Chad Hanson: We’ve got it all wrong about sequoias and wildfire

From the LA Times yesterday. Hanson makes some good points about fire, but he doesn’t mention that the health of the giant sequoias is also influenced by competition from white fir and other species. It is those competing trees that “bulldozers, chain saws and logging” would remove, not mature giant sequoias.

3 thoughts on “Chad Hanson: We’ve got it all wrong about sequoias and wildfire”

  1. But if logging is the reason the FS wants to do it, why does the Park Service also do it?
    Description of actions:

    “• Cut down hazard trees following criteria of the Forestry CE.
    • Cut down <20" diameter ponderosa pine, incense cedar, white fir, and douglas-fir. Flush cut stumps. Post removal tree density should be left at 24-130 trees/acre to mimic pre-settlement tree density.
    • Remove biomass including recently dropped hazard trees. Haul biomass to the nearest mill, co-gen plant, or other biomass processing plant. Remove biomass with rubber balloon tires, skidding, winching, or with tracked equipment (*FMP does not specify if tracked equipment is permitted along road corridors). Equipment will go off road but will not enter Wilderness. Any value from biomass removal will offset project costs and will not support park operations.
    • Chip, lop and scatter, or pile and burn limbs as appropriate."

    • Doesn’t sound like overzealous commercial logging. I’d increase the diameter limit to 24 inches, maybe larger.

  2. Of course, no mention of inevitable re-burns, which could be even more devastating. When there are so few seed sources left alive, after a re-burn, population recovery might be quite poor. Also, the accumulated fuels after such wildfires is currently very high. Hanson is shortsighted in his view of the sequoia groves. Granted, it takes a very special kind of management to help the species maintain its precarious existence. I’m not at all a fan of logging in sequoia groves, due to soils compaction from skidding. There are ways to minimize that, but the cumulative impacts seem like too much. Handfelling, bucking, handpiling and burning seem like the best bets, with minimal controversy.


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