A conservation plan puts science ahead of politics

This story about the Pima County Arizona conservation planning effort isn’t directly about national forests, though there should have been (and probably was) coordination with the Coronado National Forest.  And my point here isn’t about the success of a conservation plan driven by the need to protect at-risk species (arguably an ESA success story).  It’s about the …

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Are Trump’s climate censors at the door of forest planning?

In conjunction with publishing its notice of intent to prepare an EIS and draft forest plan, the Gila National Forest revealed a bit of the thinking going on on at least one national forest about whether they should continue to address climate change in the forest planning process. Throughout the assessment process, the Forest team took …

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Humans sparked 84 percent of US wildfires, increased fire season over two decades

How should we deal with the new math on forest fires? If this article published in the February Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is not a fluke then it would seem to me that our expanding population dictates the need for more forest management not less. The less desireable alternative would be to …

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Custer-Gallatin wins salvage logging lawsuit

On Feb. 6, Judge Molloy in the Montana District Court upheld the Custer National Forest’s  use of the categorical exclusion applicable to projects not exceeding 250 acres for the Whitetail Salvage Project.  In Native Ecosystems Council v. Weldon he found that even though it was the third project in the area affected by the 2012 Ash …

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IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND

It seems like an exercise in futility for the “New Century of Forest Planning” group to be discussing and cussing forest planning &/ policy when we haven’t even agreed to the scientific fundamentals that serve as the cornerstone and foundation for any such discussions. Below, I have developed a tentative outline of the high level …

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Lawsuit will question fuel breaks

The Los Padres National Forest has proposed the Santa Barbara Mountain Communities Defense Zone Project. “The desired condition for chaparral is to establish a diversity of shrub age classes in key areas near communities to improve the effectiveness of fire suppression operations. Adequate defensible space around communities could greatly reduce the risk of structure loss, …

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Do elk need trees? Maybe.

This is an update to a September 12 post “Do elk need trees?”  The Forest punted the issue to its forest plan revision: http://helenair.com/news/natural-resources/forest-service-withdraws-controversial-big-game-standard/article_e5e22d8b-41f3-535f-94e6-58e098c86958.html The first draft of the proposed Helena-Lewis and Clark revised forest plan punts elk security to project-level decision making. Here’s the draft guideline: “In order to influence elk distribution on NFS …

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A test of the 2014 insect and disease categorical exclusion

The Center for Biological diversity is suing the Tahoe National Forest for its decision on the Sunny South timber sale. The sale is designed to “reduce the extent and risk of insect infestations, as well as to reduce the negative effects of those infestations on forest health and resilience.” Plaintiffs allege, “Six (California spotted) owl territories …

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Do elk need trees?

For many years, it has been pretty much common knowledge, supported by science, that as the amount of hunting season open roads increases, there is more need for cover for elk to hide.  The Helena National forest plan (and others) have incorporated this relationship into standards for elk security.  (Full disclosure – I had something …

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Natural Range of Variation in the southern Sierra national forests

So what did the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo do to apply this planning rule requirement to terrestrial ecosystems?  I’ve just reviewed the draft plan and DEIS, and I don’t think I’ve got a good answer.  They don’t directly say what NRV is or how they determined it (at least in the places I’ve looked). The Bio-Regional …

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