Forest Service Chief Talks Climate Change — in Washington and on the Ground

Here’s a link to Char Miller’s take on this discussion, and his interview with the Chief.

As to restoration…

No; I think it’s the right word. It’s just that we have to understand that it doesn’t mean going back. It means to restore the health, the vigor of these systems and that sometimes it is to restore to the future. There may be a better word and I’d be sure open to that but it’s more [important] to understand the concept.

Personally I think it’s easier to understand and communicate concepts with the public when you don’t have to redefine commonly used English words. But perhaps that’s just me ;).

Also, I am not so sure that “science” has the answers that Chief Tidwell thinks it does. If the future is changing to something we’ve never seen, how can we know if things we try now and work, will work in 10 or 20 years? We really can’t. I think we need to be careful about what we think we can do and particularly about what we invest the public’s money in, based on an uncertain and unknowable future. More research, despite what’s said, and despite infusions of megabucks, can’t predict the future of complex systems. So maybe we ought to start with a better understanding what’s going on today.. perhaps starting with the items in the People’s Database.

5 thoughts on “Forest Service Chief Talks Climate Change — in Washington and on the Ground”

  1. 1) it’s been said (by Reed Noss I think) that good ecological restoration is good climate preparation, maybe with a little extra emphasis on connectivity.

    All the things we have been striving for: well distributed and redundant ecological structures, functions, processes, resiliency, timing and rate of natural disturbance mechanisms, etc. make sense both with or without climate uncertainty.

    2) science is just a way of evaluating evidence. it does not provide all the answers but it provides the best possible answers. what’s the alternative to science? magic? prayer?

    • Tree: You are not describing “science,” you are describing semantics. Almost all of the terms you are using are value-based and “scientific” only insofar as political science, cultural anthropology, and a few other disciplines analyze them. Reed Noss might be an exception. DellaSala, too, if you want to go in that direction.

      Yes, scientific methodology is a good way to find answers to certain types of questions, but it certainly is not a formula for achieving “the best possible answers.” Just the best possible answers for those types of questions — and often with dissenting results (that’s how science is supposed to work). And yes, I agree that much of what is being passed off as “science” these days is actually better described as politics, religion, computer gaming, and/or maybe even “magic.”

      I’d be interested in your thoughts on my recent post regarding scientific and political transparency and our apparent need for both in this age of electronic communications and environmental apocalypse. Do you agree that something along those lines would be beneficial — at least to us armchair quarterbacks — or that we’re already getting the “best possible answers” we need?

      • I agree that we should expose “faith-based” forest policy for what it is. Few forests in this country are “natural” and unaffected by man. Why must we “let nature take its course” or pretend that passive restoration will “fix” everything. Even if we could wave a magic wand and eliminate “climate change”, we’d still have serious problems.


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