Rain’s Ecosystem Service Value

The Columbia River Gorge’s Eagle Creek Fire will be history as about 5 inches of rain are forecast to fall within the next several days. Tongue-in-cheek, we can calculate the ecosystem service value of rain by analyzing the avoided cost of an alternative delivery vehicle — the Global Supertanker. Five inches of rain delivered across …

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Is Private Property the Key to Keeping Firefighting Costs Down?

Regular readers know that the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting expenses just keep going up. Some believe that a dramatic decline in federal land logging over the past 30 years is the reason. Others say long-term cycles of drought, while some blame increasing number of wildland/urban interface homes. If federal land logging policies are to blame …

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On Time and Under Budget

On September 1 31, the federal government’s fiscal year clock turned over from FY17 to 18. The numbers year-to-date are now in. The Forest Service spent $1.75 billion of its regular $1.89 billion firefighting appropriation. No FLAME funds spent. No borrowing. What? How is that possible? Turns out that when the boss says “we ain’t …

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Will CLT Make a Difference in National Forest Small Wood Demand?

Cross-laminated timber (CLT) technology makes large construction panels from low-value lumber. The panels can be used to build floors, walls and roofs for buildings up to about 16 stories, which is substantially taller than possible using ordinary lumber and plywood. The Forest Service has been shoveling money to study CLT properties and uses, hoping to …

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Court Rules Firefighting Exempt from NEPA

In a case brought by FSEEE, a federal district court judge ruled that forest fires are emergencies; and, as such, firefighting actions are exempt from any form of NEPA documentation. FSEEE filed the case in response to concerns raised by Wenatchee national forest employees that a 30-mile long fuels break logged through spotted owl critical …

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Secretary Perdue Talks Trees

Yesterday USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue made an unprecedented and necessary appearance before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (the Forest Service is a “related agency”) to explain the Forest Service’s proposed FY 2018 budget. “Unprecedented” because never before had a USDA Secretary appeared before this subcommittee. “Necessary” because never before did …

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A Deeper Dive into Trump’s Forest Service Budget

The take-homes from Trump’s first Forest Service budget suggest a significant shift in how this administration views the Forest Service. Timber sale levels will go down modestly. With the Forest Products line item funded at a no-change level of $360 million, I predict sale levels will remain below 3 billion board feet (notwithstanding a stated …

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TRUMP’S FOREST SERVICE DENIES CLIMATE CHANGE!!!

The smoking gun that proves Trump’s Forest Service now denies climate change! Compare Obama’s FY 2017 Budget Justification: “Agency operations and assets must become more resilient to the impacts of a changing climate so we can continue to provide a high level of service while caring for the National Forest System lands.” With Trump’s FY …

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