Interesting article on the latest research. I would note that western redcedar may have done well and expanded its range during and after the Little Ice Age, and the species now grows (and is dying) in areas it in no longer adapted to. A researcher “found young Western red cedars growing alongside drought-hardy Oregon white oaks.” What’s more, the cessation of Indian burning in the Willamette Valley let cedars “invade” areas where previously they would have succumbed to fire. The same in true for Doug-fir — it’s not doing well in sites it wasn’t well adapted to.
New study sounds alarm, provides hope for Western red cedars
Research links cedar death to climate, details which trees are dying, which are surviving and shows how the species might be saved
16 thoughts on “New study sounds alarm, provides hope for Western red cedars”
Steve- this is a really good article once you get past the “could be climate-tipping point” arm waving. Lots of different approaches to look at it..and why younger ones are dying, and the potential importance of microsite.
“They (older trees) are the winners in the grand competitions of life. And so, they have probably a better location to grow and maybe they have some genetic advantages as well,” says Peterson. “That’s always the big mystery. We don’t know anything about the genetics of what is going on out there, but it’s probably a pretty important issue.””
In some sites, human activity plays a role. For example, mature DF are dying along a state highway — but only where the highway was widened ~15 years ago and fill placed around or near those trees. An at a county park, cedars are dying adjacent to a river side channel excavated ~5 years ago — 1/4 mile long and 200 feet wide cleared of trees and 10 – 20 feet of soil and rock dug out. In both cases, locals mention climate change but don’t see the impacts of these activities. Of course, this does not explain a range-wide decline.
Kiln dried 1x seems to have dropped 30% at the biggest yard around here. Back in Christmas when dimensional (mostly from BC) was so high a yard was getting rid of all the odds and ends it had and I got 2×6 WRC, Japanese cedar, and Bald Cypress, and those are just the species I recognised.
Indigenous people Oregon 1492 did, as suggested by some researchers, plant and tend WRC groves east of the Cascade summit clear to western Montana. What I remember reading was that it was the only likely reason for those groves. The book also had a map of grove locations. The book was from early post WWII. My wife works estate sales. Brings home books for me to read and she then sells same after I read it. House not big enough to keep but a tiny few.
My past ramblings with Dr Bob Zybach seeing age old Indian trade trail routes has been addressed by Willamette NF along middle fork Willamette to where it breaks by Cowhorn into Deschutes Chemult RD on its way to the land of the tribal lands of now Confederate Klamath Tribes, for now the (Fremont-) Winema NF. WNF has actively reduced fuels and vegetative competition at identified sites.
South slope sun warmed camp sites still have vestigial Quercus Garryanna (so?) Oregon White Oak and both sugar and ponderosa pine from seed carried into that west drainage of the Cascades. Many main stream Willamette Islands had and have ponderosa pine groves. I have thought it was because the needle fall accumulation keeps grass and brush growth out from under large pines. Nice place to camp while canoeing along that large river seasonally. So protect the trees from pre 1492 sites which are living “generational antiquities.”
As always, any science that would limit how much you can kill with a chainsaw needs to be presented in a way that it’s not really a limit, even though it really is!
I love the way all you SmokeyWire folks behave when a really valuable reference gets posted about the harms that forest thinning (aka: Logging) can cause in a climate changing world. Suddenly the kleptocratic oath switches on and the reference is presented entirely as though it bares zero relationship to the industry agenda of logging without limits in the name of fighting wildfire and climate change.
Meanwhile cedar is adapted to shade and can thrive in super dark shade, especially when that shade helps soils retain moisture and limit the severity of drought conditions.
Of course ya’ll tend to treat closed canopy shady forests with healthy Cedars as though it’s an inhumane disease that can’t be allowed or it will catch on fire even though the science is clear that there’s no amount of canopy spacing among co-dominant that can survive weather-dominated high intensity fire. Thinning is only helpful in moderate to low intensity fires…
But you can count on the people publishing the paper as well as the people discussing its findings to be too scared of ‘controversy’ to mention how status quo deforestation management worsens cedar extirpation in places where Cedar once thrived.
You can also count on no one changing forest management to prevent Cedar extirpation unless we get it listed as an endangered species and even then, they’ll fight it every step of the way because when it comes to the timber industry dogma always trumps science if the science is in the way of getting as much logging done as possible.
Your bias and ignorance is showing, again, Deane. It’s starting to be a bad look.
I bet you are really not fun in real life.
Cue the “I’m Anonymous” attacks etc. Same old same old, just like your non-scientific attacks on science that hurts your feelings.
#1) If you have something to say why not use your real name? What are you trying to hide? Is it cowardice? Or are you just shy?
#2) I learned in my studies of international forest governance in grad school that if you think someone is showing “bias and ignorance” you need to be specific about the details that make you think that and you also need to be able to clearly communicate that otherwise you’re not participating in a substantive way and your sentiment is not a meaningful contribution to the discussion.
#3) The most common thing foresters who’s career revolves around getting the cut out say when they realize someone is referencing valid science as a prelude to valid legal arguments to limit how many trees they can cut is: “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” It’s such a petty, ignorant way to end a conversation. It demonstrates a lack of substance on specifics in the same way your comment is doing right now. It’s like plugging yours ears and screaming la-la-la-la and hoping your problems go away and leave you alone.
“Cue the “I’m Anonymous” attacks etc. Same old same old, just like your non-scientific attacks on science that hurts your feelings.”
“#1) If you have something to say why not use your real name? What are you trying to hide? Is it cowardice? Or are you just shy?”
Thank you for proving my point. Some of us are anon because we have real jobs, and need to protect ourselves – yes that is a personal attack, extremely similar to what you FREQUENTLY do all the time on this and other platforms. You’re stuck in the 1990s, and fighting a war that you made up in your mind and think still exists.
Where did you go to grad school? Did you finish? How much science is actually involved in “international forest governance”, versus policy, which is a slippery slope to agenda and opinion when not taught well?
“#2) I learned in my studies of international forest governance in grad school that if you think someone is showing “bias and ignorance” you need to be specific about the details that make you think that and you also need to be able to clearly communicate that otherwise you’re not participating in a substantive way and your sentiment is not a meaningful contribution to the discussion.”
“I love the way all you SmokeyWire folks behave when a really valuable reference gets posted about the harms that forest thinning (aka: Logging) can cause in a climate changing world. Suddenly the kleptocratic oath switches on and the reference is presented entirely as though it bares zero relationship to the industry agenda of logging without limits in the name of fighting wildfire and climate change.”
My point stands. I did not need to be specific about details, the details were 100% in your own writing.
As to #3, I am not a forester. But as you have frequently used this platform to do not only personal attacks, say outrageous and unproven things, and refute legit science just because it happens to come from USDA/DOI sponsored grants or land grant Universities, while ignoring the ENGO “Donate Now” complex that also is propping up the (failing rapidly) pay to play “peer reviewed” journal industry.
Your assumptions border on prejudice and hatred. Isn’t that what us liberals push against? I feel sad for the people in your life.
So the significant increase in Cedar mortality due to drought & climate change will not require less aggressive silvicultural practices in the best cedar habitat going forward? Is that what you’re trying to communicate? Sure seems like it… Of course personal attacks/name calling towards me always seems to be more important to you than discussing well-referenced facts, right Larry?
There you go with your assumptions again….
If I could pull out one statement from Deane’s comments: “Thinning is only helpful in moderate to low intensity fires…” Do we all agree with that statement, and if so what should that mean to how we manage forests (cedar or other fire regimes)?
Jon, I think one of the problems with the way this discussion goes is that some people mean “helpful on the site without other human intervention” and others mean “helpful to assist in fire suppression strategies and tactics”
Most fires I observe have areas of high intensity, low intensity and moderate intensity at various places, so there’s that.
In some dry places, thinning helps large trees survive and not get et by bark beetles in dry years. So keeping trees alive has value in any fire (they are not as dry as dead ones), has value for carbon (dead trees sequester no carbon) and moves toward HRV. Plus some wildlife and people prefer living over dead trees.. so there’s that.
You have to look at said results in the context of the surrounding untreated (or treated) forest, within fire behavior that burning period, and most importantly, beyond just fire effects. Does it make a more normal, healthy forest? If yes, then….let’s stop talking about fire severity.
Lack of thinning could result in a high intensity fire, instead of a more mixed lower severity fire. The quote of “Thinning is only helpful in moderate to low intensity fires…” is backwards. You don’t thin AFTER the wildfire. That is called salvage logging.
Deciding to NOT thin, based on a prediction of a high-intensity wildfire probability is not how silviculture works.
I’m outside my comfort zone here, but can we make some simplifying assumptions? 1) The top priority for thinning is fuel reduction to prevent impacts on human infrastructure, 2) The fires that are the biggest threat are high severity. The purpose of a thinning project should then be to reduce fuels to the point that a high severity fire (likely extreme weather conditions as well as fuel conditions) can be reduced to moderate or low severity near human infrastructure. To be a priority for funding, a project record should have to demonstrate this (are there examples out there?). (Presumably, this would also have some ecological benefits where the infrastructure is in low elevation, drier forest locations, which is where most of it probably is, but otherwise, with limited resources it’s hard to see justifying thinning just for ecological reasons, even if it might protect at-risk species).