Nick Smith’s Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities newsletter today has a link to a letter by a group of scientists who support the Forestry title of the Build Back Better reconciliation package pending before Congress. Signatories include some well-known folks, such as
Craig D. Allen (PhD Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography & Environmental Studies University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM, and a retired USGS research ecologist — he’s done some outstanding research), Gregory Aplet (Senior Science Director The Wilderness Society), Jerry Franklin, and Thomas Swetnam, Director Emeritus of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona. Too many to list.
“As researchers and practitioners with the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence behind us, we write in support of the Forestry title of the Build Back Better reconciliation package pending before Congress. In our view, the $27.7 billion investment in science-driven, ecologically based forest and fire management is an historic commitment that should be enacted into law. This investment supports dry forest restoration, climate- and wildfire-adaptation, fire risk reduction, and carbon storage as well as collaboration, forest inventories, monitoring and adaptive management, and other forest programs.”
It is interesting that they mention those who oppose some or all of these management activities:
“A minority view opposes forest and fire management that involves cutting trees or fire use, such as prescribed burning; however, as recent events and the preponderance of scientific evidence demonstrate, the combined influence of more than a century of fire exclusion and rapid climate warming jeopardizes both forests and communities.1 The scientific evidence also shows that combinations of forest and fire management can mitigate wildfire impacts and protect our forested communities from the ravages of climate-driven wildfires.2 The most successful resilience treatments are those that facilitate the role of low- to moderate-severity fire as an ecological process.3 Mechanical treatments in dry pine, dry and moist mixed conifer, pine and oak woodlands, and hardwood forest types reduce tree density, remove ladder fuels, and prepare forests for a warmer, drier climate. To mitigate future fire behavior and severity, prescribed burning is necessary to reduce hazardous fuels.4 Revitalizing and supporting Indigenous burning practices is also a key component of landscape and community resilience.” [emphasis mine]