Nevergreen

The current trajectory of our forests isn’t the beautiful, healthy evergreen forests most people think.  Our National Forests are dying and burning at an alarming rate.  Regardless if you believe in climate change or if it’s human caused, the fact remains that our forests aren’t green.  They stand to get much worse before getting any better.
This story by Chad Hanson highlights the problem between those that want to engage in finding solutions and those who want to create false realities.  I must admit I haven’t read any other of his writings.  This opinion piece makes it seem as though dying forests aren’t a problem and certainly aren’t an indicator of needed change.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-hanson-dead-trees-fires-vilsack-20160627-snap-story.html

These images show what happens when we don’t actively manage forests. Both are next to major open road systems.

Morel mushroom picking is one of the benefits post-fire.  However, a stand replacement fire isn’t necessary for quality mushroom picking conditions.
This is an example of an unhealthy forest with dead and dying debris primed for a stand replacement fire. This forest could be thinned and most likely spared mother nature’s reset button
These are stark examples of why it’s so important for us to come together and solve these problems collaboratively based on shared interests rather than supporting historic positions.   Forests don’t have to die and burn at the current rate, especially where we have roads and agreement on proper management areas.

Let me be clear.  Fires will happen.  Appropriate management won’t eliminate fires, but it will reduce their severity and size.  The safety and effectiveness of firefighters will improve if they are in areas where fuel loads are not unnaturally high.

We need to make serious changes so we can get back to having healthy evergreen forests.

 

4 thoughts on “Nevergreen”

    1. Steve, thanks for weighing in on this. Our family company and our forest collaborative is no stranger to the snag topic. We discuss and target snag retention in the forests that we manage. I don’t think snags are the problem. The problem is too many acres of our forest are in decline due to a combination of factors. In many areas, it is addressed with good collaboratively designed management plans. This management gets the forest back into its historic range of variability.

      Thanks for reading….

  1. Russ, I visited the Sierra and Sequoia National Forests last week. The mortality in ponderosa and sugar pines has to be seen to be believed. The pines are no longer the dominant species in the low and middle elevations — and it will be decades before they recover, if ever.

    Mr. Hanson can no longer claim that there is a deficit of “snag forest habitat.”

    1. Steve, unfortunately, what you have seen in the Sierra’s is going on up and down the forests of the west. It’s more than troubling and showing up in massive fires and dying forests.

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