Association for Fire Ecology Paper on Carbon and Fire

Foto submitted this as a comment, but I think it’s worth starting another post just on the report. What Foto said was …

Here is the best, most balanced position paper on carbon sequestration and fire ecology I could find. While I don’t agree with every detail put forth in this position paper, I do see that site specificity is key to each micro-situation.

The paper seems to address all our forest issues without that annoying partisan politics so pervasive in other documents. Also, the paper doesn’t seem to be one of those “stand alone” write-ups that ignore other forest issues to ram home preservationist talking points. All too often, preservationist position papers make impossible comparisons while ignoring or discounting likely long term scenarios affecting public safety, natural resources and local ecosystem values.”

If you’d like to learn more about the AFE, here is a link to their website. Looks like they are having an interesting conference in November (info here).

When I read the paper, I thought something along the lines of “let’s not overthink this. We need to protect structures and communities, and fires will burn so we need to deal with different ways of managing vegetation in consideration of that fact. This is difficult (and expensive!) enough without thinking that concerns over carbon are somehow going to force us to do something drastically different. There is just not enough decision space to do much differently from a practical point of view.”

What do you think?

1 thought on “Association for Fire Ecology Paper on Carbon and Fire”

  1. Stashed away, in just one sentence, is this statement about human improvements and the WUI. “Wildfire suppression and prevention will always be a strategy in areas where it is critical to mitigate risk to human populations and where frequent, human-ignited fires have significantly altered an ecosystem where naturally-ignited fires were historically rare.” I think they didn’t stress this issue, since this is a paper about carbon sequestration. They seem to be tuned into this need to protect the public, more than the Feds are.

    “Managing more wildfires in remote areas for ecological objectives should also be encouraged.” Sadly, the Feds are woefully bad at “managing wildfires”. The worst escaped fires often are burning in difficult conditions, but the Feds firefighting arrogance makes them believe they can handle any Let-Burn fire. They consistently blame “unforeseen weather conditions” as poor excuses for losing containment. Pretending that partially-controlled wildfires allowed to burn up to 100,000 acres are “ecologically-beneficial” is also a fallacy, and a mighty expensive one, at that.

    Also included in those awful impacts is the fact that as these fires burn for weeks on end, committed fire resources become unavailable for other wildfire ignitions. Doesn’t anyone else see the problem here?!? I propose that such activities ONLY be attempted in managed forests or Wilderness. As managed areas grow in size, more opportunities for “natural fire” will happen.


Leave a Comment