies and syntheses (please see the selected citations appended to this letter) have recently come to this conclusion.

    For example, no substantive evidence supports the idea that fire-adapted forests might be improved by logging after a fire. In fact, many carefully conducted studies have concluded just the opposite. Most plants and animals in these forests are adapted to periodic fires and other natural disturbances. They have a remarkable way of recoveringliterally rising from the ashesbecause they have evolved with and even depend upon fire.

    We are concerned that HR 4200 and S. 2079 will bind us to land management practices that, perhaps logical in the past, are no longer tenable in the light of recent scientific understanding. Specifically, post-disturbance logging impedes regeneration of forest landscapes when it compacts soils, removes or destroys so-called biological legacies (such as soil organic material, seeds in the soil, large standing and downed trees), damages riparian corridors, introduces or spreads invasive species, causes erosion, delivers sediment to streams from logging roads and
    steep slopes, degrades water quality, and damages populations of many aquatic species. In
    testimony before the House Subcommittee on Resources (November 10, 2005), eminent forest ecologist and University of Washington Professor Jerry Franklin noted that logging dead trees often has greater negative impacts than logging of live trees. He concluded that “timber salvage is most appropriately viewed as a ‘tax’ on ecological recovery.”

    Beyond those concerns, post-disturbance logging often intensifies the potential severity of future fires by concentrating the slash from logging at or near the ground. Rather than leaving plant material standingand providing perching, nesting, and feeding sites for wildlifesuch logging abruptly moves the material to the ground. Most of this material would naturally fall to the ground, adding important supplies of nutrients and energy to the forest floor and structure in the form of woody debris to stream channels. But this naturally happens over decades, not in the
    relatively short time associated with a logging operation. Advocates of post-disturbance logging may argue that this slash can be disposed of with controlled burns and other treatments. Yet such treatments can severely damage underlying soils, imposing other taxes on natural recovery.

    One additional tax concerns us. Postfire logging taxes the public treasury. Recent analysis of postfire logging operations after Oregon’s Biscuit fire of 2002 shows that costs of the logging operations exceeded revenue by about $14 million for logging that removed more than 53 million board feet of timber (DellaSala et al. 2006).

    Science provides the best insight into the real consequences of our policies and actions.
    Ironically, this legislation is crafted to ignore the science by waiving environmental reviews, reviews that would make use of the scientific knowledge often available only because of expenditures of public funds. Failure to conduct full environmental reviews informed by that science will inevitably lead to ecological and economic harm from post-disturbance logging.

    In short, neither ecological benefits nor economic efficiency result from post-disturbance logging. We therefore urge you to defeat these legislative efforts because they will set back forest recovery. We urge you to work with your fellow lawmakers to craft legislation that will rely on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge to protect the natural resources of the nation’s public lands.

    Sincerely*,

    Isabella A. Abbott, Ph.D.
    Wilder Professor Emerita, Botany
    University of Hawaii
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    Paul Alaback, Ph.D.
    Forest Ecologist
    University of Montana
    Missoula, Montana

    James P. Amon, Ph.D.
    Professor, Wetland Biologist
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Wright State University
    Dayton, Ohio

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    Department of Geology and Planetary Science
    University of Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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    University of Alabama at Birmingham
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    Avian Ecologist
    Eastern New Mexico University
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    University of Wyoming
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    Miami University, The Union Institute &
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    Methodist College
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    University of Colorado
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    Archbold Biological Station
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    Department of Environmental Studies
    Florida International University
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    Ohio State University
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    University of St. Francis
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    Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus,
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    University of Florida
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    Marietta College
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    University of Central Florida
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    Natural Resources Specialist
    St. Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    Mississippi River Natural Resource Project
    La Crescent, Minnesota

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    Wild South
    Moulton, Alabama

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    Ohio University
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    Umpqua Community College
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    Pacific Rivers Council
    Polson, Montana

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    Co-Director for Science, River Basin Center
    University of Georgia
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    College of Arts and Sciences
    Lehigh University
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    Plymouth State University
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    University of California, Davis
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    Associate Professor, Geography
    Dartmouth College
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    American Museum of Natural History
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    Shawnee State University
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    World Wildlife Fund
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    University of Montana
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    Clemson University
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    Holladay, Utah

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    Restoration Ecologist
    Birmingham-Southern College
    Birmingham, Alabama

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    Affiliate Professor, Biology
    University of Washington
    Seattle, Washington

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    College of Natural Sciences
    Hawaii Pacific University
    Kaneohe, Hawaii

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    Director, Landscape Analysis Laboratory
    Associate Professor, Biology
    University of the South
    Sewanee, Tennessee

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    Professor, Environmental Studies
    Prescott College
    Prescott, Arizona

    Erica Fleishman, Ph.D.
    Senior Research Scientist
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Stanford University
    Stanford, California

    George W. Folkerts, Ph.D.
    Wetland Biology, Aquatic Insects, Herpetology,
    Natural History
    Professor, Biological Sciences
    Auburn University
    Auburn, Alabama

    Brian Foster, Ph.D.
    CRES, Zoological Society of San Diego
    El Cajon, California

    CJ Fotheringham, M.S.
    Fire Ecologist
    Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, California

    Lee E. Frelich, Ph.D.
    Forest Ecologist
    University of Minnesota
    St. Paul, Minnesota

    Terrence J. Frest, Ph.D.
    Malacologist
    Seattle, Washington

    Chris Frissell, Ph.D.
    Senior Staff Scientist
    The Pacific Rivers Council
    Polson, Montana

    Alder Fuller, Ph.D.
    Ecology/Evolution
    Euglena Edu/ProtoTista
    Eugene, Oregon

    Thomas M. Gehring, Ph.D.
    Department of Biology
    Central Michigan University
    Mount Pleasant, Michigan

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    Department of Biology
    University of Dayton
    Dayton, Ohio

    Enrique Gomezdelcampo, Ph.D.
    Hydrologist
    Center for Environmental Programs
    Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green, Ohio

    Steven Green, Ph.D.
    Professor, Biology
    University of Miami
    Coral Gables, Florida

    Thurman L. Grove, Ph.D.
    Professor, Zoology
    North Carolina State University
    Raleigh, North Carolina

    John S. Gunn, Ph.D.
    Forest Ecologist
    The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands
    Hebron, Maine

    Judy Haggard
    Wildlife Biologist
    Haggard Wildlife Consulting
    Fieldbrook, California

    Richard W. Halsey, M.A.
    Director/Fire Ecology
    California Chaparral Field Institute
    Escondido, California

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    Director, James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve
    University of California, Riverside
    Idyllwild, California

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    Associate Professor
    Eckerd College
    St Petersburg, Florida

    Peggy S. M. Hill, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Biological Science
    University of Tulsa
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Richard T. Holmes, Ph.D.
    Emeritus Harris Professor, Environmental
    Biology
    Dartmouth College
    Hanover, New Hampshire

    Thomas R. Horton, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, Mycorrhizal Ecology
    State University of New York
    College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    Syracuse, New York

    Robert Huber, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
    Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green, Ohio

    Jarvis E. Hudson, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor, Biology
    Fayetteville State University
    Fayetteville, North Carolina

    Richard Hutto, Ph.D.
    Professor and Director
    Avian Science Center, Division of
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    University of Montana
    Missoula, Montana

    David K. Imper
    Ecologist
    US Fish and Wildlife Service
    Arcata, California

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    Fire Sociologist
    University of Oregon
    Eugene, Oregon

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    Professor, Biology
    Kenyon College
    Gambier, Ohio

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    Associate Professor, Biology
    University of Central Florida
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    Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture and
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    University of Oregon
    Eugene, Oregon

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    Ecology
    Wildlife Biologist
    Fairbanks, Alaska

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    Professor, Aquatics Sciences and Biology
    University of Washington
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    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    Honolulu, Hawaii

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    Department of Biology
    Fort Lewis College
    Durango, Colorado

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    Research Assistant Professor
    Department of Natural Resources
    University of New Hampshire
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    Wild Animal Keeper
    Bronx Zoo, Wildlife Conservation Society
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    Geographer
    Colorado State University
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    University of California, Berkeley
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    Population Ecologist
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    College of Wooster
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    University of Alaska
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    Environmental and Plant Biology
    Ohio University
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    University of New Hampshire
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    Ohio University
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    University of New Hampshire
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    University of Illinois
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    Department of Environmental Studies
    Huxley College, Western Washington
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    Coastal Plains Institute and Land Conservancy
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    University of Florida
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    West Springfield, Massachusetts

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    Clemson University
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    University of California, Davis
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    Dept. of Fish, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology
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    Grand Canyon Trust
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    University of Central Florida
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    Southern Oregon University
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    College of Forestry, Wildlife
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    Florida Museum of Natural History
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    Ecosystem Studies and Management
    Oregon State University
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    Assistant Professor, Environmental Public
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    University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
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    University of Pennsylvania
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    University of Minnesota
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    Grays River, Washington

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    Fayetteville State University
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    Rollins College
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    University of Nebraska – Kearney
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    University of California, Los Angeles
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    Indiana University South Bend
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    National Center for Ecological Analysis
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    Le Moyne College
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    University of Wisconsin
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    Grand Valley State University
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    Conservation Biology Institute
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    Clemson University
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    Department of Entomology
    University of Nebraska
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    Samford University
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    Department of Botany
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    Washington State University Vancouver
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    Middlebury College
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    University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
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    University of Colorado
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    University of Alaska Anchorage
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    Floyd Waddle, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor
    Fayetteville State University
    Fayetteville, North Carolina

    Robert O. Wagner, Ph.D.
    Wildlife Ecologist
    DeRidder, Louisiana

    Don Waller, Ph.D.
    Forest Ecologist
    Department of Botany
    University of Wisconsin
    Madison, Wisconsin

    B. Michael Walton, Ph.D.
    Director, Environmental Institute
    Associate Professor, Biological, Geological, and
    Environmental Sciences
    Cleveland State University
    Cleveland, Ohio

    James H. Warner, Ph.D.
    Ecologist
    Professor Emeritus, Biology
    University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
    La Crosse, Wisconsin

    Peter Warner, M.A.
    Ecology
    Environmental Scientist
    California Department of Parks & Recreation
    Little River, California

    Vicki Watson, Ph.D.
    Professor and Watershed Ecologist
    University of Montana
    Missoula, Montana

    Tom Wessels, M.S.
    Professor, Ecology
    Antioch New England Graduate School
    Keene, New Hampshire

    Cindy Deacon Williams
    Fisheries Biologist
    Headwaters
    Ashland, Oregon

    Jack E. Williams, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist
    Trout Unlimited
    Medford, Oregon

    *Affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
    Selected references:

    Beschta R. L., J. J. Rhodes, J. B. Kauffman, R. E. Gresswell, G. W. Minshall, J. R. Karr, D. A. Perry, F. R. Hauer, and C.

    A. Frissell. 2004. Postfire management on forested public lands of the western United States. Conservation Biology
    18:957–967.

    DellaSala, D. A., G. Nagle, R. Fairbanks, D. Odion, J. Williams, J. R. Karr, C. Frissell, and T. Ingalsbee. 2006. The factsand myths of post-fire management: a case study of the Biscuit fire, southwest Oregon. Unpublished Report, World
    Wildlife Fund, Klamath-Siskiyou Program, 116 Lithia Way, Ashland, Oregon.

    Dombeck, M., J. E. Williams, and C. A. Wood. 2004. Wildfire policy and public lands: integrating scientific understanding with social concerns across landscapes. Conservation Biology 18:883-889.

    Donato, D. C., J. B. Fontaine, J. L. Campbell, W. D. Robinson, J. B. Kauffman, and B. E. Law. 2006. Post-wildfire logging hinders regeneration and increases fire risk. Science 311:352.

    Franklin, J. F., and J. Agee. 2003. Scientific issues and national forest fire policy: forging a science-based national forest fire policy. Issues in Science and Technology 20:59-66.

    Karr, J. R., J. J. Rhodes, G. W. Minshall, F. R. Hauer, R. L. Beschta, C. A. Frissell, and D. A. Perry. 2004. The effects of postfire salvage logging on aquatic ecosystems in the American West. Bioscience 54:1029-1033.

    Lindenmayer, D. B, D. R. Foster, J. F. Franklin, M. L. Hunter, R. F. Noss, F. A. Schmeigelow, and D. Perry. 2004.

    Salvage harvesting policies after natural disturbance. Science 303:1303.

    Turner, M. G., W. H. Romme, and D. B. Tinker. 2003. Surprises and lessons from the 1998 Yellowstone Fires. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:351-358.

    • So, using the pictures I have provided, how is this opinion piece valid and site-specific for the project I have displayed? How did salvage logging impact the lands in those pictures? How is salvaging plantation trees damaging to the environment? How will re-burns be “mitigated” in the future by doing nothing? How will soils damage be mitigated when massive fuels build-ups, near the ground, due to a lack of salvage, burn at high intensity? Questions, questions, questions.

      Yes, it is very easy to see how 80’s style salvage has serious impacts but, that was a long time ago, in a millennium far, far away. It is all about site specific science, and these scientists, many of whom are in unrelated and barely related fields, from other parts of the country, seem to be just “jumping on the bandwagon”.

      Every decision (and non-decision) has its impacts and benefits, and we need to analyze them to decide how to proceed, instead of a blanket policy of “whatever happens”. There are ample salvage projects which did make money, reduce fuels, eliminate hazards, provide jobs, enhance recovery, protect soils, etc, etc, etc. Using the past to block the future isn’t a desirable option. If you have some site-specific issues with the Rim Fire, by all means, bring it forward! We need to find ways to accelerate the return of mature forests to the Groveland Ranger District, as there is almost none left today. Doing nothing is not the way to do that, and the evidence is in those brushfields that were left to “recover on their own”. Those patches had 40 years to show signs of “recovery”, and 8 foot high brush isn’t “recovery”, especially seeing that those lands burned at moderate severity, beginning the cycle, anew. The adjacent plantations survived the fire MUCH better than those “protected” brushfields.

      • Larry: In pretty much agreement, but you keep slamming pre-1990 logging practices, and that’s not fair. The salvage from the Tillamook Burn in the 1940s and 1950s — using military cats and yarding straight down creeks in many instances, and right up to the river’s edge — has turned out great. And it stopped the fires after 1951, and all has come back to forest. Some of the placer mining in your neck of the woods and in southwest Oregon is still greatly scarred and obvious, but seems to have had very few long-term effects on fish or birds. But it still looks ugly.

        • However, modern projects include more issues and mitigations. My main criticism of past salvage practices includes a lack of snags left for wildlife. It hasn’t been a problem, for the most part, to leave clumps of snags away from roads, as well as leaving some parts of wildfires untouched. Yes, it IS important to note the successes of past projects, adding perspective but, we should also be learning what not to do from those very same projects. We should be all about continuous improvement, from both sides of the spectrum.

        • How can you say all that salvage “turned out great”? It seems very unscientific. Don’t we need to compare the effects of salvage versus not salvage? Comparing two time periods (past/burned and present/forested) is not a proper basis for comparison. Maybe if the forest was not salvaged, the north coast would have fewer sickly off-site conifer plantations, less Swiss needle cast, more salmon, more marbled murrelet, more spotted owls, more resilient watersheds with more large wood, more carbon storage, etc. In fact, I think it’s likely.

          • My Yosemite example shows, without a single doubt, that in this case, non-salvage didn’t turn out very well. In just 20 short years, it went from treasured majestic old growth pine forests, teeming with endangered species, to a barren wasteland, devoid of forest, at all. And, yes, this example is VERY site specific to the Rim Fire. Show me how that appropriate salvage will impact the area of the Rim Fire more negatively than the brushfields that resulted from not salvaging in 1972, from the Granite Fire. Show us, Almighty Anonymous Tree God…. or Goddess, whichever is appropriate. Show us how salvaging 40 year old plantation trees is bad. Show us how replanting salvaged plantations is bad. Show us how replanting can be successful without salvage. Show us how replanting can be successful in bearclover, without using herbicides…… SHOW US!….. SHOW US!!….. SHOW US!!!!!!

            (ain’t I a rascal!) *smirk*

          • Tree: I actually am a scientist. You are anonymous for whatever reason. From what you have written over time, I doubt very much that you are either a scientist or a resource manager. “Great” is a value term, of course, but to say it is “unscientific” is both arrogant and obvious. To set up your weird statement that to compare two conditions over time is not a “proper basis” for a comparison is just plain dumb. What do you think the dictionary says about the word “compare”? Maybe you should “compare” your use of “great” with your use of the word “likely”. Sounds like jabberwocky to me. Once again, I understand why you remain anonymous. Maybe Matt can come to your defense again — this just sounds like more mindless babble to me. Again.

            • Bob, as I read TreeC123’s comment, I think he’s just saying that looking at before and after, when a number of possible factors may be responsible for the change, that it isn’t possible to accurately determine which factor (or combination) is most significant. If there were salvage and nonsalvage treatments, it would be a better experimental design and would allow for more valid conclusions about effects of salvage treatments. At least that’s how I read it. -Guy

              • Modern salvage projects, here in California already dedicate significant chunks of burned areas for “other values”. My Power Fire project only included 55% of the burned area. Within that area there were lands that weren’t in any cutting unit. Within cutting units were clumps of snags, left solely for wildlife. So, I think that we are, indeed, allowing “experimental design”.

                Today’s modern salvage projects are so very far away from those 80’s-era salvage practices that are trotted out there as examples of why we shouldn’t salvage.

              • Thanks, Guy:

                I think you are being kind. I don’t see anything it Tree’s writing here or in anything he/she has done in the past that indicates experimental design. However, I’ve been wrong before and maybe I’m just misinterpreting what Tree is saying. Still, I would disagree.

          • Tillamook turned out great? Logging right into the creek which destroyed pools and salmon habitat, messing up the wood in the streams. They worked hard to get that wood back in there and restore thos pools.

            And BTW, some of the plantings fell to Swiss Needle cast where they planted doug fir where hemlock was more suited.

            Looks great? Sure it has a lot of young trees on it but green does not necessarily mean great.

            • And BTW, cat logging back then on some soils caused really bad compaction, This is not uncommon on BLM lands east of Eugene where post WW2 logging caused widespread compaction, lowering site class significantly.

              It is knowing how bad things were that gives me a perspective on how much better logging can be these days with better equipment and BMPs to protect streams and soil.

              • Greg: We found that we were actually able to improve site quality via planting site-specific seedling via micro-site planting densities over a two-decade period. Compacted landings, skid trails, and cat roads were easily compensated for by planting their perimeters at tighter spacings. The end result was more comprehensive coverage and faster growth per seedlings — i.e., higher site classes. Plus, compaction problems largely disappeared within a few years.

                • I do not worry much about landings and roads since i view them as sacrifice zones that can be kept to a minimum. But long ago some units had 40% of their surface area seriously compacted by those old cats. Much less the case now but 40% compaction has large soil impacts that planting densely cannot really ameliorate.

                • On some soils, esp out on the Fremont NF which has a lot of ash, compaction can persist for decades and perhaps longer. More a problem in some areas with lots of clay such as east side BLM near eugene. Some areas are healed by deep frost, but it really does depend on the soil.

                  Due to past compaction across the fremont, re enty for later thinning is sometimes restricted. But new equipment and reducing areas driven over more then twice, laying down slash, etc can avoid much or most current problems. Recognizing past bad practices is necessary if making the case for current logging.

                  And too many appeals and comments will just repeat those old or ancient studies of soil impacts that are no longer relevant.

                    • Yep, they use it on temp roads but most other places won;t need it these days if using BMPs. Others know more about this than me. My only point is that with such BMPs, generic concerns with soils are overstated in many places on federal lands.

                    • I’ve seen it in contracts, to be used, if needed but, it has been awhile since I required it, in specific spots. Usually, there are specific parameters involved, to achieve the desired results. The decision to use ripping is usually a judgement call, and it often is a “cosmetic” application, especially with today’s equipment. I guess skidding during wet conditions could compact soils more than during dry conditions. I think there should be better guidance about when to use it, and when not too. I did see it misused, in the past, where a wrongly-placed landing (in the middle of an ephemeral draw) was ripped, only to have a flood event wash it all away, the next winter. I found it while doing BMP monitoring and documentation. My boss wasn’t happy about the discovery that his favorite employee (a certified Sale Administrator) could make such a mistake, and that I documented it.

                      I worked on the Winema NF Lone Pine Fire Salvage, logging during the winter, and we had to be careful about compaction, especially with the feller-bunchers of the time, back then. Those were cat-mounted “shears” that had to drive to every tree. We didn’t want them running over the same paths, so we had them offsetting their routes, and causing more soil disturbance, instead. Those were mostly “pummy” soils but, the geology there was varied. We also had to worry about saturated soils, during the epic winter of ’92-’93.

            • Greg: Yep. I think it turned out great, and so do many others. Some of them are really even trying to “preserve” the results. Salmon did fine through the 50’s — before all of the pool and woody debris “restoration.” Check out the records. Not only did I help plant part of the Burn in the 1960’s, but my Dad filled my first doe tag there because of the over-abundance of deer and I’ve caught lots of fish there — way before people “worked hard” to put wood where it may or may not have existed before. What did that do for the fish? How about the ’96 floods? What did that do to the fish? And the wood and the pools?

              Do you think Swiss needle cast (my name is Swiss, from my grandfather) existed before the Tillamook plantations? How about the bugs and diseases noted during the 1890’s timber cruises? Did the fires help or just exacerbate those problems? Or is it just a plantation problem?

              Finally, why do you think hemlock was more suited than Douglas-fir? Are you sure Sitka spruce or lodgepole pine (“shore pine”) or bunchgrass or red alder or bigleaf maple might not have actually been “more suited”? Why do you think you are right on this statement? Or is it just another opinion?

              And no, I don’t necessarily think green is “great”, but I do think it is way better than blackened or barren or yellow or chloratic. Got a better color in mind?

              Not meaning to be confrontational here, but it looks like we are just arguing personal values and reconstructed “history”. Your thoughts (on what I’ve said)?

        • That means a lot to me, Greg! I know that you have an educated view of what bad salvage logging looks like. I was a Sale Administrator on several of the sales within this project and I was able to have some excellent loggers. I have a less confrontational style that brings out the best in loggers. I, sometimes, would “write them up”, for doing good work. It’s funny when they read those reports, because they aren’t used to guys like me documenting the good things they do, along with things that need attention. They want more, so they do better work. However, most loggers still will push my limits. Currently, the Forest Service would rather hire trainees to fill in, as Sale Administrators reach retirement age. The window for me getting a “real” job has come and passed. I don’t qualify, anymore, due to not being a permanent. Additionally, I just checked the other day and there are ZERO “Harvest Inspector” jobs, nationwide. Clearly, the Forest Service doesn’t see a problem as this kind of knowledge continues to go away, with no plan to replace it.

          • Larry: I feel your pain. I was in my late 30s with nearly a quarter-century planting, cutting and thinning trees and personally training about 300 others to do the same (most of whom learned to stop after a few hours, days, or weeks), lining out crews and bidding units and considered myself as one of the best anywhere. Then the spotted owl flew in, the country went into a recession, I couldn’t continue making payments on my land or home, my marriage fell apart and I became a sophomore in college. No one to transfer my knowledge to anymore, no place to practice my skills, no land or equipment to do it with.

            I felt cheated, but moreover, I felt society was being cheated — they needed people like me, and they didn’t even realize it. Now, 30 years later, most of my work has been clearcut and the reforestation work had been sloppily performed by illegal aliens and “newbie” inspectors. No more micro-site density planting, expert tree selection thinning, highly competent burning, etc. Probably like the buggy whip people were feeling in the early 1900s, except my (and your) skills were still desperately needed. A real bummer, as we used to say at the time, and no logical reason for it to be taking place. Fortunately, 30 years later, I never became bitter — more like contained anger, with an edgier sense of humor — and am still dealing with spotted owl issues (in every sense of the word). I have a new alphabet to go with my name, make a small fraction of what I used to make, have no retirement plan, yet just reached retirement age, etc.

            Sound about right, except for the past 30 years part? We desperately need people with your skill sets in our federal forests, but the nitwit bureaucrats now in charge think we need lawyers and professional committee-goers instead. (Sorry, Guy, John, and Jon: not talking about you guys or others trying to work these things out — I’m mostly talking about the ambulance chasers and misguided “idealists” who are subsets of your profession).

            I feel your pain, Larry. Doesn’t make sense, and society is shooting itself in the foot thinking it’s taking target practice. You’re a great photographer and a good writer and are used to being broke. Maybe an instruction manual titled How to Competently Mark Trees or creating a permanent position as repeat photographer, using Jack Ward Thomas as precedent? It seems nuts to me that they haven’t realized the need for your skill set and are taking advantage of it, but a foot is a pretty easy target and the “powers that be” seem to often take the easy way out rather than actually tackling the job at hand. Too many times. Good luck!

        • Since a thinning project was just completed, in the last few years, near Cherry Lake, there shouldn’t be any need for new roads, at all, in that area. Since most of the fire was re-burn or unsuitable for salvage, that will also limit or eliminate the need for temp roads. I really think they will resist putting in any new roads but, temp roads will probably be necessary. I don’t know the costs but, we were logging this project by June of the next year. The Forest TMO was a “slave driver” in getting the project going, so, EIS costs were kept very low.

          • People will shriek about any new “roads” even if completely innocuous. When opponents fight in court, the often cite stuff on awful roads from decades ago and get away with it. This is already a roaded, managed landscape, a few temp roads will not harm it and they do a much better job with them that the bad old days, Heck, Biscuit had but a few hundred yards of temp roads on ridge tops and people shrieked about that, They were ripped out after use and closed.

    • This is choice: “Advocates of post-disturbance logging may argue that this slash can be disposed of with controlled burns and other treatments. Yet such treatments can severely damage underlying soils, imposing other taxes on natural recovery” – And they weren’t already severely damaged by the original fire? Someone is brain dead.
      –> AND:
      “Specifically, post-disturbance logging impedes regeneration of forest landscapes when it …, removes or destroys so-called biological legacies (such as soil organic material, seeds in the soil, large standing and downed trees), damages riparian corridors, introduces or …, delivers sediment to streams from logging roads and steep slopes, degrades water quality, and damages populations of many aquatic species” – And they weren’t already severely damaged by the original fire? Someone is brain dead.
      –> This is duplicitous – How can post-disturbance logging destroy what has already been destroyed by the original fire?
      –> This is duplicitous – How can the original fire not create these problems over a very large area yet burning patches of slash does create these problems.

      Yes, there are severity of burns, soils and slopes where this is true but it certainly is not a one size fits all solution and in a great many places this is totally inappropriate. This is self contradictory delusion which attempts to replace real established science with elitist unproven theory/conjecture.

      • Because much or most of a fire has minor soil impacts,15% of Biscuit,5% of Davis etc. Piling the salvage logging slash or broadcast burning does seem to have big impacts so I recommend avoiding that. The differences in plant cover in the non salvage and salvage and burn parts of Biscuit are sharp.

        Viewing fire as damaging to soil is very site specific. ALthough it sure happens esp with lots of fuel on the ground in places, esp slash piles.

        • One of these days I’ll post a panorama of a pile of stuff that was flown out of these units, as required by the project’s plans. Yes, the lawsuit also required that we stop reducing fuels by flying out the logging slash. So, the unfinished areas have “preserved” fuels build-ups.

          • You might be cautious on lumping beschta in with any faction, he runs his own lines
            Back in 97 I saw him debate Julia Jones and completely demolish her contention that logging causes floods. I went in there thinking one thing and walked out thinking something else entirely.

            Beschta is not anti logging by any means.
            Put of all the anti salvage lit, I found his the most credible while there are others that should have been withdrawn from publication. I made a point of tracking back all the citations to what the sources actually said and a few really bungled it. But not Beschta.

            • Like I said, my vague memory was that the paper said “salvage can be bad if you do these kinds of things in these kinds of places.” And all the NEPA document had to say is that “we reviewed the Beschta report and we’re not doing those kinds of things in those kinds of places.” Granted this was a while ago…and my memory is way less than perfect.

            • Greg: You are right about Beschta, so far as his work ethic goes, and he is a good guy. I just have problems with some of his work with wolves, the nature of the Beschta report, and he personally stiffed me once with feigned politeness and dismissive lack of comment. So it’s a little personal. No, he should not be put in the same box as DellaSala — I’m sure we can both agree on that. Carloni is a school teacher that flunked his first defense, although I thought he did good enough. Mostly just a cursory approach to a topic I am very familiar with, but pretty typical of a lot of what was being done for letters at that time. Both are far more politcal and opinionated — with a lot less to stand on — than Beschta. You’ve probably seen my earlier post on OSU Global Warming Forestry a few weeks ago that featured DellaSala and the money train.

          • How could you possible afford flying logging slash. I have a hard time figuring out how to pay for flying good wood. One thing about the Westside of Oregon is small wood rots pretty fast.
            I haven’t been up in the Biscuit for a few years. I think its time I go take a look. A few things Greg has mentioned I haven’t noticed. Like regeneration in the higher drier parts and the difference in harvested areas versus unharvested areas. I also remember the areas we worked in the soil was reduced to rocks, but brush did start growing back the next year and some areas were thick with seedlings.

            • SPI has a monopoly here, and they “low-balled” the Forest Service to get “base rates”, and other concessions. Twice, they didn’t bid on sales, and the Forest Service had to scramble to adjust. I’m guessing that SPI did the same thing to their contractors. I’ll bet they saved some money by not having to have their high-priced fallers do all that limbing and top removal. One big item is how fast we got in there to harvest the trees before decay could set in. Most of what they were flying had good wood in it. In hindsight, it was a win-win situation for all, and (as you can see in the first picture) there was plenty of BBW habitat, despite the salvage.

            • The only obvious difference I saw in Biscuit veg between salvage and non salvage was after broadcast burning of the harvest units. It does seem that such burning can set back post fire plant recovery. This was so obvious that I wondered why somebody had not noted it. But little of biscuit salvage had such broadcast burns and for that matter, there was not much small slash on many harvest units since so many snags were left standing. Largest amount was large stems left behind after taking one log out. I am not a fuels person but my guess is that the fire people did not think the slash load was high enough to justify treatment. I can’t really judge that but in this case, salvage surely did leave more fuel behind. Whether that should be considered a problem is beyond me. But Donato made that point about salvage leaving more slash than non salvage.

              People might yawp about that but as I pointed out above, burning that slash has other negative effects.

              Safford and Hibbs (OSU) published a paper on post fire regen from a number of burns on different sites in the klamath sisikyou and they were clear that regen was fine. In Biscuit the wet spring following the fire probably accounted for the excellent regen, but it has continued.

              • I’m confused. In harvest areas, wouldn’t those trees have fallen down ANYWAY?!? Before harvest, there is a measurable amount of biomass in the dead trees. After harvest, that amount of biomass was reduced. Just because it is on the ground sooner, that doesn’t make it any less “slashy”. Additionally, if snags are allowed to fall, they will fall on re-gen, anyway, “reducing post-fire recovery”, as Donato said about helicopter logging. The trees will eventually fall but, timber fallers can, at least, fell the trees where they might do less “damage” (as required in the timber sale contract).

                On my project, since fuels were flown out, broadcast burning was not necessary, except, maybe, in the case of the areas where litigation prevented harvest.

                • yes, I had the same thought about the slash, but it was pointed out to me that after a fire, the natural slash comes down slower.

                  But I did not think that the logging slash on biscuit mattered much in the long term. I imagine a re survey 10 years after the fire will show little difference between harvested and non harvest. It seems most likely that harvested areas will have less now.

                  I have seen other salvage in other places where the slash was really a problem but that is older salvage, 80s salvage which really was bad in places.

                  I think reactions against salvage are largely due to old practices and it vexed me that so few had seen the new ones under new regs.

                  • Agreed! That is why I defend modern salvage projects so much, and post pictures of the results. I also think that rules, laws and policies are better followed, these days, due to increased ground-truthing. I’ve always welcomed oversight, and have seen it as a great opportunity for the education of opponents (unlike my predecessors!)

                    • I tried organizing trips out to look over salvage and had few takers, What I most often got back was just the usual bucket of truisms which were not based on an actual examination of the ground. Many enviros have little real science education, they often tend to be believers and talking to them is an exercise in futility. But that is their role. I am too hung up on the science

                      I did try to pull together a workshop to examine Biscuit 10 years later but did not have any takers.

                      Dredges up too much, it was the last great battle of the timber war, and i was stuck between the lines. But at least I could talk sensibly to the feds. I hated the snarls I got from too many enviros, but what the hell, I got the cornell phd and they don’t. ( F… em) .

                      Was I glad to get out of there and back into academic science.

                      Donato et al resurveyed his transects summer before last but I have not seen the data. And Bormann had those those long term soil/veg plots he has been following, But other than that, I know of no follow up on biscuit. It takes funding I know.

                      I have been up there a few times, most recently in June but I find the whole history so depressing that I recoil from it.

        • I did read an article about the soils surveys on the Rim Fire. They are digging plots and it appears that there is significant soils damage. Of course, that might be the spin from the newspaper, trying to illustrate “other damages” from wildfires, in an effort to provide well-rounded reporting of the impacts. It is usually easy to pick spots where you would expect to find actual soils damages.

    • chuckle, and they cited me in this. but I thought it kinda half baked since so few had seen much real salvage. I tried to engage with them on the actual facts but was not too successful.

      It was a political conflict,the letter signers had some good points but……

  2. But Bryan most of these folks have never been to the site and wouldn’t know a bearclover if they stepped on it.
    Just because scientists sign letters doesn’t mean they actually know much about what they’re talking about.

    For example, I posted this one about a roadless letter signed by even more scientists..on Roger Pielke, Jrs.’ blog back when I was working on that.
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/04/xtreme-science-advocacy-guest-post-by.html

    We can’t really take these things seriously. They circulated and like-minded people sign on.. but there is no qa/qc on whether they actually know anything about the issue.

    It’s interesting that you would post this after Larry’s post- Larry who is actually there on the ground. I hope you weren’t implying that people who are far away in academia, and sign on to a letter know more than people who are there observing the reality. ‘Cause you would be discounting local place-based knowledge.

  3. Bryan: This should be what “some” — or maybe even “many” — scientists said seven years ago. Not “the” scientists. Signatures from DellaSala, Carloni, and Beschta speak volumes. Must have been before Hanson got involved in politics. Thank you for contributing this letter! It adds a nice perspective.

      • Well, that explains why he wasn’t one of the signers! He is only one of several serial litigators that Congress has probably got tired of, and should have probably gotten tired of a lot sooner than this. Sierra Club, too, and the wolf people. The Center for Biological Diversity and the University of Oregon law school spin-off have certainly had a lot more to do with the problem — and for a lot longer — than Hanson.

  4. Sure, one can impugn the names of these scientists, but certainly many are very well respected and have long established careers in forest science. Not the least of which Jerry Franklin, he certainly knows bear clover from Dyer’s woad.

    If you can’t take a letter from these scientists seriously, then perhaps going to the literature they cite would help to affirm what is stated in the letter.

    Local knowledge is valuable knowledge, but so is the body of literature that results from scientific investigation. Certainly you’re not implying that observation or anecdote trumps scientific method?

    I’m happy to supply readers with a trove of peer-reviewed literature on this subject, in fact, the journal Conservation Biology dedicated an entire issue to the matter in 2006.

    • Actual results, in the actual area, should trump general guidelines. It is those “protected” brushfields that show a more accurate view of what is likely to happen, if we don’t do “something”. Are you saying that we should waste another 40 years to see if we can get different results by doing the same thing?!? If there isn’t any site-specific science, isn’t observation better than nothing?!? Isn’t site-specific photographic evidence better than failed policy?!?

    • Bryan: Franklin doesn’t know Larry’s area at all, no matter his plant identification skills. And in recent years he would probably disagree with a lot of this letter. He is definitely the “guru of old-growth,” but there are a lot of holes in his understanding of forest history, wildfire ecology, and reforestation — those are outside his field of expertise, and many of his statements through the years demonstrate that fact. But yes, he probably knows bear clover, or at least knows how to identify it. This is a political statement signed by a bunch of academics, several with widely recognized anti-logging biases. Larry is on the ground and has actual “knowledge” (education plus experience) that these people don’t. That is not the same thing as “anecdote” — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either. Too, many scientists have a big problem with much of the work that has been generated via Conservation Biology, particularly in recent years. Lots of opinions, lots of theories, lots of politics, and not so much in the way of actual field observations, experimentation, or replication. Science is a game of challenges, not consensus — that’s what politics are for.

    • Bryan, I wasn’t “impugning” the names of the scientists. I was saying that when “scientists” sign letters claiming relevance to a particular issue, we need to understand what their claims to knowledge about this issue, in this place, are. Not to wax all epistemological here.

      At one time I was working in FS R&D and we were helping NEPA folks craft responses to the Beschta report. At that time I read the paper. But all I had to say is Beschta says…x. But this site isn’t like that because….y. Or these conditions are different because of z. Or we are mitigating that with practice q.

      My point being that you can bring up all the literature you want about what might be done in some places and the impacts. Which does not answer the question, given current conditions here, and given the practices they would employ, the mitigation factors they propose, what would be the impacts? That would be what an EIS would address.

      So here is what would be fair input by academic scientists, in my opinion, on Larry’s question. First the FS would propose specific salvage in specific areas with specific practices and mitigations and timing, etc.

      Then the scientists would write in and say specifically how their research papers are related to that design in that place.

      Otherwise we are claiming that general things published in peer-reviewed journals are more true than specific things observed by professional soil scientists, wildlife biologists, hydrologists, etc.. without ever having the discussion between them about a specific place to see if their claims are different or not.

      What I found by looking at the literature was generally “bad things would happen if conditions were like this and they were not mitigated” but in projects conditions were not like that, and were mitigated.

      But I think it’s really important to clarify that people can be right about generalities and wrong about specifics.

    • Bryan

      Please provide us with your links to a “trove of peer-reviewed literature on this subject”

      Jerry Franklin has professed some unsubstantiated ecosystem beliefs that have not been proven nor can they be proven since statistically designed research studies can not be installed to establish what happened in the past. So, he conjectures Nature Only styled restoration. Science by reference whether peer reviewed or not means nothing if you follow the list of references back to the original source and discover that there are no scientific research experiments or reproducibility and therefore science turns out to be nothing but an opinion swallowed by those who find the opinion convenient. The NSO is a perfect example of people claiming opinion to be science. In the case of the NSO and elsewhere, computer modeling is also opinion unless there are statistically sound experiments behind all of the relations used in the model algorithms.

      • Gil: NO!!!! I’m sure he might just do it. Do you really want an endless list of DellaSala and Jerry Franklin “peer reviewed” publications? Life is short — no one will need them or ever read them, and Bird will be wasting his time. Plus, it will clog up the blog. Just get the 2005 Conservation Biology publication he mentions and use those lists instead. Please.

        • Bob

          Give me a link – I’m not sending off for a paper document. Contrary to my love for finding new uses for wood fiber and my papermaking insights – MY OFFICE HAS GONE PAPERLESS 🙂

          • Gil: Not sure if this available online, but you can ask Bird — or, you can try Googling it. I am still reading real book and printing up a lot of my stuff, but I have gone newspaperless after an almost 60-year habit. It was much easier to quit cigarettes.

              • Bryan.. I think Derek used to post his photos in Googledocs and then provide a link.. that would work. Let me know if you have trouble with that and I can try to think of something else. Maybe we could set up our own folder if someone knows how and I can link to it here.

              • Let’s hope those papers don’t deal with the 80’s style of salvage logging. Again, modern fire salvage projects, here in California, are a much different animal. My last fire salvage project left 45% of the burned areas outside of the project, especially for wildlife, and other issues. Additionally, more acreage was included in the project but, not in any cutting unit. However, that, apparently, wasn’t enough for the Ninth Circuit Court, and Chad Hanson. I’d like to see papers that deal with such realities. If they don’t, they are of limited value, IMHO.

  5. Then again we could examine the historic incentives which produced the mismanagement in the first place, and in the second place, note the same economic incentives driving “salvage” logging.

    There is notable irony to the negative responses to the 2006 scientists’ sign-on letter in this matter — that of using the same rhetorical tactics employed by climate science deniers (calling into question overwhelming scientific consensus) depicting 5% as somehow equal to the other 95%.

    • David

      The 95% number is bogus – here is the real story:

      Beginning with a source from: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/17/survey_of_scientific_opinion_of_global_warming/ Regarding the often touted statement to the effect that ‘97% of Climate Scientist Agree that Mankind Causes Global Warming’ – I find the use of the 97% number to be a bit disingenuous when taken out of context from the article as follows: (i.e. there is no problem with the article. The author is quite clear in documenting how he came to his number and the context that it should be taken in. The problem is in saying that 97% of climate scientists agree that ‘Humans Cause Global Warming’):

      A) 1st step in the study – Team analysis:
      1) ‘11,944 article abstracts that included the terms “global climate change” or “global warming”‘ were reviewed.

      2) “the team found that 66.4 per cent of the abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW, and 0.3% fit in the “uncertain” category.”

      3) So the oft quoted 97% is derived as follows: (32.6%/(32.6%+0.7%+0.3%)) and is then applied to all climate scientists instead of just 32.6% = (32.6%/(32.6%+66.4%+0.7%+0.3%)) of the articles

      B) 2nd step in the study – Author feedback sub sample: After adjusting for author feedback on some of the 66.4% where no opinion was expressed (assuming that 60% “over half” stated that they were believers) we would get 72% = 32.6%+(66.4X0.6) Pro Man Made Global Warming not 97%. So we 97% is significantly overstated.

      C) Another significant drawback is that these #’s are based on climate related articles published instead of only counting one article per author (i.e. one opinion per Climate Scientist). This would result in a bias to the high side if pro authors were more prolific than the other authors.

      • Thanks for that Gil,
        Are you suggesting there’s not an international scientific consensus around AGW? If not, are you suggesting there’s a (yet to be heard from consensus) of scientists (not on an industry-related payroll) endorsing salvage logging in a group sign-on letter to refute this 2006 letter? If not, are you suggesting there doesn’t exist a consensus of the IPCC scientists around a 95% probability of AGW?
        http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/27/world/climate-change-5-things/index.html

        If not, then I’m left with the question, “what’s your point?” If so, please provide the documentation supporting your point.

        The fact is, forestry related emissions factor significantly in AGW.
        Also, please be advised you can expect silence from me, (as in our last exchange), if you can’t figure out a way to respond without your trademark condescension and derision driving your argument.

        • David

          The link that I gave you above gives the source of the 95% (rounded) number.

          Re: “If not, are you suggesting there doesn’t exist a consensus of the IPCC scientists around a 95% probability of AGW?”
          –> I don’t deny that the majority of climate scientist think that a significant portion of global warming is man induced. All that I am saying is that when you do the math behind this particular literature review study, you find that the consensus is not around 95%. Instead the number is somewhere between 66 to 72%. The study’s authors point out the context for the 97% (95%) number but the context has been left out of all of the mantras/talking points used by those wishing to totally dismiss in derision any that would disagree with them.
          –> I would also like to point out that consensus is not established scientific fact. Consensus can be and has been wrong before. Consensus means that I take the claims seriously but I do not refuse to listen to or ridicule those who claim the opposite. In my opinion, the court is still out on the subject. I am very perplexed that one set of data shows an increasing trend over the last 12 years and another set shows a leveling off. I am perplexed that 30 years ago we were going into a mini ice age and now we are going into global warming or not depending on what reputable scientist you happen to be listening to. I am also perplexed that we can’t predict tomorrow’s temperature very well so I don’t have much faith in predicting the temperature 50 years out within one or two degrees centigrade. I am also very concerned that this majority in the Climate Science community seems to be willing to shame and exclude those who disagree with them. It is contrary to the open mindedness required of a scientist who only has a theory rather than conclusive, indisputable science to prove the theory. It doesn’t seem to be any different than what congress and our president are doing when they try to get their way by twisting facts and demeaning the opposition with falsehoods to try to and get their way rather than consider the good of the country.

          Please show me my “condescension and derision driving your argument” in my last post immediately above and I will apologize because I deliberately tried to not do that. You have my apologies for any such past indiscretions. Matthew, Bob and I are trying to turn over a new leaf. Please help me to do as I say here http://forestpolicypub.com/2013/10/09/why-we-need-to-salvage-and-replant-the-rim-fire/comment-page-1/#comment-20210

          Re: “please be advised you can expect silence from me, (as in our last exchange), if you can’t figure out a way to respond without your trademark condescension and derision driving your argument.”
          –> Please be advised that my perception and resulting feelings about your responses are that they are not always as pure as the driven snow. The same phraseology has different meaning to different people based on the differing experiences that they have had when such phraseology was used. As I explain in the link in the paragraph immediately above, I am willing to work with you or anyone else to help me clean up my act if they are willing to concede that no one, including themselves, is without fault.

    • I had read all the scientific lit on salvage logging at the time and actual data was scant except for Donato. Almost all of it was opinion, much of it valid, but not based on data and an examination of salvage practiced recently on federal lands.

      (BTW, I was the person who wrote the letter to NW congressional delegation of behalf of Pacific Rivers Council and to the editor of Science supporting Donato’s Biscuit work since I had done field work in all the units.)

      Some of the things cited as indicating severe impacts of salvage on streams were only opinions, not based on any data but later presented as facts..

      And in a later book chapter by Franklin and others about salvage,a photo of main Biscuit salvage area on Fiddler was in there allegedly showing the landscape scale impacts of salvage. However I had pics taken before the salvage and half of the logged areas in the Franklin photo were logged long before Biscuit. This really ticked me off but it was too typical. I do not lay this in Franklin’s lap since one of his idjut co authors had supplied the photo. Franklin said he would yank the photo in the next edition.

      So contentions about “science” on salvage is often pretty weak.

      Or would you like to discuss this in court?

      The thing is that all of these miscites should have been apparent to others but it seems that the industry/FS hardly did the reading either so to heck with them too.

      Yes, I called someone an idiot but it is only the truth. I promise not to do this again.

      Hat off to you dave skinner.

  6. Sharon says: “My point being that you can bring up all the literature you want about what might be done in some places and the impacts. Which does not answer the question, given current conditions here, and given the practices they would employ, the mitigation factors they propose, what would be the impacts? ….So here is what would be fair input by academic scientists, in my opinion, on Larry’s question. First the FS would propose specific salvage in specific areas with specific practices and mitigations and timing, etc….Then the scientists would write in and say specifically how their research papers are related to that design in that place.”

    Well, Larry started this post discussing potential salvage logging specifically for the Rim Fire. Fair enough, it’s an interesting and well-written post. I like the points about bear clover especially. Bryan’s post was about a group of scientists expressing an opinion on two federal legislative efforts (HR 4200 and S. 2079) to essentially mandate salvage logging with minimal environmental oversight. Apples and oranges. If anything, I think that Larry’s post supports the idea that a one-size-fits-all approach is maybe not the best one, and he makes a case for the appropriateness of salvage logging in this particular scenario. But Sharon, the scientists in the letter that Bryan posted weren’t trying to provide “fair input… on Larry’s question.” (???) They were addressing a national policy issue, and the whole point is that they were trying to head off a policy that they believed would be misguided on the national level. So, saying they should wait and then chime in on individual salvage sales is just, well, I don’t get where that idea is coming from at all?

    • I am simply trying to “head off a policy” that has already been tried on the actual site, and has been shown, in no uncertain terms, to be a complete and utter failure. 40 year old brushfields burned, and we are now back to square one. I say, let’s try something else!

      Again, look at the Google Maps link, and look at the two results and tell me which one was better, and leading to the establishment of mature forests and endangered species habitats.

      https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.999904,-119.948199&spn=0.003792,0.008256&t=h&z=18

      The plantations burned at low intensity, and, surely, many of those 40 year old trees survived this catastrophic wildfire. In the brushfields, nothing worthwhile survived and we lost 40 years of “recovery”. Remember, those brushy areas were “left to recover on their own”. Also, remember, that I have actually been there, along the boundaries of those plantations, when I flagged the thinning units. Remember, I was there in 1972, and I saw the destruction from the Granite Fire, too.

      Who doesn’t want the Forest Service to salvage 40 year old trees in a plantation??

      • I do not want the Forest Service to salvage 40 year old trees in a plantation on federal public lands.

        I do not want this outcome because I know that the soil and watershed impacts from heavy equipment and skidding outweigh any timber benefits. I know that that the impacts from road construction and reconstruction (temporary or not) on wildlife habitat and water quality outweigh any timber benefits. I know that the soil organic matter replenishment from standing and down dead wood outweigh any timber benefits. I know that private timber lands in the Sierra Nevada are more appropriate for timber supply than federal public lands which must meet numerous other public benefits.

        I also think that all bets are off on what our forests will or should look like in a climate-changed world. Wether or not you like the way something looks may no longer be relevant.

        • Those plantations will require ZERO new roads to accomplish salvage operations. The thinning project was accomplished in the last couple of years, and the roads have been in place since the 1972 salvage efforts. Are you saying that using existing roads have impacts? Some of the roads there are actually paved! Perpetual brushfields harbor no endangered species, and offer no benefits to birds like spotted owls and goshawks. If you want to talk about wildlife habitats, talk about the lack of mature forests on the whole of the Groveland RD, due to large wildfires and re-burns. Results do not lie!

          The A-Rock/Meadow Fire example shows a stark difference between strict preservation and careful fire salvage.

          https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll=37.714177,-119.772263&spn=0.015226,0.033023&t=h&z=16

          The Park boundary lies about where Little Crane Creek is. Everything east of the creek is mostly Yosemite (except for a patch of private land). West of the creek is the A-Rock fire salvage project I worked on, back in 1990. Yes, I was actually there, too!!! So, which policy worked out the best?!? Which area has recovered better? Which area has more wildlife? Which area has better soils? Now, try zooming out to see “the bigger picture”. Which side is less damaged? Which side has endangered species habitat? Which side has less hydrological impacts? Which side has less organic matter in the soils? Which side do people prefer? Which side has a better future??

          Finally, which likely future result do you want for the Rim Fire? Clearly, it is NOT all about logs, bud!

          • Larry, I’m honestly having a hard time seeing what you so confidently think these Google images “prove.” I mean, do you seriously expect us to look at a Google satellite image and determine:

            “Which area has recovered better?” Ah, “better” for what? I’m not sure ecosystems know the concept of “better” anyway. Once again I think you’re putting human emotions onto ecosystems.

            “Which side is less damaged?” Sort of hard to tell. And again, I’m pretty certain an ecosystem doesn’t even think in terms of “damaged.”

            “Which area has more wildlife?” Again, sort of hard to tell from a Google satellite image. I looked at the image closely and I didn’t see any wildlife anywhere.

            “Which side has less hydrological impacts?” Again, impossible to tell with a Google satellite image. It could be that your side of the image had considerable hydrological impacts immediately following post-fire logging in the early 1990s, over 20 years ago.

            “Which side has less organic matter in the soils?” Again, you think we can measure something like this from one single Google satellite image?

            One neat aspect of the Google images is the ability to get a fairly current “street view.” As such, I just took a “drive” down much of Big Oak Flat Rd, directly east and slightly northeast from where you directed us. According to your directions above, my “drive” via Google “street view” was within Yosemite National Park about 1 mile from your link.

            Based on that I have to say that I think much of what you are claiming here is way over-emotional and I have a really hard time taking very seriously, much less representing the only ecologically-based view of the landscape in question. Thanks for the tour, though.

            • Now you are just being ridiculous with phrases like ‘And again, I’m pretty certain an ecosystem doesn’t even think in terms of “damaged.” ‘

              If you’ll notice, roads are commonly mis-labeled in Google Maps. There are many roads with that label. The boundary isn’t a straight line, bub!

              I think you need to go out and do one of your favorite things, like killing animals, Matt. After that, you might come back with a newer, happier outlook on things.

              • Ladies and Gentlemen: There you have it! More insulting, uncivil and substance-less comments from Larry Harrell.

                P.S. Larry, I never said the boundary was a straight line. But you do score points in the insult/uncivil department for calling me Bub. Q: Is that the same as calling Bryan Bird Bud?

                I simply used your Google image here that you wanted all of us to visit and panned out to less than a mile from where you pointed us and “drove” the Big Oak Flat Road in Google’s “Street View,” which offers another “picture” into what the forest and landscape really look like. Are you honestly saying the Big Oak Flat Rd on this Google map is incorrect? Or was that just more subterfuge?

                • I know this road VERY well, and all of it inside your view is inside the park. If you zoom in far enough and pan around, you might see other roads with the same label. I believe that Google does this to catch people from selling their map service.

                  “Bub” is a “response in kind” (as you like to say) to your labeling me as being “way overemotional”, which many would consider an insult. You’ve been hounding me a lot lately, and I guess I just have to consider it as a response to Congress seriously considering legal reforms, and you are seemingly very upset about it. I just thought that maybe if you went hunting, you might find some inner peace and focus.

                  “Virtually” driving a road on the computer is a lot different than actually being there, and seeing the lack of trees, 24 years after the original fire burned. I guess I just misunderstood your statement and opinion about the views and location of the road you chose to “drive”, (and I am sorry for that). Clearly, you can see a lot more damage by zooming into the aerial views, and my past photos that I have shared here. Also, the Meadow Fire burned a lot more than just within the original A-Rock fire. More old growth was burned between the Big Oak Flat Road and the Tioga Pass Road (Highway 120). That was more of a mosaic of burn intensities but, it will also be quite at-risk to yet another re-burn event. The higher elevation might mitigate burn intensities on such a future, inevitable fire but, it might not if the fire is human-caused.

                  The re-burn comparison to the Rim Fire is especially valid, since no salvage logging occurred in the Park. The Meadow Fire re-burn result is a very likely reality for the Rim Fire, where most of it is re-burn. Certainly, only a VERY tiny portion of the full acreage is suitable for salvage logging. 80,000 acres burned inside the Park. A similar amount is inside the Tuolumne River canyon, where timber is very spotty and the terrain is rocky, steep and rugged. Those suitable acres should have snags thinned, IMHO.

                  • Larry, I’m glad you know that road very well. I figured you did. And, yes, based on your previous comments and the directions/description you provided, I figured that part of the Big Oak Flat Rd was inside Yosemite NP. That’s why I even bothered taking the “street view” tour, which I’d highly encourage others do to.

                    Also, I didn’t label you as “way emotional.” I was actually careful not to do that, because I didn’t want to insult you and I’m trying my hardest to do my part to raise the level of debate on this site, while at the same time dealing with what I consider to be insults, etc directed at me. Anyway…..

                    What I said was:

                    One neat aspect of the Google images is the ability to get a fairly current “street view.” As such, I just took a “drive” down much of Big Oak Flat Rd, directly east and slightly northeast from where you directed us. According to your directions above, my “drive” via Google “street view” was within Yosemite National Park about 1 mile from your link.

                    Based on that I have to say that I think much of what you are claiming here is way over-emotional and I have a really hard time taking very seriously, much less representing the only ecologically-based view of the landscape in question. Thanks for the tour, though.

                    While I would agree with you that “‘Virtually’ driving a road on the computer is a lot different than actually being there,” I would also point out that the Google “Street view” option in this specific case might provide a lot more of a realistic “picture” of the landscape around there than a fairly static Google satellite image. If nothing else, I hope you’ll agree that the Google “street view” option helps tell more of the story here. Anyway, I wish we all could move away from our computers and meet in person on this very piece of ground.

                    Yes, perhaps I am “hounding” you, but it’s not because I consider you to be a substitute for Congress. I mean, really, Larry. The way I see it, you have been making some rather fantasmagorical, absolutest claims on this site and some people chose not to just sit back and take your claims at face value.

                    • So, you reply with more insults. Par for the course. I welcome polite questions and I am happy that some have chosen to side with site-specific science, instead of blanket preservationism. I guess I shouldn’t have expected something different from you.

                    • Honestly, Larry. How in the world I have I supposedly “insulted” you this time? I have no idea how I can possibly disagree with you, and challenge some of your claims which I believe aren’t always valid, without you claiming you were “insulted.” My goodness. I’m glad you welcome “polite questions,” but perhaps you should concentrate on more polite comments and posts yourself. This whole “You insulted me” thing is getting super old from all of us on this blog.

                    • To me, “…fantasmagorical, absolutest claims…” is insulting. You can play with semantics all you like but, don’t direct them at me. If anyone on this blog feels insulted by words directed at them, I consider those words to be insults. I’m sure that Sharon feels the same, exact way.

                    • Matthew

                      Re your comment to Larry: “This whole “You insulted me” thing is getting super old from all of us on this blog.”

                      Thank you for speaking for the rest of us. Thank you for your clairvoyance. Thank you for knowing what the rest of us poor mindless and spineless people think.

                      I prefer to remain stupid in your eyes so,
                      IN THE FUTURE, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM SPEAKING FOR OTHERS.

                      DOES ANYONE DISAGREE WITH MY REQUEST FOR MATTHEW TO STOP SPEAKING FOR OTHERS?

                    • Wow Gil Dehuff.

                      When I wrote, “This whole “You insulted me” thing is getting super old from all of us on this blog” what I meant was that this whole “you insulted me” thing that is coming from “all of us on this blog,” myself included, is getting old. In this comment thread I’ve mentioned a few times how am trying my hardest to do my part to raise the level of discussion here. Perhaps you missed when I said that above.

                      I’m sorry that you mis-interpreted my sentence to mean that I was speaking on behalf of “all of us on this blog.” That would be weird for me to do. I don’t recall ever doing that in the past and I certainly would never do that in the future.

                      As such, your entire post here is based on a mis-interpretation of my words. But, man, know I guess I know how you really feel about me. Once again, I’d ask us all to raise the level of discussion and debate on this blog, myself included. Thanks.

                    • Matt: Most of what you just said. I think it is the right thing to do. Myself included. But we are human, and sarcasm an unctuous speech are hard to miss. The “Gotcha” stuff is pretty easy, though.

                      What’s the best way to accomplish this goal? Call each other out when we feel a line has been crossed, or just grow a thicker skin? Your call. I’ll follow your lead on this exercise.

                    • Matthew

                      I will take you at the intent of your word when you say “I certainly would never do that in the future.” In addition, I will make every effort to work with you, as I explain below, when you, like the rest of us, don’t live up to your best intentions.

                      So let’s address Bob’s question: “What’s the best way to accomplish this goal? Call each other out when we feel a line has been crossed, or just grow a thicker skin? Your call. I’ll follow your lead on this exercise.”
                      –> Calling each other out obviously hasn’t worked, many of us have reached the boiling point and repeatedly sworn it off only to succumb again.
                      –> Thicker skin hasn’t worked either.
                      –> We all have different lines to dare others to cross on different days and sometimes on the same day. So we can’t lay out those lines for others to see since they are written in beach sand.

                      So let’s not make any promises – let’s just do it and rely on each other to help us get back on track when we don’t do it.

                      The art of negotiation and conflict resolution tells us that it is better to address how we feel about the other person’s statements than to call them out. This tones down the need of the other person to defend themselves and it expresses an openness to hear how the other person feels about how I feel without putting either of us into a defensive “back against the wall” position.

                      In that vein, my wife and I have a policy that as soon as the other perceives the other, or both of us, to be escalating, all that that person has to say is that I am beginning to feel that you think your thought is more important than me. Then we kiss and let it go because people are always more important than being right.

                      Of course I am not going to kiss you or let you kiss me 🙂 but when you say “Gil, I feel that you are escalating”, I will do my very best to acknowledge your feelings and tone my communication frustrations down in my reply. If I fail to do so, simply remind me that “Gil, your still climbing the wall” or “Gil, I see that I’m still driving you up the wall, what can I do to get you down”. See, that last one adds some humor, isn’t accusatory, and shows that you accept that the problem may not lie entirely with me.

                      Re: “I guess I know how you really feel about me”
                      –> Well you do drive me up the wall when I PERCEIVE that you (anyone) obfuscate/equivocate rather than staying on subject and when I PERCEIVE that you (anyone) avoid questions rather than answering direct questions especially when I think that I have exposed an inconsistency in someone’s logic. Inconsistent logic drives me up the wall. There I’ve said it and I feel much better 🙂 When I PERCEIVE inconsistent logic that tells me that either I or the other person is wrong and I get very persistent in my effort to establish what is right. Not because I have to be right but because I have to know the truth. Ambiguity drives me up the wall. Sometimes these strengths are weaknesses just like any personality trait.
                      –> Sometimes, I feel that I am one of a very few who literally reads everything literally that the other party says before I answer. I promise that I will misread anything that is said between the lines. I am pretty much a literalist because I don’t have ESP (Extra Sensory Perversion) and I don’t believe anyone else does either no matter how much they think that they can judge other’s intent and motives. All that anyone can do is project their intent and motives on someone else and thereby reveal their own inner workings.
                      –> I promise that I want to work things out. My Lord and my God tell me that people are more important than anything else. However, He and and all of the rest of us know that I nor anyone else has mastered that. BUT, I certainly look forward to working with you and everyone else to help each other do a better job of that each day. I think that I made it 24 or 48 hours this last time before I derailed, maybe with everyone’s help, I can make it a little longer each day.

                      God help us, I hope that we all really do want what is the long term best for our world.

                • Thank you , Matt, for pointing this out! Where are your other three fingers pointing while you’re doing this? How about putting an end to this juvenile name calling and “gotcha” gaming? You’re a lot more pleasant person to deal with when you are talking about the need to improve the blog, website problems with the USFS, the actual source of ignition for the B&B, or your grandfather, the village blacksmith. And I, for another, was impressed with the photographic proof of your biking an elk in a non-motorized area. Plus, I bet I’ve killed a lot more deer (no elk) and a lot more fish than you ever will, and we both know Larry is right — it’s a very satisfying and positive way to deal with stress! And feed the family.

        • Bryan: I am a forest scientist with over 25 years experience working in the woods and I do know that you don’t know what you are talking about in these regards. I don’t believe you are just making this stuff up, necessarily, but I do believe you’ve taken someone else’s horror fantasy and swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Most of this stuff is “beliefs,” not facts, or else it is nonsense. Bottom line: you really don’t know these things at all, no matter what you say; however you might “believe” them. And that’s your prerogative — I’d just recommend lightening up on the absolute knowledge claims.

          • Point taken, but if we are doing this: I am a trained scientist (Masters), held science jobs with the USFS and the US Park Service, and spent the last 17 years digging around in the relevant scientific literature and working in the field on fire and logging related issues. I grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills outside of Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP.

            One thing I am fairly certain of, based on this experience, is that on the balance, timber harvest on federal, public lands is a losing proposition, both ecologically and economically. That is not to say that there may be circumstances when mechanical vegetation treatments will be justified and we should put people to work doing it, but generally not.

            • Thanks, Bryan: I very much appreciate your understanding the main point I was trying to make — also appreciate all of the background information and the clarification of your perspective. It adds a lot of credibility to what you are saying, and makes it a lot easier to discuss our differences. Our beliefs are certainly not the same, but there is common ground regarding the problems at hand, and how they vary dependent on landownership patterns and policies.

            • So, you are saying that even with the ban on clearcutting and high-grading, and establishing wildlife protections that have been in place for 20 years, and thinning out trees that average about 15″ dbh for the last 20 years, that you still feel the way you do about the current style of thinning?? If you do, then we might as well say goodbye to the last lumber mill south of Sonora, ending ALL timber sales and eliminating the option to use thinning projects for generating money to do needed non-commercial tasks. That would leave all the southern California Forests without a mill to send excess small trees to. Yes, I have also done work on the Sequoia and the San Bernardino. It would be sad to see the Duysens give up and dismantle their family-run mill. They are good people.

              What do you think about new Forest Plan development for both the Sierra and the Sequoia, under the new Planning Rule?

              • I do and I am sure the Duysens are good people with good intentions.

                We’ve not had a problem managing the national parks in the Sierras without the scheme that you outline above for the past 123 years.

                I have not yet reviewed the assessments under the new planning rule in any rigorous way. I am concerned that the plans will result with no standards and weak guidelines in a effort to give the managers ever greater discretion, essentially reversing the limits on clear-cutting and high-grading, and wildlife protections you mention have been in place for 20 years.

                • Well, I guess that you will be left behind, Bryan. Even Chad Hanson has joined in to participate on the Sierra’s new Plan. Managers “manage”, under guidelines spelled out. If you don’t like those guidelines that are coming, you should have gotten involved, eh? Yes, National Parks are also managed, just in different ways, and I don’t have a problem with that. I really doubt that much will change, regarding the Sierra Nevada Framework and CASPO guidelines. I think they have been working well, except for a few quibbles. Personally, I wouldn’t push for clearcutting, even though I know that it does have some usefulness, in a few situations. I’m willing to back that ban, as long as other practices continue. We continue to need those “C-words” of collaboration, consensus and compromise. What I do want to see is legal reforms that close loopholes. The Ninth Circuit Court is the most overturned appeals court in the land! Your claim of “no standards and weak guidelines” seems a bit bitter, on your part. Oddly enough, some eco-groups want MORE cutting, and have stepped up to push their views.

            • Bryan, if you are up for it..
              I am a trained scientist (Ph.D), held science jobs with the FS and CSREES, and have spent 40 years (sheesh!) working sometimes in the field and sometimes not on forest management (including fire and logging issues). Including a notable stint in FS Research where my cubicle adjoined two fire scientists. I worked many places including the Eldorado in California.

              I am not certain, based on this experience, that timber harvest is a “losing proposition both ecologically and economically”. In fact, I would argue the opposite.

              I think there are two framings that I have…
              1. “Local” production is best:
              Should the US get its wood it uses from here or from our neighbor to the North or from ?. Why is wood different from agriculture or energy? Isn’t it better economically and environmentally to produce it ourselves?

              Or 2.
              Why not use trees you remove?
              This posits that there are reasons to thin forests and to diversify stand structure. These reasons may be for fuels treatment or to increase habitat for certain species.

              How do you frame this issue?

              I would imagine that you, like me, are not an expert in economics. But there are markets for wood, and people sell wood and wood products all the time. But we can have that discussion as well as lots of folks on the blog and elsewhere do know about it.

              I would be very interested in carrying on this discussion with you, and see where we diverge in our thinking. We have similar experiences, but I suppose different values. If you are up for it, I definitely am.

              • I suspect our fundamental difference is found in what we value our public forest lands for. It appears to me that you see some mix of subsidized commodity production to be preferable (classic multiple use), whereas I see recreation, clean water, wildlife, hunting, wildness, property values, and even aesthetics to be the highest value for the most people (Americans). Go to Headwaters Economics website to see any number of rigorous analyses of these values in Western states and counties. http://headwaterseconomics.org/land/protected-public-lands-increase-per-capita-income

                I do not have a degree in economics but I have co-authored several papers, reports and projects that considered the economics of timber sales on public lands and non-commercial, restoration on public lands. My general take home is that, when all values on public lands are considered, it does not make fiscal sense to manage them for commodity production. In fact, there were few forests, post the Ronald Reagan/James Watt heyday of logging levels that actually made any positive returns for the treasury. Most forests, with perhaps the exception of the Allegheny (cherry) did not return receipts to the treasury from their timber programs. I know this is a complex equation and others will argue it.

                I do believe in sourcing our timber from within our borders. I also believe private, commercial timber lands are the place for that and can meet the demand. You have to keep in mind the public forest system (USFS mainly) was established after the prime growing lands were already in private ownership. What remained was marginal for timber production (thus the high costs).

                If there is product coming from genuine ecological management of public forests, then sure, use it locally for cottage industry, firewood, stove pellets etc. But, I do not want the commodity production driving the management of our public forest again as it did in the 70s, 80, and even into the early 90s.

                • Bryan

                  Re: “If there is product coming from genuine ecological management of public forests”

                  Do you see the following as contributing to a “genuine ecological management of public forests”?

                  –> A mixture of nature only management and strategically placed commercial sound forest management that would:
                  —- Bring in some offsetting revenue to reduce the cost of “genuine ecological management” thereby allowing for more “genuine ecological management” than the present process allows
                  —- Keep stand density down to reduce the probability of catastrophic beetle outbreaks and wildfires thereby reducing the cost of fighting wildfires in order to increase the use of “genuine ecological management”?
                  —- Use final harvests (clearcuts and other as appropriate to the site and the species suited to the site) in order to:
                  ——- Provide more varied age and species distributions rather than driving a disproportionate share of our acreage into one age class and thereby overly focusing on one endangered species. Is homogeneity to help one species at the expense of providing less diversity in terms of habitat reductions and gaps for many other species who may or may not become threatened as an unintended consequence?
                  ——- Create open areas up to 80 acres by clearcutting in strategic locations to make it easier to stop runaway wildfires when the fire threatened to do more harm than good to the forest ecosystem?

                  Finally, do you see the professional opinion of foresters as being so worthless that you are willing to ignore their cries that a fair amount of what is being professed as good for the forest is actually counter productive to a healthy global ecosystem? Wouldn’t you rather hedge you bets and have some of what professional foresters say is proven science and some of what environmental groups say. Wouldn’t you rather have diversity including diversity of opinion rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket?

                    • You aren’t making a very good case for banning salvage on all Federal lands, Bryan. I’ve shown site-specific examples of what happens when burned forests aren’t salvaged. I’ve also shown what happens when lands ARE salvaged, and plantations are established and tended. I’m very anxious to get into those burned plantations to show how much they survived. The burn severity map says it burned at low intensity. It also appears that unthinned plantations didn’t do well, at all.

                      You’re going to have to do better than this, Bryan.

                    • Bryan

                      Your terse response leaves room for misinterpretation. Please tell me if I have read between the lines correctly:

                      A) Re your statement: “We need a completely new paradigm to recover” (which is to say it doesn’t currently exist nor has it ever existed).
                      1) So, you reject any possibility of building from current paradigms based on continuously improving scientific, legal and operational processes.
                      2) Please define your concept of what that new paradigm entails or who you would trust to develop such a paradigm.
                      3) Please tell us who you would trust to implement and manage such a paradigm.
                      4) Please define what core principles you require to be met in order for you to accept a new paradigm.
                      5) What would you do if these trusted sources came back to you and said that the new paradigm requires that we build from the current established scientific principles and incorporate continuously improving science, current law and the continuously improving operational processes necessary to carry them out and fund them?
                      6) Please prioritize the following: healthy forests and healthy forest ecosystems (you can’t have one without the other), endangered species, threatened species, extinct species that some claim to have seen without being substantiated in spite of rigorous efforts to do so, aesthetics, recreation, water quality, air quality, contingency for global change and etc.
                      7) What guidelines do you propose that your trusted party should use to pick between possibly saving one endangered species versus possibly threatening a currently non-threatened species?
                      8) Please describe anything else that you think is necessary in order to define what constitutes your extremely vague requirement for “genuine ecological management of public forests”
                      9) Do you accept that “genuine ecological management of public forests” can not be implemented unless it can be defined in very specific detail which is why my questions above are so critical to any environmental discussion?

                      B) Re your statement that: you reject any possibility that commercially sound forest management could contribute anything positive to “genuine ecological management of public forests”.
                      1) Can you prove that reducing stand density doesn’t increase tree vigor?
                      2) Can you prove that increased vigor and increased spacing between trees minimizes the chance for catastrophic beetle outbreaks?
                      3) Can you prove that reducing spacing between trees and reducing ladder fuels and reducing the chance for large beetle outbreaks minimizes the chance for catastrophic wildfires?
                      4) Do you have any reasonable hope that congress will provide sufficient funds to do whatever you require for “genuine ecological management of public forests”?
                      5) Would you rather have massive burns and the ecological damage that results from them than have healthier forest ecosystems with less ecological damage?
                      6) Do you prefer a net negative impact from letting nature have her way even if you could be shown that ecologically compatible commercial logging could have a net positive impact on the environment?
                      7) Would you like to loose your current job if it would mean that all of your environmental concerns were met eternally?

                      C) Re your statement that you: “do not trust traditional silviculture scientists”
                      1) Isn’t it inappropriate to carry forward the failures of the aspects of the old paradigms that are rejected by the current paradigms of ecologically compatible, sustainable forestry?
                      2) Please define the alternative to a traditional silviculture scientist and differentiate between the two.
                      3) You see only failure in the practice of forestry for the last century.
                      4) You lay the failures of the past century on “traditional silviculture scientists” (and, by association, on current ecologically sustainable forestry) rather than on ignorance and or unregulated greed that disregarded “traditional silviculture scientists” and sound forestry. Who do you think came up with the idea to: take care of forest soils, replant rather than cut out and get out, and etc.?
                      5) You believe that any “traditional silviculture scientists” and, I presume, any professional forester can not be trusted. Not even those who have retired and have no fear of reprisal from their former employers. You don’t even trust those professional foresters who love the forests more than you can imagine and have dedicated their whole lives at low wages to understanding the science and to improving the environment through proper management of our forests and their impact on the global environment.
                      6) You don’t believe that professional foresters/silvilculturalists/forest scientists (public or any other kind) can learn anything from the past in spite of evidence to the contrary and in spite of their significant education in all of the sciences that have anything to do with forest ecosystems. You believe that they will ignore any new statistically sound science by them.
                      7) Will you hold your trusted managers to the same standard of perfection that you hold silviculturalists to? Do you believe that perfection is possible? If not, please define what level of imperfection is acceptable?

                      Unless you can definitively answer all of these questions to some significant degree, then it would seem logical that you have no reason to pontificate and or reject the current paradigms where they are based on statistically sound established science, laws and Best Management Practices that encompass current environmental concerns. Without sufficient knowledge regarding all of the above, it would also seem inappropriate for you to judge between all of the tradeoffs involved in deciding what is ecologically sound for the long term. Likewise, putting all of our eggs all in one basket when the future is unpredictable also seems rather unwise.

                    • WOW! Well done, Gil! I should have read your reply first! Of course, he doesn’t have any answer to that, other than a broadbrush statement that he is right and you are wrong. We saw this same kind of “hit-and-run” tactics from a certain lover of flammable brush. *smirk*

                • Bryan,

                  It is hard to demonstrate ecosystem damage from current salvage but what I found in Biscuit is that the economic argument against salvage was the strongest. The EIS stated that about 75% of the economic benefit of the salvage was from purchase of copter fuel. Why was I the only one to find that gem?

                  I had an editorial in the Oregonian about biscuit economics, and a later GAO study backed me up.

                  I could not see much damage from biscuit salvage but what was the point? Buying copter fuel. 8 of the 12 initial sales had only one bidder and they mostly came in at the minimum.

        • Impacts of skidding these days are far less than you think using BMPs, and there is ample lit out there on that issue. And another good pub on soil erosion from skidding on Summit fire on the Malheur. I publish on soil erosion and have some expertise in that.

          Roads can be built with almost no impacts and rehabbed after use. Things have gotten a lot better with current BMPs.

          The question you need to ask if it is worth it economically to do this anyway.

          • Much of the skidding damages can be headed off with skilled felling. Directional felling allows skidders to be able grab the logs and go, without having to maneuver them into position. “Fall-to-the-lead” is important in both salvage and green sales. Additionally, feller-bunchers can really reduce soil disturbance. I had two loggers on this same salvage project. One logger used a feller buncher, along with his fallers. The other one used fallers only but, ran a modified excavator on the skid trails, using it to reach out and grab logs and orient them next to the skid trails. Both techniques had their advantages and drawbacks but, you can see the results!

        • So, Bryan, you seem to be in favor of private land clearcuts, instead of public land thinning. I’m sure that SPI would rather let their smaller trees grow on their extensive lands, in favor of somewhat larger logs (under 30″ dbh, averaging 15″ dbh) off of Forest Service lands. Again, there are impacts and benefits from every decision, or non-decision. AND, there is also a benefit for them in seeing less wildfires (due to thinning) coming off of Forest Service lands, burning into their own lands.

    • Bryan introduced the letter with “What the scientists had to say about this in 2006.” I assumed that the “this” he was referring to was Larry’s comments on possible salvage.

      I didn’t say what they (the scientists) were trying to do. I was arguing that what they said generically in 2006 probably wasn’t particularly relevant to what Larry was suggesting.

      I was saying that if we wanted scientists to weigh in on how “their research” as opposed to “their opinions,” were related to a Larry-salvage-project, we would have to wait until it was actually designed and then see what they had to say.

      When scientists sign on to these kinds of letters, they are using their positions as scientists to influence policy to their views. Which is certainly OK, but should not be privileged over other opinions to be considered. Because scientists frequently disagree, on how to design studies, on what you can claim from the results of studies, and also on appropriate policies, and not everyone feels inclined to write a letter. IMHO.

      • “Bryan introduced the letter with ‘What the scientists had to say about this in 2006.’ I assumed that the “this” he was referring to was Larry’s comments on possible salvage.” OK, fair enough, though I think if one reads the letter (written seven years ago) it’s clearly about national-level salvage logging bills that were before Congress at that time, and not about Larry’s post which only appeared yesterday. On whether their views should be privileged, maybe not, nonetheless a letter from a group of scientists with expertise in an area is probably going to carry more weight than a letter from Joe on the street or Lester on the Lolo, that’s unlikely to change. Certainly a different group of scientists could have written a letter supporting those proposed salvage logging bills, though I don’t know if that happened.

        • Guy: One quick comment — yes, the scientists wrote the letter seven years ago, but it was posted just today in response to Larry’s essay, as Bird used it specifically for that purpose. I took things exactly as Sharon did, because that’s how Bird intended them to be taken.

  7. Economic incentives, especially justifying the largescale use of herbicides to “control” Chamaebatia foliolosa obviously elevate tree plantation crop species over what appears to be anything but “misery” as it relates to soil protection, slope stability, nitrogen fixing, deer forage, etc.

    Seems like “control” creates its own circular reasoning for intensive “management” here.

    Not seeing any science given as to whether Chamaebatia foliolosa actually increases burn intensity with resulting soil damage.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/chafol/all.html
    ” Sierra mountain misery regrowth affords good soil protection in burn areas [32].”

    “Control of Sierra mountain misery is problematic for forest managers.
    Although it greatly inhibits growth of young conifers, it is of
    considerable value as a slope stabilizer of watersheds and because it is
    a host species for nitrogen-fixing bacteria
    [32,35]. Additionally,
    Sampson and Jesperson [29] believed that heavy black-tailed deer use on
    some winter ranges should be taken into consideration when managing this
    species.”

    • I remind you, David, that clearcutting has been banned here since 1993! I have also said before that bear clover could have beneficial uses, especially in accomplishing prescribed fires and controlling the growth of fuels. However, their impacts upon reforestation from wildfires are undeniable!

      There will NEVER be a lack of bear clover in the Sierra Nevada.

      Soooo, anything else, David?

      • Well yes Larry.
        What does your following statement,

        “I think you need to go out and do one of your favorite things, like killing animals, Matt. After that, you might come back with a newer, happier outlook on things.”

        have to do with supporting your claim as to,
        “Why We Need to Salvage and Replant the Rim Fire”?

  8. The bottom line is, there’s a faction here, not surprisingly in the isolated, tenured academic community, that feels no economic use of public lands is acceptable, no capture of cash value when other values are lost. Those scientists of Mr. Bird’s are a classic example, a lot of advocates with fancy degrees in soft “ologies” taking advantage of the alphabet soup behind their names to take advantage of the lay public.
    It’s the classic battle between pure research and applied research.
    What the Beschta faction fails to account for is that ecosystems are anthropogenic artifacts, and there are going to be values judgements made by the non-scientific community, and those judgements will tend toward “good for people” in the long run.
    Burned landscapes may be great for BBWs, but there’s going to come a day when blackbacks are moved back down the priorities list.

  9. Pingback: The Rim Fire: Who Could See This Coming? | A New Century of Forest Planning

    • Sadly, PBCS is ignoring a huge body of facts about the Rim Fire, and the conditions that existed before the fire. They seem to seek to prove that doing nothing is better. One example is that they claim the fire’s advance was slowed by fire-treated landscapes. The fact is that more than 90% of what was burned in the Park was not treated with prescribed fire. Yes, there was a very visible chunk of land, near the Highway 120 entrance station that was burned recently. I have yet to see the Rim Fire, in person, yet, but I hope to go there in the next few weeks. No, they won’t let me stop and wander around, to document conditions, photographically. I have found some of my old photos of areas that were burned, and I would like to go back to those spots, for some repeat photography. Additionally, most of the burned area within the Park is higher elevation conifer stands. The burned areas within the brushy lower elevation Groveland RD have mostly been burned before, in the last 50 years. Comparisons aren’t very valid, and it appears that the PBCS will make those comparisons to further the idea that “free-range” wildfires are best for the land. Such a study might convince the clueless but, it is my prediction that the study will exclude many, many facts.

        • Both the Park Service and the Forest Service have public closures and directives in place to keep out the “looky loo’s”. The Cherry Oil Road, which drops into the Tuolumne River Canyon, has log loads coming out, on a narrow and winding road. The Park Service will probably have restrictions on stopping and hiking in the burned areas, until crews can fell the hazard trees. That may last until the beginning of next summer. I’m expecting to visit in the next week or so, to see how it burned. The news footage showed entire trees crowning out.

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