The “Climate in Forest Plans” Roundup- What Are Your Observations and Why?

I thought this was funny, it’s from Guido Núñez-Mujica of The Breakthrough Institute and used with his permission. No, I don’t addressing climate mitigation in forest plans is like this, except we could substitute emissions from recreation, wildfire, grazing, timber and so on..not to speak of what we used to call “sustainable operations” or the workings of the agency itself.

From Guido Núñez-Mujica here

Now it’s time to share your examples of climate in forest plans.. I posted on some possible ways to look at “how well” forest plans deal with climate change last week. As I said before, one of my contacts had been asked “what forest plans do you consider to have handled climate change best”. So this thread is an opportunity for anyone to weigh in on the forest plans you have worked with, and what you think.

How does addressing climate change make a difference in desired conditions (maybe resilience, but I think many folks are managing for that anyway via projects), standards and guidelines, land allocation and other plan-level decisions?

That’s precisely what we should be able to see in some of the new forest plans. So please let us know what you think!

In a research paper to be discussed later this week, the authors state:

Forest planning is a relatively obscure and byzantine policy process for most ordinary citizens. In contrast, it is a high priority to interest groups because of the ability to impact long-term outcomes on the national forests.

I will be interesting to see who has actually read forest plans (and EIS’s) among us. For one thing, they are so very complex (obscure and byzantine, as the authors said). For another thing, an individual’s opinion probably does not matter much, so in the weighting of spending of time, reading plans may not rank highly. There seem to be no powerful interest groups representing “general interest” or “recreation tolerance” or even “resilient ecosystems”- the latter concept seems to get broken down into the same old “manage vegetation or not”; even when there isn’t a timber industry to speak of. So I think it will be interesting to see who among us has taken the time to read what’s in them and why.

Finally, for those who are following individual forest plans, it would also be interesting to track whether and how climate change comes up in forest plan-related litigation. And whether “integrity” and “resilience” are ever in tension- seems like they might be.

1 thought on “The “Climate in Forest Plans” Roundup- What Are Your Observations and Why?”

  1. Of course I have to point out that “integrity” is supposed to mean the same things as “resilience.”

    I hope the Forest Service has made some progress beyond just including an appendix to the plan or EIS that talks about climate change. I’m sorry but I haven’t really looked at this specific question in any forest plans recently. It may not show up in an obvious place, but here’s two places I would look. Most forests will be running a predictive vegetation model to look at effects of alternatives, and the data in that model should reflect the latest science regarding expected climate. (But it’s probably not going to be easy to find that data.) We should also see something about climate in a discussion of the desired conditions, and whether they are appropriate for the future climate. However, this kind of specific rationale is rarely spelled out well (maybe in the ROD?), and I am used to seeing references to only “historic range of variability” rather than an NRV based on climate considerations.


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