26 Feb 2010, 7:26pm
Forestry education
by admin

Science Desaparecidos

From the Vanished Gallery [here]

Desaparecidos is the Spanish word for “The Disappeared.” For thousands of Argentine families, this word has become a symbol of a long harrowing nightmare.

In a coup on March 24, 1976, a military junta seized power in Argentina and went on a campaign to wipe out left-wing terrorism with terror far worse than the one they were combating. Between 1976 and 1983 - under military rule - thousands of people, most of them dissidents and innocent civilians unconnected with terrorism, were arrested and then vanished without a trace.

In 1983, after democracy was restored, a national commission was appointed to investigate the fate of the disappeared. Its report revealed the systematic abductions of men women and children, the existence of about 340 well organized secret detention centers, and the methodical use of torture and murder. According to former president, Carlos Menem, records of the atrocities were destroyed by the military, following the 1982 Falklands War. The disappeared have not been heard of to this day.

What does this have to do with forests? Consider this essay by Donna Laframboise:

Let There Be No More Scientific Consensuses

NOconsensus.org, Feb 26, 2010 [here]

[C]limate science problems extend far beyond one man. In my view, they can be traced in large part to a phrase that should be struck forever from the scientific and journalistic vocabulary: “scientific consensus.”

Science is about doubt – not certainty. … When media outlets vigorously trumpet said consensus, they “disappear” highly-qualified, dissenting scientists.

There’s nothing wrong with saying there’s a prevailing or dominant view among scientists on a particular topic. There’s nothing wrong with saying there’s a preponderance of opinion in one direction. But those phrases do something the term “scientific consensus” does not. They acknowledge the existence of other points-of-view. …

When I began examining the climate change debate I was shocked to discover a huge disconnect between how the media described matters and what a few hours of independent research revealed. The Economist, a publication I normally trust and respect, spoke of a “consensus on global warming” as though it were gospel that had been hand-delivered by Yahweh himself.

The once stodgy Time magazine insisted there was “a clear scientific consensus connecting the rise in man-made greenhouse gas emissions” to physical changes in the natural world. …

But here’s the catch. Freeman Dyson (one of the world’s most accomplished, admired, and famous theoretical physicists) does disagree. Below are just three relevant Dyson quotes:

The idea that global warming is the most important problem facing the world is total nonsense and is doing a lot of harm.

Just because you see pictures of glaciers falling into the ocean doesn’t mean anything bad is happening. This is something that happens all the time. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.

When I listen to the public debates about climate change, I am impressed by the enormous gaps in our knowledge, the sparseness of our observations and the superficiality of our theories.

Dyson, despite his enormous stature, is thereby reduced to a no one. He doesn’t exist. He has been journalistically “disappeared.”

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying Dyson’s views are correct. That’s a different discussion. What I’m saying is that his presence in this debate must be acknowledged. His opinions must be heard. It is wrong and it is dishonest for anyone to behave as though he isn’t even part of the landscape.

Dyson is a blue-chip intellect with a distinguished career. He’s one of hundreds of similarly eminent scientists from around the world who have loudly and publicly dissented from the alleged scientific consensus on climate change. … Yet for years, the media has told us such people are less substantial than ghosts. They are invisible. Absent. Simply not spoken of.

This is the sort of thing that happens under totalitarian regimes. It is not an activity that journalists in democratic nations should in any way be party to. Pretending that these scientists don’t exist is not only disrespectful, it’s a profound betrayal of the public’s trust. …

Now consider the statement made in Duncan, Sally L., Brenda C. McComb, and K. Norman Johnson. 2010. Integrating Ecological and Social Ranges of Variability in Conservation of Biodiversity: Past, Present, and Future. Ecology and Society 15(1): 5. [here]

The role of burning by Native Americans is a subject of debate, but the general consensus is that humans individually and collectively had only a marginal impact on the creation of this condition.

Hundreds of forest and environmental scientists, far more expert than the jokers who made that statement, are now would-be Science Desaparecidos, thanks to totalitarian junk science thugs Sally, Brenda, and Norm. Another would-be science junta has betrayed the public’s trust and Science itself.

This is my last essay on this topic. As far as I am concerned, Sally Brenda, and Norm do not exist. Neither does the journal Ecology and Society. They are less substantial than ghosts. They are invisible. Absent. They will simply not be spoken of again.

28 Feb 2010, 10:25am
by bear bait

It has to be about money. Nowhere do ethics, scientific doubt, respect for prior findings and new information that appears daily, show up in OSU CoF papers. Evidently, the job there is to be contrarians no matter what. That must be what generates money. And never forget that CoF now has to be supported by other than the forest products industry. CoF had a big hand in reducing US Forestry to vestigial status. And in so doing, cut their own funding throat. Now the issue is to garner research money by following the directions of the anti-forestry lobby, and getting money from their sources. I always knew there was a whore house somewhere on the fringes of the logging camp, but it never occurred to me that I would find it on the campus of a state university.

In this “mancession” where 75% of the unemployment is males, I have to wonder what now differentiates us from Yemen. That said, and knowing the anti-private sector economics terrorists are tax supported, it does make you wonder about the outcome of our last election. Was this an event not unlike being glommed onto by a ling cod, whose teeth all point inward to its gut, from which there is no escape? Are we doomed to losing private property and basic freedom because we were willing to sell our souls to those who believe the State can do it all and better? We have to know that public school academics are part and parcel against the private sector which provides them with what they might think is a less than ideal economic milieu in which to soak. Living in Oregon, over 60% of the land in public hands and lying idle for the most part, and an apparent publicly employed voting majority whose campaigns are financed by forced deductions from paychecks in a closed shop union environment, where you don’t have to belong to the union as a part of your employment, yet, but you do have to pay dues unto the the union that represents public workers in your job area. Government, for government, by government, including the education system from pre school (in my town, Head Start for MIgrants Only-most of whom are not legally in the US) to graduate degrees at the University (which relies on foreign student tuitions to have a graduate school—which has to color the politics of the offering), and all elementary, middle school and high school educators and support services. We don’t need much propaganda as our kids get it daily at school. We heard about some handouts going home with kids about how to vote on tax measures (support them), but you do have to wonder how many we did not hear about.

This whole deal is about class warfare. The academics are winning. The public employees are winning. The end game, however, will be interesting. Unions ruined heavy industry in the US, including our merchant marine and shipbuilding, steel, auto manufacture, and consumer goods. How are they going to manage all the rest and should we be somewhat reticent to hand total control to the likes of a Nancy Pelosi, Barry Obama, or Harry Reid?? And they represent the center of a very left leadership in this country at this time. I, for one, have little hope of progress, jobs, or economic improvement. And because of my loss of hope, I do fear the discontent of a huge, young, educated, male population that has been heckled, litigated, shamed, over looked, looked down upon, in the very biased public process of obtaining work in an increasingly workless state and nation. We are becoming Yemen, and that should scare the shit out of everyone. There is sufficient enough people who have little hope but to take matters into their own hands to turn the US into something like the Congo, or Somalia or Yemen, or even Iran which will be there in two years. China maintains their tenuous grip on social control with a 17 million man military. We have 15% of that, and the efficient fighters are all offshore doing police work for the world. Makes you wonder who will send troops to the US to restore peace in a civil war.

28 Feb 2010, 10:59am
by Mike


I agree with your argument but must ask you and others, is it really about money?

The CoF is borderline bankrupt, like Oregon and like the rest of the U.S. They have managed to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

To my way of thinking, the struggle from their perspective has been about power, not money, insofar as they have cut their own economic throat by destroying the greater economy.

To some extent the power trip has been to concentrate money in the hands of a few, so I agree that old fashioned greed has played a part. But it has been shortsighted greed. The power elite have never understood that thuggery does not benefit the thugs in the end.

Much as the Mafia has choked free enterprise and economic growth in those countries or regions where they have held sway, so too the close-mindedness of the CoF has stifled their own financial base.

The climate thugs have the same problem. In the long run, following their recommendations based on their hoax will hurt them as much as everybody else will be hurt.

Just as Argentina has suffered under one of the worst economies in the world, so too the whole world will suffer when free thinkers are “disappeared.”

I also disagree that contrariness is their style. No, the promotion of the false consensus is a bid to stifle contrary voices. They value groupthink and free thinking is their bane.

28 Feb 2010, 1:37pm
by Larry H.

I still think we need to create a computer game simulation for forests along the lines of SimCity. A way to let people find out what happens over the long run when the player adjusts parameters. Like SimCity, the game could be used in schools to taech kids at an early age that forests have always been managed and that each one needs its own unique management plan. We may never reach those pseudo-progressives afraid of change. We may never reach those supposedly tolerant people who have no tolerance for facts and childlishly call people names. People who resist killing any living thing but, routinely, “kill the messenger”. Those people have to be exposed for what they are.

28 Feb 2010, 2:51pm
by Bob Zybach


I have been trying to locate the funding and expertise to create the exact kind of “Time Machine” game that you describe. For the same reasons — education and entertainment; much like the rudimentary “Oregon Trail” games of times past.

We have wonderful photographic records of much of the forested landscape, dating back to the 1930s, and even better records today (thanks, in part, to your own work). A good predictive model accurately “predicts” the past and can be reasonably used to provide a range of future possibilities; whether “desired” or apocalyptic.

People like the SimCity games and pay good money for them. Same with the Oregon Trail games. Pilots and astronauts use flight simulators. Where is the funding and interest to create similar educational games for interested citizens, science students, and foresters?

Let me know if you have some ideas along these lines. I know that I, for one, am interested.

28 Feb 2010, 3:39pm
by YPmule

Larry H. I really like your idea for the computer game. A person could try all sorts of management or non-management approaches and see if the Sim-Forest survives.

Such a concept is way beyond my skills, but I have an idea for a game about wolves…

28 Feb 2010, 4:18pm
by Larry H.

I really don’t think it would cost that much to put something together. The kind of programming needed could easily be done by a college kid interested in such kinds of games. You have a 3D matrix of positions to make a landscape and you assign different values to the different variables for each ground position. The combination of variables decides what is graphically displayed on your screen. A brushfield, a talus slope, a plantation. Over time, variables change and natural processes happen, as well as the player’s human changes. You can simulate to see if that road you built will stand the test of time. You can find out if thinning is worthwhile in even-aged Doug-fir. You can find out if it’s better to let burned forests be, or to manage them. Of course, you’d have to include some way of including economics, as little done out in the woods is done for free. Your wolves other animals would even be incorporated into the game, YPmule.

You could also create “scenarios” recreating historical situations, Bob. For example, what kind of forest would Oregon have today if you arrived in the Willamette Valley in 1800 and it was all yours. The hard part would be thinking up all the alternatives and their effects. Maybe even have a scenario where the Indians keep all their lands.

I would think we could audition college teams of programmers and offer them a piece of any profits. Craigslist would help tremendously to spread the word. I would also think that the timber industry could bankroll some of the production costs. The old SimCity was actually used in college-level city management classes. It would be nice if SimForest could be used in colleges. It would also be very good to have a heavy American Indian influence into this game. Some Pyne would be fine! I have thought a lot about this idea over the last 15 years. It’s intriguing, isn’t it?

28 Feb 2010, 4:35pm
by Mike

Why not SimUniversity? Be the President or a Dean. Hire the grossly incompetent. Enroll illiterate students. Spin the dial, roll the dice. Do you climb the Ivory Tower or do riots break out?

Frankly, I don’t think we need Sim anything, and certainly not SimForests. We have real ones to look after, and it’s not a game.

28 Feb 2010, 5:41pm
by Larry H.

It would be a way to package forest education into a format acceptable to young adults. We would have a lot of trouble convincing those who already have their minds set. We should be educating the youth of today about THEIR forests and what are likely results of different treatments. The goal is to educate people about forests, and eventually rebuild trust in forestry, and foresters. That currently isn’t happening, in all grades of our schools. Many years ago, our Ranger District had a yearly field trip for the teachers. I always felt that was time well spent.

28 Feb 2010, 5:53pm
by Mike

I agree. The best way to educate people about forests is to take them there. Too many of our educators have never seen a forest and have no idea what we’re talking about at this website.

That includes the educators in our forestry schools, who spout outrageous lies about forests, and fire, and the results of catastrophic incineration. Tell me how anyone who walks through something like the B&B Burn can gush about the wonderfulness of total forest destruction?

No computer game is going to fix that problem. People need to be dragged out to the devastated wastelands and have their faces shoved into it.

1 Mar 2010, 5:59am
by Bob Zybach


In a perfect world, you are right. Dragging people out into the forest is the best way, if possible. What if we want to show them the B&;B and they live in NY, though? Or the 1933 Tillamook Fire smoke plume? Aftermath of the Silver Complex (1987), the subsequent impacts on the Biscuit Fire during that conflagration, and then again today? Projects for the next reburn?

Simulation models really do have a role, as both an archives for historical events and conditions, and as a predictive tool for considering possible future conditions.



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