30 May 2009, 10:04am
Forestry education Saving Forests
by admin

The Alleged Benefits of Wildfire

There seems to be some confusion in the ranks regarding the alleged “benefits” of wildfire.

There has been an effort to credit wildfire with positives. Generally the “positive” is reduction in fuel. However, reducing fuel with a wildfire is a non-sequitur — the burden of fuel is that it can cause a wildfire.

Burning down a forest to reduce the fuels is actualization of the hazard. It is equivalent to saying that the Challenger space shuttle disaster produced a positive bonus because it saved the cost of landing the thing. It is the equivalent of saying we don’t have to pay the baker to bake a cake, because thank goodness the bakery burned down.

Furthermore, whatever fuel reduction occurs in a wildfire is soon erased by new growth and/or the increase in dead woody fuels. Wildfires do not prevent fires, they ARE the fires, and very often they engender subsequent fires, such as the repeat Tillamook burns or the Biscuit Fire (2002) following the Silver Fire (1987). Last year the Rattle Fire (2008, here) succeeded the Spring Fire (1996), in the same place except the Rattle Fire was bigger.

Wildfires are accidents. They occur in accidental places on accidental dates (generally during fire season when the damages that ensue are most extreme). They are different from prescribed burns or other treatments that include planned and prepared burning. Cost/benefit analysis can be logically applied to prescribed fire, but not to (accidental) wildfire. Any benefit that accrues to a wildfire is also an accident.

One could propose that the wages paid to firefighters are a “benefit” of wildfire. Many firefighters certainly look at it that way. But proper accounting must place wages in the cost category.

Beware the slippery slope of redefining costs as benefits.

When the Middlefork Fire [2008, here] blew up last year, a firefighter reported (on a firefighter website) that it was “doing a lot of good.” That could be interpreted as 1) it was filling the pockets of firefighters with double overtime wages from the public trough, or 2) it was doing the job of forest restoration for free.

The former is untenable. Police do not welcome crime because they get paid to arrest people. Hospitals do not welcome disease or injuries because they make money treating the sick.

The latter is also untenable. Wildfires do not restore forests; they destroy them.

This is not what forest restoration looks like:

Two years after the Angora Fire (June, 2007), taken Memorial Day, May 25, 2009. Click for larger image. (Photo by Tallac)

Some people welcome that kind of devastation [here]. They see “forest recycling” or “early successional plant associations” as desirable. But the truth is that wildfires devalue forests — they do not provide benefits.

Wildfires destroy vegetation including old-growth trees. In doing so they destroy habitat for wildlife, in particular threatened and endangered species. Wildfires degrade soils leading to loss of nutrients, reduced percolation of rain or snow melt, increased runoff, and increased erosion. Steams become choked with sediment and ash, which damages aquatic habitat and fish spawning gravels. Water yields are reduced, especially late season flows, because aquifers are not recharged. Water users suffer because domestic, irrigation, and hydropower flows are reduced and infrastructure damaged by the erosion. Public health and safety are compromised when wildfires exit Federal land and burn down homes and businesses. Even if wildfires are contained, the excessive smoke can cause health problems such as respiratory distress incidents. Local economies are battered both during the wildfire and for years afterward. Etc., etc.

The opportunity to restore forests to provide “ecosystem services” is lost in wildfires. Restoration is something that must be done before the fire. After the fire the cleanup is called “rehabilitation” not restoration. It may take decades or even centuries for a charred forest to regain the qualities it had before the fire — in many cases that will never happen because the forest has been effectively erased from the landscape in perpetuity.

The foregoing concepts can be difficult to fully grasp, especially if people are removed and disconnected from forests. The issues are remote to urban residents who have little familiarity with or understanding of forests. Wildfires are something they see on TV while channel surfing. But to foresters who have labored for decades to care for forests — to protect, maintain, and perpetuate forests — wildfires are extreme tragedies and disasters.

There are no benefits to wildfires; there are only costs and losses. That realization may be uncomfortable to some, but it is the truth.

28 May 2009, 11:07pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
1 comment

National Forest Timber Management: Myth, reality, and some questions for the future

by W.V. (Mac) McConnell, U.S.F.S. Retired (1943-1973)

Timber harvesting from National Forest land, the single largest timberland holding in the nation, has decreased by some 80% over the past two decades. The impacts of this decline have been far-reaching and well documented. Insect epidemics, fire hazard, fire frequency, and fire control expenditures have increased hugely. Community dislocation, business closures, job losses, and school and local government distress are widespread.

While the fact of the decline is widely known, the public would seem to have little understanding of the relationship of harvesting to forest growth, mortality, and the realities of management and forest health. The widespread misconception that the Forest Service was “overharvesting” the timber on the National Forests contributed to the demand, led by environmental activists, that the Forest Service reduce, or eliminate entirely, commercial harvesting of timber from its lands. This image of a national resource being decimated by a rapacious timber industry was a far cry from actuality. The record shows that at the apex of harvesting the agency cut each year only 50% of the gross annual growth, while the equivalent of about a quarter of the volume grown died and slightly more was added to the inventory of standing trees.

In contrast, today the Forest Service is harvesting only 6% of the growth (a remarkably low figure) while 36% dies, adding to the fuel loading and increasing fire hazards and suppression costs. The remaining 58% of the growth is added each year to the existing volume, resulting in over-dense, fire-prone stands and deteriorating wildlife habitat.

Although the emphasis has been on correcting past mistakes by reducing the volume of the cut, the problems seen by environmentalists and others of the concerned public stemmed not from the “quantity” of the harvest but from the its “quality”. Extensive (and unsightly) clearcuts on unstable slopes, logging on unsuitable terrain and of heritage stands of patriarch trees, failure to use Best Management Practices with resultant harm to soil, water, and aesthetic resources, reluctance to implement the imperatives of the Endangered Species Act — all have contributed to the public demand for a more restrictive approach to timber management on public lands. The Forest Service’s and industry’s belated recognition and correction of many of these errors came too late and the perception of the Agency as permanently favoring timber as the “best among equals” now appears to be embedded as dogma in a large part the environmental community. This view may be the single most important impediment to balanced resource management on our National Forests.

Is current National Forest timber management making its optimum contribution to the “Greatest good for the greatest number in the long run”? Does the current ratio of growth/harvest/mortality represent sound forest management? Should this ratio be changed? In what way? Can it be changed? How do you answer these questions?

What a Difference 25 Years Make

Today the US Forest Service announced a set of projects for the Willamette and Mt. Hood National Forests to be funded under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. One of those projects is entitled “Ramsey Creek Fish Passage Enhancement” and will cost $18,580.

That really takes me back. You see, 25 years ago I personally rebuilt the fish ladder on Ramsey Creek. It was attached to the small dam and pond on Ramsey Creek located at Camp Baldwin, the Boy Scout Camp west of Dufur in Wasco County, Oregon. When the Boy Scouts built the dam they included a fish ladder, but debris had plugged it and broken the step boards.

The Camp manager and I hauled a gas-powered air compressor down to the dam. I cleaned out all the debris and set new boards so that fish could again get over the dam. Although the Dufur District of the Mt. Hood NF was notified (as was the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife), none of those agencies gave a crap nor lent a hand. Total cost to the taxpayer: zero, zilch, nada.

I note this as a matter of historical record only. You can draw your own conclusions.

Fixing the fish ladder was a peripheral project to the restoration of the Camp Baldwin forest [here]. The forest there had become choked with dead fuels which we cleared out, leaving widely spaced older trees at a park-like density. We thus saved the camp from total incineration by severe fire, and maintained all the program activities the Boy Scouts enjoyed.

We also saved the habitat for a pair of spotted owls that nested there. The owls continued to nest at Camp Baldwin and fledge young for at least ten years.

Fours years after the restoration project, spotted owls became a listed endangered species. The USFS had a map of where all the owls were, but on the map the Camp Baldwin owls were located in the middle of severe burn on Fed land, not where they actually were at the Camp. I pointed out this error to the wildlife specialist at the Dufur District headquarters. She told me that she “could neither confirm nor deny” the owls real location. Of course, I could do exactly that, but what the hey.

I will always remember that bit of bureaucratic doggerel and obfuscation. However, I only note that it happened; you can draw your own conclusions.

This year I proposed similar restoration forestry treatments on the Willamette National Forest to be funded under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) rejected my proposals. The Forest Supervisor of the Willamette NF was quite upset with me for even making the proposals. He wanted me to make it quite clear to the RAC that the Willamette NF wanted no part of restoration forestry, had not contributed nor collaborated in any way, shape, or form, and were dead set against it.

You can draw your own conclusions.

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27 May 2009, 12:53pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
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Climate Realism in Oz

A new book skeptical of global warming has been published with fanfare in Australia and is due to be published here soon. It is Heaven+Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science by Ian Plimer, and the fanfare (positive and negative) was assessed in a recent column in the Australian:

A tale of two worlds

by Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, May 18, 2023 [here]

On Tuesday afternoon in Sydney last week, a handful of demonstrators gathered outside Abbey Bookshop in York Street. The target of their wrath was Ian Plimer, author of Heaven+Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science. A few of the young and ideological asked Plimer whether he had a sense of shame and guilt for promoting a line of argument that will destroy the planet.

The next day, and another world away, I followed the line of semi-trailers and utes snaking along the F1 freeway exiting at a small town two hours north of Sydney’s skyscrapers. Locals gathered that evening at a local pub in East Maitland to listen – yes, listen – to Plimer. There was no ideology, no howls of derision. Just a bunch of inquiring minds, people listening intently for an hour, many asking intelligent questions for almost an hour more. In the space of a day and a night, a tale unfolded of the gaping disconnect between the inner city moralisers and those whose livelihoods will be most harmed by policies concocted with the best of intentions by city dwellers aimed at addressing climate change. …

The comments following Albrechtsen’s piece are also interesting (at last count there were 144 but the number has undoubtedly increased). Some of the arguments presented are worthwhile, but some are rehashed jumbles of faulty logic.

For instance, some accuse the author of acting in his own self-interest. Indeed Albrechtsen’s quotes an Australian journalist making that charge:

On ABC Lateline Business, journalist Ticky Fullerton suggested he was “a greenhouse heretic”. “Is this scepticism genuine or is it about economic self-interest?” she asked.

Of course, Ticky herself is PAID to fling charges of “heresy” on TV. She doesn’t journalize for free, and is certainly aware that the more outlandish her claims, the more money she is likely to make.

Everybody who goes to work does so to gain personal reward. There is nothing unusual or immoral about that. We don’t fault Ticky for earning a living. We might fault her for her funny name, but not for acting in her own economic self-interest.

The Oil Cartel is alleged to be funding those who refuse to accept global warming alarmist dogmatism. However, it is in the self-interest of the Oil Cartel to drive oil prices up. Cheap oil is a bane to profits. They have nothing to gain (and much to lose) by quelling fears about climate change. The charge that climate realists are tools of the Oil Cartel is thus spurious and illogical, an insult to intelligence. Conspiracy theorists are not generally credited for their logic or intelligence, though.

Another common complaint is that anthropogenic global warming MIGHT happen in the foreseeable future, and therefore we should do something about it now, just in case. This is often referred to as the Precautionary Principle. However, the same folks who make this argument vote for command-and-control central government, i.e. socialism, when history teaches us that socialism has failed tragically in every instance. One would think that taking precautions against a KNOWN evil might be first order of business for a precautionist, but instead they embrace whole system failure with ardor.

There are those who weep and moan that folks like author Plimmer are problematical because their dissent disturbs the unity of groupthink. We must all think alike or else nothing useful can be accomplished. And yet, these are the same people who rush to demonstrations and other forms of dissent, who howl and parade down the avenue carrying signs expressing their lack of agreement, and who even advocate civil disobedience to promote their dissenting agenda.

Such rabble-rouser advocates (and I’m thinking of Al Gore and James Hansen now) want it both ways. They want riots to fuel their dissent but are aghast and distraught that anyone else might so much as utter a word (or write a book) that expresses dissent against their climate alarmism.

By the best measures (satellite sensors measuring troposphere and sea surface temperatures) global temperatures have been falling since 1998. Last Winter global temps fell to levels not seen since the 1970’s. That’s from NASA reports, and NASA, like the rest of the government, is deeply invested in scaring the populace for reasons of control and extracting exorbitant taxes. Yet they have to report the actual findings — any fraud on NASA’s part would be quickly detected and they would be penalized for it.

Warmer is better anyway. Note that most of human race lives in warm climes. Warmer means longer growing seasons, more rain, more bio-productivity, more biodiversity. Compare the tropics to the tundra — which is more productive and has more species per acre? The warmest place in the US, the Imperial Valley, is also the most productive agriculturally.

The Earth is definitely in the midst of the Ice Ages — we live in a temporary interglacial period, one sure to be followed by 100,000 years of deep cold with continental ice sheets a mile thick. We know this because the deep and long glacial periods have happened like clockwork 18 times over the last 1.8 million years.

If we are going to take precautions against debilitating climate change, then we ought to be looking for ways to forestall the coming return of deep-freeze, snowball Earth conditions. Warmer we can handle and even prosper in. Colder is bad news for civilization and life as we know it.

At any rate, look for Ian Plimer’s book, Heaven+Earth - Global Warming: The Missing Science, to be on the shelves here soon. That’s a prediction you can count on.

26 May 2009, 1:31pm
Forestry education
by admin

Towards a True Science of Fire

An interesting article appeared last week in Science Mag entitled Fire in the Earth System.

It was written by a flock of folks: David M. J. S. Bowman, Jennifer K. Balch, Paulo Artaxo, William J. Bond, Jean M. Carlson, Mark A. Cochrane, Carla M. D’Antonio, Ruth S. DeFries, John C. Doyle, Sandy P. Harrison, Fay H. Johnston, Jon E. Keeley, Meg A. Krawchuk, Christian A. Kull, J. Brad Marston, Max A. Moritz, I. Colin Prentice, Christopher I. Roos, Andrew C. Scott, Thomas W. Swetnam, Guido R. van der Werf, and Stephen J. Pyne.

The paper arose from a conference held at UC Santa Barbara, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. Everybody in attendance got their name on the paper. Of some interest is that one author, Dr. Stephen J. Pyne, Regents Professor at Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, did not even attend (he had to cancel due to pressing family matters).

Despite his absence, the paper calls for the development of “a coordinated and holistic fire science,” a theme that Pyne has promoted for many years.

The paper is [here]. Much of it is global warming gibberish. But the essential idea — that the study of exogenous (outdoor) fire needs a more formal discipline — is quite valid.

That discipline MUST recognize that fire is more than a physical process: it is both biological and cultural.

Fire is biological because fuels are biological, and fire doesn’t happen without fuel. (There are some exceptions such as volcanic eruptions and solar combustion by nuclear fusion, but when a forest burns, the stuff that burns is biomass). Hence fire study should be an outgrowth of biology.

And fire is cultural. Humans are the only animal that makes fire. Anthropogenic fire is ancient and has had significant influence on Earthly ecosystems for tens of thousands of years.

The spread of highly flammable savannas, where hominids originated, likely contributed to their eventual mastery of fire. The hominid fossil record suggests that cooked food may have appeared as early as 1.9 Ma, although reliable evidence for controlled fire use does not appear in the archaeological record until after 400,000 years ago, with evidence of regular use much later. The routine domestic use of fire began around 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, … and hunter-gatherers used fire to reduce fuels and manage wildlife and plants beginning tens of thousands of years ago.

Steve Pyne wrote compellingly about the need for a new scientific discipline of fire in his 2006 essay, The Wrath of Kuhn: Meditations on Fire Philosophy [here].

What I do urge is a lusty attempt to center fire within biology. … What is needed is to assert that in its essence it is biologically constructed and to elaborate that proposition into a unifying theory that can range from genes to the biosphere. Today fire remains a sidebar in the life sciences. It should be on the commanding heights.

Pyne has written over 20 books, most of them pertaining to fire, including the best (perhaps only) textbook on fire, Introduction to Wildland Fire, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley, 1996).

The spin of the Science article emphasizes “catastrophe, carbon, and climate” (Pyne’s words). The motivation behind that was to entice the editors at Science with “popular” themes. But the real meat may be hidden as a result. Dr. Pyne wrote to me:

The real issues, I think, are getting fire into some formal scholarship and getting people at the core of fire scholarship. I’ll repeat myself: the only fire department at a university is the one that sends emergency vehicles when an alarm sounds.

The Science article is a group paper and possibly suffers from the too-many-cooks syndrome. Hopefully discerning SOSF readers can navigate through the brush of distracting pontification about global warming etc. and discover the heart of the argument: that fire is a multi-faceted phenomenon that affects lives and landscapes, and so deserves a more focused albeit holistic scientific approach.

25 May 2009, 11:47pm
2007 Fire Season
by admin

Blackened Idaho

By Joe B.

An ecological disaster on a grand scale in 2007 was largely ignored by the outside world. Because we live near the forest, it’s our fault, or so they said.

Summer before last Central Idaho burned to the tune of 800,000 acres, mostly along the South Fork of the Salmon River and its tributaries. These photos capture only some of the destruction and only one emotion of the many that have been and are still being evoked.

Grown men and women have been brought to tears when they first saw what happened to their beloved forests. These aren’t the environmentalists, no sir, the environmentalists have largely applauded this destruction. The people who have shed tears are people who lost homes, lost memories, and lost landscapes. We lost our backyard. We lost our forests — forests we grew up in, forests we cared deeply about.

I thought long and hard about this. Mike at W.I.S.E. asked for photos from the fires in Central Idaho last year on his website. I sent him over 70 shots, many of which he posted [on the SOSF Photo Page 1: Boise and Payette Post-2007 fires, here].

Here are some more.

Between Warren and Secesh

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The Last Gasps of a Dying Paradigm

As mentioned previously, I attended the “Ecosystems Dynamics Seminar” at OSU last Thursday. It was the fourth of four seminars (put on by the Institute for Natural Resources [here], an unabashedly political “policy research” entity at OSU) on the subject of “ecosystems dynamics.” A set of “white papers” laying out the politicized “science” of the seminars is [here].

It is not my intention in this post to deconstruct the Institute for Natural Resources. Maybe some other time. Suffice it to say that it is an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars; and even worse than a waste — it is an abomination. But on to the seminar itself.

There was a good presentation by Adam Novick, Risk to Maintenance-Dependent Species on Private Land from Species-Based Land-Use Regulation, which I will describe in a future post.

The rest of the day was filled with total tripe from a pathetic crew of Old Paradigmers.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Bill Ripple, a a professor of forest resources in OSU’s College of Forestry, gave the most clownish presentation regarding wolves I think I have ever seen, (entitled Using Large Carnivores to Sustain Forest Ecosystems). Ripple is not a wildlife biologist (his specialty is GIS), so that might explain (but not excuse) his stunning lack of insights on the subject.

Ripple maintains that wolves generate “an ecology of fear” in elk, deer, moose, and other herbivores. Wolves scare the critters and they run away, and that results in a reduction in browsing, according to Bill. Of course, wherever the frightened ungulates run to, they browse in that new place and probably eat more to offset the energy expended running from the wolves. But that’s a minor hiccup in his bankrupt theory.

Wolves also slaughter ungulates and livestock for blood sport as well as spread rabies and other deadly diseases. One thing they don’t do is restore forests.

Ripple showed slides of old-growth black oak in Yosemite and interpreted those as “unhealthy.” If there were more wolves in Yosemite, the old-growth would die off, which is his stated goal. Bill decried open, park-like forests in Yellowstone, Jasper, and other places. Nothing is more “unhealthy” than old-growth, according to Bill.

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21 May 2009, 11:30pm
Private land policies
by admin

The Regulatory Community

I attended a forestry conference today, which I will post about in some depth tomorrow. This evening, though, a minor incident that transpired this morning occupies my thoughts.

During one of the question-answer periods a young (20-something) participant referred to herself as a member of “the regulatory community.”

Pardon my provincial lack of sophistication, but I had never heard of “the regulatory community” before. Evidently “the regulatory community” is made up of government functionaries who promulgate regulations, and by extension all the rest of us must be “the regulated community.”

Those are not vernacular communities; that is, they do not occupy some particular place. They are ersatz, pseudo-communities that exist in concept only. Calling one’s special interest group a “community” is common these days, I suppose, some examples being the Internet community, the bowling community, and the toe fungus community.

In the case of the regulatory community, the special interest group that uses the term consists of THEM, and the rest of us are US. This way of looking at the world is thus about as divisive as can be.

Now, I did not invent the concept of the regulatory community; it was heretofore not my way of looking at the world. However, apparently it is the way that government functionaries who promulgate regulations conceptualize their social caste. In the spirit of civil communitarianism [here], I accept their self-proclaimed ideological divisiveness — especially in recognition of the fact that I can’t do anything about it.

Hence I address the following remarks to the members of the regulatory community, whomever you are, speaking as a representative of the regulated community.

Firstly, let me point out that we in the regulated community pay your salaries. Without us, you would be penniless beggars scrounging for (hopefully useful) detritus on the town dump. I use the word “town” in this case in the vernacular, meaning a real community that exists in a real place.

Secondly, the money you get paid comes from the wealth we in the regulated community create. If we did not create wealth from our regulated properties, there would be nothing to pay you with, and you would be s*** out of luck (see the previous paragraph).

Hence (and I use the term “hence” to imply a logical conclusion drawn from the previous propositions) if you in the regulatory community screw the rest of us so badly that we cannot produce wealth, then you get screwed, too.

Do you see how that works? Can you follow that logic?

Now, I realize that you in the regulatory community feel as though you exist quite apart from the rest of us, as a separate social entity, almost as if you were aliens from the Planet Klothead. But in fact you are not all that separate. In fact you are our dependents, as it were, since you depend on us to provide you with succor and sustenance that keeps you from crawling around on the town dump grubbing for bits of discarded cheese sandwiches, etc.

The impression I received from today’s discussion is that you, the regulatory community, wish to eliminate all possibility that we, the regulated community, might produce wealth from our properties. By the term “wealth” I mean food, fiber, and other forms of commodities that feed, clothe, and house us all.

It is your raison d’etre (that’s French for reason for existence) to regulate us into oblivion by denying us (the regulated community) all productive uses of our properties. However, if you follow the deductive reasoning in the logical syllogism above, that would result in all of us (regulatory and regulated) being forced to crawl around on the town dump, except that there would be no discarded cheese sandwiches since there would be no cheese, no bread, and no other items necessary for survival.

I realize that deductive reasoning is not your forte (that’s French for strong point). Still and all, and even though you hail from the Planet Klothead, I believe you are capable of grasping this reality. By the term “reality” I mean the the quality or fact of being real.

At least, I hope you can grasp it. Because if not, we are all s*** out of luck.


Today the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-Hollywood, CA), rejected Greg Walden’s (R-Hood River, OR) amendment to the Carbon Cap-and-Trade bill that would have allowed biomass from federal lands to count as a renewable fuel and receive the same incentives from the federal government as wind, solar, and other renewables. The bill as written excludes biomass from “mature” federal forest land, which includes most federal forests in Oregon.

Rep. Walden’s amendment was voted down 26-32, mostly along party lines.

On Tuesday the Society of American Foresters issued a letter [here] to Waxman requesting that biomass from Federal forests be included, stating that “Excluding these lands has no basis in science.”

The SAF request was ignored.

Walden has posted a YouTube video [here] in which he explains what occurred. Sort of. The audio is quite garbled, so I could not actually make out what he said. Perhaps those with a better Internet connection will not have that problem.

The bottom line is this: there is no global warming. The globe has been cooling for the last 10 years. The Greenhouse Gas Theory of “climate change” has been disproved. It is a hoax. Waxman’s Cap-and-Trade bill will have zero effect on global climate, but it will cripple the US economy by taxing energy to the tune of $trillions.

There is a forest fire crisis. Over the last 20 years 105,330,500 acres (164,580 square miles) have burned in wildfires, 70 million acres in just the last 10 years. The fires are due to two things: the build-up of fuels in the absence of forest management, and Federal firefighting policies that amount to Let It Burn.

The SAF has had ample opportunity to affect Federal land management and fire policies. They have not done so, instead opting to embrace the global warming hoax and blame the forest fire crisis on non-existent warming.

The SAF threw their lot in with the GW hoaxers, and now they have been betrayed by the same.

For the last 3+ years SOS Forests has posted time and again about the fire crisis, the root causes, and the GW hoax. We have been consistent on all those issues. We have taken the SAF to task for their ignorance and duplicity, but to no avail.

Now the chickens have come home to roost. The SAF has slept with the enemy, and now they have been stabbed in the back.

Do you get it yet, SAFers?

As professional foresters your allegiance should have been to forests, not politicians. As true professional experts you should have seen through the GW hoax. You should have striven to protect, maintain, and perpetuate forests regardless of political winds.

The opportunity to do so still remains. The SAF could and should condemn Cap-and-Trade forcefully and unequivocally. The SAF should reject the GW hoax, Wildland Fire Use, and every other manifestation of deliberate incineration and conversion of our forests to burnt out wastelands.

I hope this betrayal stings. I hope the SAF is shaken. The message should be burned into your consciousness: the destruction of America’s priceless, heritage forests is not by accident but by design.

Please join me in fighting to save our forests through excellence in science and stewardship.

There is no more time to waste hobnobbing with power-tripping scam artists who have and will betray you at the drop of a hat.

Profess forests. Work to save forests. Shed yourselves of the Neville Chamberlins who have attempted to appease the anti-forest, pro-holocaust crowd.

As professional foresters you owe that to yourselves and to all your fellow Americans.

Roadless Is Clueless

In the waning days of the Clinton administration, just before Clinton’s staff trashed the White House computers and destroyed all the digital records, Slick Willy promulgated the “Roadless Rule” that condemned 58.5 million acres to unmanagement, zero stewardship, and catastrophic megafire.

The incoming Bush Administration let it stand, honoring the office of the Presidency, but numerous lawsuits arose anyhow. The basis of those lawsuits was explained by Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman [here]:

[Clinton's Roadless Rule] was adopted following what was arguably the most truncated, superficial and scientifically-devoid NEPA rulemaking in history. The alleged “public process” associated with the Roadless Rule was politically driven rather than scientifically supported, with less than thirteen (13) months having elapsed between the announcement of the proposed Rule and publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

It was an illegal, Washington, D.C. driven, one-size-fits-all approach to management of 1/3 of our National Forests. It was designed to ignore the physical aspects, management considerations, economic issues, and social/cultural dimensions that make each National Forest unique. It treated Wyoming’s National Forests exactly the same as the National forests in North Carolina and Puerto Rico, and violated the individualized Forest Management Plans that have been painstakingly developed pursuant to the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The Roadless Rule bypassed scientific analysis; hijacked local participation in forest management; and anointed Washington, D.C. as the supreme authority on forest management decisions …

The numerous lawsuits coalesced into one (brought by the State of Wyoming), and US District Court Judge Clarence A. Brimmer issued a permanent injunction against Bill Clinton’s 58.5 million acre Roadless Rule in 2003. The issue festered and a minor judge, Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte of San Francisco, reinstated Clinton’s Roadless Rule in 2006. Judge Brimmer was forced to enjoin the Rule for the second time in 2008 [here].

Still, it wouldn’t die [here, here]. Lock it up and burn it down is exceedingly stupid and destructive, but the Holocaust Now Party is dead set on roasting America’s forests in the name of World Socialism. And after electing Socialist activist and community rabblerouser B. Hussein Obama as President last year, the anti-environment (and ascientific, ahistorical, arguably racist) Roadless Rule has crawled out from the grave again like a zombie that will not stay buried.

North Carolina forester Steve Henson wrote a perceptive opinion piece last week that distills the issue, and we post his words in full below. Unfortunately, it will take more than cogent argument to finally rid ourselves of zombie Clinton’s zombie Rule.

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18 May 2009, 3:19pm
Forestry education
by admin
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Paint the Picture

Hey, this sounds like fun. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is creating a photomosaic with pictures you send them. From a USFWS news blurb:

Let’s Go Outside Campaign to Connect People with Nature and Create Photomosaic

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release, May 18, 2023 [here]

This Memorial Day and all summer long, get out into nature and see some wildlife – in your backyard, at your local park or on a nearby national wildlife refuge. You’ll create family memories to last a lifetime, and if you take your digital camera, you’ll not only capture those memories, but will have the opportunity to submit them as part of a major online Photomosaic.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the launch of a “Let’s Go Outside” initiative to create a massive compilation of nearly 10,000 publicly provided photographs capturing families creating memories in nature this summer. The assembled photographs will create a Photomosaic of an outdoor image to be revealed at the conclusion of the summer, and then made into a commemorative poster.

All digital photos submitted will be included in the Photomosaic – a picture that has been divided into equally sized sections, each of which is replaced with a photograph. When viewed at a distance, the Photomosiac seems to be one complete image, while close examination reveals it as a composition of thousands of smaller images. Visitors to the “Let’s Go Outside” web site will be able to watch the Photomosaic being built and locate their own images by using a unique code number. …

The blurb has a link to the interactive photomosaic site [here]. My thought is to send them real photos of the destruction the government has inflicted on our public (and private) lands. So I will be shooting them some of the pics from the SOS Forests Photo Pages [here, here].

I urge you to do the same. Find good visual examples of the carnage and paste them into the grand mosaic. If you prefer, send your photos to SOS Forests. We will post them here, and then heave them at the USFWS for you.

Maybe if we paint the picture for the Federales, they will catch a clue. Not likely, I admit, but worth a shot.

Note: thanks and tip of the hard hat to Julie Kay Smithson of Property Rights Research [here] for the headsup.

18 May 2009, 11:14am
Federal forest policy
by admin

Bayoneting the Wounded

Soon, very soon, Evergreen Magazine will launch their new website. We anxiously await the announcement which will be immediately trumpeted here. Until then, however, we are pleased and proud to present the latest speech by Evergreen founder and executive director, Jim Petersen.

Jim’s talk to attendees of 2009 Montana Loggers Association Convention concerned  utilization of woody biomass from Federal forests, a practice that would help stem the ecological collapse of our public forests if Congress would please get out of the way.

The title of this post (not Jim’s talk) is drawn from a quote by former USFS Chief Jack Ward Thomas (noted in Jim’s speech):

I my dark moments I remember Jack Ward Thomas’ very vivid description of what we were all witnessing a decade ago on public forest policy battlefields all over the rural West: “And now the victors walk among the dead and bayonet the wounded.”

It is interesting to note that in the decade since JWT’s vivid description, tens of millions of acres our public forests have been incinerated in megafires, destroying habitat for forest creatures, fouling air and water, ruining recreation opportunities, threatening public health and safety, and dismantling rural economies. The victors, the pusillanimous anti-human crackpot wing of the Crackpot Party, have reveled in the destruction they have wrought, while the wounded, the rest of us, have suffered enormously.

But you knew that. Here is Jim Petersen’s latest public lecture, soon to be posted on Evergreen’s new website:


When You Are Up To Your Armpits in Elephants

by James D. Petersen
Co-founder and Executive Director
The non-profit Evergreen Foundation
2009 Montana Loggers Association Convention
Hilton Garden Inn, Kalispell, Montana
Saturday, May 16, 2023

Good morning.

I have never felt so poorly prepared for a speech in all my life.

It isn’t that I haven’t worked on my remarks, or that I don’t understand the subject matter; it is that so much is at stake and so few seem to get it – the “it” here being the fact that Montana’s timber industry is teetering on the brink of collapse at the precise same moment when it ought to be laying the cornerstone for its own bright future.

I had a ring-side for the spectacular but tragically unnecessary collapse of the timber industries in Arizona and New Mexico. I watched as mill after mill closed its doors, like a long row of dominos toppling one into the other. It has left both states without the means to deal with the ecological collapse of their dying forests. Now instead of mills toppling like dominos, the trees are – millions of them, crashing to earth in forests where, even if we hear their sound, we are powerless to do anything about it.

What no one seems to understand is that the same steady cadence of collapse can now be heard here in western Montana. It is the elephant in our room that no one seems to want to talk about, the sound of the collapse of The Last Best Place.” Unless you who sit before me this morning chose to do something about this, you too will become like collapsing dominoes.

more »

Cap-and-Trade Looks Like Imperialism

Imperialism: The acquisition of colonies and dependencies, commonly associated with the policy of direct extension of sovereignty and dominion over non-contiguous and often distant territories, the indirect political or economic control of powerful states over weaker peoples.

The carbon cap-and-stifle bilge currently festering in Congress is an exercise in the dominion of populous states, mired in the economic doldrums of their own welfare excesses, over less populous but productive, wealth-creating states.

There is no other purpose to the cap-and-stifle bilge. It will not affect global temperatures in any measurable way, and indeed the proponents do not even bother to make that claim any longer. Their stated goal is to extract wealth from politically weak states and deliver the extractions to vampire states bloated with millions of welfare junkies.

Obama wants to hike energy costs by the $trillions to cover a portion of the tens of $trillions in deficit spending he has foisted on the Nation (with the help of the Welfare Junkie Party).

Global warming is a hoax, a scam, an imperialist power and money grab, non-different from the manufactured forest fire crisis — which has nothing to do with global warming and everything to do with deliberate incineration by the government of public and private, rural and urban land.

It’s your standard, ugly, hurtful, shameful, grossly tragic imperialism, the same venomous credo perped by ancient Rome and modern fascists like Hitler and Stalin.

more »

Burning Out Private Landowners

The destruction of forests by deliberate incineration is not limited to public land. When the US Forest Service decides (without public notice) to burn vast tracts of USFS land, the fires often sweep across private land, too. And in some cases private lands are deliberately burned in backfires set by USFS personnel.

We discussed the (uncompensated) damages to private landowners done by the 2007 Egley Fire [here]. We also discussed the unnecessary and incompetent backfiring that destroyed homes and private property in Ravalli County, MT, during the Spade Fire of 2000 [here]. That incident led to a lawsuit.

Last summer the same idiotic and destructive backfiring of private property occurred in Trinity County, CA, during incompetently managed fires that burned 256,000 acres and caused ten firefighting deaths in the county.

In that case the Feds screwed up royal and then backpedaled in their usual manner: we take zero responsibility but you can go ahead and file a claim — you’ll just get burned again.

more »

11 May 2009, 9:49am
by admin
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More Delays, with Apologies

Although the posts have been few and far between lately, they are going to get even sparser for a bit. I beg your indulgence for four more days while I complete the last of my Spring tasks. After that I will be back at the grindstone grinding out the best in forest news and thought for your pleasure and edification.

Thank you for your patience.


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