Gil is right that we’ve had this discussion, and we agreed to disagree. He reaffirmed his belief that acres burned is the result of lower logging levels:
“Your wisdom is so infinitely better than mine, so I must be seeing things when I look at a graph that shows acres burned by year. Naturally, someone who doesn’t understand the scientific principles behind forest ecosystems would say that it is just coincidence that acres burned by year shows a very significant up turn since the 80% reduction in harvest levels.”
Here is the basis for a different belief. This comparison of acres burned to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation cycle is taken from the Assessment for the revision of the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Plan in Idaho. It led the planning team (who presumably understand scientific principles) to conclude:
“When PDO data are overlaid on the fire statistics an interesting correlation is seen. A period between 1940 until 1980 was in the cool wet phase, which would have limited wildfires while at the same time promoted tree growth, regeneration, and significant increases in forest density. Clearly cool wet trends resulted in lower wildfire occurrence regardless of the fuel loading across the region. Climate is the most controlling factor for wildfire and the one we can least influence.” (my emphasis)
Every scientist knows that correlation is not causation, and there are at least two opinions possible based on these facts. I was, and am still, asking for some more definitive research results that would justify Gil’s confidence that more logging is the answer.