Andy Kerr on Remaking the NWFP For the Next Quarter Century

Speaking of the Timber Wars, I received this in the mail from Andy Kerr this morning.

It’s part 2 of what he thinks needs to be changed in the NWFP.  Kerr talks about his views and looks at the recommendations of The Making of a Northwest Forest Plan and The World’s Largest Ecosystem Management Plan: The Northwest Forest Plan After a Quarter-Century.  I’m sure you NW-ers will find something to discuss.

1.  I was kind of surprised that Westsiders felt like they knew what was best for dry forests.  I’m not sure about this..

It’s still stand-density reduction, whether the trees being removed are dead or alive. As Jerry and Norm have told me many times, if a dry-forest stand burns before it is treated (thinned), the best course is to leave the larger trees that would have been left and take the smaller trees that would have been removed in a restoration treatment had the stand not burned.

2. The NWFP was just the beginning, folks want the same thing on private lands (now why wouldn’t people invest in private timberlands?)

The NWFP should call for terrestrial habitat restoration on nonfederal lands as well—better yet,  to reconvert private timberlands to public forestlands.

3. At least the recommendations cited here, seem related to past views of ecological stability vs. dynamism, and only incorporate climate change in ways that support what they thought 30 years ago.


(AK) Amen, with a however. Burning must always occur, either as the only treatment or the follow-up treatment after scientifically sound thinning.

Some folks here are concerned that burning can be more dangerous due to climate change-induced factors of heat and drought. Others model and say the trees are all going to die in the next 50 years.  When and how do we consider climate change impacts?

4. If AGW is real then lots of species will move around and may be more successful than the natives.  If that happens should we/can we afford to kill them all off? Is the NSO in some kind of sacred category or how many species will we do this for?



(AK) Amen and hallelujah. See my Public Lands Blog post entitled “B. Owl v. N. S. Owl.” ”[A]t least a portion should, praise be, “all” of the spotted owl’s range.

5. And always, wolves are moving back so…end livestock grazing and reduce road densities. And yet somehow their ranges are expanding without ending livestock grazing, or timber harvesting, or  reducing road densities.

 Gray wolves are returning to the NWFP area and need to be made more welcome. Wolf-friendly measures include equitably ending livestock grazing and reducing road densities.


With the FACA committee, I suppose that this is only the beginning of these discussions.

9 thoughts on “Andy Kerr on Remaking the NWFP For the Next Quarter Century”

  1. I have a question about FireWise thinning, shouldn’t the stumps be removed? I’ve read articles that say if a fire comes through that the stumps can stay moldering under the ground for months. Please let me know.

  2. FireWise thinning involves removing vegetation within close proximity (100 ft) of a house or other infrastructure. The goal is to thin & prune vegetation in such a way as to minimize the amount of embers that will be lofted and land on that home/ other infrastructure when a wildfire burns through the area. Previous research has shown that the majority of homes that are lost are a result from fires starting from embers rather than direct flame contact. You could grind up and bury stumps but it is not critical for reducing fire hazard. While stumps could potentially impede access of fire engines, removal would mainly be for aesthetic reasons. If you have a smoldering stump near your home you should be able to drag a hose out and extinguish it and embers from a burning stump would be minimal.

  3. Remind me what a “Westsider” is, and in particular the characteristics that render them unable to understand dry forests.

    And who is “NJG?”

    Ravens are being killed to protect sage-grouse, and anywhere an invasive species is a threat to a species listed under ESA you’d expect efforts to mitigate that threat. While the goal of ESA is species recovery (so that they would no longer need protection of the law), there are going to be some species that would need permanent assistance. (Congress can always decide that “enough is enough.”)

    • Sorry, that’s Norm (Johnson), Jerry (Franklin) and Gordon (Reeves.) They are the Science Silverbacks of the West Side. West-siders in Oregon are those who live east of the Cascade Crest. I’m not sure how folks from SW Oregon fit in to that. I should’ve linked to their report (and the one SJ (Susan Jane) did, also linked to by Kerr.

      • But as Jon asked, what renders them or any other “Westsider” unable to understand dry forests?

        Interested folks work in, observe, and read and research about forests on either side of the Cascade Crest, regardless of their mailing address.

        What’s your real goal with “othering” people, organizations, media, as “coastal,” “Westsider,” etc., anyway?

        • Thanks for helping me clarify, John! I don’t think they are “unable” to understand dry forests.. I think that knowledge comes in a variety of forms. Lived experience of working/researching in a place is one kind of knowledge.In my early career in the 80’s, I worked on the East Side. Economists from OSU would visit and tell us to make clearcuts larger and more “efficient”; Jerry Franklin came out to the Ochoco and said something like “I dodn’t know what I would do about this amount of fuel loading.” So at the time, the presence of the university in the Williamette Valley meant that the scientists tended to know more about the West Side … (say HJ Andrews centric). Some folks in SW Oregon felt that the findings didn’t apply to them. But somehow instead of the knowledge being spread between say, Bend, Ashland, and so on.. where people studied the local area, the scientific knowledge center stayed in Corvallis.

          It’s not entirely about mailing address.. to be clear, folks like SJ and Johnston and others have experiences that would make them experts in the Blue Mountains.
          I don’t think I’m “othering”, I’m just interested in a diversity of views including those from the non-Coastal states. Either location is important (as Nelson Mandela said “Where you stand depends on where you sit”) or not. Perhaps you think it is not. I think it is.
          And the folks at Breakthrough Institute call themselves “coastal elites” so are they othering themselves? There are two reasons why I point this out.. (1) need for diversity of views, and regional diversity (and within region) is part of diversity; (2) because mesic areas tend to have more people/academic institutions and so on, their views can become privileged politically. At the worst, this runs the risk of treating the rest of the state/country as a colony subject to its views. This leads to, in my mind, needless disagreements.

          • This reminds me of my discomfort with “identity politics” – that a worldview (or “diversity of views”) can be defined by how someone is classified by whatever features you think are important. In disregarding individuals, it feels like a form of prejudice.

  4. I’m not familiar with the Breakthrough Institute or its relevance to forest policy. Your use of “coastal,” etc., comes across as dismissive and unnecessary, and just seems to further a rural resentment/rural-urban divide narrative rather than encourage folks from all over to share perspectives and knowledge. You may end up undercutting your goal of getting diverse views.

    You imply it is arrogant for Westsiders (Andy Kerr? Norm and Jerry?) with well-known, longtime interests and involvement in forest science and policy to weigh in on dry forests, but then suggest it’s okay for some “have experience that would make them experts.” But not Andy or Norm or Jerry apparently. An anecdote from the 1980s doesn’t seem like a good reference point for the value of any “Westsider’s” insights on dry forests 40 years later, let alone forest scientists that have almost certainly continued to broaden and deepen their knowledge.

    • I actually think that exploring the differences between peoples’ views by including regional diversity helps to advance hearing all voices. I used to count how many women were on various groups, then diverse ethnicities and races, and now I count regional backgrounds. I don’t think you would argue that by counting women, I furthered a “genderist” narrative; counting various kinds of diversity is simply that.

      I think people from all over should share perspectives and knowledge. I think Norm and Jerry and Andy all have had many, many opportunities to share their views over time. What voices have not been heard as much who conceivably would weight in? I’d say… not the scientists studying east side forests specifically. My sources on the FACA Committee tell me that folks from the east side and SW Oregon are represented on that committee, so clearly they realized that those perspectives are important.
      I wouldn’t go so far as to say that dry forest residents should decide how to manage dry forests best, but there is an interplay between political power and scientific authority traditionally in the PNW that needs, IMHO, to be recognized.


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