New Age Forestry?

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at
Wed Dec 25 17:22:26 EST 2002

lhfotoware at (Larry Harrell) wrote in message news:<7a90c754.0212210820.2e59dc32 at>...
> Comment by poster: Some interesting stuff from one of my old Ranger
> Districts. A pal I worked with in South Carolina just signed on with
> the Boise National Forest there and is in charge of parts of the
> silviculture department in Idaho City. Since the massive 200,000 acre
> Rabbit Creek burn in 1995, Idaho City and the Boise NF have been
> pushing for some kind of "sensible fuels management" and it looks like
> they're implementing it now.
> However, It's not a new idea and I have been pushing it for 10 years.
> Everyone wants fire resistance in our forests but don't see the bigger
> picture of drought resistance. They often go hand in hand and should
> be linked in the treatments. A drought resistant forest should also be
> fire resistant when treatments are complete.
I certainly agree with the bulk of your post, Larry. The one thing
that I would take exception to is the very last statement: "A drought
resistant forest should also be fire resistant when treatments are
complete." The only completely fire-proof forests is one without
trees. That may be one reason why fire is such an important part of
forest management.

I agree completely that thinning forests is a good and necessary
thing. But it is always an on-going operation. Most western forests
west of the Cascades at least need to have several cords (or the
equivalent) removed each year as the forest matures. Removing this
biomass at 10 year intervals may (or may not) harm the forest by
introducing parasitic fungi via the treads of the thinning machinery
commonly used.

Odd thing about forestry: it's just not as sterile as most people
think. And I've yet to see a sterile forest (thank God!).

Daniel B. Wheeler

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