Key findings from the synthesis were:
Efforts to promote resilience of socioecological systems increasingly consider the interaction of social values and ecological processes in pursuit of long-term mutual benefits and social learning for local communities and larger social networks.
Research indicates that strategic placement of treatments to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and to restore fire as an ecosystem process within fire sheds can lower the risk for undesirable social and ecological outcomes associated with uncharacteristically large, severe, and dangerous fires, which include impacts to wildlife species of concern, such as the fisher and California spotted owl.
Science generally supports active treatment in some riparian and core wildlife zones to restore fire regimes. However, adaptive management, including experimentation at large landscape scales, is needed to evaluate which areas are priorities for treatment and what levels of treatment produce beneficial or neutral impacts to wildlife species and other socioecological values over long periods.
Yep, this is what we are already doing on my Ranger District. It is always important to focus on what we are leaving, rather than what is being removed. We still have longstanding limitations of protecting old growth and a ban on clearcutting. The picture is an example of salvage logging just six months after completion.
This picture is located within the Cedar Breaks National Monument, where conifer mortality is quite excessive. There is really not much that can be done with this situation, other than spending lots of money to fell, pile and burn. Within the Dixie National Forest, this mortality dominates the upper elevations. Even at this altitude of over 10,000 feet, the land is very dry for 9 months, except for seasonal lightning storms. Like some of our public lands, we need a triage system to deal with such overwhelming mortality and fuels build-ups. In this example, we are too late to employ a market-based solution, which would do more non-commercial work.
I have seen this area over many years, and have watched as forests die and rot, with catastrophic wildfire being the “end game”. Anyone venture a guess at what will grow here, in the future?
The Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project (SNAMP) is a joint effort by the University of California, state and federal agencies, and the public formed in 2004 to assess how treatments designed by the USDA Forest Service to prevent severe wildfires affect fire risk, sensitive wildlife populations, forest health and water resources. SNAMP is in year five of an ambitious 7-year experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of management strategies to modify fire behavior across the landscape.
SNAMP has examined real-world fires and developed computer models to evaluate wildfire severity and environmental impacts in response to fuel-reduction treatments looking 30 years to the future. In its Northern Sierra project covering roughly 30,000 acres, SNAMP evaluated three different treatment scenarios. In each case, fuels were reduced across approximately one-third of the study area, and all treatments showed substantial reductions in high-intensity wildfire across the landscape, not just treated areas for 20 years after implementation.
This is from California Forests Magazine, and this issue is full of articles about severe wildfires. The whole article is here. The picture is one of mine from the Lassen National Forest’s 1987 Lost Fire.
Tree asked about the paper behind the news story on goshawks in our previous discussion here. So I went hunting in the Journal of Applied Ecology. I searched on goshawk, and found this in .. but it was from 2007. Which may explain why Hamis had heard about it. Here is a link to the article, fortunately it is public.
So this raises two questions.. is there a new one? A casual browsing of the NAU website did not yield this info..so I put in an email to an author.
And what happened on the basis of this “latest science” in 2007? Was this considered the “best available” at the time? Why or why not? This could shed some light on the concerns of folks litigating the planning rule worried about interpretations of “best available.”
PS My understanding/memory (and I could easily be corrected) is that when the 2005-8 rule got cast out by the courts, the FS went back to the provisions of the 82 and projects had to follow the “best available science” and document it. So conceivably, if my logic and memory is correct, projects exist whose documentation discusses the pros and cons of this paper compared to other papers on the subject. Maybe one of our readers could point us to a discussion in such a document.