Biologists Question Decision to Thin Forest

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Daniel Mosquin, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    This is my two cents worth and is not meant to be
    taken as the opinion of anyone else.

    There really is not much to discuss. People, even in positions
    to know better, do not know what all of this entails. People
    talk about environmentalists when most groups that go to
    court suing on behalf of their members in many cases only
    consist of 3-5 members. We are not talking about large
    sized organizations. Larger sized clubs such as the Sierra
    Club or the John Muir Foundation is another matter entirely.

    As one that has been caught in the middle of this issue for
    years let me point out that there are 3 main species of
    Spotted Owl, another one is a subspecies, all grouped into
    one all existing category and that is Spotted Owl. Ask the
    environmentalists which species is the most endangered
    one and you might be surprised with the answer. I know,
    I've been there and done that. The problem with lumping
    all of the species into one generalized heading of Spotted
    Owl is that each species has their own general habitat and
    what is good for one species such as the thinning of the
    dense brush in a forest may be quite injurious to another
    species. Controlled logging is good for one species of
    Spotted Owl and for another it is disastrous.

    It has been my experience that an all inclusive forest
    policy cannot work effectively to do everything we
    want it to do. A selective approach based on each
    individual forest and its needs is a far better method
    to utilize. Let's say that small, controlled burns in the
    Sequoia National Forest to clear out the smaller bark
    beetle killed trees and to open up the under brush is
    our main purpose, knowing full well that the heat from
    the fires will scarify the seeds of the Giant Sequoia
    enabling them to imbibe water and then possibly
    germinate. For that particular forest the goal not only
    can be achieved but may be the right solution for that
    forest. Controlled burns in the Sierra National Forest
    may not work too well as we have many more dwellings
    in and among the outskirts of the forest meaning if we
    do some controlled burns, that the fires can get away
    from us due to warm temperatures and strong winds,
    that we risk causing more trouble than we had hoped
    to initially gain (I hope we learned that lesson in New
    Mexico).

    Forest officials have wanted for years to apply herbicides
    on the under brush which oddly enough is exactly what one
    species of Spotted Owl has shown to benefit from that kind
    of thinning as a result but is it better to clear the brush by
    hand or clear the brush by chemical means and then go in
    and clear it by hand or machine? I'd rather clear the brush
    by hand with no chemicals but be able to do some selective
    brush control or we risk a fire causing widespread damage
    for the short term but can be beneficial for the forests long
    term viability.

    The problem has always been that the people that want
    to protect the forests are never around when there is
    a problem. I know of no current environmentalist
    group sanctioned or funded firemen or strike team
    to help when a forest fire has started. It is the policy
    to make no decision in what to do with our forests
    that cause us the greater risk for the long term. It
    is a matter of do nothing now and pay a greater price
    later than to take preventative steps to help the
    situation for the wildlife and plants we want to try
    to protect, rather than risk some of the wildlife's
    almost certain demise based on a projected major
    fire that no current day environmentalist is willing
    to step forward and help out with in a crisis situation.

    People, we've got to take an active role to help the
    greater good or you and I also will succumb to having
    others that know nothing about our individual forests
    create a policy that will affect each and every forest
    in the US as if the forests were all the same. We
    should know by now that not all of the individual
    forests were or are created equal. All of the forests
    are important to us and to future generations but there
    are specific forests that have greater importance than
    others. Compare an old growth Coastal Redwood
    forest with a Sierra Nevada forest quite a ways from
    Yosemite and then you will know where I am coming
    from.

    Jim
     

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