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View Diary: OR-Sen: Senate Budget Committee Passes Merkley (D) Amendment To Create Jobs in Overgrown Forests (21 comments)

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  •  overgrown forests (2+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest, marina

    that might be a myth. I'm not sure if scientific evidence supports that cutting back forests really reduces the incidence of forest fires.
    Controlled burns may help, but that does have risk associated with it.

    This article about jobs in overgrown forests? Yeah it seems to be a gift to the timber industry. Yay.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 03:13:51 PM PDT

    •  of course (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      they're also deliberately planted too close together.  They were intended to be a cash crop, all the talk of multi-use forestry be damned.

      Your end of the Constitution is sinking.

      by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 03:32:21 PM PDT

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      •  We planted trees 9 feet apart (0+ / 0-)

        when I worked for the Forest Service. They were expected to be a fifty-year crop. Just fyi.

        My worry about this act is that somehow there will be reasons found to take out good healthy trees instead of the dead and dying and the small trees that might act as tinder.

        The thing is, the only thing that will help the small mills come back to life is the logging of healthy or (in the case of beetle-killed) at least salvageable trees.

        •  yeah, that's the point (1+ / 0-)
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          marina

          if you plant them that close together they need to be thinned after twenty or thirty years, which means taking out healthy trees.

          Your end of the Constitution is sinking.

          by happymisanthropy on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 07:13:25 PM PDT

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        •  There is nothing evil about eventually (1+ / 0-)
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          marina

          harvesting timber unless you advocate living in buildings made from steel, concrete, plastics, or other non-renewable resources. The National Forests were established in part to supply lumber mills with timber because Roosevelt and his forester Gifford Pinchot feared peak timber the way we now fear peak oil (and with good reason). The idea behind the National Forests, until recently, has always been (ideally) sustainable timber production.

          Most forest regeneration after fires or other disturbances, like windstorms, takes place naturally, not through planting. The hill across the canyon from me burned in 1994 and is coming back naturally in lodgepole pine. The trees are so closely spaced that you can't walk between them (natural lodgepole regeneration has produced instances of as many as 300,000 trees per acre - it's left as a mathematical exercise for the reader to figure out how close together those trees are).

          My acreage, which also burned in places in 1994 and just missed it last September, has natural reproduction too, although not as dense as the lodgepole. If I didn't thin that regrowth over the years, instead of a few trees now 30 feet tall and 6 inches in diameter, I'd have lots of trees 2 feet tall and an inch in diameter - which I suppose looks like a forest if you're half-an-inch tall.

          Dense forests don't support much wildlife. Excessive tree densities crowd out most food sources - deers, bear and other mammals don't rely much on trees as a food source, and even carpenter ants or beetles live in trees, but don't eat them. A mule deer or elk buck with a good set of antlers isn't going to go anywhere near a forest I can't even walk through. And when the next fire passes through, it's going to jump instantly from tree to tree, rather than staying on the ground between the trees and leaving the trees pretty much alone.

          Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

          by badger on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:00:15 PM PDT

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    •  Might be a myth? Not hardly (1+ / 0-)
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      Oh Mary Oh

      The first error you've made is that reducing the incidence of forest fires is a desirable goal. It's not. Fire is an integral part of western US ecosystems, as necessary as water and sunlight to forest health.

      How frequently fire occurs is a function of climate and forest type. Where I live, the archaeological record indicates that prior to about 1860, large fires occurred on the average of every 3 to 7 years in most places.

      What's different is that with frequent fires, fuel loads are substantially reduced. Lower fuel loads means that fires are lower intensity. Most common US forest types - pines, firs, oaks, elms, sequoia, redwood - have thick bark that allows them to survive low intensity fires at the same time eliminating other plants that compete for water, nutrients and light. In addition, fire recycles the nutrients into the soil.

      The overgrown forests, that I live in and you think "might be a myth" (but have no evidence to support your supposition, while I can take you out and show you what overgrown vs. healthy forest looks like) support high intensity fires, most often crown fires, that can only be attacked indirectly and consequently grow to large acreage. Additionally, high intensity fires kill trees (as above, low intensity fires don't) and sterilize the soil, killing bacteria and mychorrizae needed for almost any kind of plant growth in granitic soils with little organic matter content (which is what many forests are).

      It's sad that your kind of ill-informed opinions not only reduce job prospects in rural areas where jobs are sorely needed right now - jobs doing actual restoration work, not logging - and also harm forests and leave them in a state more likely to lead to destruction than regeneration.

      Please educate yourself about forests and fire ecology.

      Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

      by badger on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:49:12 PM PDT

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