DellaSala and Hanson vs. Objective Science

I recently received a copy of a book, “The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix,” edited by Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hanson. In the August edition of The Forestry Source, I write that the book is “advocacy first and science second.” You can get a sense of this in a NY Times op-ed by DellaSala and Hanson from last week, “More Logging Won’t Stop Wildfires,” in which they write:

“In the case of the Rim Fire, our research found that protected forest areas with no history of logging burned least intensely. There was a similar pattern in other large fires in recent years. Logging removes the mature, thick-barked, fire-resistant trees. The small trees planted in their place and the debris left behind by loggers act as kindling; in effect, the logged areas become combustible tree plantations that are poor wildlife habitat.”

I know Larry H. and others will have something to say about this.

Contrast the DellaSala/Hanson view with objective science in “Fuel and Vegetation Trends after Wildfire in Treated versus Untreated Forests, Forest Science, August 2015. The abstract:

“Increasing size and severity of wildfires have led to increased interest in managing forests for resiliency to future disturbances. Comparing and contrasting treated versus untreated stands through multiple growing seasons postfire provide an opportunity to understand processes driving responses and can guide management decisions regarding resiliency. In treated and untreated forests, we compared fire effects 2–10 growing seasons following fire on 3 different fires in New Mexico and Arizona. We estimated understory cover, standing crop, fuel loading, and basal area in (1) lop, pile, burn; (2) lop and scatter; (3) harvest and burn; and (4) untreated control stands. Untreated sites had persistent bare soil exposure and less litter cover up to 10 growing seasons after fire. However, there were few differences in standing crop among years and treatments. Falling rampikes contributed to greater coarse woody debris on untreated sites versus treated sites 6 –10 years postfire. However, there were few differences in fine fuel loading among treatments. Proactive management using the full range of silvicultural tools can reduce fire severity and create desired stand conditions, depending on management objectives.

I highlighted the last sentence for emphasis.

38 Comments

  1. All we can do is tell the public the truth and they can believe it, or not. I grow weary of these liars, claiming that current policies cut large trees and do not reduce fire intensities. I guess they have not heard of groundtruthing, or they know nothing about the Public Lands Survey (knowing where public lands ends and private lands begin). They simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth! I guess that loss in the Ninth Circuit Court has busted a blood vessel in their heads.

    Be sure to read the comments from their article too, so very, very full of rhetoric and painfully low on facts.

  2. You have a real knack for stuff like this Steve. So, science that supports your views is ‘objective’….but science that doesn’t support your views is ‘advocacy first and science second.’

    Interesting.

    So what specific documentation, research or science do you have that proves this statement by Hanson and DellaSala is wrong: “In the case of the Rim Fire, our research found that protected forest areas with no history of logging burned least intensely.”

    Have you read the Hanson/DellaSala research? Do you have current research conducted within the Rim Fire area that proves your point? If so, please share it. Thanks.

    Also, I so very much like Larry H talking about the ‘truth.’ I also love Larry calling Hanson/DellasSala ‘these liars.’ Once again, I believe that Dr. Hanson would totally mop the floor with you in a debate Larry. But whatever really.

    • Take a look at Yosemite National Park, where ZERO management has occurred (other than a let-burn policy)!

      https://www.google.com/maps/@37.8347417,-119.791884,4767m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

      Of course, they didn’t look at those 80,000 acres of pristine old growth, burned to a crisp. I guess they couldn’t see any of it from the road, eh?!?!? *smirk* If they didn’t sample the entire burn, then their data is woefully cherry-picked, and their conclusions are lies. Yes, LIES! Amazing just how far they will stoop, eh? Yes, they are getting so very, very desperate to prop up their failing mindsets. I have pictures AND AERIAL PHOTOS TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM, AND THEY HAVE CHERRY-PICKED AND INADEQUATE DATA….. *SMIRKS*

      Let’s see one of them come here, present their data and defend their knowingly-flawed conclusions! We’ve already seen how they sample for burned cambium, at DBH. How could Hanson decide that sampling at DBH is scientifically-objective, when they are looking for live cambium in dead trees?

      Desperation isn’t objective science, in the least.

        • But Larry has real experiences. Very little science of the kind we used in forest policy or biology are based on random samples. Say Professor X from Massachusetts runs a model with a variety of assumptions that says “woodpecker X cannot live in a stand of species y with characteristics z”. Suppose Larry documents seeing birds (say with a video). I would tend to believe empirical evidence over studies that did not involve empirical evidence.

        • Photos of dead old growth are NOT “anecdotes”! Additionally, the aerial photo I supplied doesn’t show the additional mortality from bark beetles. Try explaining why there is so much mortality, from the Rim Fire, inside of Yosemite National Park! Try explaining why “protected” forests suffered so much damage.

  3. So Steve, did you read the book? What specific data points are you objecting to? Your entire argument is based on logical fallacies. Go back, take the time to read the publication you are reviewing, then write a informed essay. It would also be worthwhile for you to seriously consider Matthew’s points.

    And Larry, there you go again with cute ridicule and name calling. Like Steve, your arguments are a collection of logical fallacies. Lies? Read the book Larry. Find the lie, describe how the so-called “lie” was supported by the authors, then bring in your own scientifically verified data to refute it.

    • Do I HAVE to point out the massive amounts of dead old growth pine in the Yosemite National Park lands photo I provided? Do I HAVE to point out where the article says that the untouched old growth areas survived the fire better? Do I HAVE to decide whether the author ignored the 80,000 acres in the park (a grand feat in itself), or whether they knew about it and didn’t think it was significant to their statements?

      Whether they were ignorant, or lying, both situations mean that the author(s) are not trustworthy.

      Also, anything about clearcutting or old growth harvest is not accepted into the Rim Fire argument, since there hasn’t been ANY clearcutting or high-grading on Forest Service lands in the Sierra Nevada, since 1993. (ie You cannot blast the non-existent clearcutting as an argument against “active management”)

    • I hope we can at least agree that a dead tree is a dead tree and if all the trees in the forest are dead then you don’t have a live forest.
      I started to listen to an interview with DellaSala on local radio station here and when he got to part where trees that might look dead actually were not and would recover I had to give it up. I have watch whole watersheds that were green after a fire turn brown the next summer.
      I just can’t believe that anyone who says they care about the forests would want to promote wildfires.
      I just spent 2 days looking at the small part of the forests that were destroyed in last years fires on the Klamath National Forests. At this rate this idea of protecting our forests by doing nothing is really
      just a cover for the destruction and desertification of them.

  4. Richard, My take is that Dellasala/Hanson are strongly biased against commercial logging, especially salvage logging, and their op-ed and book make that clear. Another way to look at it that, in my opinion, they are strongly biased toward the ecological aspects of fire, and tend to discount social and economic aspects. You can disagree with my views, if you like, but I do not see them as illogical.

    • This study is not terribly useful in determining the utility of fuel reduction. It makes no effort to weigh the ecological trade-offs of logging for fuel reduction. It also fails to weigh the probability of ecological harm by logging versus fire.

      • In the Sierra Nevada, the average cut tree diameters, are between 14 and 15 inches DBH. PLUS, those numbers are from projects with the old 30″ DBH diameter limits! So, tell us what the “ecological trade-offs” are in cutting trees with an average diameter of 14-15″ DBH, while keeping ALL trees above 30″ DBH, please! Also, remember that spacing and canopy cover address wildlife needs.

  5. I must be missing something. Simple 8th grade science taught us you need three components to have fire. You need oxygen, heat and a fuel source. We have no control over the amount of oxygen in the air during a forest fire. In fact large fires create their own winds thereby increasing the amount of oxygen. We attempt to control the heat with water with little success. But the fire fighters try to eliminate the fuel source but cutting fire breaks, ditches etc. The experts talk about needing to get fire to the ground to fight it. So if we cannot control the oxygen or the heat, the only thing left is the fuel. So by decreasing the fuel, we decrease the fire. A couple of simple examples for those that don’t understand. If you build a little camp fire and stop putting wood on it (kinda like removing the fuel source) the fire goes out because it no longer has fuel. If you are driving your car and you run out of gas, the fire in your engine goes out because it no longer has a fuel source. Why then, doesn’t the same principle apply to our forests? Isn’t that the same reason the experts are telling us that live in our forests to create a “safe zone” around our houses by cutting the trees and brush back away from our homes? By decreasing the amount of fuel, we slow down the fire. Rather than waiting until the catastrophic fire burns thousands of acres, we decrease a little of the available fuel so slow down the potential fire in the future. I guess I am just too simple minded to understand the logic behind those who profess eliminating or decreasing the fuel doesn’t decrease the intensity of fire. I would appreciate Mr. Koehler or his friends to explain to me what part of this science class I missed that would factually prove that decreasing the fuel sources does not have a direct relationship on the amount of fire???? I am at a complete loss.

    • I also like to use the Fire Triangle as an example of explaining our options, Robin. The “preservationists” want to paint active forestry management with the broadest destructive brush, ignoring current practices and policy. It is much easier to argue against archaic forms of “management”, usually using clearcutting and high-grading as prime examples. No, you are not at a complete loss, Robin. Hanson has gone on record as wanting “larger and more intense wildfires” in California, seemingly touting that as the ultimate ecological solution to all forest problems. He has also gone on record as wanting to end ALL logging, everywhere, forever. Even the Sierra Club considers him to be too radical.

    • After 8th grade they teach more advanced fire physics:

      “Our analyses indicate that year-of-fire climate is the strongest influence on area burned in forested ecosystems, but fire size may be limited secondarily by fuel continuity between or within forest stands (Rollins et al. 2002). For example, continuity may be less limiting for fire regimes in which crown fires are the dominant mechanism than in lower-elevation forests characterized by surface fires,…” JEREMY S. LITTELL, DONALD MCKENZIE, DAVID L. PETERSON, AND ANTHONY L. WESTERLING. 2009. Climate and wildfire area burned in western U.S. ecoprovinces, 1916–2003. Ecological Applications, 19(4), 2009, pp. 1003–1021.

      • Ummmm, aren’t we talking about the Sierra Nevada National Forests?!?!?!? Of course, that study is not site-specific to the Rim Fire area, (as well as the latest management practices.) Sorry, bud, but crown fires are not “the dominant mechanism” in these areas near Yosemite, historically. Indian burning prevented that! Outside of Yosemite, areas of the Rim Fire were mostly burned in the recent past. And, again, it is not all about ecology, in our human dominated landscapes. We cannot go back to a pre-human forest, in any part of California. Now, I’m not saying that such studies don’t fit in any landscapes, in the west. I’m also not saying we need to reduce fuels on every piece of public lands, in the west, too.

  6. At the risk of throwing more fuel than water on this debate, a couple of thoughts. “Fire intensity” is the “energy released during various phases of a fire.” In simplistic terms, think of it as the heat of the fire at its front. “Fire severity” seeks to measure the “degree of organic matter consumed” by the fire. Severity and intensity are related, but distinct. All else being equal (e.g., fuels, soil, topography), a more intense fire will consume more organic matter, i.e., be more severe.

    DellaSala and Hanson, although they write about unlogged areas burning less “intensely” than previously-logged areas, actually are talking about severity, not intensity. Building on Robin’s comment, here’s a campfire analogy for D&H’s thesis. Consider two campfires of equal mass, one constructed of <1 cm diameter kindling and the other constructed of >10 cm sticks. Ignite each. After the fire is out, measure the % of organic matter that each fire has consumed. You’ll find that a higher proportion of the biomass in the kindling campfire is consumed by fire than in the small log campfire. That is, the kindling fire was more severe than the log fire. If you had a thermometer measuring fire intensity, you’d also find that the kindling fire burned at a higher temperature than the log fire, at least in the beginning stages of the fire’s life.

    In sum, the point of D&H’s findings is that forests with a higher proportion of big sticks burn less severely than do forests with a lower proportion of big sticks (i.e., prior logging has removed the big sticks). They may also burn less intensely, but D&H’s study couldn’t show that directly as no one was on site during the fire measuring the flame front’s temperature.

    Turning now to Steve’s point . . . the study he cites compares campfires of different biomass weights rather than different stick sizes. Consider again two campfires, one with fuels that total 1 lb and one with fuels that total 10 lbs, all else being equal. Which will burn more intensely? The one with the most fuel.

    Of course, one can change multiple characteristics of our two campfires — average stick size and total biomass. A campfire with larger sticks and less biomass will burn less intensely (and with less proportion of beginning biomass consumed, i.e., less severely) than a larger campfire made with smaller sticks.

    See, not so complicated after all, is it?

    • “In sum, the point of D&H’s findings is that forests with a higher proportion of big sticks burn less severely than do forests with a lower proportion of big sticks”

      When the big stick trees are dead, but not burned severely, the results are the same, though. The real measuring stick for intensity or severity is; did the tree survive, or die? It matters little to me whether more biomass burned, or not.

      • Well, Larry, then you should use a different measure than severity, which has a precise meaning in the scientific literature. For example, you could use “percent mortality,” i.e., the proportion of live trees that are dead as a result of the fire. You’ll probably want to measure %mortality by tree diameter class to be meaningful. For example, a low intensity fire in a ponderosa pine forest might kill 98% of the trees, but the dead ones are all <0.5" white fir and the live ones are all >20″ ponderosa pine. Just being told “98% mortality” would be ecologically meaningless without knowing more.

        • I do agree that there should be a size range, as it would be easy to slant the data, otherwise. In your scenario, those white firs would be struggling, already, and then a fire would easily consume them. Truly, I want a measure that shows how (or if) a forest could return to a healthy state, with “proper” canopy coverage and stocking.

  7. Dang, I really appreciate hearing from both Larry and Andy. Andy’s explanation on the size of the sticks as related to the intensity is right on and an important factor that should always be considered. And Larry’s point, a dead tree is just as dead regardless of how intense the fire is true. I believe a point the D & S study omits is the value of “Properly thinning a forests, accompanied with good slash management” thereby eliminating or significantly reducing the amount of “small sticks”, WILL decrease the intensity of the a fire as well as getting it to the ground where the fire can be managed. The D &S article misleads the public into thinking “logging does not decrease the potential intensity of a fire therefore, logging or thinning should not be used as a tool to address the catastrophic fire issue. That is a false statement. Good logging practices WILL decrease fire intensity. In fact, I know of no other possible solution other than more rain (control the heat) and less oxygen. Good luck on that one. I think controlling the oxygen and heat is just about as silly as suggesting that managing the fuel source is not the best and in fact, and only remaining solution.

  8. Steve, I think Matthew hit the nail on the head here: “science that supports your views is ‘objective’….but science that doesn’t support your views is ‘advocacy first and science second.’”

    As an editor of a publication like The Forestry Source, I think you have an ethical responsibility to take a higher road on issues like this. Otherwise, The Forestry Source loses credibility as a purportedly objective and science-based publication (unfortunately that horse probably left the barn, long ago). The damage goes further, and I think it’s one reason that the parent organization SAF isn’t considered to be “really” a scientific society at all, but rather a club where the party line always dominates. The taint may even carry over to Forest Science, which is unfortunate because that’s a good journal.

    Andy, thanks for your examples and helping us focus on correct use of the terminology, that was helpful.

    • To be truly objective, a study needs to be able to stand up to any and all criticism. I always see radical conclusions coming from narrowly-researched papers. For example, any Sierra Nevada forest study that doesn’t fully address destructive re-burns, isn’t worth changing current policies. In particular, it is important to analyze the current management practices, rather than blasting the destructive harvesting practices of the last millennium. We have the current evidence in Yosemite, where wildfires turned old growth pine forests into a land where even brush has trouble growing. We have to wait until the soils can build up some organic matter before forests can return. I guess we will have to learn how long it will take for a forest to return, in a human-dominated Yosemite. (Isn’t THAT an odd concept?)

    • Guy, The Forestry Source isn’t a peer-reviewed journal, as are Forest Science and the Journal of Forestry. The Forestry Source is a newspaper for foresters. My comments about the DellaSala/Hanson book are not in a news article, but in my editorial — pure commentary, nothing but opinion — as is what I wrote about the book in this forum. The Source welcomes Commentary essays from folks who have something to say about forests and forestry — I’d welcome one from you, from Andy, from DellaSala and Hanson, or anyone that has something of value to say. I think DellaSala and Hanson’s book is well done, but, as I say, my opinion is that they put their advocacy before the science, and this aggressive attempt to so strongly frame the science tends to overshadow and distract readers from the science that their contributors have described. In any case, the book and my editorial are fare game for criticism. Fire away!

  9. Good discussion here, admirable restraint.
    I wonder why wind doesn’t make things a fire quadrangle. Massive wind runs are a huge player in how fires impact the forest. Same goes for prevailing wind patterns, you can see that on the Flathead’s historic fire maps.
    D and H have their anticapitalist, ecocentric ideology and worldview, and successfully dumped it on New York Times readers who interact with forestry only in the most abstract way. I’m a NYC spawn with family there and I’ve seen that phenomenon first hand, repeatedly. What happens in flyover regions almost never fully registers with most urbanites.
    As for objective science, too many science people have isolated their minds from the fact that science is a social construct and is respected by society primarily because science has improved the human condition. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is fine, but it is limited compared to knowledge for the sake of application.

  10. So, let’s do some review.

    “Logging removes the mature, thick-barked, fire-resistant trees. The small trees planted in their place and the debris left behind by loggers act as kindling; in effect, the logged areas become combustible tree plantations that are poor wildlife habitat.”

    So, it appears that these two are assuming that the Forest Service is cutting old growth in Sierra Nevada clearcuts. Ummmm, not since 1993! The reality is that current policy limits the cutting of green trees to less than 20″ dbh. Of course, such trees aren’t really “mature, thick-barked, fire-resistant trees”. Are they ignorant, or are they lying?!? You choose! In the end, it matters little to those of us who do utilize and follow “the latest and best science”.

    We need to use their words against them, as they have opened their own “Pandora’s Box”.

    • Hi Steve,

      I noticed that in your column you wrote: “CBD [Center for Biological Diversity] is an organization widely known to be opposed to active forest management.”

      Yet, isn’t the CBD deeply involved with The Four Forests Restoration Initiative, one of the largest logging/restoration endeavors in U.S. Forest Service history?

      Given this fact, how can your claim that the “CBD is an organization widely known to be opposed to active forest management” be taken seriously? Thanks.

      • Matthew, 4FRI is one project, albeit a very large one. I haven’t dug up a list of the top USFS litigators that is somewhere in my archives — maybe someone here has it — but as I recall, CBD is at the top of the list.

        Here’s an excerpt from “Lost in the woods: How the Forest Service is botching its biggest restoration project, by Claudine LoMonaco. High Country News, Sept. 1, 2014:

        “A confrontational environmental group led the rising chorus of public concern. Since its founding in 1989, the Center for Biological Diversity has wielded lawsuits and other legal weapons against the Forest Service, even conducting what its president, Kierán Suckling, termed “psychological warfare” — aimed at wearing down the agency’s traditional timber managers. In 1995, the group won a federal injunction that halted logging on all 11 national forests in Arizona and New Mexico on behalf of the threatened Mexican spotted owl and other species that depend on old-growth pines. It was a fatal blow to the area’s logging industry. By the late ’90s, the loggers and most sawmills had shut down.”

        CBD is also quite active in other regions. For example, it recently filed suit the Bald Project on the Lassen National Forest “due to the potential significant impacts from post-fire logging over 5,000 acres of key wildlife habitat.” Especially the black-backed woodpecker.

        Yes, CBD has supported 4FRI, but that support hinges on a 16-inch diameter cap for harvesting. The USFS has talked about increasing or discarding the cap, and, as a result, “The Center has yet to declare that it will use its weapon of choice — lawsuits — to challenge 4FRI, but there have been warning signs,” according to the HCN article.

        Of course, there’s more to the story than the diameter cap, but if the CBD doesn’t get its way, it’ll sue.

        Matt, do you believe that the CBD is widely known to be in favor of active forest management?

        • Maybe it’s just me, but 1995 seems like a long time ago.

          I also believe the term “active forest management” is a loaded term that some people equate with logging. And some people equate “active forest management” that isn’t logging with doing nothing.

          It’s also my perception that in environmental movement circles, the CBD is widely known to be in favor of logging.

          I do appreciate how much traction some people get from the “psychological warfare” quote.

          Finally, I do believe, Steve, that you’re recollection is wrong on a few accounts when you state, “I haven’t dug up a list of the top USFS litigators that is somewhere in my archives — maybe someone here has it — but as I recall, CBD is at the top of the list.”

          CBD is not at the top of the list, and perhaps litigation isn’t as big of a ‘problem’ as you wish it to be.

          Chopping Down an Urban Myth About Litigation
          March 4, 2010
          http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/democratic-news?ID=ee9c586c-c7f3-48af-87cd-eb4fa0df0fe2

          For years, critics have complained that hazardous fuels reduction projects in the National Forests have been tied up by administrative appeals and lawsuits. Senate Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman and House Natural Resources Chairman Nick Rahall asked the Government Accountability Office to ground that discussion in fact.

          Today, GAO posted a report that includes detailed statistics on public appeals, objections and litigation regarding hazardous fuels reduction projects on National Forests in recent years. The report includes the first glimpse of the “pre-decisional objection process” that was established for projects carried out under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003. Key finding: 98% of projects (and more than 99% of the acreage) involving hazardous fuels reduction were implemented without any litigation.

          Sen. Bingaman: “It is encouraging that litigation rates remain extremely low and administrative review rates have dropped over the last decade. I think these statistics reflect a growing public understanding of fuels reduction and restoration projects, and increased collaborative efforts among stakeholders and the Forest Service.”

          GAO surveyed Forest Service projects involving hazardous fuels reductions that were approved during 2006-08. Most of these projects were subject to an administrative review, where stakeholders can “appeal” a decision to more senior Forest Service staff for review. Others were subject to a pre-decisional objection process, where stakeholders can submit objections to a proposal before the Forest Service staff makes a decision on a project. After the objection or administrative review is complete, Forest Service decisions could then be challenged in Federal court for compliance with applicable laws. Here are other key findings:

          LITIGATION
          · 2006-08 Litigation Rate: 98% of Forest Service projects (and more than 99% of the acreage) involving hazardous fuels reduction were implemented without any litigation.
          · Trend: Litigation rates have dropped from 3% during 2001-02. For projects with potentially significant environmental impacts (i.e., those thoroughly analyzed in an Environmental Impact Statement), litigation rates have dropped by nearly half.

          ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEWS
          · 2006-08 Decisions Subject to Administrative Review: 84% of decisions approving hazardous fuels reduction projects were subject to the traditional administrative review process.
          · 2006-08 Administrative Review Rate: Stakeholders sought administrative review of 18% of decisions approving hazardous fuels reduction projects that were subject to the traditional administrative review process.
          · Trend: For decisions subject to administrative review, formal administrative review rates have dropped by 69% since 2002.
          · 2006-08 Litigation Rates: 2% of decisions subject to administrative review were challenged in Federal court.

          HEALTHY FORESTS RESTORATION ACT OF 2003 (HFRA)
          · 2006-08 HFRA Decisions: 8.5% of the projects involving hazardous fuels reduction were approved under HFRA.
          · 2006-08 Administrative Objection Rate: Hazardous fuels reduction projects approved under HFRA were objected to at more than double the rate of projects subject to the traditional administrative review process.
          · 2006-08 Litigation Rates: The new pre-decisional objection process did not result in a lower litigation rate than the traditional administrative review process.

          TIMING
          · The Forest Service processed all appeals and objections within the prescribed times.
          · Although the HFRA objection process lasts not more than two months (30 days for stakeholders to file objections, 30 days for the USFS to respond), half of the decisions proposed under HFRA were finalized by the Forest Service within three months.

          # # #

          • I’d bet that close to 100% of all salvage projects are litigated by the Hanson/CBD cabal, though. Isn’t it refreshing that they lost in Appeals Court, for the Rim Fire? I also suspect that Judges wanted “something” to be done about a fire that burned 400 square miles, and are tiring of the blame being put upon the Ninth Circuit Court, in particular. As it is, the bark beetle infestation has reached epidemic proportions, as I predicted. It continues to push north and east, with no end in sight, with the Rim Fire area providing generation, after generation, after generation of new beetles, killing off the fire’s survivors and not staying within the “lines on the map”. Welcome to another aspect of the “Whatever Happens” mindset. Sadly, the beetles seem to be finding that the old growth is easy “habitat”. Hanson/CBD seems to want to “protect” bark beetle habitats, regardless of “Whatever Happens”. Their desperation is quite evident in trying to convince the public that dead old growth and intense wildfires are “a good thing”, like some kind of eco-Martha Stewart. *smirk*

              • Sorry, I meant to restrict those salvage projects to California National Forests, at least for Hanson. The CBD expands their range of litigation much farther. That’s what I get for writing “on the fly”.

                Of course, they lost on many of those recent lower court cases, as well as the Rim Fire salvage in Appeals Court. Sign of things to come??? The promises of salvage clearcutting ring pretty hollow, these days. Salvage projects in California have been all about snag thinning, for several decades, now. The owl and woodpecker issues seem to be all worked out, as far as the courts go. I still think we could thin more “snag habitat” out of the vast burned acreages, without harming wildlife.

                Also, cutting dead trees along all system roads should merit a categorical exclusion, in my humble opinion. It is an idea whose time has finally come.

  11. FWIW:

    “But Alfredo Gomez, a director with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said trade associations and private companies, not environmental groups, have actually brought the largest number of lawsuits between 1994 and 2010 against federal agencies.” (SOURCE)

  12. Here is a new view of the King Fire, where it incinerated untouched old growth. Yes, we could have done “something” to mitigate the fuels but, now we get to wait for the re-burn. Even intense wildfires don’t do much to reduce fuels, do they?!?

    https://www.google.com/maps/@38.9803802,-120.4609984,1257m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    I’m sure this once was home for spotted owls and goshawks but, it is very clear that any nests are now gone, as well as the more important nesting habitat. Go ahead and look up the canyon and you see more and more untouched old growth, burned to a crisp.

    The preliminary salvage plans probably don’t include any action in this long canyon, due to it being a former wildlife area. It looks like this area will continue on its “Whatever Happens” journey to an unknown fate. Does anyone still think this is a desirable situation, for both humans and wildlife?

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