WildEarth Webinar: Fire and Forest Ecology in the American West

During this WildEarth Webinar, which was recorded on June 9, 2021, our guests Dr. Chad Hanson and Dr. Monica Bond cut through years of misinformation and misdirection to make an impassioned, evidence-based argument for a new paradigm of fire and forest management.

Chad Hanson is a research ecologist and director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, located in Big Bear City, California. Dr. Hanson has a Ph.D. in ecology with a research focus on fire ecology in conifer forest ecosystems. He is the author of the 2021 book, Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate, and co-editor and co-author of the 2015 book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix.

Monica Bond, Ph.D., is a wildlife biologist and biodiversity advocate with the Wild Nature Institute and a research associate with the University of Zurich. She has published more than 45 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Bond spent the past two decades studying spotted owls and served on the Dry Forest Landscapes Working Group for the Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan. She travels around the world researching and advocating for the conservation of imperiled wildlife and habitats.

6 thoughts on “WildEarth Webinar: Fire and Forest Ecology in the American West”

  1. That was pretty condescending and light on substance. It is incredibly apparent that Dr. Monica Bond has never been on a fire line or held a drip torch before. What you describe as an ‘evidence-based argument’ is pretty heavy on innuendo and light on science. Maybe all future WildEarth posts should be tagged with something similar to the PERC articles in that WildEarth is a far-left fringe protectionist group. They have never supported any restoration treatments that include any active management and would like to see the end to all jobs and industries in or supported by the utilization of wood.

    • It does seem to run in an echo-chamber or sorts, doesn’t it?

      A telling version of the PERC comparison would be looking at who wrote the press-fluff accolades on the book’s publisher page, and how they’re written.

      “if you cherish forests as a refuge for rest and recreation” – nary a mention of other uses, as we all know the main thing forests are for is upper middle class townies to relax in after a hard week of work at consulting. Rednecks advised not to disturb such rest whether with the appearance of an uncouth ATV or feller-buncher. And written by Anne Ehrlich, wife of comically-wrong Paul Ehrlich to boot, so we best take this very seriously.

      Of course there’s the question of the Hanson et al research that’s been punted back and forth on this forum, which I won’t wade back into, but the idea that science clearly supports these positions is nearly as troubling as assuming that PERC has the best interests of public lands at heard.

      • They’re the echo chamber? Look in the mirror! Restoration isn’t needed when you allow nature to do it’s job.
        Whatever did nature do before a chainsaw? But yeah, let’s continue with the business as usual ‘paradigm shift’ by attempting to control and manipulate nature as it’s clearly doing us wonders.
        Y’all are apart of the problem. I’m sure you’ve done your part by preparing defensible space and hardening your home? It’s the weather, stupid. Not ‘fuels’.

        • Fire suppression has had tremendously significant impacts universally on our forests. Study after study has shown that our dry and mixed conifer-type forests are more dense and unhealthy than ever. There has been a drastic ecological shift favoring shade tolerant and less fire-resistant trees as a result of fire suppression. Home hardening and creating defensible space are very important. They however are not a silver bullet to fix the immense problems caused by wildfires. Is mechanical thinning a silver bullet? NOPE! but it should be a tool in a manager’s toolbox that can be used to reduce future fire intensities at and immediately adjacent to highly valued resources and assets. In order to more effectively live in fire-prone environments, we need to take a ‘yes and’ approach that includes a myriad of different approaches. There is no (or nor should there be) future without losses from wildfire but the pseudoscience pushed by folks like those in the webinar do nothing to help address the problem.

        • A. …you can say that fuels have nothing to do with it, but fuel treatments have been, and continue to be, successful in moderating fire behavior. Like someone else says, it’s definitely a piece of the puzzle as are community and house care, prescribed fire and suppression.


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