A Cal-Berkeley fire scientist shows his unawareness of current Forest Service policy but, his other ideas favor active management of our Sierra Nevada National Forests.
The situation is compounded by the gridlock between environmentalists and commercial foresters. The former favor thinning, but they want all logging plans to leave the larger trees, particularly those with trunks over 30 inches in diameter. But the timber companies maintain it is necessary to take a significant number of bigger trees to fund thinning and restoration programs.
Stephens generally favors the enviro position. Landscape-scale wildfire damage is driven by vast acreages of small-diameter, closely-packed trees, he says. By leaving the larger trees, the essential character of a natural forest can be maintained, even accelerated. And he thinks markets can be found for products produced from thinned, scrawny trees.
Of course, there has been a ban on the cutting of trees larger than 30″ dbh, since 1993. Ditto for clearcutting! These are two big hot-button issues for most “conservationists” but, there are still people out there who want timber sales banned, altogether. There are others who would love to go back to the Clinton rules of the Sierra Nevada Framework, which would shutdown much of Region 5’s timber management programs. A 22″ dbh tree, underneath a 36″ dbh tree cannot be considered “scrawny”. Generally, most of the thinned trees are in the 10-18″ dbh size, averaging about 15″ dbh.