Howdy, Folks

I’m just going to drop this here. A side by side comparison of the land that some serial litigators insist is clear evidence of Forest Service salvage clearcutting in the Rim Fire. The caption reads, “Post-fire clearcutting on the Stanislaus National Forest in the Rim fire area, eliminated the wildlife-rich snag habitat and left only stump fields.” Where is the “wildlife-rich snag habitat” in that burned-over plantation on private land? The picture on the right is before logging started, from Google Maps.

Yes, the story is still up on their website, in all its slanderous glory.

Have a nice day!

Spi-comparison

21 Comments

  1. Larry, why you are allowed to post on this site is beyond me. If you are going to call someone a liar, you might want to at least make sure your claims are supported by legitimate evidence. I’m hoping your error was a simple mistake, not a reflection of confirmation bias or worse.

    Your second image was NOT taken prior to salvage logging as you claim. It taken nearly a year after the fire and AFTER salvage logging destroyed the post-fire habitat shown (5/2014). If you want to view what the area actually looked like immediately after the fire, before it was salvaged logged, go to the 9/2013 Google Earth image. Just move the timeline one click to the left. Much of the area below the loop road (upper right) was rich in post-fire habitat.

    The error is in the caption indicating that this area was on the Stanislaus National Forest. It’s within a private in-holding (Sierra Pacific?). That said, fragile post-fire habitat was still trashed.

  2. Hi Everyone –

    Yes this is a photo of Sierra Pacific Lands and US FS lands are adjacent. The clear-cut US FS lands were also photographed carefully with GPS points …So those aerials are different but close by.

  3. As an added note to this discussion, one of the primary factors determining fire behavior during the Rim Fire was the density of tree farms. This has been noted by numerous investigators.

    Although we have not done a detailed analysis of the matter, it is clear by looking at Google Earth that a significant amount of area burned by the Rim Fire had been converted into tree farms in one form or another. The conventional narrative is that the Rim Fire burned unnaturally large and hot because of the impact of past fire suppression and the ever demonized shrubland habitat. Such a narrative ignores the larger issue of impacts via exploitation of forest for economic gain – the more trees the better.

    Although I won’t speculate as to the reason, it is interesting that the blame for wildfires is almost almost on government agencies (via firefighters and fire suppression), and environmental laws. At the very minimum, the blame needs to be equally shared by private interests who have exploited the forest for profit. More realistically, the blame can be laid directly in the lap of industry and those who have facilitated forestry for maximum financial gain rather than ecologically balanced sustainability.

    By the way Larry, tree farm or not, once burned, the post-fire forest is an incredibly fragile thing and still provides habitat for a wide array of species. It is an excellent time to step back, take advantage of the reset, and carefully allow the forest to become ecologically healthy again. Salvage logging is not part of that process.

  4. I am glad to see Larry back. It was kind of boring without him.
    Tree farms do burn, but so does the old growth from what I have seen.
    I have seen fires skip right over young plantations and burn the older forest.
    I think we need to salvage log when it makes sense. We do have bills to pay and it helps.
    We can use the resource and that helps, and maybe if we did more salvage logging we wouldn’t have to cut as many green trees.
    I also know we can salvage log and not harm the environment.
    I wouldn’t worry about snags, there is no shortage of them.

  5. Soooo, let’s review. The litigants finally admitted that the picture is not an example of Forest Service salvage efforts. despite the text of the caption. Also, there is still no solid evidence that the Forest Service has been clearcutting in their salvage projects. If it were true, I have no doubts, whatsoever, that they would have returned to court and filed a new lawsuit, ala Moosehorn Ditch. Just because the GPS coordinate say one thing, that surely isn’t proof. There has not been any designated clearcuts in the Sierra Nevada National Forests since 1993.

    I guess we can document yet another example of preservationists pointing at private logging practices to blast the Forest Service projects. We’re not fooled, and the courts aren’t fooled, either.

    LurkMode=/ON

    • Again Larry, I urge you to become familiar with logical fallacies. You use them all the time.

      – First you argue that the photo posted was false by posting another false photo.
      – We point out your error and acknowledge the caption was incorrect in the original photo.
      – You fail to acknowledge your error, then use a red herring to deflect the issue by discussing plantations.
      – We provide additional discussion points which you ignore.
      – You come back and engage in your usual ad hominem attacks about “preservationists,” and completely ignore Maya’s explanation because it is contrary to your bias.

      – New information: The publication in question has changed the photo with a clear cut on USFS land within the Rim Fire. See this link: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/clearcuts_for_christmas/

      – Prediction: You will ignore your erroneous claim that, “there is still no solid evidence that the Forest Service has been clearcutting in their salvage projects,” and will engage in further logical fallacies.

      Below is a good overview of logical fallacies in a note we have on our Facebook Page. Larry, you will recognize some of these from the comments you make on this blog.

      About Logical Fallacies

      The problem is that many people do not understand the difference between a logical argument and a logical fallacy. Here are the most common logical fallacies. Be on the watch out for them, in both what YOU say and what others say.

      1. RED HERRING FALLACIES
      When an irrelevant argument is given in response to another argument which is intended to draw attention way from the original discussion.

      Ad Hominem attacks
      We get these all the time – attempts to question our character in an attempt to invalidate something we are saying. Here is one in a comment about an article we posted about beetle-killed trees not posing increased risk of high-severity fire (excuse the commenter’s overt sexual reference):

      – “To increase fire tolerance the fuel must be removed to preserve the wild life habitat. Fact of the matter is many in the environmental movement are pyromaniacs and cream in their shorts at the thought of large scorched earth forest fires. They are eco-KOOKS and their pyromania should not be part of public policy.”

      A less obvious one, but another we commonly get, are the anti-intellectualism barbs.

      – “Biggest setback for academics and research… sometimes they overlook common sense and dissect everything to death only to find the obvious.”

      – “Sorry, ‘Chaparral Institute’ but I am a working man who has a family, and not a career environmentalist.”

      Then, of course, there is the use of stereotypes that allows the person to dismiss everything we say because we are part of a certain group or grand conspiracy.

      – “What a bunch of liberal crap. Just more propaganda from those who hope the people do not research and educate. Sad society we have devolved into… The liberal mentality is that ‘we know best’, because we have purchased the best scientists to promote our agenda.”

      This link provides a good list of other examples of ad hominem attacks. Get familiar with them so you can respond appropriately:
      http://examples.yourdictionary.com/ad-hominem-examples.html

      Burden of proof
      This is when an individual makes a statement and demands that you supply the evidence to disprove it. For example, we posted an article by William Falk that did an excellent job explaining why the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “clearance” of juniper-pinyon pine forests was ecologically destructive. A land manager from another agency railed against the article without ever providing evidence that refuted what Falk had written. When we asked the commenter to please reference a point in the article and present peer-reviewed citations to refute it, we were told we needed to supply the references.

      Don’t be fooled into thinking it is your job to disprove another person’s claims. It is their job to prove their own.

      Appeal to emotion
      An argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions instead of dealing with the actual issue with valid reasoning.

      These can be the most frustrating because they tap deeply into our feelings.

      We received two of these on August 2, 2015 in reference to our post about hype in the media concerning the Rocky Fire in northern California. Two commenters attempted to invalidate our perspective by bringing up the death of David Ruhl, the USFS firefighter who was killed. They said we were disrespecting his life because we were criticizing the media coverage.

      David’s death has nothing to do with the quality of a journalist’s coverage of a news event.

      Appeal to authority
      We encounter this often from people who do not accept climate change science. For example, they will cite one or two scientists, who usually have never conducted climate science, but have a PhD in some scientific field, to dismiss evidence.

      The Nobel Laureate, Ivar Giaever, who has rejected climate change is often cited. He did his work in semiconductors and has admitted he knows little about climate science. Perhaps most telling, such citations often come from suspicious webpages, such as the “Daily Sheeple” that are known for questionable stories. Typically people who use this logical fallacy consistently fail to produce verifiable evidence for their position. They will cite editorials or will ignore your requests for proof.

      – “… let me state again that real science has proven that ‘man made climate change/global warming’ is a hoax.”

      Despite repeated requests, this commenter never provided evidence for their claim.

      Appeal to hypocrisy (Tu quoque)
      When your position is dismissed because you are accused of not acting consistently in accordance with that particular position.

      – “But when any of us point out that human abortion is currently legal and also amoral and is absolutely murder, we are somehow out of line. You can call hunting amoral and compare it to murder, but we can’t point out the liberal inconsistency in hating trophy hunting but supporting abortion?”

      In this case, the commenter misrepresented our position in that we never compared hunting to murder. The entire topic was focused on trophy hunting – the killing of predators for pleasure. We’ve never discussed abortion.

      2. ANECDOTAL FALLACY
      This is when someone uses a personal experience, an isolated example, or testimonials instead of reason or evidence from objective research. This fallacy is frequently employed near the end of a discussion by someone who’s growing frustrated by our insistence in citing science to support a perspective.

      – “I have 30 years of experience. I have seen fires stop at fire breaks and at old fire scars.”

      While there is no doubt this commenter experienced such events, eye witness accounts of events are subject to selective memory and bias. This is what science attempts to eliminate by examining, large random samples.

      Some resources for further reading:

      Reinhart: Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide
      Goldacre: Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks
      Ellenberg: How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
      Campbell: Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking (Dover Books)
      Paulos: A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper
      Taleb: Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

      “Here Be Dragons” is a free 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. It is suitable for general audiences and is licensed for free distribution and public display.
      https://youtu.be/752V173e31o

      • Sooo, what does this have to do with Forest Service salvage logging?? (You might also look a little closer to see that only about a third of the picture had 40 yer old plantation trees in there. Also, notice the lack of skid trails on the left two thirds of the area. Next, you’re going to blame them for PREVENTING snag habitat *smirk* )

          • Why did it take THREE months for it to be corrected!! (Yes, I notified them way back in December, and they just changed it, a few days ago) YOUR error comes in considering tiny chunks of dead plantations on private lands to be “wildlife-rich snag habitat”. Pictures without locations mean nothing, especially in the case of accusing the Forest Service of clearcutting. The real issue is the untrustworthiness of pictures coming from losing litigants. If you scroll up, you can see the first sentence from “Richard” is an insult directly aimed at me. If we cannot trust you people to know where you are, out on the ground, then just what CAN we trust coming from you?!? Judges need to see this crap!!!

      • Thanks Richard for posting a link to the updated photo over at the Earth Island Institute website.

        Readers may recall that back in December 2015 (right before Larry Harrell swore off and quit this blog because he was “Tired of what this site has become“) I actually posted 3 additional photos from post-fire logging on the Stanislaus National Forest from within the Rim Fire area. If interested, folks can view those photos here.

        Also, back in that December 2015 blog post I shared with everyone this email I got from Dr. Chad Hanson, which read:

        Dr. Hanson also wrote to me and said that:

        “With regard to the comment from a couple of the people on that list, where they claimed that the Forest Service only allowed roadside logging in Rim fire, and not standard ‘salvage’ logging units, I have attached the Record of Decision for the Rim post-fire logging project.

        On pages 8 and 9 of the ROD you will see that the Forest Service’s decision allowed about 15,000 acres of salvage logging that was not roadside, and about 17,000 *additional* acres of logging that was roadside (but all on level 1 and 2 roads which, by Forest Service definition, are not even maintained for public use).

        Last, in 25 years working on this issue, I have never once declined or avoided a debate on this issue. In fact, I have been trying to get USFS staff scientists in CA to debate me for the past 3 years and they have declined, or don’t respond.”

        People can check, but for the most part Larry Harrell ignored all those photos and the actual figures from the U.S. Forest Service’s own record of decision. But Larry managed to attack Chad Hanson more, which seems to be his main purpose in life.

        So awesome that you have brought your bat and ball back to our blog Larry Harrell…Thanks for keeping it classy, as always.

  6. See how hostile these people are when pressed for facts?!?!? They have not proved that ANY of the photos are legitimate. They have not explained why it took 3 months to change the original photo, and they rely on insults instead of facts to fight the light of truth. Their desperation has reached a level where they seem capable of saying almost anything. (Yes, that IS an insult, for those keeping score)

    People can join my own Facebook group about proper forest management, if they like, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/347957277078/

    Have fun!

    • Who are “these people” “them” and “they” you are referring to Larry? Are you talking about the Earth Island Journal? Did you ever contact the editor? Are you talking about the photographer, who responded above? Do you think Chad Hanson writes the photo captions or picks the photos for the Earth Island Journal? I honestly have no idea. What do you think about all the other photos that have been shared here, and in previous posts, which seem to counter some of your claims?

      • Matthew, after dealing with internet trolls for more than 10 years on our Facebook page – individuals who refuse to acknowledge mistakes, are immune to fact checking, and engage in continual efforts to derail conversations by using ad hominem attacks and other logical fallacies – we developed a policy of ignoring them after three requests for civility (we actually ban them from the page after a fair warning).

        Larry clearly has become a troll here since he has no interest in maintaining a civil, logical discussion. In fact, as you wonder above, there also appears to be a lack of coherence of thought. So we will disengage from his ramblings in this thread.

        Chad wrote me a note about the photo and asked me to post it here. I’ll do so in a separate comment. Photos are included which I would like to insert, but not sure I can do that in a comment. I’ll provide web links instead. Maybe you or another one of the moderators can help with that?

  7. From Chad Hanson:

    Thanks to Larry for pointing out that one of the photos used in my December 7, 2015 article in Earth Island Journal online showed private lands clearcutting in the Rim fire, while the caption discussed post-fire logging on the Stanislaus National Forest. My mistake. That error has been corrected, and the photo has been replaced with one showing post-fire clearcutting on national forest lands in the Rim fire.

    Hundreds of scientists from across the nation recently observed that “numerous scientific studies tell us that even in the patches where forest fires burn most intensely, the resulting wildlife habitats are among the most ecologically diverse on western forestlands and are essential to support the full richness of forest biodiversity” (http://johnmuirproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Final2015ScientistLetterOpposingLoggingBills.pdf). The scientists noted that post-fire logging “degrade[s] the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems on federal lands” and destroys important wildlife habitat.

    Thousands of acres of ecologically-rich “snag forest habitat” have been intensively logged, and clearcut, on the Stanislaus National Forest in the Rim fire, destroying not only large tracts of one of the rarest and most biodiverse forest habitat types in western US forests, but also killing most of the natural regeneration of conifers and oaks that was occurring prior to the logging (see photos below). Thousands of acres of snag forest remain unlogged on national forest lands in the Rim fire, but most of it is still planned for logging by the Forest Service, currently.

    Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Ecologist, John Muir Project

    http://californiachaparral.org/wordpress1/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Figure-1.jpg

    Figure 1. Natural post-fire conifer regeneration in a patch of snag forest habitat in the Rim fire on the Stanislaus National Forest (left), and immediately adjacent post-fire clearcutting on the Stanislaus National Forest in the same snag forest patch just on the other side of the road, looking in the opposite direction (right). Photos by Chad Hanson, 2016.

    http://californiachaparral.org/wordpress1/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Figure-2.jpg

    Figure 2. Post-fire logging and clearcutting on the Stanislaus National Forest in the Reed timber sale area of the Rim fire, October 2015 and March 2016, respectively. Photos by Maya Khosla (left) and Chad Hanson (right).

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