Forest thinning helps reduce fires

Lloyd Parker lparker at NOSPAM.emory.edu
Mon Sep 16 12:23:16 EST 2002


In article <7a90c754.0209150521.cad7426 at posting.google.com>,
   lhfotoware at hotmail.com (Larry Harrell) wrote:
>September 13, 2002   Idaho Statesman
>
>Stefany Bales: Forest thinning helps reduce fires


And killing off people would help reduce cancer.

>
>
>In the wake of President Bush´s recent call to begin thinning our
>forests to reduce wildfire risk, some of the country´s most outspoken
>environmental groups are crying foul as loud as they can.
>
>Unfortunately, groups like the Sierra Club have lost focus and now
>find themselves on the wrong side of a desperate battle to save our
>national forests.
>
>The Sierra Club and others say Bush´s Healthy Forests Initiative,
>unveiled in Oregon recently, is a timber industry plot to log old
>trees, take the profits and run. They claim that Bush is using 
Western
>catastrophic wildfires to open up vulnerable forests to the mercy of
>the chainsaw. The plan to thin our forests is nothing more than the
>Republican administration caving to the narrow interests of powerful
>lobbies, they say.
>
>They´re wrong. And few are listening to their criticism in this 
summer
>of dying forests and burning homes. What forest-management opponents
>say just doesn´t add up to people who look out their windows to see
>vast forests clearcut by wildfire where beautiful, old-growth forests
>once stood.
>
>The problem &#8212; overcrowded, stressed forests &#8212; is
>widespread. Near Flagstaff, Ariz., a city surrounded by the largest
>contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world, there are now 3,000
>trees growing per acre where 20 to 50 trees used to grow. Many of
>those trees are very small, unnaturally so because of overcrowding.
>And many of those trees are fairly large, their tops touching,
>creating an unbroken web of green for miles and miles, a perfect
>environment for a killing crown fire.
>
>The issue is not what we take off the land &#8212; rather it´s what 
we
>leave behind. The argument that all we want to do is take the big
>trees is ridiculous. What we want are forests that are healthy and
>well-spaced enough to survive the next fires that will surely come.
>
>There is consensus on the solution. Somebody has to cut a lot of 
those
>trees down and either sell them or get rid of them some other way if
>our forests are to survive. Some environmental groups say we should
>thin only the forests around houses and communities, and sacrifice 
the
>vast wild forests in the backcountry.
>
>But the forests in the backcountry are the ones that protect
>endangered plants and animals and provide shade streams for 
threatened
>fish. Those are the forests that give sanctuary to all creatures,
>including humans weakened from too much civilization. How does it 
make
>sense to abandon them to fire when we can protect them and the
>communities that have grown up around them?
>
>Instead of suing the Forest Service and throwing obstacles in front 
of
>any effort to make thinning our forests possible, the Sierra Club and
>their partners have a real opportunity to join with us to make sure
>the work gets done right and soon. The timber industry is not the
>enemy here. In fact, this debate really has nothing to do with us. At
>issue is how we ensure that our national forests are alive and 
growing
>into the next century.
>
>While we cannot and should not exclude fire from the environment, we
>can and must re-create conditions that allow our forests to thrive
>with fire. We remain committed to doing what we can to make that a
>reality.
>
>Comment by poster: This seems to be an opinion from an industry
>representative. A valid question seems to me is: Will they bid on
>projects that barely make them money while removing that small
>diameter biomass? There IS a danger that the USFS will offer these
>kind of projects and no one will bid on them. If that happens,
>everyone loses, again. To me, the ideal situation is to include 
barely
>enough of the worst medium-sized trees, in order to make sure the
>sales sell. What also is needed is a new economic revolution in the
>timber industry. Monopolies must be broken up to increase competition
>for the valuable timber. If we're going to harvest, we might as well
>get the full value of the timber. Also, should ALL timber receipts go
>back into the Forests from which they were collected? Should county
>schools continue to get funds from their local forest harvests?
>
>Larry



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