Forest Service Buyouts?

I stumbled across this website for Federal employees, and it seems like buyouts are still in flux, for now. There seems to be plenty of interest in taking the buyouts but, delays are apparently reducing the possibility of it happening this fiscal year. I’d expect a headlong rush of Region 5 timber people to want out, now, after the Pacific Rivers decision.

On a side note, it appears there is a freeze on Sale Administration jobs, right now, here in California. With current projects needing MAJOR revisions, and the timber industry not wanting tiny trees, we’ve reached a true gridlock on forest restoration.

8 thoughts on “Forest Service Buyouts?”

  1. So, Sharon, just a question, and I’m not trying to be facetious (well, OK, maybe just a tiny bit): When did “logging” and “restoration” become synonymous?

    And a general question for everyone: Are there ways to pursue restoration besides logging?

    • Restoration may require prescribed fire, culvert removal, noxious weed control, road obliteration, stream channel improvements, and so on. Depends on what is being restored. In the South, it often includes thinning of tree stands that have been subjected to long-term fire exclusion. If the trees can be sold, it’s a good way to pay for some of the other work that can be quite costly.

  2. When today’s logging in Region 5 eliminates clearcutting and highgrading, as it was, here in California, I consider that to be “restoration”. Thinning projects that cut trees with an average diameter of 14-15″ dbh were intolerable to both eco-groups, AND Judges. The idea of “passive restoration” has been forced upon the Sierra Nevada, and I predict we will see a return to HUGE “unnatural” firestorms in the Sierra Nevada. Since the Forest Service cannot do prescribed burns “out of prescription”, or on a no-burn day, options have become quite limited. The California State Board of Air Resources routinely gives Sierra Pacific Industries a “waiver” for doing their burning but, they never give one to the Forest Service.

    We’ll have to take a look at the treated areas down the road, after wildfires hit those finished projects. Also, instead of commercial thinning projects, we’ll have to rely on extremely expensive service contracts, where we taxpayers PAY to have forests thinned of tiny trees. Another prediction of mine is that contractors will raise their rates, knowing that they are “the only game in town”.

  3. Wow, interesting feedback, thanks, all! I don’t see a lot of planting going in clearcut beetle-killed lodgepole pine areas here … I’ve been told the FS will “monitor” regrowth and start planting if the regrowth doesn’t meet forest plan standards. You reckon that will really happen?

    • Bob,95%(if not more) of the clearcuts will “naturally regenerate”. Of all the green islands around Summit County, it’s my guess that none were “planted”. Lodgepole doesn’t need any help. The irony is you’ll have three times as many seedlings per acre in the clearcuts then you will in the MPB deadfall-do you want them to monitor that? Do you want anyone planting in the wildfires? I know of instances, on other forests, where the USFS does plant after a wildfire has extirpirated any “seed trees”, because forests won’t return there for hundreds of years, or however long it takes a bird to crap out a seed.

      Frankly, the USFS wastes a lot of time “monitoring” “stocking after five years” of harvest. When you’ve logged 3% of the White River in 50 years, who cares if it grows back or not.

    • You cannot just “start planting” without the many preliminary steps. The first step is to collect seeds, from different aspects, elevations and local areas. Sometimes, that can take many years, waiting for a good cone crop. I’m not sure how easy it is to collect so many seeds, due to the lodgepole’s serotinous nature. If bugs kill the tree, are the seeds released? The second step is to grow the seedlings, which will take a year. With a reduced amount of Forest Service nurseries, there is a decided lack of space to grow so very many trees that might be needed. You can almost rule out replanting Roadless Areas. as they probably have the lowest priorities, since they are supposed to be left alone. Some preservationist groups are also against any and all replanting efforts, regarding them as “unnatural”.

      Years ago, we were replanting a mixture of species in a burned area, to “promote biodiversity”. Planting lodgepoles and white fir in the dry forests east of the Sierra Nevada crest seemed pretty ridiculous to me. The highly flammable understory was what caused the fire intensity, in the first place. My joke was; “Finally, we’re planting trees we can actually harvest in 40 years!”

    • Bob, I agree with the others that lodgepole is generally fine at regenerating itself. And yes, there is a reforestation requirement. In my experience, most conifers can reproduce as long as there are seed trees and open spots for them to establish. In some spots, we used to have to plant ponderosa because they wouldn’t naturally regenerate- the time between cone cycles was too long and other plants would establish themselves so that when a seed crop did come it didn’t find bare mineral soil.

      One Colorado example is the Hayman Fire area. Folks are planting ponderosa because the living trees are often too far away to depend on the seed from them.


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