What’s Up with the Lack of a Link Between CO2 and Global Temperatures

How does all of this affect current forest policy?

Here are two worthwhile reads regarding the role of forests in global warming / carbon sequestration. In addition, item “C)” raises and supports the question: ‘if there is no long term correlation between temperatures and CO2 then how can CO2 be the largest factor contributing to Global Warming?’. Everything we do is predicated on that one big “IF” yet, most refuse to acknowledge the lack of a direct correlation.

A) Pacific Northwest forests: Carbon sink or carbon source?

“Active forest management in dry forest ecosystems plays a critical role in reducing fuel loads, conserving functionality and biodiversity, and returning forests to a natural, resilient condition that is capable of responding to wildfire in a more socially desirable and ecologically beneficial way”

IMHO regardless of whatever role CO2 plays, healthy forests require, at a minimum, forest management as needed for the safety of society. The above quote simply illustrates that a “hands off” policy does not fit the needs of all forest ecosystems nor does it fit at all times within the need to maintain a specific forest ecosystem in order to support species dependent on the sustainability of a particular forest ecosystem niche. This in turn leads to the need for landscape level forest planning for all federal forest holdings.

B) Carbon storage in WA state forests is too small and too risky to play a serious role as a climate change mitigation tool

– 1) “the single biggest contributor to climate change is CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Indeed, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel emissions in recent years have been roughly ten times higher than emissions from the next largest global source, land use change, including deforestation”
—> See “C” below about the “inconvenient truth” that there is no proven long term relationship between CO2 levels and global temperatures. This does not rule out the possibility that, as yet, undetermined interactions with other variables could have an impact on the role of CO2 in global warming.

– 2) “there are many excellent reasons to support planting trees in WA state … However, mitigating the threat of climate change is not among those reasons, based on the available science.”

– 3) “Thus, the management of forests to accumulate carbon must not delay or dilute the phasing-out fossil fuel use.”

—> agree – but not because of CO2 emissions:

—- a) Health – pollution dictates a reduction in the use of hydrocarbons and an increase in the use of alternative fuels to replace the extraction of below ground hydrocarbons and an increase in the use of sound, sustainable forest management to reduce the risk of Catastrophic fires.

—- b) Geologic ramifications of hydrocarbon extraction and hydraulic pumping include surface subsidence and earthquakes.

C) The Question as to the pertinence of CO2 to Global Warming

We must consider the inconvenient truth that ice cores from Greenland and Vostok, Russia show that over the last ~ 100,000 years, temps have been significantly higher than today by more than 2 degrees centigrade when CO2 was 2/3rds of what it is now. So is CO2 really the cause of global warming?

Greenland Data – Mankind has lived in significantly warmer climates than current temps over the last 11,000 years with CO2 levels at 2/3rds of the present levels (current CO2 levels corroborates their extrapolation of CO2 levels to the present).

Global Mean Temperature Anomaly – 1880 – Present – Note 2000 – 2016 only shows a 0.3 degree centigrade increase versus the Greenland and Vostok Data and corroborates their extrapolations to 2000.

Vostok Data – Mankind has lived in significantly warmer climates than current temps over the last 140,000 years.


So the question is: how does all of this affect current forest policy?

41 thoughts on “What’s Up with the Lack of a Link Between CO2 and Global Temperatures”

  1. Global or local? Representative Tom McClintock of California states that forest management doesn’t influence carbon balance.
    Management includes burning for fuels reduction. Alternatively, leaving the dead trees to decompose produces the same amount of CO2.
    What difference does it make? Let the wood rot over a long time, or burn it all at once? Or harvest the trees and dedicate the harvest to lumber that will be in place for centuries?
    How does a sudden pulse of CO2 influence the atmosphere? Does the sudden pulse create inversion layers. Inversions which trap pollution? Pulses which take a long time and a large geographic sink.

    • Rotting trees produce more powerful GHG’s than just letting them burn. In the Sierra Nevada, trees rarely rot before they burn in the next inevitable wildfire (man-caused, or not). Then again, soils impacted through wildfire intensity add their own atmospheric impacts, sometimes for a VERY long time.

  2. Another question is what caused the higher temperatures in Vostok and Greenland over the last 100,000 years? If it was not CO2, what was the cause of warmer temperatures? Was warming only in the northern hemisphere? Do samples from Antarctica show the same temperature rise in the same time?
    This is a link to ice age, gas concentration data from Vostok Station, Antarctica provided by the University of Michigan:
    Included is a tutorial on use of isotopes to estimate age and gas concentrations.
    What is your answer to the questions on this site? An additional question: Where is the best place to prospect for heavy water?

    • Scientists have discovered “dissolved organic matter” (from decomposing forests), coming out from underneath the current Alaskan glaciers. They carbon-dated that matter, finding it to be 4000 years old. Think about THOSE facts, for a while!

      • Gill, thanks for the reply and the suggestion.
        Rather than expand on my beliefs, I offer Svante Arrhenius.
        http://warming.sdsu.edu/ for background.
        Correlation is not necessarily cause.
        For instance, what is the long term albedo of the earth?
        What is the role of local albedo? White roofs?

        Pinitubo, Krakatoa, etc lead to a year without a summer, for instance.
        What would be the result of long periods without volcanoes spewing dust into the atmosphere?.
        Or ocean storms adding to condensation nuclei?
        What was the earth temperature after the recent Iceland volcano?
        What was the local temperature change?
        What inversions were created?
        To me, the controversy is that incumbents are having their tails twisted.
        Their lives disrupted by attacks on their livelihood.
        Burning fossil fuels? Depleting aquifers? Inconsistent definitions of renewable or sustainable. Inconsistent plan to replace the status quo. Or as General Custer told the Army as he rode out to his last battle. “Don’t change anything until I get back.”
        Until that time when there is a more productive discussion, we concentrate on things that may or may not play a role in weather, let alone climate.
        What is the water budget of a forest? What things have to grow in the soil to have trees grow above the soil? What is the water table depletion rate in the forest?
        What did we learn from the dust bowl?

        • See also “Land’s complex role in climate change,” published in Physics Today a couple of days ago.

          “In this article we argue that the impacts of modification and management of the land and other human effects on climate merit the same level of research and policy attention given to greenhouse gas effects. The inherent complexity of accounting for all those factors will require redefining the way we think about the risks of climate change. ”


            • I’m not sure what the point of these two posts was. I don’t see Steve’s being an argument against doing something about climate disruption. I do see that in Sharon’s: “By extension, GCMs are not fit for the purpose of justifying political policies to fundamentally alter world social, economic and energy systems.” This pretty much defines conservative political philosophy and its opposition to government intervention to change climate trends, and the author appears to be angling for a job in the Trump administration with her sympathetic blog posts. (She winkingly acknowledges that she was asked to write this, but won’t say for whom.) It’s fair to ask questions of science, but not with the intent of reaching a predetermined outcome. She may have a valid point that models are being misused, but her advocacy for doing nothing concerns me.

              • No neither I, nor Judy, have anything to do with “conservative political philosophy”.. it’s not really about political philosophy at all. I have been following her blog for some time. I think it’s about “we don’t really know the details of how things could roll out” however “we ” should still be doing something- but exactly what should be informed by some calculation of the uncertainty involved. I don’t really understand why you think that that is “conservative.” It just seems sensible to me.

                Why would you think she “advocates for doing nothing” when she testified before Congress that..
                Oh, this is what she testified to:

                In April 2015 Curry gave evidence to the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology Hearing on the President’s UN Climate Pledge. She summed up her evidence –

                “The definition of ‘dangerous’ climate change is ambiguous, and hypothesized catastrophic tipping points are regarded as very or extremely unlikely in the 21st century. Efforts to link dangerous impacts of extreme weather events to human-caused warming are misleading and unsupported by evidence. Climate change is a ‘wicked problem’ and ill-suited to a ‘command and control’ solution. It has been estimated that the U.S. national commitments to the UN to reduce emissions by 28% will prevent three hundredths of a degree centigrade in warming by 2100… The articulation of a preferred policy option in the early 1990’s by the United Nations has marginalized research on broader issues surrounding climate variability and change and has stifled the development of a broader range of policy options. We need to push the reset button in our deliberations about how we should respond to climate change. We should expand the frameworks for thinking about climate policy and provide a wider choice of options in addressing the risks from climate change. As an example of alternative options, pragmatic solutions have been proposed based on efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction. Each of these measures has justifications independent of their benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation. Robust policy options that can be justified by associated policy reasons whether or not human caused climate change is dangerous avoids the hubris of pretending to know what will happen with the 21st century climate.[21]

                In my world, “not doing what some people prefer” and “doing nothing” are two different things in my book.

                PS I think many people on this blog have experience with models.. at least vegetation models and economic models, which are part of modeling climate change levels and impacts. So I think it will be a tough argument to make that somehow estimates of what will happen are more true than the submodels that go into them. Does that make us “political conservatives” or “people experienced with comparing model projections to what really happens and are humble about human ability to know things.”

                Back in the day, the argument for not managing was ” ecosystems are more complex than we think, they are more complex than we can think”.. but now they, and the atmosphere (!!!) and oceans (!!!) are so modelable that we can depend on the projections for accuracy and so we don’t need to engage in “no-regrets” options.

                It bothers me when we label ideas “conservative” or whatever especially when they are not. It closes the policy options, which in my view should be open, and openly discussed (plus in this case it simply isn’t true).

                • I can see why she was invited to speak to the House Committee, and she is obviously quite attuned to their politics, as she told them exactly what conservatives wanted to hear – “Climate change is … ill-suited to a ‘command and control’ solution.” That is conservative dogma, and her statement was a (politically conservative) value judgment, not science.

                  As I said, I understand the issues with models, and it is important to put facts (including uncertainty) in front of decision-makers. However, when scientists start giving their opinions on what a decision should or shouldn’t be, I look closer. What I’ve seen with Curry is enough for me to discount her credibility.

                  It’s always good to explore as many options as possible, but that should not be used as rationale for delaying action (a variation of no action) when there is clear evidence that such delay comes with high risks (she seems to dispute that, but that would again be a fringe view). I would be interested in what her suggested options actually mean, “to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather, and pursue no regrets pollution reduction” (especially the last one – does it mean nobody has to sacrifice?). At best, they don’t sound like alternatives, but are things we should doing in addition to fundamentally altering our energy systems and command and control approaches.

                  • Jon

                    Regarding your above statement: “It’s always good to explore as many options as possible, but that should not be used as rationale for delaying action (a variation of no action) when there is clear evidence that such delay comes with high risks”

                    Consider the 1990 “clear evidence that such delay comes with high risks” for the NSO. Consider the NSO and the 85-90% reduction in federal harvests that occurred post 1990. Consider the ramifications of the resultant overstocked stands when management was suddenly removed. Consider the rush to “do something” to save the NSO even though they knew it was a shot in the dark (paraphrasing Erik Foresman) and was contradicted by on the ground knowledge that the NSO was doing just fine in and around intensively managed industrial forests (Forest Industry magazines from the 80’s and 90’s). Now we have spent over $125million in direct expenditures to save the NSO and are committed to spend roughly the same amount again. Considering that the only place that the NSO is currently holding its own is in and around intensively managed industrial forests where there is a better balance between nesting an foraging habitat than on the old growth stands – Does it really make sense to declare clear evidence when there is also clear evidence to the contrary.

                    Likewise with global warming – as you see from the graphs at the top of this post, mankind has lived through warmer times than the warming forecasters say that we face – Is this something that the evidence is so clear as to exactly what needs to be done, how it needs to be accomplished and what quantified decrease in temperature will be achieved by each component of the solution?

                    Assuming that your answer is yes – What difference does it make to us in discussing forest policy? Sound forest management, where allowed, will be completely compatible with the global ecosystem and forest management prescriptions will be tailored to the conditions regardless of whether we are experiencing warming or cooling.

                    • If you are suggesting that spotted owls would have been better off if we had kept logging their habitat at the rate we were before 1990, I don’t think there is much science to support that.

                      “Is this something that the evidence is so clear as to exactly what needs to be done, how it needs to be accomplished and what quantified decrease in temperature will be achieved by each component of the solution?”

                      I’ll just say that the evidence is clear that something needs to be done and that things that are being done are likely to accomplish something. (See my response to Larry regarding restoration to answer your next question.)

                    • Jon

                      You say that there isn’t any evidence to support that the NSO would be better off if we’d continued on a logging path that provided for succession which in turn provides a better balance of nesting & forage habitat for the NSO.

                      What is wrong? You just ignored the very evidence that you say doesn’t exist yet I supplied. What gives?

                      Your restoration comments do not address my fundamental question as to whether or not forest management is affected by the why of global warming. Aren’t we going to manage for sustainability regardless of the why?

                      I agree that society should be and is addressing global warming and investigating it’s cause & effect relationships – But don’t you agree that that is not the job of foresters/planners? Isn’t our job to use the best science on a site by site basis to meet the landscape level objectives set by society & codified by politicians? Isn’t our job to show them what it will take to meet the objectives & point out the internal contradiction within those codes &objectives that guarantee failure.

                    • Jon

                      Progress is our most important product as they used to say at GE. We agree that discussion here of the whys of Global Change is non-productive for a group like this.

                      I was going to start a new discussion thread on the NSO. But discovered that we had already had this discussion and imho you refused to consider the documentation that I provided as being truthful and valid so I see no need in pursuing this any further. If you want to discuss the validity of the items in that prior discussion I’d be glad to but your subjective dismissal of them doesn’t offer much hope.

                      In summary on the NSO owl issue and the failure of the recovery plan based on not considering the big picture and rejection of contradictory facts let me conclude by saying:

                      What your link states is true as far as the “preferences” of the NSO. But these stands deteriorate with age and their openings and therefore their edge effect decreases as the stands progress to becoming shade tolerant western hemlock stands unless intervention is made through logging and subsequent regeneration. Add the Barred owl impact increasing competition for diminished forage and you find that the NSO can’t have everything that it wants with the present recovery plan outlawing a continuum of succession. The need for and the advantage of the greater edge effect provided by openings created by logging is increasingly important.

                      Consider the following
                      1) As stated previously, the only place that the NSO has and is currently holding its own in terms of replacement rate versus mortality rate is in and around intensively managed plantations. How is that for documentation? That is fact. That is success. All else to do with the NSO is failure in terms of its recovery.
                      2) As stated previously, the no longer in print magazine “Forest Industry” documented the success of the NSO on the above mentioned intensively managed timber lands back in the 90’s and possibly earlier as my memory isn’t certain.
                      3) The wildlife biologists ignored concerns about forest succession (stand dynamics/evolution) and took a “preferred habitats only” approach. The foresters have been proven right and the NSO is the worse for it.

              • Just because other people of questionable evenhandedness say bad things about Curry doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with what she says. Science is supposed to be about going where the information you can find leads you, it’s not a popularity contest. Frequently scientists disagree with each other, and often the “current thinking” is overturned. She has the relevant credentials. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Curry

                It appears to me then that climate scientists can disagree about how useful models are in terms of predicting the future with great enough accuracy to make policy decisions. Does this surprise anyone?

                My point of including her summary is that I hadn’t seen much that described climate models. If you think, for whatever reason, that these models are “good enough” to guide public policy then that’s up to you. If she said something incorrect about climate models other than that, well, let’s hear it. Otherwise, I think it is a useful explanation of something very complex.

        • Richard

          Though we may still disagree on whether or not CO2 is the primary contributor to global warming. I think that you are saying the same thing that I am in terms of the big picture. I’ve read climatologists who claim that the sun and its 13 and 200 year cycles don’t have anything to do with global warming, I’ve heard it all – we just don’t know – We have too much research left to do. As I said in another comment here a few minutes ago. We as foresters and people interested in maintaining healthy forests, that provide the ecosystems required by so many dependent species, don’t need to be wasting our time debating the cause and effect of global warming. We need to be discussing what our forests need whether we have global warming or cooling. The needs have been pretty well documented by forest and fundamental sciences corroborated on the ground for over 80 years. Our role is to discuss and hopefully come up with suggestions to correct current policy and its non-scientific basis.

  3. “If we make allowance for local warming over the last 155 years, Easterbrook’s claim that “most of the past 10,000 [years] have been warmer than the present” is not true for central Greenland, let alone the global record. It’s also clear that there is a mismatch between the temperature reconstructions and the ice core record.”

    “Several factors have affected past climate change, including solar variability, volcanic activity and changes in the composition of the atmosphere.” ( Vostok ice core records showing correlation between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature change.) “CO2 didn’t initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming. In fact, about 90% of the global warming followed the CO2 increase”

    • John

      Another Greenland link showing both co2 & temps that I included in the post clearly states the 1855 and 1950 dates that one of your sources says were deceptively omitted.

      Assuming that your interpretation is correct, you will note that my post doesn’t change what I see as needed in our federal forests whether co2 causes global warming or not.

  4. Carbon storage in forests is not something I know a lot about, but beyond the conversion of forests to atmospheric carbon through permanent deforestation, I haven’t been convinced that it should be a major factor in deciding how to “manage” forests (for old growth, young growth, fuelwood or wood products).

    I actually wasn’t sure why you brought up the causes of global warming, but I can’t miss an opportunity to defend the science. I do strongly agree with your statement in support of planning: “This in turn leads to the need for landscape level forest planning for all federal forest holdings.”

  5. John

    The opening post was an attempt to see if anyone caught on and agreed that sound forest management operates under the same basic scientific principles whether global warming exists at all and regardless of whether or not it is man caused or not. So, imho, all of our time, as foresters, spent discussing carbon sequestration, the certainty of and projections of global warming’s degree and duration only makes our efforts towards sound, sustainable and integrated forest management less effective.

    I have no lnsight as to what all the USFS acronyms were supposed to do in terms sustainable landscape level planning nor the what, where & when of how they failed us or succeded. I only see the disastrous effects.

    Can you provide any helpful links that are short, sweet and to the point?

  6. I assume the “point” you are referring to is about sustainability rather than carbon storage. Here’s what the 2012 Planning Rule says about this, but we won’t be able to talk about its effects for a long time since it hasn’t yet been included in any national forest plans. We can only debate whether/how existing plans contribute to the effects we are seeing now.

    “219.9(a) Ecological sustainability. (1) Ecosystem Integrity. The plan must include plan components, including standards or guidelines, to maintain or restore the ecological integrity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and watersheds in the plan area,”

    There has been some previous discussion of ecosystem integrity on this site. If you search for “integrity” you’ll find a bunch of Sharon’s thoughts and these two of mine:

    • I’m seeing trouble ahead with this, even from a layman’s point of view. Standards and guidelines could all be questioned and challenged to meet an arbitrary and one-size-fits-all decision, especially regarding wildlife issues. Take the California Spotted Owl situation, for example. Opponents of salvage logging insists that new science says that snags are essential to spotted owls. Forest Service Wildlife folks say that increased mortality is not a good thing for nesting habitats. Outside of nesting habitats, the foraging areas are so varied that cutting some snags, here and there, isn’t going to impact the quality of foraging areas. Remember, some people are still pushing for ZERO salvaging of dead and dying trees.

      With the more numerous impacted species in Montana, and other places, I’m sure this will be a grand ‘Royal Rumble’ about how new Forest Plans will be worded, thinking about the inevitable future litigation. I doubt there will be any ‘touchy/feely’ collaborations with this but, shouldn’t someone be thinking about it?

      • The Planning Rule says this about collaboration – “The Responsible Official shall engage the public—including Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, individuals, and public and private organizations or entities— early and throughout the planning process as required by this part, using collaborative processes where feasible and appropriate.” (36 CFR 219.4)

        In my opinion, it’s mostly not very feasible or appropriate, though forests are trying. I once thought that the desired condition of the forest would be a feasible and appropriate thing to collaborate on, but the trend is to make desired conditions meaningless. The big exception is that vegetation desired conditions are being equated to the historic/natural range of variation (as required by the planning rule), which is a scientific determination, and not very amenable to collaboration for that reason.

        • What I meant is that neither side will extend concessions, fighting bitterly until all options have been used. Some people will continue to prefer a hands-off, pre-Man ‘natural’ range of variation, excluding the human impacts and realities.

          • Natural range of variation doesn’t necessarily mean “hands-off.” It should mean ecological forestry, where wood volume and economic value play a minimal role, and where natural disturbance regimes play a substantial role wherever possible.

            • For a great many people, ‘natural’ means without human interaction. So, to some, a “natural disturbance regime” means free-range wildfires. How can anyone justify such a policy, when humans occupy and have infrastructure in most of the non-Wilderness lands?

                • Turning $6000 lightning fires into $100,000,000 firestorms doesn’t sound like something we should be doing “wherever possible”. Again, such a policy embraces “Whatever Happens”, passing it off as ‘natural’, even with decades of fire suppression and a lack of Indian burning on the books. Simply put, how can we have any ‘natural’ processes when the forest, itself, is overstocked, over-dense (fuels-wise) and dominated by modern man?

                  • I think the answer to this question lies in the meaning of “restore” in the planning rule, where the term is used 25 times – mostly as a requirement. Here is the definition of “restoration:” “The process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Ecological restoration focuses on
                    reestablishing the composition, structure, pattern, and ecological processes necessary to facilitate terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems sustainability, resilience, and health under current and future conditions.”

                    This definition recognizes current and future conditions. There is some tension between requirements to restore ecological conditions and the requirement for ecological integrity that is rooted in historic conditions (according to the Planning Handbook).

                    • Restoration, at least in the Sierra Nevada, should include 1) adjusting tree densities to match current annual precipitation levels, 2) adjusting species compositions to achieve greater resilience to severe disturbances and, 3) returning forest structures more to an ‘all-aged’ management regime. You cannot preserve your way to these goals, IMHO.

                      We do need site-specific solutions, and not one-size-fits-all policies that do not address ‘pace and scale’ and other issues, including funding.

      • Larry

        You are absolutely correct.

        The big problem at the National Forest Level is coming up with broad landscape level objectives that leave the implementation of those objectives to the people who know how to meet the objectives in an integrated system that isn’t internally contradictory.

        Based on my experience in forest industry, once the objectives have been determined the following is what is required to get it done:

        1) Forest Plans are only a challenge to nature to show us how little we know. 🙂 As a result plans must be amenable to being easily modified when unexpected changes occur on the ground or improved knowledge changes the route to meeting the integrated landscape level objectives. Changes can’t be allowed to cause another million man hours of work every time a curve ball is thrown at us.
        2) Integrated, Landscape Level, Sustainable Forest Plans must be at a high enough of a level that they don’t take a million man hours to create. The plan must focus on a select few parameters for all species of concern that can be monitored such as acres by age by species by forest/niche ecosystem type as dictated by the landscape level objectives including environmental laws.
        3) GIS including an ongoing inventory of the appropriate timber and other critical species is the basis for making such changes easily when combined with timber inventory and density or other models. The projected inventories versus actual inventories provides a reconciliation process that prioritizes the needs for improvement in the modeling process and provides for a constantly improving plan and a relatively easily modified plan.
        4) The plan can not get into prescribing the details behind how each stand is to be treated. It can only go so far as to specify the forest landscape matrix showing how the types/niches lay on the ground and how each stand evolves from one type/niche to another by time period and when a major transition (harvests/other) activity is required to maintain the succession of types/niches within the matrix. Things that define exactly how a transition activity is to be carried out and other less significant silvicultural or other treatments must be left to be determined at the time that they are carried out when the need for them is determined. I have used one such commercially available tool and found it to be very effective. The spatial component of such tools can even go so far as to insure that SFI or other certification requirements can be met.

        The GIS spatial and temporal data becomes the plan that provides the spatial integration over time. The projected temporal data compared to actuals when each point in the future is reached is how the system is constantly refined. Without such tools, planning for succession is impossible and leads to failures like the lack of replacement stands that is impending for the NSO if it lasts that long.

        • I thought it was worth a late response to this, since I generally agree with these four points, but I’m not sure about the Forest Service.
          1) “plans must be amenable to being easily modified” This concept was designed into the plan amendment process, though there is skepticism that it’s any less of a chore than the old process. Unfortunately, the Forest Service instead (and despite this planning rule intent) seems to believe that it can build discretion into plan components themselves, to the point that they no longer provide the required plan-level protection for sustainability and diversity.
          2) “The plan must focus on a select few parameters for all species of concern that can be monitored” I completely agree, but there has to be some scientific basis for the parameters representing at-risk species (trees aren’t always the only answer).
          3) A combination of spatial and predictive models is necessary to evaluate forest plan alternatives. However, the Forest Service seems reluctant to do much actual analysis. It can not just assume that desired conditions will necessarily occur.
          4) “The plan can not get into prescribing the details behind how each stand is to be treated” I think this is the universal understanding by forest planners with a couple of clarifications. One is that plans can limit the options available for treatment where an option is not compatible with the planned use of the area. Another is that the predictive models require assumptions about stand practices and the timber volume that results from those practices, and these assumptions are important enough to warrant public scrutiny in the planning process.

          • Jon

            I think that we are pretty much on the same page in terms of the big picture and I definitely appreciate the USFS insight.

            Regarding item #’s above:
            1) I Think that discretion in terms of implementation is necessary and that the plan can’t get into prescribing the implementation method/technique. I see the failure to “provide the required plan-level protection for sustainability and diversity” as an implementation failure rather than a failure of the plan in that the implementation chose an option incompatible with the goals when a compatible option was available. If there was no compatible option then the plan was at fault. Audits are very important in that they provide continuous process improvement (CPI) in an imperfect process.
            2) “for all species of concern” does include non-timber species and, yes, there must be a scientific basis for the selection of the appropriate parameters so that the modeling behind the plan can be effective. Reconciliation (auditing) of predicted vs. actual is required to provide CPI for the choice of parameters and the modeling of the total system interactions.
            3) How much of “the Forest Service seems reluctant to do much actual analysis” is due to the budgeting constraints due to fire fighting and how much is due to poor allocation of research dollars? I’ve seen too much research on stuff we already knew as established science in the ’60s but isn’t on the internet. Population dynamics research for any species isn’t cheap, doesn’t show immediate results and publication of G&Y and other dynamics for modeling isn’t even comprehensible to 95-99.9% of the US population so it doesn’t help to raise funding/budget dollars. I’m sure that administrators that survive in the USFS are no different than anyone else (including enviros) who essentially say “I’m not going to address that, it won’t help me to keep my job and I’ll be long dead and gone before it becomes a problem.”
            4) Based on my comment above stating that ‘modeling and modeling parameters aren’t’ “even comprehensible to 95-99.9% of the US population”, I can’t see how you can say: “these assumptions are important enough to warrant public scrutiny in the planning process”. Isn’t the only thing that you could say to the public is that: ‘scientists, mathematicians and statisticians have incorporated the latest statistically sound science into a modeling and scenario evaluations system over time and place that significantly improves on what can be done to improve on making the trade offs necessary in order to achieve the stated goals for the forest in its entirety.’ 🙂

            I’m glad you took the time to make your “late response”.

            Have a wonderful new year.

    • Jon

      Thanks for your links above.

      Yes, sustainability is the point but sustainability is also a proxy for carbon storage within a given set of objectives. Which is why I’m trying out my contention here that: a group like this really doesn’t need to get involved with trying to be global warming experts or prove or disprove possible contributors to global warming. Sound sustainable forestry is compatible to Global Anything. We don’t need to waste our time discussing solar vs. cow flatulence vs. atmospheric CO2 Vs. etc. We need to discuss what is right to maintain healthy forests which is pretty much the same, as I see it, since it is dependent on the site characteristics, desired species mix, succession planning, current climate expectations, any knowledge of impending threats such as the possibility of the loss of a great deal of our Doug Firs to Oak Wilt Disease and etc. Yes, you heard me, Oak Wilt Disease is a possible threat to Doug Fir. Forests don’t care why global warming exists, they just want us to control their density and other factors appropriately so that their ecosystems have the best chance of survival.

      I just found this “A Citizens’ Guide to Forest Planning“. Is it a worthwhile overview?

      • On the Citizen’ Guide, I think you (and the rest of this community, along with public participants in a forest planning process) are the intended audience. You gave me an excuse to look it over, and I think it is set up to help a reader pursue the particular questions they might have. It softens the regulatory language some, but it’s still not light reading (but it has pictures!).

  7. Sort of off topic, but bear with me.
    California, the people in California, seem to think group moderators should have an advocacy position.
    In recent history, the Quincy Library Group was relatively successful. Maybe not so much long term, but the librarian did keep the noise down to a dull roar. Even Republicans and Democrats treated each other with courtesy.
    More likely, before a meeting, an elected official will focus on those who are known to have a different point of view. Sometimes the warning is subtle. We aren’t going to entertain adversary positions tonight. Most of the time the threats are more open. Like “you are the only one with that point of view, sit down and shut up before you get in trouble.

    • 2ndLaw

      Your first link was dead when I tried it – maybe it is just temporary

      Your 2nd link only goes back to 1950 – If you check out the greenland graph that shows temps and CO2 levels back for 11,000 years or so, you’ll note that there is a whole lot more data showing no direct correlation than your 66 year graph. Did you even bother to look at the data that I supplied? It seems that you are not even open to the possibility of being wrong. Critical, scientific thinking and repetitive trials with consistent results affirming a hypothesis and disproving any contradictory hypothesis is required before theory becomes scientific fact. We just aren’t there yet in terms of global warming.

      But, I ask you, in terms of what matters for our nations federal forests, what difference does it make whether global warming is man made or just some long term solar cycle or super complex interaction between the two. Regardless of the cause, the principle underlying science that controls forests, the ecosystems that they create and their dependent species is the same. That is my point in making this post. We need to stick to trying to agree to what is sound, sustainable forest policy. Knowing the cause of global warming doesn’t change our job one bit and we sure aren’t wise enough (but then who is) to jump ship and get distracted by trying to be Atmospheric &/ Solar Physicists, Oceanographers, Weather Scientists, Climatologists, and on and on ad nauseam.


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