Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

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By the Los Padres ForestWatch

[Last week], the U.S. Forest Service extended the public comment period for a plan to log large trees and clear native chaparral habitat across 235,000 acres (368 square miles) of Los Padres National Forest. The extension was prompted by widespread opposition and requests from Congress and the public. 

In announcing the 30-day time extension, forest officials rejected calls for a much longer extension and refused multiple requests to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the highest level of environmental review required under federal law.  

The so-called “Ecological Restoration Project” announced last month includes 48,000 acres of logging, grinding, and other vegetation removal across several “treatment units” in addition to 186,000 acres of tree and shrub removal along roads, trails, and in many remote parts of the national forest. The project would allow the use of heavy equipment to log live and dead trees up to two feet in diameter across many forested areas, and larger trees with no diameter limit could be removed across the 186,000 acres of vaguely described “fuel break and defense zones.” If the project moves forward and receives approval from the agency, damaging timber harvest and chaparral removal activities could take place from Mt. Pinos to Pine Mountain, and from Figueroa Mountain to Big Sur without any further site-specific environmental analysis or public notice (interactive map). 

A short 30-day comment period was announced in late July and was scheduled to expire on August 28. Congressman Salud Carbajal submitted a formal request to the Forest Service requesting an extension of the comment period for an additional 90 days to accommodate input by the public and independent experts. The letter also requested preparation of an EIS. 

“With such diversity and immense terrain, an Environmental Impact Statement will provide a more complete analysis and give more opportunities for public comment,” states the request from Congressman Carbajal dated August 11. “It will also provide for a deeper examination related to rare and endemic flora within inventoried roadless areas and potential wilderness areas.” 

Many areas targeted for clearing are currently being reviewed by Congress for protection as wilderness under the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act introduced by Rep. Carbajal and co-sponsored by other local representatives including Rep. Brownley and Rep. Panetta. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month and is awaiting a vote in the Senate as part of a larger legislative package. According to analysis of official mapping data obtained from the agency, about 35,000 acres of the new project overlaps with the new land designations. 

On Wednesday, a letter signed by 71 environmental organizations, museums, and community groups lodged a similar request, and outlined a series of concerns with the project. In addition, in the three weeks since the project was first announced, more than 1,100 people have submitted comments opposing the project. 

“If a project that involves heavy equipment use and intensive native vegetation removal across 235,000 acres—including 56,000 acres of designated critical habitat for federally threatened or endangered species—does not rise to the need for an EIS, then what does?” states the letter from the groups, which also requests a 90-day extension of the comment period and a commitment to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. Groups signing the letter include Los Padres ForestWatch, The Wilderness Society, Chalon Indian Council of Bakersfield, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Wildling Museum, Green Latinos, Environmental Defense Center, Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO), Hispanic Access Foundation, California Native Plant Society, Patagonia, Center for Biological Diversity, Latino Outdoors, Ojai Raptor Center, Keep Sespe Wild, North County Watch, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), Pacific Crest Trail Association, Runners for Public Lands, Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN), and several local chapters of the Sierra Club and Audubon Society.  

Forest officials plan to prepare a less-detailed report called an Environmental Assessment for the project. This “brief” document is not nearly as robust as an EIS, which is typically prepared for projects of this size and scope. 

For nearly 80% of the project area, there is no diameter limit for tree removal. The proposal states that only “some” trees would be retained in these areas. Fuel breaks would be up to 1,500 feet wide depending on the vegetation type, but preliminary analysis of mapping data has revealed that several fuel breaks could be 2,000 to 5,000 feet wide. Researchers have found that fuel breaks are ineffective at limiting the spread of large wildfires, especially under extreme weather conditions such as Santa Ana or sundowner winds. These conditions have been a driving force of some of the region’s largest blazes, such as the 2017 Thomas Fire. 

Scientists and conservation organizations have long advocated that instead of going to backcountry logging and vegetation removal projects, funding should be directed to creating defensible space directly next to homes, retrofitting and building structures with fire-safe materials, and reducing development in the wildland-urban interface. Areas where native trees and shrubs are removed with heavy equipment are also prone to being infested with non-native invasive plants that can increase wildfire risk. 

Officials are accepting public comments on the proposal until September 27. Visit LPFW.org/ERP to easily submit a comment online. 

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Chip of SB Aug 22, 2022 09:50 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

This is crazy! I just can’t believe that so called environmentalist organizations are fighting to make sure this land is all burned down to a moonscape. If they truly cared about saving the habitat for endangered species, why on earth would they advocate for policies that guarantee its destruction? I hope this project can be completed before it’s too late and the next wildfire destroys everything. Time is of the essence here!

Voice of Reason Aug 22, 2022 10:15 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

You've been down this road before Sacjon but as a refresher: our CA forests are not untouched and haven't been for a century. You need to first acknowledge that our forests aren't as nature intended. Fire is a natural part of our forests ecosystem and health. Some trees have even evolved to require fires in order to properly propagate. Our fire suppression practices have led to the very unnatural build up of brush, debris, and overgrowth, which would have been naturally cleared by regular - low intensity/localized fires prior to human intervention. This unnatural build up from constant fire suppression leads to high-intensity fires that not only burn the built up fuel but all the old growth and mature plants/trees along with it but the animal life as well that is simply unable to shelter or outrun the high-intensity fires.

sacjon Aug 22, 2022 10:41 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

VOICE - yeah, yeah you guys keep saying that, but HOW are our forests "touched?" What are the specific "fire suppression" actions that have allowed the forests to overgrow?

If we don't allow logging or other clearing, then how have the forests been "touched?" Have environmentalists been altering the forests in some way?

Chip of SB Aug 22, 2022 12:29 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Sac, prior to about 100 years ago give or take the forest burned frequently. Lightning started fires, and those fires spread freely, often smoldering for months on end. Without roads, train tracks, neighborhoods, and other man made obstacles a fire could spread over tremendous distances and they frequently did. Because the fires occurred often, dead vegetation could not accumulate and little damage was done to large trees. Many species, such as giant sequoias and Monterey cypress adapted to fire and actually depend on it. Seeds from the giant sequoia tree require fire to begin growing. Contemplate that for a moment, fires occurs so frequently for so long that a tree developed an adaptation to only start growing its seeds after a fire cleared out competing vegetation. The native Americans recognized the benefits of fire in the forest and for millennia carried on a tradition of initiating fires. That is illegal today, the us government prohibits Native American tribes from carrying on these ancient traditions with limited exceptions. So what changed, and how did the white man dramatically alter the forest? The idea that fire was bad took hold late in the 19th century. By the early 20th century manpower and technology was used to suppress every fire regardless of the cause. Some say the timber industry was responsible for promoting this misguided policy in an attempt to maximize profits by reducing the amount of timber lost to fire. Regardless of the motivation, the policy was clear. If lightning sparked a fire deep in an inaccessible area, aircraft would fly in “smokejumpers” to quickly suppress it. This was easy at first since it had not been too long since previous fires cleared out the forest. However, as the decades went on the forests changed and drifted further and further from their natural state. The patchwork of trees and meadows that animals had adapted to gage way to an increasingly dense forest, and ladder fuels grew tall and started to threaten large trees, and disease spread more and more rapidly killing more trees and exacerbating the problems. That’s where it stands today. We have reached the limits of man’s ability to continue enforcing fire suppression. Like it or not, nature will prevail and the forests will burn. The question now is what is the best way to transition back to the natural cycle of fire. The answer is to carry out projects like this one as well as dramatically as creasing the amount of planned burns. The native Americans figured this out thousands of years ago, now it’s time the us government catches up.

sacjon Aug 22, 2022 01:38 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

CHIP - thank you for actually providing a mature and informative response. Sad that your little buddy is incapable of reasonable discourse.

So, if I understand correctly, by putting out forest fires, we've altered the forest by allowing fuel to build up. Or, was it the roads and railroads that altered the forests, or both infrastructure and smoke jumpers? If so, what is the remedy? Do we stop fighting forest fires? Remove infrastructure from the forests?

Chip of SB Aug 22, 2022 02:06 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Sac, I think we have a real challenge given the condition of so much of our forest land after decades of fire suppression. I think suppression efforts are primarily to blame for this, but it’s definitely a combination of that and man-made alterations to the landscape blocking the path of fire. Going back to a “let it burn” philosophy would be extremely destructive in many forests since ladder fuels and dead vegetation have accumulated to such a great extent that mature trees would be destroyed. The transition back to fire must be accomplished carefully. In the mariposa grove of giant sequoias, this problem was addressed by going in and thinning out the vegetation around the ancient sequoia trees. As a result of this work, none of the ancient sequoias in the grove were harmed in the recent fire that passed through. I think mechanical thinning and clearing, and in some cases logging, are great ways to thin out the forest and restore it to a more natural state. Controlled burns are also extremely helpful and have been used with great results to help protect the giant sequoias and in many other areas. I believe a combination of mechanical clearing and controlled burns can be used to transition the forests back to a more natural condition and to maintain the forest in as close to a natural condition as possible. This approach will also dramatically reduce the intensity of wildfires and the danger to surrounding communities.

ZeroHawk Aug 23, 2022 11:07 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Sac, this is a dead end argument with Chip and his cronies. They would rather pave over it and open it up to logging, fracking, and development. No matter what logic you present. Facts, data, it will not deter them from further destruction to our natural lands. Brainwashed at best. For centuries we didn't mess with it and it took care of itself just fine. Introduce factories and humans. Look where we are now....

Chip of SB Aug 23, 2022 12:05 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Zero, if your approach to forest management had prevailed in our national parks, the ancient giant sequoia trees in mariposa grove would have all been destroyed by wildfire. The only reason they stand today is because after decades of fire suppression, mechanical thinning and clearing was carried out along with controlled burns to restore the grove to a more resilient natural condition. If we simply leave the forest alone now and let it all burn, there will be nothing left. You can’t stop fire suppression cold turkey after 100 years. The forest needs a transition back to its natural cycle of fire.

Ahchooo Aug 22, 2022 01:21 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

I understand the reasoning behind this proposal. I’m not sure this is the best solution to the problem. Why not specify that large-diameter trees must remain? Why not do a full EIS? I realize the process is expensive, but there may be risk to endangered species. If there isn’t, that should be proven. Seems to me the logging companies want to make money on this deal, and that is understandable, but is it the right thing for the environment?

CoastWatch Aug 22, 2022 05:00 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

- Clearly, our 50 decades of environmentalists hand in forest management has been a failure. Not allowing control burns and natural lightening burns have made our forests overgrown with more trees and undergrowth per acre than, in some areas, 150 yrs ago (namely the Tahoe Basin ). Wildland fires are becoming conflagrations that scorch mineral earth hot enough to sterilize the soil rather than provide nutrients to medium and old growth trees. We need aggressive forest fuel management, especially near interface areas.

Sun Aug 22, 2022 09:48 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

How much is this about creating access to the Oil and Fracking leases, see maps, view overlap ...might this be the rush in not wanting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Proposed logging Map
https://forestwatch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/sidebar/index.html?appid=bc79b99c114d4bd98669e06a474b1f7a

Drilling and leasing licenses
https://forestwatch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=96d9c40f4bdb48c880d19fb8d1229bc7

Sun Aug 22, 2022 10:33 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

If the Los Padres Forest Watch could combine the fracking and oil leasing layer with the proposed logging map into one interactive map ,we'd get a better picture how the forest clearing relates to road access in and out to fracking and oil leases . This might be why they don't want an EIS, it would show the Enviromental Impact to the habitat from the fracking and oil leases....

Los Padres Forest Watch can you please update with a new interactive map which includes both maps below, thank you!

Proposed logging Map
https://forestwatch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/sidebar/index.html?appid=bc79b99c114d4bd98669e06a474b1f7a

Drilling and leasing licenses map
https://forestwatch.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=96d9c40f4bdb48c880d19fb8d1229bc7

SBTejano Aug 23, 2022 05:51 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

More left wing propaganda spread by the very predictable cast of liars. Even going as far as interjecting race (Green Latinos?) into their tangled web? Has anyone ever calculated the amount in metric tons of carbon which is spread into the atmosphere from unplanned, uncontrolled fires? How were forests managed as little as 150 years ago? Exactly!
As for Carbajal, try focusing on doing your job, worrying less about endangered bugs and more about lowering energy costs for working constituents by fracking on federal lands!
That’s right, get off your ass and get to work improving the lives of people you claim to care about instead of greasing your palms by these environmental, green shakedown artists!
Wait, hold on…I thought the Department of Interior was controlled by the Biden administration?

ZeroHawk Aug 23, 2022 10:52 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

keep your lame politics out of this. this is about man interfering in nature. this all came about due to your weird ex president claiming we need to rake the forests. no we do not. we need to leave it alone. fires? yes its part of nature. in fact some trees require fire in order to spread it's seeds. there are also hundreds of things that live there. You do not.

haskelslocal Aug 23, 2022 08:31 AM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

This is like hording. For years the garage fills up with stuff. People think it's okay because there's no problem. Then it becomes a fire hazard and harbors rats. Then a "solver" comes by and just wants to throw it all away. But Johnny wants his baseball cards buried in the back. Salud then hires a team of consultants who assign a team of "diverse and inclusive" pickers to map out and plan an entry path to retrieve the cards. In come the hazmat suit team to prepare an agenda of what may or may not work. Johnny realizes before the entire thing is tossed out, he may just have to sneak in after midnight to get his gosh darn cards. Salud comes in for a photo op and ribbon cutting next to the mailbox.

Sun Aug 23, 2022 12:16 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

****The quickest way to kill a forest is to cut down trees and the network of information and resources they provide. The quickest way to increase climate change is to destroy a carbon sink found in biodiverse soil.***

Mycelium and mycorrhizal networks transfer water, nutrients, and information between trees. These networks are a key part of the forest ecosystem and help our forests thrive.
https://www.betterplaceforests.com/about-who-we-are/

Mycelium is made up of tiny threads that bore into tree roots and grow into large networks. These networks are called mycorrhizal networks

Through these networks, trees in the forest exchange water and valuable nutrients with one another. They have a symbiotic relationship with the fungi, which retain some carbon and sugars for their own growth.
https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2435.12208

Trees living near one another transfer water and nutrients to one another through mycorrhizal networks. The older, more established trees in the network are called “hub trees” or “mother trees.”
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mother-trees-are-intelligent-they-learn-and-remember/

Their roots go deeper into the soil, which means they have access to even more resources to pass to other trees. Research also shows that trees “talk" to each other by sending chemical signals through mycorrhizal networks. They can send and detect distress signals, and send resources to trees in need.

Mycelium and the mycorrhizal networks that they create are integral to a healthy forest.

Good for Tree Health
It was previously believed that trees created all of their food through photosynthesis. However, research on the mycorrhizal networks revealed a woodwide web through which trees pass and receive water, carbon, sugar, and other valuable nutrients. If a tree has additional resources that it doesn’t need, they are absorbed by the mycelium at its roots. A tree in poor health can then access those excess nutrients through the mycelium network.

They promote the growth of new trees
Sharing of resources can be particularly beneficial for young trees. Saplings in the understory have limited access to sunlight, an essential part of photosynthesis. In the absence of enough light, mycorrhizal networks allow saplings to receive food from established trees with plenty of access to sunlight.

Help protect trees from threats
Chemical signals that trees send through the mycelia help protect against threats. If a tree is being attacked by an invasive species, pest or disease it may send out distress signals and information. For example, in the case of insect herbivores, trees can produce chemicals that are harmful to the pests, or compounds that will attract their natural predators.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3493419/

They play an important role in processing carbon

Mycorrhizal fungal networks are a major global carbon sink. When we destroy them, we sabotage our efforts to limit global heating
Soil is a natural carbon sink, similar to plants and oceans. Mycorrhizal networks process carbon that is brought in by trees. They capture large amounts of carbon and retain it in the soil. Keeping more carbon out of our atmosphere.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128043127000024
State of knowledge of soil biodiversity - Status, challenges and potentialities

https://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb1928en
There is increasing attention to the importance of biodiversity for food security and nutrition, especially above-ground biodiversity such as plants and animals. However, less attention is being paid to the biodiversity beneath our feet, soil biodiversity, which drives many processes that produce food or purify soil and water. This report is the result of an inclusive process involving more than 300 scientists from around the world under the auspices of the FAO’s Global Soil Partnership and its Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, and the European Commission. It presents concisely the state of knowledge on soil biodiversity, the threats to it, and the solutions that soil biodiversity can provide to problems in different fields. It also represents a valuable contribution to raising awareness of the importance of soil biodiversity and highlighting its role in finding solutions to today's global threats.

Why do mycorrhizal networks need to be protected?

It’s clear how fundamental mycorrhizal networks are to forest health. Sadly, changes to environments largely driven by humans pose a threat to their existence. Deforestation and chemical pesticides can all severely damage and disrupt mycorrhizal networks. This has a knock-on effect on all the trees and wildlife in the surrounding area. And of course, it hampers the networks’ abilities to absorb carbon. This is just another reason why it’s so important to nurture and protect our forests.

Next time you’re in the forest, take a moment to think about the amazing mycelium network beneath your feet. Amidst the peace and quiet, the forest floor is a hive of activity, working hard to make the forest the beautiful place it is. Take a breath and appreciate this natural wonder that’s sustained our forests for thousands of years and will continue helping them thrive in years to come.

Chip of SB Aug 23, 2022 03:28 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Thinning and selectively logging this large area will not remove all the trees and vegetation and will not increase the risk of a mudslide. Doing nothing and allowing a wildfire to burn this area down to nothing will drastically increase the risk of a mudslide. The risk of flash flooding, mud, and debris flows is yet another reason why completing this type of project is so important.

Sun Aug 23, 2022 05:15 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

@ Chip of SB....think again if logging does not cause mudslides...a mulslide happened on Dec 11, 2011 in Northwest Oregon...previously clear cut by Oregan State University Department of Forestry. This gets worse the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) the Federal Agency that Manages Forests in Oregon increased clear cutting of all Old growth Forests on 2.6 Million acres of land in creasing 700% known as the Western Oregon Plan Revision.
Watch video of mudslide
https://oregonwild.org/forests/learn-about-oregons-forests/logging-landslides

Mature and old-growth logging sale undermines Biden climate policy; threatens McKenzie River, habitat
Old Growth Forests are under attack...
https://oregonwild.org/about/press/mature-and-old-growth-logging-sale-undermines-biden-climate-policy-threatens-mckenzie

Sun Aug 23, 2022 05:32 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Compelling evidence' logging native forests has worsened Australian bushfires, scientists warn
https://ecoese.com/en/p/compelling-evidence-logging-native-forests-has-worsened-australian-bushfires-scientists-warn

“Beyond the direct and immediate impacts on biodiversity of disturbance and proximity to disturbed forest, there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability,” the scientists write.

They suggest a number of responses to reduce the risk of further catastrophic fire seasons, including the “removal of logging from areas where it adds considerably to fuel loads and creates forest structures that increase fire severity and risks to human safety”.

Instead, he said governments needed to confine timber supply to plantations and look at ways to accelerate the industry transition in states such as Victoria, which plans to phase out native forest logging by 2030.

“Logging causes a rise in fuel loads, increases potential drying of wet forests and causes a decrease in forest height,” he said.
Australia’s natural disaster preparedness is currently being examined by the bushfires royal commission.

It changes forest composition and leaves these areas of forest both hotter and drier, they say.

chico berkeley Aug 23, 2022 05:42 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Sun-Stop equating Oregon and Washington forest management to what is going on here.
It is not the same, but you keep trying to educate people here with your cut and paste knowledge that has almost nothing too do with OUR forest here.
Are those 2 states considered a coastal desert?
NO.
Well, we are.
The Indians knew how to take care of this and they didn't learn anything from tribes in the northwest.
You are talking rainforest science and that is like comparing apples to asphalt.

Sun Aug 23, 2022 06:03 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

So in actuality, the U.S. Forest Service Plan to log large trees and clear native chaparral habitat across 235,000 acres (368 square miles) of Los Padres National Forest WILL CREATE MORE SEVERE FIRES.
They plan to remove an areas 19 times the size the City of Santa Barbara.

Logging and thinning of forests can INCREASE FIRE RISK.

https://news.griffith.edu.au/2021/02/10/logging-and-thinning-of-forests-can-increase-fire-risk/#:~:text=Logging%20and%20thinning%20of%20forests%20can%20increase%20fire,
while%20%E2%80%98mechanical%20thinning%E2%80%99%20can%20also%20increase
%20fire%20risk.
The review used the data and findings of 51 peer-reviewed studies, including those that compared how hot or severe fire burned in different areas during the same fires, to assess the impact logging has on bushfires.

“The data shows that forest regrowing after logging burned more severely than unlogged forest during Black Saturday 2009,”

The lack of canopy following logging also results in increased drying of the young plants and soil by the sun and wind, and greater wind speeds on days with extreme fire danger

Native forest logging increases the severity at which forests burn, beginning roughly 10 years after logging and continuing at elevated levels for another 30+ years

Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of the Griffith Climate Action Beacon, said while the key contributor to a greater severity of bushfires was climate change, the science indicated that previously logged forest burned hotter than unlogged and old growth forest during fires.

“The data shows that forest regrowing after logging burned more severely than unlogged forest during Black Saturday 2009,” Professor Mackey said.

“The relationship between the forest having been logged and how severely it burns during a fire is quite clear,” Dr Taylor said.

Professor David Lindenmayer AO, from the Climate Change Institute, stated the link between fire severity and logging had been found in global studies, such as in the US and Patagonia, as well as locally in Australia.

Sun Aug 23, 2022 06:14 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

Remember Paradise , the town that burned down to the ground.....

U.S. ‘Forest Thinning’ Masks Logging, Increases Wildfire Intensity
https://www.theenergymix.com/2021/08/31/u-s-forest-thinning-masks-logging-increases-wildfire-intensity/

The U.S. Forest Service promotes forest thinning to manage fires, but an expert ecologist says the practice is a euphemism for logging—and makes fires worse.

“Wildfires can always turn tragic, but the greater tragedy in…Paradise, which was largely destroyed during the 2018 Camp Fire, and other towns is that they put their faith in logging operations miles away rather than proven, community-based fire prevention measures,” writes Chad Hanson, an ecologist with the John Muir Project, in a post for Grist.

Hanson says Greenville, a town that burned in California’s recent Dixie Fire, was one of several to join together in a pro-logging consortium in the 1990s. The group petitioned Congress to initiate pilot projects to slow wildfires by creating fuel breaks through forest thinning. In theory, thinning creates buffers between forests and towns by removing trees that would otherwise feed flames. The practice allows companies to continue harvesting trees, and theoretically avoids the negative consequences of logging by providing better forest management.

But forest thinning makes fires burn brighter and hotter, Hanson explains. Mature forests reduce fire intensity because they have higher canopies, more shade, less wind, and greater moisture and water retention.

“Thinning and other activities that remove trees, especially mature trees, reverse those effects, creating hotter, drier, and windier conditions,” he explains.

The U.S. Forest Service—which, says Hanson, has a primary mandate for “selling public trees to private logging companies”—developed the term forest thinning in the 1990s in response to negative public perceptions of logging. Since then, he contends, the term has nearly replaced any reference to logging in much discussion, and politicians have thrown funding into supportive research for forest thinning as a management tool.

Now, the government response to the ongoing wildfires is to continue investing in forest thinning and other practices to remove “fuel” from forestland. Provisions in the recently-passed bipartisan infrastructure package in the U.S. “increase taxpayer subsidies for the logging, forest biomass incineration, and wood pellet industries by billions of dollars,” Hanson writes.

“They also include extreme rollbacks of bedrock environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, to facilitate widespread logging on public and private lands.”

Much lower-quality logged wood is incinerated in biomass facilities, emitting more CO2 per energy unit than burning coal, he adds. Biomass facilities also release large quantities of toxic particulates that disproportionately affect vulnerable communities, raising environmental justice concerns.

For Hanson, the evidence suggests the U.S. Fire Service should stop its current management strategies. Instead of funding “chainsaws and bulldozers in the forest”, he says governments should direct dollars to “home hardening” techniques that reduce properties’ flammability.

“We’ve seen one historic, thriving mountain town after another destroyed by fires in recent years,” he writes. “It’s almost entirely avoidable and preventable if we focus directly on community protection.”

ParvoPup Aug 23, 2022 07:29 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

I wondered how long before one of you referred to that huckster Chad Hanson - the most hated person by any grunt that works for CalFire or the Forest Service. He and his attorney wife seem to live to file very profitable lawsuit after lawsuit to block any and all attempts to mitigate wildfire in this state.

Under the guise of saving animals or saving diversity, this clown blocks any and all attempts to clear, thin, rake, lift, cut or manage any part of any forest. His merry band of pranksters fought the Bass Lake Ranger district for years to block thinning projects supposedly to save the Pacific Fisher.

Meanwhile, the forest along the Minarets Byway became choked with trash trees and saplings, over grown, a bomb waiting to go off. Then two bombs exploded - the French Fire followed four years later by the Creek Fire. Two of the biggest fires in state history turned hundreds of thousand of acres into toohpicks. Nothing taller than grasses now grow in that area. Maybe one tree per acre survived, and that's being generous.

As for the Pacific Fisher, and the deer and the black bear and the hundreds of other species that lived in that area - they are gone. I can drive 40 miles of the byway to get to my cabin and only see lowland birds that have moved into the area that more resembles the foothills of Fresno than it does the forests of the Sierra. So much for saving wildlife. The huggers still stuck in the mindset of the 1970's have turned the forests into savannas.

Sun Aug 23, 2022 10:42 PM
Widespread Opposition to Clearing & Logging Project Prompts Extension of Comment Period

@ParvoPup
The Creek Fire began September 4, 2020, near Shaver Lake, California was declared 100% contained on December 24, 2020. Shaver Lake is an artificial lake on Stevenson Creek, in the Sierra National Forest of Fresno County, California. At elevation 5,500 ft (1,700 m), several smaller streams also flow into the lake, and it receives water from the tunnels of Southern California Edison's Big Creek Hydroelectric Project.

In 1917 Southern California Edison purchased the lake which had been owned by the Fresno Flume and Lumber Company for transporting lumber down to the San Joaquin Valley. The lake was formed with the construction of Shaver Lake Dam, which was built by Southern California Edison and completed in 1927. The 180-foot dam was built in 50-foot (15-m) blocks, with a keyway to hold it in place and a 75-centimeter (30-inch) copper sheet to make it watertight. Its capacity is 135,283 acre⋅ft (166,869 dam3). Some water from the lake is discharged into Stevenson Creek for fish and other wildlife, but the rest is diverted to Big Creek, where it powers several hydroelectric plants in succession.

The area now covered by the lake was extensively logged before the dam was built, and an extensive log flume system several miles long was constructed to bring logs down the mountain. The town to this day maintains a nostalgic logging theme. Several buildings in town are in fact old, converted sawmills. Adjacent to the lake is Camp Edison, built and operated by SCE

The French Fire was a wildfire that burned near Shirley Meadows west of Lake Isabella in Kern County, California in the United States during the 2021 California wildfire season. The fire was initially reported on Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The area was inhabited for millennia by the indigenous Tübatulabal and Owens Valley Paiute. Gold was discovered nearby in 1853, leading to a gold rush and the founding of Keyesville. The 1863 Keyesville massacre occurred a few miles north. The town of Isabella was founded by Steven Barton in 1893 and named in honor of Queen Isabella of Spain while her name was popular during the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Lake Isabella was created in 1953 by a dam on the Kern River, forcing the town to move about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the original site

The dam's reservoir also inundated the original site of Kernville. Like Isabella, it was relocated, along with several of its historic buildings, to higher ground.

Shaver Lake lies 161 miles from Kern River Oil Field Yielding a cumulative production of close to 2 billion barrels (320,000,000 m3) of oil by the end of 2006, it is the third largest oil field in California, after the Midway-Sunset Oil Field s a large oil field in Kern County, San Joaquin Valley, California in the United States. It is the largest known oilfield in California and the third largest in the United States.

The field was discovered in 1894, and through the end of 2006 had produced close to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of oil. At the end of 2008 its estimated reserves amounted to approximately 532 million barrels (84,600,000 m3), 18% of California's estimated total.
Shaver Lake is 185 miles from Midway-Sunset Oil Field.
The oil field runs southeast to northwest, with a length of approximately 20 miles (30 km) and a width of 3 to 4 miles (5 to 6 km), from east of Maricopa to south of McKittrick, paralleling the Temblor Range to the southwest. Most of the oil field is in the Midway Valley and the northeastern foothills of the Temblor Range.
While the Midway-Sunset field is a large contiguous area covering more than 30 square miles (80 km2), it comprises 22 identifiable and separately-named reservoirs in six geologic formations, ranging in age from the Pleistocene Tulare Formation (the most recent geologically, the closest to the surface, and the first to be discovered), to the Temblor Formation, of Miocene age (the oldest, and one of the last to be discovered).

While the pollution impacts from Midway Sunset oil production have not been as carefully examined, similarities between the composition of oil sands and Midway Sunset’s complex oil raise local air quality concerns. Nearby Bakersfield is home to the highest rates of particulate pollution in the nation, according to a 2016 American Lung Association report.

Refining heavy oils like Midway Sunset use coking processes to reject the excess carbon and turn these oils into more gasoline and diesel. These deep conversion refineries have high particulate emissions that are directly released into the surrounding atmosphere. The California Air Resource Board has recently proposed emission reduction goals aimed in part to reduce pollution in nearby communities over health concerns.

Extracting a barrel of Midway Sunset is estimated to release 180 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (kg CO2 eq./bbl crude), making this field one of the highest-emitting oils produced in the state. Through the end of 2006 had produced close to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of oil
, we are now in 2022.

While you unjustly try to blame the Fires on one person, multiple mitigating factors are at work, climate change, pollution, Ecosystems being pushed to the brink, a severe drought from 2011-2017 followed by the bark beetle infestation.

Logging forests are only going to make them drier and more susceptible to disease and then fires. If anything, we need to make forests retain more moisture, increase canopy to create more shade and thereby increase moisture, increase biodiversity which maintain the forests , protect Mycelium and mycorrhizal networks which transfer water, nutrients, and information between trees. These networks are a key part of the forest ecosystem and help our forests thrive. It's the fungi that decompose dead trees and return the nutrients to the soil to feed the forest. Healthy soils are huge part of healthy forests, the soils are huge carbon sinks, as are oceans, wetlands, etc....We need to increase water corridors.
Are best solutions are to mimic nature.
The Ocean,Wetlands, Lakes, Rivers, Streams, Forests, Fungi, biodiversity all work symbiotically together to manage all life filtering water, providing food, oxygen, managing weather which grant us opportunity to create jobs, have an economy, and provide security. Right now the balance is off, we are producing far too much C02 and pollution for the system to manage properly.

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