WA Post: California’s giant sequoias are burning up. Will logging save them?

Fairly good article overall, except (in my view) its gives far too much space to Chad Hanson’s views, albeit with a note about other scientists’ criticism of them. The title ought to have been “Will logging and prescribed fire save them?” The article is apparently not behind the Post’s paywall….


The scale of what some foresters and researchers are calling for in places such as the Sierra Nevada amounts to a wholesale re-engineering of the forest. They say the land management policy that prevailed during much of the 20th century — of putting out most wildfires — has led to overgrown forests. During the past two decades, as climate change has intensified, drought in the West has killed many of those trees, leaving downed logs and dead snags — the “fuels” that firefighters say create hotter and more destructive wildfires.

Before colonists settled the West, forest fires caused by lightning, and set routinely by Native Americans, helped thin out forests. Back then, it was typical to have about 50 trees per hectare in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades, whereas now some forests have 300 to 400 trees per hectare, according to Alexis Bernal, a researcher with the University of California, Berkeley who studies giant sequoias.

1 thought on “WA Post: California’s giant sequoias are burning up. Will logging save them?”

  1. I think it is good that it quotes Hanson and some who disagree with him that way people become familiar with his name. Allowing Hanson to make his compelling argument and then follow it with a real life success in an area that was thinned and burned helps challenge his assertions. I have a friend in Santa Fe who sent me an anti-prescribed burning pamphlet by a local special interest group that cited his work. I gave her a little background on Hanson and the controversy he has helped generate around thinning/prescribed burning in fire adapted forests. It helped for her to hear another side and do a little critical thinking.


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