Here is Region Five’s “Ecological Restoration Implementation Plan”. It is definitely worth a browse, especially if you are a local within or near any of these National Forests. Each Forest spells out what it is doing and what it is planning.
(The picture is an old one, from fall of 2000. I had been here, salvaging bug-killed trees, in 1991. There was obviously additional mortality after that.)
From the Eldorado NF entry:
Maintain healthy and well-distributed populations of native species through sustaining habitats associated with those species
Use ecological strategies for post-fire restoration
Apply best science to make restoration decisions
Involve the public through collaborative partnerships that build trust among diverse interest groups
Create additional funding sources through partnerships
Incorporate the “Triple Bottom Line” into our restoration strategy: emphasizing social, economic and ecological objectives
Implement an “All lands approach” for restoring landscapes
Establish a sustainable level of recreational activities and restore landscapes affected by unmanaged recreation
Implement an effective conservation education and interpretation program that promotes understanding the value of healthy watersheds and ecosystem services they deliver and support for restoration actions.
Improve the function of streams and meadows
Restore resilience of the Forests to wildfire, insects and disease
Integrate program funding and priorities to create effective and efficient implementation of restoration activities
Reduce the spread of non-native invasive species
I think we all might need to take the time to go outside and appreciate the simple beauty of an old oak tree, with brand new leaves. Controversy can wait until tomorrow.
Next time I will have to explore the inside of the local White Pines Logging Museum. We do need to show the contrasts of old style logging, compared to today’s surgical style of thinning. In some parts of the country, railroad logging was impractical, due to steep and unstable terrain. In the Sierra Nevada, it was a challenge to find routes that powerful locomotives could climb (and descend!). Old railroad grades are considered to be cultural sites, and you can often find areas, along the tracks, where ancient trash was dumped. Some parts of old trestles still exist but, rails and ties were often removed and re-used.
Another collection of old and unusual chainsaws.
This one looks like it was heavy duty, in its day.
I’ll bet it was very important to strategically place the generator unit. I would think you would need about 300 feet of “extension cord”.
I have lived in the same location, here in the central Sierra Nevada, and I haven’t been to this very local recreation spot. White Pines Lake has a logging museum, with plenty of stuff to see and ponder. For example, did this trailer have bunks, to hold the logs on the trailer?
They have some saws not all that old.
And others that are impressively powerful. Imagine the guy who hauls this beast with him all day long.
Here is how big logs were skid in the past. Yes, it was important to keep the leading edge of the log elevated, to reduce skidding damages.
It’s not a surprise that the Forest Service is hiding their response to the sequestration. Simply put, modern projects treat more acres and cut numerous small trees. They cannot accomplish this work without temporary employees. My last year’s Ranger District currently has TWO permanent timber employees, and two others shared with another (larger) Ranger District. I wonder if our Collaborative funds will be returned to the Treasury if projects aren’t completed.
I guess the only way to find out how bad it will be is to welcome the collapse, then decide how to fix it. Meanwhile, the best of the temporaries will find careers (or jobs) elsewhere, and they won’t be coming back. It is hard enough to live on just 6 months of work, each year.
This is just a reminder that some of our forests are healthy, and need no management. This view from the Pass Creek area of the Salmon-Challis National Forest shows an idyllic scene that might be similar to the land of 400 years ago. This land is full of the kinds of wildlife people want to see returned to our National Forests. While I was there on assignment, I met a guy who wandered this rugged terrain, recording wildlife sightings. This thin and wiry guy was amazing in how he could gain and lose thousands feet of elevation, day after day.
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?
It is especially so, in a profession like forestry, that some of us get a chance to reflect on what has happened, and what might happen. Some of us find other ways of being outdoors and enjoying nature. My winter “data collection” involves sampling, organizing and capturing millions of scenic “data points” in a pleasing manner. Sometimes one has an entire winter to look at a problem from a new point of view than they had before. Being more moderate, I keep and cultivate an open mind, welcoming new points of view to scrutinize. Anyone who said that collaboration, consensus and compromise would be easy and painless was lying to you. Like in photography, scientific studies can use composition, depth of field and field of view to adjust what the viewer sees, and doesn’t see. A telephoto lens and a polarizing filter can dramatically affect what you want the viewer to see.
My young nephew called and invited me to take the extra bed in his Yosemite Lodge room. I hustled to get down there and we enjoyed a nice dinner, after I made Isaac and his friend some potent “Snugglers”. The three of us skied at Badger Pass, with glorious conditions the next day. The last morning, I took them to this secret spot along the Merced River. I never fail to get great pictures at this little-known spot, and I greedily sucked up more than my share of nice shots.
Escape from the controversies, if even for a few minutes, to stare, and maybe be transported to this location. Fall was a welcome pleasure there.
From the Sumter National Forest, in the South Carolina “Piedmont”, in full resolution. Click on the picture and enjoy