Friday, January 6, 2006

Salvage Logging Counterproductive

A study by Donato et al published online today in Science indicates that post-fire salvage logging may increase short-term fire risk.  This finding is significant enough that I simply provide the "untranslated" abstract.


Post-wildfire Logging Hinders Regeneration and Increases Fire Risk

D. C. Donato 1*, J. B. Fontaine 2, J. L. Campbell 1, W. D. Robinson 1, J. B. Kauffman 3, B. E. Law 1

1 Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
2 Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
3 Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI 96720, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
D. C. Donato , E-mail:


Legislation currently pending in U.S. Congress, HR 4200, would expedite postfire logging projects, citing reforestation and fuels reduction among its goals. To help inform the dialogue, we present data from a study of early conifer regeneration and fuel loads following the 2002 Biscuit Fire, OR, USA, with and without postfire logging. Natural conifer regeneration was abundant after high-severity fire. Postfire logging reduced median regeneration density by 73% and significantly increased downed woody fuels and thus short-term fire risk. Additional fuels reduction is necessary for effective fire risk mitigation. Postfire logging can be counterproductive to stated goals of ecosystem restoration.

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This is an example of comments that I willingly publish although somewhat derogatory.

An interesting tirade in response to a posted scientific article that I did not write or express an opinion on.

I, of course, am not a public servant, but a professor of law at a private university. Fortunately, I truly have the freedom to publish -- something that not everyone would allow our public servants to have.

Posted by: SLS | Feb 1, 2006 6:25:36 PM

Susan -- Your tempest in a cracked legal teapot argument is over whether, on the mere 5 percent of the Biscuit Burn slated for restoration activities, there should be 400 conifer seedlings/acre, or 87. What difference does it make? The whole place is primed to burn again. The Biscuit Burn covered 500,000 acres and included a reburn of the Silver Burn of 1987. What do you think happened to those seedlings? They were killed. The former forest has been converted to fire-type brush, permanently.

There has been no change in the Fire Plan, which was Let It Burn. Enviro-radical lawyers have additionally sued to ban the use of fire retardant. The sprouting brush is more flammable than before. I give that land 7 to 10 more years before the next holocaust, which will be bigger and hotter.

The Kalmiopsis Forest was a heritage forest, shaped by millennia of human interaction. It was a piece of inhabited landscape, a living museum, a legacy from the residents of the past. Now this millennia-old, very special (some would say sacred) forest has been destroyed, wiped of the face of the earth forever, and our legacy lost. Why is there no recognition of this fact from you? Why is there no mourning, or testimony, or monument, or even a memorial service? Is it because you have no understanding of or appreciation for forests?

If you have no comprehension of what was there before, then how worthwhile is your vision for the future forest? Do you desire a well-stocked tree farm? A fire-type brush field? One thing seems evident: you seem to wish for a human-unfriendly wasteland, a de-humanized place, one where people are mostly excluded, a dangerous place, an amoral place.

Destroying priceless heritage forests is inherently bad. Having no conception about what is happening to our forests is also inherently bad, and inherently stupid and incompetent. Your hatred for forests is really a symptom of your own, fundamental disconnection from forests. You don't even know what they are! I doubt that one enviro-radical lawyer or law professor could explain coherently the differences between forests and tree farms.

Let's get one thing straight. You are a public servant, Susan, and I am the public. Get it? You servant, me master. You work for me, I pay your salary, not the other way around. And when you advocate the destruction of my forests, I wish the same towards you.

Goodbye, Susan. Goodbye and good riddance to you.

Posted by: Mike | Jan 30, 2006 11:57:16 AM

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