23 Feb 2010, 10:44am
Climate and Weather
by admin

Global Cooling, Not Warming, Is the Problem

An excellent summary and discussion of Holocene temperature trends has been posted at JoNova Blog. JoNova is the creation of Joanne Nova, an Australian science writer, former TV host, and the author of The Skeptics Handbook [here].

Her recent post, The Big Picture: 65 Million Years of Temperature Swings [here], was written primarily by David Lappi, Alaska geologist and President of Lapp Resources, Inc.

Of special interest are two graphs derived from ice core proxies, one of Greenland temperatures over the last 10,000 years and one of Antarctica over the last 12,000 years. They clearly demonstrate that polar temperatures have been declining since the Hypsithermal of 6,000 to 9,000 years ago.

The next graph of temperature from the ice core for the last 10,000 years (the current interglacial period) shows that Greenland is now colder than for most of that period (vertical scale in degrees C below zero). We can see the Medieval Warm Period 800 to 1,000 years ago was not particularly warm, and the Little Ice Age 150 to 650 years ago was one of the longest sustained cold periods during this interglacial. We are now recovering from this abnormal cold period, and the recovery started long before anthropogenic greenhouse gases were produced in any quantity. … Our current warming is well within natural variation, and in view of the general decline in temperatures during the last half of this interglacial, is probably beneficial for mankind and most plants and animals. The graph clearly shows the Minoan Warming (about 3200 years ago), the Roman Warming (about 2000 years ago), and the Medieval Warm Period (about 900 years ago). Great advances in government, art, architecture, and science were made during these warmer times.

Graph by David Lappi based on GISP2 Temperature Reconstruction and Accumulation Data [here], NOAA icecore-2475, reported in Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226 [here]. Click for larger image.

more »

22 Feb 2010, 3:22pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
1 comment

Global Warming: The Economics of a Scare

by Gordon J. Fulks, Ph.D.

Presentation to Oregon Economic Roundtable, February 17, 2010


Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

The scientific hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming has completely collapsed. That is to say, human emissions of carbon dioxide due to everything from the burning of coal and oil on a massive scale to the respiration of six billion humans on this planet are not now having any measurable effect on the global climate, nor will they likely EVER have catastrophic consequences. Although this is my conclusion, based on an excellent education and a lifetime of experience, science is not determined by what I say, nor by my seniority or pedigree.

Although 31,000 American scientists, 9,000 of us with PhDs, have signed the Oregon Petition Project against Global Warming hysteria, science is not determined by a popular vote. Although one of the signers was the late Dr. Edward Teller, one of the great physicists of the 20th century and another was Professor Richard Lindzen who is widely acknowledged as the greatest meteorologist alive today, science is not determined by hierarchy or authority.

How then can I be so sure of my conclusion? How is science determined, even if it is never completely settled? EVIDENCE! Any scientist is welcome to come up with a hypothesis about how the world works. A clerk from a patent office did so in 1905. He published papers on both his Theory of Relativity and the Photoelectric Effect. His name was, of course, Albert Einstein. Evidence supporting his explanation for the Photoelectric Effect was easily obtained but evidence for his Theory of Relativity was much more difficult to find, because among other things, radioactivity had not yet been discovered.

Einstein famously pointed out that “One man can prove me wrong.” No one did and he eventually received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922, when the Nobel Committee thought that there was then sufficient evidence to back up Einstein’s theoretical conjectures.

Proponents of Global Warming would like you to believe that their nearly two hundred year-old hypothesis is valid, if only because it has not been discarded over the centuries. But bad ideas seem to have a way of resurfacing every so often. WHY? We will get to that in a moment.

Proponents also will never accept Einstein’s comment that “One man can prove me wrong.” WHY? We will get to that in a moment.

Many scientists have pointed to fatal flaws in the Global Warming arguments. One of the simplest and therefore most elegant arguments comes from our own State Climatologist, George Taylor. Yes, I know that Governor Kulongoski forced George out, but he is still MY State Climatologist! George reasons that if Global Warming is really happening, then ALL observing stations should be seeing the warming. That is not the case, even in Oregon. Well sited and well maintained stations in rural areas do not show net warming. In contrast, urban stations show net warming in conjunction with the urbanization that has occurred around them. End of story. Localized warming is not Global Warming.

In science as in the law, the burden of proof lies with proponents, not opponents of a hypothesis. After spending a monumental 80 billion dollars in search of evidence to back up their conjecture, advocates have fallen back on substitutes for real evidence like computer simulations of the climate that seem real to the average guy but are no more realistic than a Hollywood movie. Aside from the fact that these simulations can easily fool the unwary, why do Global Warming proponents keep promoting them? … [more]

Ecology Politics and Crocodiles

In a post last week [here] we discussed certain aspects of a recent paper: 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.

One claim made in that paper is worth deeper examination:

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 [conifer early seral forest] condition.

There are at least three problems with that statement.

First, the authors are making a quantitative statement in a science paper. They claim a “consensus” exists. A consensus is defined as general agreement, unanimity, agreement in the judgment or opinion reached by a group as a whole. But the authors provide no evidence to support their claim. They did not take a poll of scientists, or if they did, they did not present the data or a summary of the data.

Second, the paper appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, Ecology and Society [here]. The editorial board is extensive [here]. Yet neither the unnamed peer-reviewers nor the editorial board questioned the claim. They did not request or examine the polling data, which frankly we do not believe exists. They accepted the quantitative statement in a science paper without question, a complete failure of the peer-review system.

Third, the statement is demonstrably false. We have posted numerous papers (and reviews of books) wherein the authors (who are environmental scientists) make the opposite claim; that indeed humans have individually and collectively had major impacts on the creation of a wide-range of vegetation conditions, including early seral conifer conditions, for millennia, across the continent. Therefore, the “consensus” claimed in support of the paper’s contention does not exist. QED.

more »

Trick or Treaty?

Tim Findley of Range Magazine has written lovely article about the apocalyptic kleptocrat roots of the global enviro swindle movement, entitled Trick or Treaty?: One-world socialists want to save the planet by spreading the weath and collapsing the economy. Range Magazine has generously placed the article (Sp, 2010 issue) on the Web, free for the downloading [here].

Mr. Findley is the premier rural West journalist today. Whether you agree with his investigative findings or not, you have to enjoy and admire his literary style. His musing may also be read at RangeFire [here], the new blog produced by Range Magazine.

Range Magazine [here] is an award-winning quarterly devoted to issues that threaten the West, its people, lifestyles, lands, and wildlife. It has consistently great articles and great photos. I subscribe. So should you.

The Fire Next Time

By Jim Petersen, Co-founder and Executive Director, the non-profit Evergreen Foundation

Remarks at the Annual Meeting of Intermountain Forestry Association, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, December 10, 2009

Full text [here]

Selected excerpts:

…[M]y friend Dick Bennett asked me recently… if I knew where we might find a map showing all of the timberland ownerships in northern Idaho — not just an ordinary map, but one that had an overlay that shows at risk federal forest lands — these being lands that pose an insect, disease or fire risk to adjacent private and state timberland owners.

I thought for sure that the Forest Service’s Region 1 office in Missoula would have one, but they don’t.

How strange that the very public agency charged with protecting our region’s great forests from catastrophic fire would not have such a map. …

If we had the map Dick hoped I would find we could illustrate the problem with the very cavalier attitude the federal government seems to be taking toward dying national forests and resulting big fires.

Among other things, we could show the public what will happen when the Day of Reckoning finally arrives — and we have another 1910-scale fire or perhaps something even larger, which I think is entirely possible. …

I have photographs of my grandfather’s first mill. It doesn’t look like much, but it was all that he had, so I can’t begin to comprehend what he must have felt on the afternoon of August 20, 1910. That was the afternoon when all hell broke loose in northern Idaho: Day 1 of the three-day holocaust we still call the Great 1910 Fire.

Much has been written about the 1910 fire, not just in Evergreen Magazine but also in many other publications by other fine writers who were drawn to it as I was — all of us like moths to a flame. …

I won’t bore you with the reasons why the West’s forests are burning in horrific wildfires because you already know the story as well as I do. But if you are one of the fortunate few who saved their copies of The West is Burning Up, our first big 1910 story — portions of which still grace the Idaho Forest Products Commission website — you know that the fire made front page news all across the nation. …

In two terrifying day and nights, more than 3 million acres of timber and grassland in northern Idaho and western Montana was incinerated. It is all very difficult to comprehend until you realize that the Great 1910 Fire was not one big fire when it started. It was several hundred smaller fires that were blown together by the force of 80-100 mile an hour winds that blew in from the Palouse on the afternoon of August 20. It was the wind that transformed all of those little fires into one big blowtorch.

Along the Idaho-Montana border, south of the Lookout Pass ski area, there are still spots were nothing grows. Heat from the fire melted the organic layer in which early succession plants normally take root after a fire. The area is windswept, so it may be hundreds of years before the slowly accumulating soil is again deep enough to support plant life.

People who know that I know a little bit about the 1910 Fire sometimes ask me if I think there is another fire like it in our future. The odds certainly favor it. All we need are a few hundred spot fires - probably set by lightning - and a big wind. The stars in this terrible constellation have been in near-perfect alignment several times in recent years.

more »

18 Feb 2010, 10:41pm
Climate and Weather
by admin
1 comment

James D. Hays Awarded 2010 Milutin Milankovic Medal

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has awarded Dr. James D. Hays, professor of Earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University [here], the 2010 Milutin Milankovic Medal [here].

The Milutin Milankovitch Medal is awarded to James D. Hays for his pioneering, fundamental and continuous work on the reconstruction of Cenozoic climates and for his Science 1976 seminal paper on the astronomical theory of palaeoclimates.

The Milutin Milankovitch Medal is reserved for scientists for their outstanding research in long term climatic changes and modeling. Originally established by European Geophysical Society in 1993, the Milankovitch Medal has been awarded to some of the world’s greatest paleoclimatologists, including Sir Nicholas J. Shackleton, John Imbrie, André L. Berger, George Kukla, and Pinxian Wang. (The EGU was established by the merger of the European Geophysical Society (EGS) and the European Union of Geosciences (EUG) on 7 September 2002.)

Dr. Hays was the lead author of J.D. Hays, J. Imbrie, and N.J. Shackelton, 1976. “Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages,” Science, Vol. 194, pp. 1121-32 [here], now recognized as one the greatest breakthrough papers of modern science. His research proved that the timing of major ice ages is controlled by variations in Earth’s orbit around the sun, known as Milankovitch Cycles.

In 1938 Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovitch published “Astronomical Methods for Investigating Earth’s Historical Climate”. His theory was that variations in the Earth’s dance around the Sun caused fluctuations in the global climate of the Ice Ages, one such fluctuation being our current Holocene.

Milankovitch described and calculated three astronomical “wobbles” in the shape of the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, in the degree of tilt of the Earth’s axis, and in the direction (into the cosmos) that the axis points toward [here].

When Milankovitch presented his theory, it was received with skeptical curiosity. There was no way of dating fossils past 40,000 years or so, the limit of the carbon-14 method. That method was still in its earliest development, so it was impossible to test his theory.

By the 1970’s, however, researchers were extracting mud cores from ocean bottoms. The sediment cores were color-banded by different fossil planktons, each assemblage indicating ocean temperatures at the time of deposition. Some long cores dated all the way back to the Matuyama-Brunhes geomagnetic polarity reversal of 780,000 years ago. Using that marker, the bands in the cores could finally be dated. The types of fossil plankton in each band, and later their oxygen isotope ratios, allowed researchers to estimate global temperatures back deep into the Pleistocene.

The researchers came up with a graph of global temperature verses paleo-time. Lo and behold, the graph had fluctuations of 100,000 years, 41,000 years, and in faint signals, 23,000 and 19,000 years, matching Milankovitch’s predictions.

more »

Dry Rot Eating Away At Ron Wyden’s Eastside Forests Bill

Told you so! Sen. Ron Wyden’s proposed “Oregon Eastside Forests Restoration, Old Growth Protection, and Jobs Act of 2009″ (OEFROGPJA) is dead in the water and sinking fast. Dry rot is eating away the timbers, and worms are attacking the hull.

Yesterday an eco-litigious group, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council (HCPC), sent Ron an 11-page letter [here] that says, in short, goodbye Charlie.

Previous posts regarding Wyden’s bill (OEFROGPJA) are:

Wyden Proposes the End of Forest Stewardship in Eastern Oregon [here]

AFRC Sells Out [here]

The Principal Defects in Wyden’s Forest Bill [here]

Harris Sherman on Jon Tester’s Forest Bill (same problems in both bills) [here]

What’s wrong with the eastside forest compromise (by Jack Ward Thomas) [here]

Summarizing the Defects in Wyden’s OEFROGPJA [here]

That last one lists and numbers all the flaws in OEFROGPJA. The eco-lits missed all those, except for #11: will not limit or preclude obstructionist lawsuits. The HCPC plays the litigation card in a few places in their letter:

If a main purpose of this Act is to reduce litigation over timber harvest projects, then the elimination of the administrative appeals process during the Interim Period is, simply put, a mistake. HCPC has a long-history of successfully using the appeal process to negotiate with the Forest Service and to ultimately avoid litigation in the vast majority of cases.

The vast majority? But of course, not all. Have lawyers, will sue. That EAJA pot o’ gold is just too tempting.

The HCLP also played the climate change card (no surprise there) and bemoans the switch from a 20-inch-diameter cut limit to a 21-inch-diameter cut limit. Horrors!

Perhaps most amusing is the backbiting against Oregon Wild, the eco-litigious extremist group that engineered the “compromise”.

The non-inclusive process by which the bill was developed was not an auspicious start. We find it highly ironic that a bill encouraging eastside local collaboration was developed without input from any eastside conservation groups. While we have much in common with our westside conservation partners, we could have brought well-needed on-the-ground knowledge to the drafting of this bill. …

In our opinion, excluding eastside groups from the drafting of the bill was also a strategic error. When we have discussed the bill with other interest groups they have reacted strongly to the exclusion of eastside groups. As this bill makes clear, to be effective, collaboration must include all stakeholders, especially those with a long history of committed involvement in the issues and areas at stake. To proceed without the involvement of local stakeholders has undermined the very goals that the bill purports to establish.

HCLP fails to mention that everybody in Eastern Oregon was excluded, not just the wackos. In fact, everybody everywhere was excluded, except for a handful of eco-nazis from Eugene.

Even the fawning Oregonian, which kisses the ground Wyden walks upon upon, had to admit his bill is twitching and gasping [here]:

Despite the unique coalition backing the bill, its chances in congress are uncertain.

“Uncertain” is a code word for all but six feet under. Is that the dirge music I hear?

Told you so. And good riddance, too.

16 Feb 2010, 10:04pm
Climate and Weather Useless and Stupid
by admin

Redwood Fog Bomfoggery

California fog is disappearing due to global warming! It’s a disaster! The redwoods will die!

“If the fog is gone, we might not have the Redwood forests we do now.”

So says Professor Todd Dawson, Director of the Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry at UC Berkeley, according to Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent, UK Telegraph [here].

Fog over San Francisco thins by a third due to climate change

The sight of Golden Gate Bridge towering above the fog will become increasing rare as climate change warms San Francisco bay, scientists have found.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent, UK Telegraph, 15 Feb 2010

The coastal fog along the Californian coast has declined by a third over the past 100 years – the equivalent of three hours cover a day, new research shows.

And it is not just bad for scenery, the reduction in the cooling effect of the fog could damage the health of the huge Redwood Forests nearby.

“Since 1901, the average number of hours of fog along the coast in summer has dropped from 56 per cent to 42 per cent, which is a loss of about three hours per day,” said the study leader Dr James Johnstone at the University of California.

He said that it was unclear whether this is part of a natural cycle of the result of human activity, but the fog is receding because of a reduction in the difference between the temperature of the sea and the land. …

Professor Todd Dawson, co-author, said the decline could be disastrous for the nearby ecosystems.

“Fog prevents water loss from Redwoods in summer, and is really important for both the tree and the forest,” he said. “If the fog is gone, we might not have the Redwood forests we do now.”

This news is all over the MSM (Main Stream Media). It’s in the Orange County Register, the SF Chronicle, Reuters, the NY Times. Science Daily, USA Today, and who knows where else. It’s on all the TV news. It’s a Big Deal, a science breakthrough!

Or is it?

Could it be that it’s all a steaming pile of bull manure?

more »

16 Feb 2010, 10:25am
Federal forest policy
by admin

W.I.S.E. Comments on the USFS Planning Rule

We have discussed the US Forest Service intention to create a new Planning Rule [here] and offered some guidance, written by NAFSR Exec Dir Darrel Kenops, for drafting comments [here].

Now we present our own Comments, submitted today [here].

Some other excellent comments include those written by W.I.S.E. member Randy Shipman [here], by the National Association of Forest Service Retirees [here], and by Julie Kay Smithson of Property Rights Research [here]. And comments by Tim Bailey, Natural Resource Project Planner, Willamette National Forest are [here]. And the comments from the Coalition of Local Governments of Wyoming are [here].

Some excerpts from the W.I.S.E. Comments on the Scope of Analysis for the DEIS [here]:


The biggest threats to forest and grassland health are catastrophic fires that alter ecosystems, destroy forests, and convert forests to fire-type brush. … Those impacts are immediate and also accumulate over the long-term. …

In addition, other threats to forest and grassland health are insect infestations, disease epidemics, and passive-reactive management. Litigation due to over-reliance on the unnecessary National Planning Rule and LRMPs instead of project-by-project EISs is also a major threat to forest and grassland health. …

Forest restoration means active management to bring back historical cultural landscapes, historical forest development pathways, and traditional ecological stewardship to achieve historical resiliency to fire and insects and to preclude and prevent a-historical catastrophic fires that decimate and destroy myriad resource values.

Forest restoration requires active management to remove, through mechanical means and with scientific silviculture, a-historical fuel loadings. Follow-up treatments with prescribed fire are also required, but not until forests are prepared to receive fire without catastrophic results.

Landscape-scale forest restoration is an alteration of the USFS mission. More attention must be paid to restatement of the mission, preferably by Congress. As it stands, the USFS has lost sight of any coherent mission. …

Landscape-scale forest restoration is an alteration of the USFS mission. …

The current Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and the current Chief Forester, Tom Tidwell, have both made public vision statements that specifically incorporate forest restoration as the overriding goal of their respective tenures.

The Planning Rule must state or restate the mission of the USFS. …

In addition to articulation of the mission, to foster restoration the concept of Historical Range of Variability (HRV) must be dropped.

There is no such thing as HRV. Each watershed has a real and specific history. There is nothing random or stochastic about history; it is what really happened. Historical conditions were what they were. There is nothing flexible or malleable about history. It is non-fictional.

The Planning Rule must specify that real landscape history must be studied and elucidated for each planned project. History is an important part of the concept of forest restoration. …

In the case of forests, the previous condition in general was open, park-like, widely spaced trees arrayed in an anthropogenic mosaic of prairies, savannas, fields, and woodlands and maintained by anthropogenic fire. The previous condition was not wilderness but was modified from “natural” by extensive historical human influences intentionally administered by the residents.

The USFS must undertake studies, perform research, convene symposia, and encourage the full and scientific investigation of forest history on a watershed-by-watershed basis within each NFS unit.

The USFS must acknowledge and elucidate the historical human influences that helped to create and maintain historical conditions.

Heritage is not an afterthought; the protection of heritage must be part and parcel of USFS planning and actions. …

more »

Your Story Is Your Brand

Note: I am busy preparing my comments for the National Forest System land management planning rule DEIS. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure and general edification, I highly recommend:

Your Story Is Your Brand

A speech by Jim Petersen, Co-founder and Executive Director, the non-profit Evergreen Foundation

To the Thirty-third Annual National Indian Timber Symposium, Lewiston, Idaho, April 20-23, 2009

which may be viewed [here].

Selected excerpts:

Scientific forestry has been with us for a very long time. Its principles come to us from the Prussian School of Forestry. They were first taught in our country by Bernard Fernow, who set up the old Division of Forestry, which later became the U.S. Forest Service, and Carl Schrenk, who set up the first demonstration forest at Biltmore, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s fabulous country estate in North Carolina. I believe both Fernow and Schrenk were graduates of the Prussian School of Forestry.

But there are much earlier examples of the successful manipulation of land by people in pursuit of civilization’s most basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter. One of them is referenced in the diary of a soldier who was part of the Desoto Expedition that marched the length of Florida in the 1500s. He wrote about the vast corn fields that he observed - part of the highly advanced maize-based culture Indians established along the eastern seaboard in Lord only knows when.

Archeologists were to later discover remnants of water diversion systems in the Southwest, where some of your ancestors irrigated crops hundreds if not thousands of years ago.

Early white explorers also found you using fire to manage your forests - in many ways a tool every bit as efficient as chain saws and mechanical harvesting systems.

Today, we are again using fire in our forests, and some of us think we invented it. Of course, we did not - you did - and I tend to think its modern-day use is as much for political purposes as it is for reasons have to do with the need to remove excess biomass from forests.

Although you ancestors did not have science in the same way we have science today, they were nonetheless very keen observers of nature - and equally important - they were pursuing a goal or objective, which was to feed, clothe and shelter their number by first manipulating nature. …

Somehow, we need to find a way to build on this idea. What passes for forestry on federal lands today is a travesty. Even so, it’s unlikely that the Congress is simply going to hand you the keys to the national forest system. But they might be interested in setting up some very large demonstration projects that you could manage the way you manage your own forests. What if the Colville tribe had the chance to actually manage say, half the Colville National Forest through the next rotation? What if the same opportunity were given to the White Mountain Apache or the Yakama or any other tribe that owns and manages timberland adjacent to a national forest?

Does this idea have any validity? I’d like to think so, but then I am biased in your favor. Be that as it may, I sincerely believe that a side-by-side comparison of what you are doing on your lands with what the government is doing on federal lands would give the public the opportunity they need to decide once and for all which management program yields the results they prefer: yours or the governments. I can’t help but think they’ll like what you do much better than they like what the government is doing.

As you can readily see, there is a lot to think about in the larger context of what branding is, how brands are created and what branding may bring to tribes that own and manage timberland in these United States. Since 1986, we have made it our mission at Evergreen to tell the forestry story in all of its grandeur - and where forestry converges with cultural, historic and spiritual values I know of no grander story than yours.

Always, always, always remember, your story is your brand, and thus a window on your soul. And always remember that where your story is concerned, we will be with you every step of the way.

13 Feb 2010, 11:34am
Forestry education Saving Forests
by admin
leave a comment

Zybach On Alseya

We have presented some important works of Anthropogenic Ecology, the study of historical human influences on the environment, in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: History of Western Landscapes. Today we are pleased to present another seminal work in AE, The Alseya Valley Prairie Complex, ca. 1850: Native Landscapes in Western GLO Surveys by Dr. Bob Zybach [here].

The Alsea [the common spelling, but Alseya is more euphoniously accurate] Valley lies in the Coast Range between Corvallis in the Willamette Valley and Waldport on the Pacific Ocean. The name of the valley refers to the Alsi, or Alseyah, or Alciyeh Indians that were resident there for 4,000 years or more prior to fatal contact with European diseases. The Alseya prairie complex refers to the culturally-modified landscape tended and cared for by the Alseya people over those millennia.

Today Alsea is a typical Oregon rural community, a small town center with rural homes, farms, fields and pastures, and a thick Douglas-fir forest blanketing the hills. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Alsea Valley has been thus for thousands of years, with the exception of the Douglas-fir thicket.

Over past few dozen centuries, the Alseya Valley has been a bustling community with fields and roads, much like today. The Alsi people were traders and merchants, as well as farmers. Their landscape was modified by anthropogenic fire which served to create and maintain an anthropogenic mosaic, a landscape that served the needs of the residents far better than dense forest.

Evidence indicates that in the 1850s, the time of initial White settlement in the area, the Alseya Valley existed as a series of prairies, brakes, balds, openings, patches and meadows connected by a network of foot trails, horse trails, and canoe routes, and bounded by stands of even-aged forest trees, burns, seedlings and saplings. This condition has been described as “yards, corridors, and mosaics” (Lewis and Ferguson 1999). Lewis and Ferguson initially used the phrase to describe a cultural landscape pattern maintained by Native people who lived in the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska, but determined that similar management patterns were also used by people in the conifer forests of the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas, northwest California, western Washington, Australia, and Tasmania (Lewis and Ferguson 1999:164-178). These researchers found that in each instance, fire was the tool most commonly used to establish and maintain grasslands and other openings (“fire yards”), bounded by stands of trees and open transportation routes (“fire corridors”). Fire was also the agent that entered unmanaged forested areas, whether by human cause or lightning, and caused burns that regenerated to a shifting mosaic of evenaged stands of seedlings, saplings, and trees (Lewis and Ferguson 1999:164-165).

more »

Matt Wingard, Climate Realist

Oregon Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) tells it like it is regarding the global warming hoax [here]. It’s nice to see an elected representative with the guts to speak the truth to power. Especially here in Loony Left Oregon, a one-party state.

12 Feb 2010, 5:26pm
Federal forest policy
by admin
leave a comment

Contradicting Missions and the New USFS Planning Rule

Last December the US Forest Service announced their intention to create a new Planning Rule [here]. We presented some guidance, written by NAFSR Exec Dir Darrel Kenops, for drafting comments to assist the USFS in that process [here].

Now we present some excellent comments written by W.I.S.E. member Randy Shipman of Rock Springs, Wyoming. For a pdf version of Mr. Shipman’s comments, click [here].

BTW, comments must be received by February 16, 2010.


February 12, 2010
Forest Service Planning NOI
C/O Bear West Company 172 East 500 South Bountiful, UT 84010
via fspr@contentanalysisgroup.com

Reference: Federal Register/Vol.74, pp 67165-67169 – Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze and disclose potential environmental consequences associated with a National Forest System land management planning rule.


The USDA-USFS has allowed itself to gradually be placed into a contradiction of missions, in part, by purging itself of professional foresters and engineers to make way for a new grand experiment as explained by the Committee of Scientists. Today, the USFS with the aid of the Congress have provided the taxpayer an agency that:

* has not retained workforce expertise to promote and finalize rule promulgations in concert with local affected governments and sometime the public as is consistently proven through the hiring of 3rd party contractors to disseminate information to the public and the agency;

* allows confusion of purpose within its ranks as proven through inconsistent application of planning methodology and/or policy or directive that currently exists between identical forest regimes in adjacent districts or regions;

* provides excuses to the public rather than a system of accountability when USFS actions impact private, local and state real properties;

* knowingly relinquished the charge of the agency’s Organic Administration Act among others in the promulgation of the 2000 36CFR219 rule and associated rules that require consistency with the ill-conceived 36CFR294 Roadless Area Conservation rule promulgation;

* is increasingly becoming a drag on the entire U.S. economy by devastating local forest dependent community stability through internal dictatorial processes that today is purposely leaving local and state governments out of the loop and on the hook to pay for and pick up the pieces of carnage that have followed three decades of USFS attempts to be “responsive to the challenges of climate change; the need for forest restoration and conservation, watershed protection, and wildlife conservation; and the sustainable use of public lands to support vibrant communities.” No one can be entirely certain what that really means, with perhaps the exception of those individuals or organizations who professionally and constantly litigate USFS processes in order to gain easy access to federal government funds rather than address issues found in the Substantive Principles for a New Rule. But then that is a particular matter for the Congress to account.

more »

12 Feb 2010, 1:22am
Forestry education
by admin
1 comment

Another Crack Showing in the Old Paradigm

We have frequently described the New Paradigm in forest science and ecology as the recognition of historical human influences.

Ecology is an historical science, in that it attempts to describe how vegetation and animal populations change over time. The Old Paradigm, which we have called Clementsian [here], holds that ecological dynamics have always been “natural”, at least up until recently, because Modern Man has only recently messed with Mother Nature. Or so the Clementsians say.

In the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: History of Western Landscapes [here], we have presented scientific papers and reviews of books written by the leading proponents of the New Paradigm. They hold that human beings have been modifying vegetation and animal populations for many thousands of years.

For example, the Old Paradigm considers the Amazon Basin to be a wilderness untouched by Man. But intrepid New Paradigm researchers have found mounds, canals, and human-modified soils called terra preta that are evidence of vast Amazonian populations in pre-Columbian times [here, here, here, for instance].

Similarly, the Old Paradigm maintains that the Pacific Northwest was also an untouched wilderness prior to Euro-American settlement. It’s ridiculously a-historical and a-scientific of course, but that’s the myth that has dominated PNW forest science for 80 years. To counter that myth, we have posted numerous papers and book reviews that express New Paradigm findings in the PNW [here, here, here, for instance].

In particular, historical anthropogenic fire gave rise to open, park-like forests, savannas, and prairies [here, here, here, here]. Frequent, seasonal, deliberate, expert, traditional Indian burning created conditions whereby trees could live to old ages, i.e. the old-growth trees extant today [here, here, here, here, for instance].

Sometime we feel like we have beat this drum to the point of boring readers excessively, but truthfully the New Paradigm has not yet supplanted the old one. There have been some notable cracks in the old facade, however [here, here, here, for instance].

Last month another crack appeared, as some Old Paradigmers gingerly dipped their toes in the new waters. A paper was published wherein the old guard finally admitted there might be something to this historical anthropogenic fire after all.

more »

Ecosystem Management and Statist Bureaucracy

Nearly twenty years ago the US Forest Service adopted “ecosystem management” as a primary mission. Ecosystem management is a nebulous term that means whatever they want it to mean, and surprise surprise, it has entailed a massive transfer of power from the individual to the state.

An excellent synopsis of the meaninglessness of the phrase, and of the statist power grab that lies hidden beneath the veneer of “ecosystem management”, may be found in our latest addition to the W.I.S.E. Colloquium, Forest and Fire Sciences [here]

The paper is:

Travis Cork III. 2010. The Fictional Ecosystem and the Pseudo-science of Ecosystem Management. W.I.S.E. White Paper No. 2010-3, Western Institute for Study of the Environment.

This is the third in our new series of White Papers. More are to come.

It has been our practice to place most comments regarding Colloquia papers here at SOS Forests. We don’t wish to clutter the Colloquia with off-topic and less than scholarly comments, but we do encourage your participation in the discussion. So comments on Mr. Cork’s paper should be directed towards this post.

If you have a pertinent scholarly commentary that meets the quality criteria of our Colloquia editors, then we can place it over there. We reserve the right to control placement.

Some excerpts from The Fictional Ecosystem and the Pseudo-science of Ecosystem Management by Travis Cork III:

LAND USE CONTROL has long been the goal of the statist element in our society. Zoning was the first major attempt at land use control. Wetland regulation and the Endangered Species Act have extended some control, but nothing has yet brought about a general policy of land use control. Ecosystem management is an attempt to achieve that end.

In The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts and Terms, A. G. Tansley coined the term “ecosystem.” Tansley rejected the “conception of the biotic community” and application of the “terms ‘organism’ or ‘complex organism’” to vegetation. “Though the organism may claim our primary interest, when we are trying to think fundamentally we cannot separate them from their special environment, with which they form one physical system. It is the systems so formed which, from the point of view of the ecologist, are the basic units of nature on the face of the earth. … These ecosystems, as we may call them, are of the most various kinds and sizes… which range from the universe as a whole down to the atom” 1/

The ecosystem may be the basic unit of nature to the ecologist, that is—-man, but it is not the basic unit to nature. Its proponents confirm that it is a man-made construct. …

The nebulous nature of the ecosystem has not deterred bureaucrats, statist academics, and green advocacy groups (GAGs — The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Audubon, et al.) from pushing it as the basic management unit in nature. …

Lack of a rigid operational definition of an ecosystem gives the designer a blank check. Corruption and exploitation are inevitable. …

Given that Mother Nature does not delineate ecosystems, who will delineate these fictional ecosystems? The answer is obvious, the self-interested elitists in the ruling class. …

Supporters of the fictional ecosystem demand that it be managed. Enter the pseudo-science of ecosystem management. …

A management policy that cannot define its basic unit, the ecosystem, cannot have clear, operational goals. It cannot be based on sound models or understanding at any scale or in any context.

That life is complex is no argument for the ecosystem or ecosystem management, especially by government. No entity is less prepared to deal with complexity or to be adaptable and accountable than bureaucracy. …

Ecosystem management will mean more government control. It will intrude on private property rights. If a justification is to be created using the Constitution, it will result in a further perversion of that document and our long-lost republican form of government. …

The ecosystem management literature is filled with this command-and-control, central planning mentality. Ecosystem management is a process rife with opportunities for exploitation and corruption by government and its allies. …

  • Colloquia

  • Commentary and News

  • Contact

  • Follow me on Twitter

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Meta