20 Aug 2008, 12:12pm
Saving Forests
by admin

Restoration Forestry Is the Answer

Let us rise above all this whoofoo madness. Instead, let’s discuss the SOLUTION to our forest management difficulties.

Our forest resources are being destroyed. That includes timber, wildlife habitat, watershed values, heritage, soils, air quality, recreation opportunity, scenery, and public health and safety, with damages compounding and accumulating every hour, day, and week, year after year.

Our priceless heritage forests, are being consumed by fire and converted to brush. Something must be done.

Let It Burn, whether by whoofoo (WFU, or Wildland Fire Use), non-suppression “suppression” fires, or deliberate “containment” backburning that extends fires for months across vast acreages, are policies and practices that destroy forests.

Fire “exclusion” is all but impossible, nor is it particularly healthy for forests. Instead fires should be at the right times, in the right places, and done in the right way. Forests also need to be prepared to receive those properly timed, located, and administered fires.

Need a useful phrase to describe all that? Try “restoration forestry.” That’s the term the pros use.

The whole and complete idea of restoration forestry also includes:

1. Heritage landscape renovation
2. Managing for fire resiliency and old-growth development pathways
3. Watershed protection
4. Protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat
5. Active stewardship with positive economic returns
6. Compliance with environmental laws

Restoration forestry is the ticket out of the mess we are in. Restoration forestry does NOT include Let It Burn megafires that ravage entire watersheds, landscapes, and regions. Restoration forestry is about responsible stewardship, not incineration.

We have discussed restoration forestry before on this blog. W.I.S.E. has an entire Colloquium subsite devoted to the topic [here].

The avalanche of bad news has robbed us of the time to fully develop that topic and Colloquium, however. We mean to rectify the situation. For the next few days we intend to discuss restoration forestry in greater detail, and present some exemplary case studies.

If we fail to blog about all the developing forest catastrophes in a timely way, that’s why. We are rededicating this blog to the solution. The catastrophes never seem to end, so to heck with them. It’s the solution that must be presented and discussed. There is no more time to waste.

20 Aug 2008, 6:56pm
by bear bait

Mike: diversity is 100 foresters doing what they think is right on a landscape in their care for a long time. Each managed plot would have a different idea of how to restore it with 100 different results. 100 diverse results.

If we were capable of going back into the past, we would find that whoever was here managing a landscape for THEIR benefit and survival, would do those things that had positive results in the past. Not positive results every time, but enough that the practice would have advocates. That is what elders, and elder prestige was all about. The old people knew. They had the experience. They had lived through the good and the bad. And they knew bad when they saw it. I could see a bunch of old men, squatting on an overcropping rock, watching USFS fire starters and backfire experts, with old arms and hands in movement, pointing here and there, a concerned look on all their faces, heads shaking… and because they had done it, many times, and what they were seeing was a real rodeo of amateur efforts, their concern would be real.

But then, who cares? The USFS people will be transfered to another station, many miles away, and the next 6 year expert will be in place to make the decisions, and not have to live or die with their success or failure. That living and dying makes a real difference in how people approach their work.

20 Aug 2008, 7:14pm
by Mike

If they keep on burning the forests, watersheds, ranches, farms, and homes of the people who pay their salaries, there won’t be a place far enough away to transfer them to. It could be that the USFS will have to open a Ranger Station on the Moon for the pariah firebugs in the outfit.

24 Aug 2008, 9:52pm
by Bonefide Forester

Like the restoration forestry ethos.

I just don’t like the blanket condemnation of fire use/WFU.

We need constructive ideas and interaction from the forestry community-at-large to steer how the feds are going to fight fire.

Standing back and throwing stones ain’t going to fix the woods any quicker.



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