Without making any value judgements here, I find this collection of meeting summaries to be fascinating. Chad Hanson is a full member of the Dinkey Collaborative Group, working to create a better future for the Sierra National Forest. It will be very interesting to see how this process will evolve, with Hanson’s input solidly in view. The level of transparency seems acceptable to me. At the same time, The Sierra is using the new Planning Rule to update their Forest Plan.
Mr. Hanson noted that there was no option for opposing the proposal, and also stated his concern for his opposition going undocumented. Mr. Hanson expressed two main concerns with the proposal. He stated that the proposal assumed high intensity fire results in fisher habitat loss, and commented that the proposal states an inaccurate assumption that trees experience almost complete mortality when a fire burns. Mr. Hanson expressed that the mortality rate was not supported by current data. Mr. Dorian Fougères assured Mr. Hanson that his position would be documented.
There are other meeting notes available by searching for “Dinkey Collaborative Hanson”.
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.
The U.S. Forest Service announces today that they have teamed up with Hollywood to build the first “100 percent sustainable studio set.”
The Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory teamed up to help create a hotel room for a two part episode of the show ‘Raising Hope.’
According to the release, the Hollywood set consists of “100 percent, USDA-certified bio-based and made with 100 percent cellulose fibers including post-consumer paper, wood and agricultural raw material sources” and “no toxic additives or adhesives.”
“Raising Hope” art director John Zachary is thrilled. “The ongoing use of tropical hardwoods in set construction is an environmental tragedy and this experiment provided a cost-efficient alternative to unsustainable forest products,” he said in the release.
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The team used “environmentally friendly paint, wallpaper, glue and carpet” during production.
The Forest Service Laboratory teamed up with ECOR Global to coordinate the program which shipped panels built at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wis. to San Diego.
“The collaboration between the Forest Products Laboratory and ECOR Global is a perfect example of how government and industry can work together to meet society’s needs,” says laboratory engineer John Hunt. “By combining our unique capabilities, we were able to turn research results into tangible products.”
Forestry operations and bioenergy have been part of the economic and social fabric in Northern California for decades. A five-year study produced in 2009 by the USDA Forest Service modeled forest management under different scenarios across 2.7 million acres encompassing the Feather River watershed. The model’s time horizon spanned four decades, examining wildfire behavior, forest thinning operations and a range of environmental and economic impacts. It concluded that in virtually every aspect analyzed, managing forest resources and utilizing biomass for energy production provides significant advantages over the status quo.
With acres per wildfire going WAY up, thinning projects seem to be the way to go to reduce both wildfire sizes and wildfire intensities. Again, we have strict diameter limits in the Sierra Nevada, and clearcutting has been banned since 1993.
The link is here
I saw a local article about our part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.
For the first time in many years, loggers and conservation groups are working together and the results have been stunning, according to Katherine Evatt, president of the Pine Grove-based Foothill Conservancy.
The Amador Calaveras Consensus Group has been working in the Stanislaus and Eldorado national forests on projects that are part of a larger national program called Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration.
The goal is to restore forests for people, water and wildlife, and a report released in December shows some of those goals are being met.
The ACCG Cornerstone Project is one of 23 national projects that split $40 million in 2012. According to the fiscal year-end report for the project, the two forests spent more than $658,000 in CFLRA funds this year, matched by more than $433,000 of other Forest Service funds. There was more than $67,700 in ACCG in-kind partner contributions and more than $1 million in leverage funds from ACCG members. Additional funds included a $196,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Company as well as $283,000 worth of in-service work under stewardship contracts.
The article is here
The pro-tree-farm argument goes like this: When you plant a tree, it goes from seedling to full-grown plant by rapidly extracting carbon from the atmosphere, including carbon that humans have emitted by burning fossil fuels and raising cattle. (When a climatologist looks at a tree, he sees a leafy pillar of solidified greenhouse gases.) Once the tree reaches maturity, though, it slows its consumption of carbon. By way of comparison, think of the appetites of a growing teenager and a senior citizen. When you’re done growing, you stop consuming as many calories. The best move, according to some tree-farm advocates, is to replace the mature tree with a new sapling and start the growth process over again.
I tend to think that farm-grown trees have less impacts on the forests. The best trees are always selected to be cut, reducing the quality of the gene pool. Also, having so many people driving on muddy roads tends to cause drainage problems. People will always find ways to allow, or disallow things happening on public lands. One commenter summed it all up as a non-issue, climate-wise.
Thanks to Char Miller for this piece on Christmas trees (and history). As usual, worth reading in its entirety. Just a tiny excerpt below, link here.
We’ll also better understand the larger implications of our consumption in this troubling era of climate change. Lowenstein argues, for example, that because real Christmas trees are rooted in the soil they are able to sequester carbon. Even when harvested, and only 10% of them are cut a year, this essential air-cleaning process of absorption is maintained. Moreover, growers immediately replant, often at a ratio of two or three for ever one tree cut down, allowing this industry, with more than 400 million trees in the ground, to operate on a sustainable, Earth-affirming basis.
Of course, people could go cut their trees on the national forests. Except for the Angeles, which I can understand. I wonder how many NF’s don’t allow Christmas tree cutting?
And in case this isn’t enough on the topic of Christmas trees for you.. here is another story..
“Real Christmas trees more sustainable than fakes, forestry professor says”. Thanks to Craig Rawlings of Forest Business Network for this link.
A non-forestry friend found this.. thanks, Chuck!
Here’s a link.
Below is a quote, which reminds me a bit of our energy discussion in terms of sometimes-mysterious currents of world trade, as to where jobs are, where resources are developed and where they are used. Like this quote from below:
It does not explain how a Wisconsin tree can be cut down, turned into pulp, trucked to a port, shipped 7,000 miles around the globe and come back as paper less expensive than that produced in the mill a few miles away.
“These inventions came from China,” Lindsay said. “When people go pointing their finger at the Chinese paper industry or saying we shouldn’t be buying paper from China – paper came from China.”
The West, he says, is in denial about the competitive edge offered by Chinese science, engineering and ingenuity. And Wisconsin’s paper industry, he says, has lost the culture of investment, innovation and risk that defined it in the last century.
“You can only get so much from an old machine,” Lindsay said. “And only so much from your trade tariffs or whatever else you are doing to protect your product from lower-cost products from elsewhere before you eventually have to face the reality.
“You have to innovate to survive in this world.”
But China’s success is not nearly that simple. It does not explain how a Wisconsin tree can be cut down, turned into pulp, trucked to a port, shipped 7,000 miles around the globe and come back as paper less expensive than that produced in the mill a few miles away.
The Washington-based Economic Policy Institute estimates the Chinese government doled out at least $33 billion in subsidies to its paper industry from 2002 to 2009 – the period that coincides with its stunning growth. That’s more than $4 billion a year, a number that is growing. The entire annual payroll for all of Wisconsin’s mills – including those making paper towels, tissue and cardboard – is $2.4 billion.
In China, there is government support at every step of the process – money to create plantations, import raw materials, build new equipment and power the mills.
Subsidies support 30% of the total annual output of Chinese paper mills, according to Usha Haley, a New Zealand economics professor and author of “Subsidies to the Chinese Industry: State Capitalism, Business Strategy and Trade Policy.”
She notes raw materials represent 35% of the production cost of Chinese paper: “If the Chinese are buying those at world prices, how is Chinese paper selling at a substantial discount compared to U.S. or European paper?”
To be sure, there are grants, loans and tax breaks in the United States, typically aimed at boosting individual operations. The largest, in effect from 2005 to 2010, was for an alternative fuel known as black liquor, a byproduct of the pulping process. The subsidy averaged $280 million a year when it was in effect, about 7% of the size of the annual Chinese subsidy to its paper industry.
Here’s a link to more information and photos on the same subject from the Pulitzer Center.