There is an interesting tussle over the Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project, on the Santa Fe National Forest. Over the next 10-15 years, the forest says “The project will use prescribed fire as the main tool to restore resiliency to these frequent-fire forests, with small-tree thinning as needed to allow fire to play its natural role in the ecosystem.”
Recently, a group called The Forest Advocate distributed an 8-page flier to the residents of Santa Fe. The group is opposed to the project — “Thinning projects such as the two large-scale projects proposed for the Santa Fe National Forest are highly impactful and damaging to the forest ecosystem.” The other project is the Encino Vista Landscape Restoration Project. The group calls on the forest to produce an EIS for the Santa Fe Mountains project, rather than the EA it recently published.
On Oct. 16, in a letter in a Santa Fe newspaper, two at the University of Arizona professors, Matthew Hurteau and Thomas W. Swetnam, disagreed with the group’s position, writing that “Restoring frequent, low-severity fire, like those accomplished with prescribed burning, is supported by the extensive body of scientific research on this topic.”
FWIW, the Forest Advocate invited Dominick DellaSala to speak via a webinar on the project. DellaSala stated that the Santa Fe NF is “going down a path that could lead to ecological crisis.” The video is very long — almost 2 hours — and I didn’t listen to it all. DellaSala mentioned his latest book, “Conservation Science and Advocacy for a Planet in Peril: Speaking Truth to Power.” Chapter 1 is entitled “The Nuts and Bolts of Science-based Advocacy.” Perhaps this book would make for an interesting discussion here on Smokey Wire.