Thinning on the Angeles National Forest

Ian St. John istjohn at
Sat Feb 21 13:05:21 EST 2004

"Le Messurier" <dlemessurier at> wrote in message
news:116731df.0402210840.10f317e at
> RE: The lawsuit over the Kaibab N F "North Rim" Project:
> Trees over 3-4 inches DO pose a threat!  If they're dense enough.  It
> isn't diameter that makes the threat, it is DENSITY.  The "natural" or
> pre-setllement forest had as many as 60 trees per acre.  Today, there
> are as many as 1000 trees per acre in some places.  Go here for more
> information on forest restoration:

I looked at it. The 'was' and 'is'. Your claim that the is has 17 times as
many trees does not pass the giggle test. In fact, this timber propaganda
site doesn't seem to have any facts at all, just opinions promoting the new
'fire sale' of timber right. I'm disappointed. I would have expected this
from Larry.

> Fact: Old growth trees are more fire resistent so that's why so many
> fewer of them are thinned out.

And it is low intensity fires that clear the understory and small diameter
trees, as is being pursued in the rest of the forest ( without the virgin
timber). One factor not noted is that local rainfall has a serious role in
detemrining the intensity of fires. Drought condtions can lead to even old
growth burning.

> Fact: The 398 trees of 24 inch or more diameter represent LESS THAN 1
> PERCENT of this diameter tree in the 7500 acres.  The total number of
> 24 inch+ trees in the same 7500 acres is approximently 120,000.

Supporting documentation? I've looked at
Table nine suggests 5.4*7500 = 40,500 trees > 24" dbh, not 120,000. However,
this is the east rim,not the 'virgin' north.

Note: I am not a hardass here. I play the rebutter in posts from Larry
because he is so obviously promoting timber sales, not forest management,
and never supports a word he says.

> Fact: The 24+ inch trees plus a good number of other smaller dbh trees
> are being removed not for reasons of density but because of serious
> misteltoe infestation. (If you don't know anything about Dwarf
> Mistletoe go here:

That was never mentioned. Why? Is it the fact that dwarf mistletoe is
normally kept in check by the periodic low intensity brush fires that are
being suppressed?

"Less intense fire can beneficially reduce dwarf mistletoe by scorching
infected areas of the lower crown and is most likely the primary limiting
factor of this parasitic plant in a naturally functioning system."

The key here being 'naturally funcitioning' which logging does not
necessarily help.

> Fact: The 7500 acres subject to the thinning is part of a total
> project of 17,000 acres. The remaining 56% will be treated with
> controlled burns and other methods of brush removal.

No logging roads? Pity..

> Fact: Due to the remotness of the North Rim it was never logged.  The
> over growth has be due to fire suppression and some cattle grazing in
> earlier years.

Virgin timber! No wonder they want in..

> I hope these facts will help you better understand what this and other
> thinning projects are about.  In most dry forest types there shoould
> NEVER be a catastrophic wildfire.  They are unnatural.  Natural fires
> burn on the ground. Ponderosa forests do not regenerate after a
> catastrophic wildfire. The removal of ladder fuels, as well as other
> unatural growth, is essential to save this and many other forest
> types.

"The normal fire return interval in ponderosa pine is 2-10 years, but
research indicates optimum fuel loading for a low intensity burn is probably
closer to 4 years.

This has been much more credible than Larry's rants, but you haven't given
much of any facts or references to prove your points. The mistletoe should
be suppressed by fire and I cannot believe that all these large diameter
trees are infected.

The question really revolves around:

Can environmental protection and preservation of natural ecosystems co-exist
with a capitalism ( exploitation ) driven economy? The evidence that the
bias is towards exploitation here is rather strong.  The fire suppression
that created the problem was driven by the timber industry and the current
drive to 'reduce fuel loads' is driven by the timber industry and..

You really need to protect the national forests from the pressure to
exploit. It is just too easy to make up a 'rationale' rather than a reason
and use it to justify anything.

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