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
Chief Tidwell on “Sustaining Forests in the Time of Climate Change”: 2013 Pinchot Distinguished Lecture
Thanks to the Pinchot Institute for sending this…Char is going to feature it in his column this week and that will be reposted here when available.
Earlier this month Tom Tidwell delivered the 2013 Pinchot Distinguished Lecture in Washington, DC. His speech was titled, “Sustaining Forests in the Time of Climate Change,” and was followed by an extended Q&A moderated by Char Miller and Al Sample. Some video highlights, including the Chief calling for reauthorization of stewardship contracting and speaking on the importance of urban forests, green infrastructure, and international programs are available on our website: http://www.pinchot.org/events/432.
The Pinchot Institute also forwarded this transcript of the talk.
Thanks again to the Pinchot Institute and Happy 50th Birthday!
I just watched the first clip, and I think it sets a foundation for the management of the future. So that’s why I think it’s important to discuss.
I agree that the past is not the future and that should change the way we think about everything. That’s what our Wise Forest Supervisor The Professor said that we should have a campfire, sit around, and discuss what it really means to all that we know if we can’t go by what we learned in the past; not the practitioners and not the scientists.
The Chief says we need to “restore” function and processes. But we wouldn’t need to restore them if they were fine now. But if they’re not resilient now, then we are assuming that they were appropriately resilient in the past. But then this climate change is “unprecedented” so it is just a random coincidence that they were resilient before? My point is that I think the word “restore” in unnecessarily confusing.
Why can’t we say:
We don’t know what’s going to happen
We will never have the bucks to manage everything
We will need to pick and choose which processes and functions and species are most important to us
We will have to weigh that against the costs and the likelihood of success of interventions
The most important thing is to protect the basics.. air, water, and soil and we may have to deal with vegetation and wildlife and fish that are not our preferred species.
But it is our task, as Forest Service employees to be absolutely clear and transparent to the public about what we plan to do, or not do, and what we believe the impacts will be to them and to the environment.
It’s not “restoration” at all, except that we are going to try to bring the good things from the past into the future. It’s joining together to figure out what’s important to us, as the climate changes, and see if we can work together to keep those things.
Comments on this, or any other part of the video or transcript, are appreciated. I’d like to hear from some of you seldom-heard-from folks if you feel so inclined…
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 above are photos of 1) what the stand is desired to look like, and 2) what stands look like when not enough 16 inchers have been removed. At least that is my interpretation of the photos in the EA here. If I misinterpreted, please feel free to point it out.
Here is the link and below is an excerpt:
The area in question is about 39 square miles located near Jacob Lake, or north of the 40,000 acres accidentally burned in 2006′s prescribed-burn-turned-wildfire on the North Kaibab Ranger District, called the Warm fire.
It’s a defeat for the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity, which have raised objections over the age and size of trees to be thinned since 1998.
Those groups asserted that the scale of thinning the Forest Service had proposed on the Kaibab Plateau is not beneficial to the northern goshawk, a bird the forest service considers a “sensitive” species (not federally listed as threatened or endangered), and submitted data to support that view.
The Forest Service weighed that data, then set it aside in favor of what its own expert had said about how dense or sparse the forest could be in areas where the goshawk live.
The plans allow for logging of ponderosa pines 16 inches and larger in diameter (with no upper size limits), though the Forest Service says it will only account for fewer than 2 percent of the trees to be cut.
The matter is potentially significant because the conservation groups have raised objections to similar plans for a handful of other thinning projects on national forests elsewhere in northern Arizona, including closer to Flagstaff.
“It makes no sense for the Forest Service to continue to push to log these old growth and large trees, when we have so little remaining. This is not a restoration project. It is a squandering of these biologically significant large trees — critical and missing components in many of our forests,” stated Sandy Bahr, of the Sierra Club.
The district forester lauded the decision.
“Thanks to the hard work and perseverance of our employees, and support from our local communities, we can move forward to help protect the habitat and the forest from high intensity wildfire,” stated North Kaibab District Ranger Randall Walker.
Note from Sharon:
1) I am curious whether this is the same project as in this story here” Group Sues to Stop Thinning Project near the Grand Canyon.”
And only a small percentage of the forest’s old-growth trees will be removed, he added.
I anticipate that some critics of my decision may mischaracterize this project with claims that it will significantly reduce old growth habitat,” Short wrote in the assessment. “Alternative 1 would reduce old growth by up to 105 acres within the 26,916 acre Jacob-Ryan project area. This equates to approximately 0.4 percent change in old growth allocation.”
Loggers would cull old-growth trees only where it would be necessary to promote restoration goals, according to the agency.
However the same story also says…
Under the proposal, about 700 acres of mature and old-growth ponderosa pines would be harvested.
39 square miles? 700 acres? 105 acres? This seems very confusing.
I sure think it would be interesting if, for each project that goes to litigation, the unit would develop a standard video package that shows 1) what the area currently looks like, 2) explains why they are doing what they are doing, 3) show how they would do the marking, and then 4) show what nearby areas look like after that treatment. There was some of that done in this EA, but I think a video showing what trees would be removed and why would be clearer. It would be helpful for folks on this blog, and other members of the public and the media to understand and compare. It would also be interesting to know how much the FS, OGC and DOJ spent defending this one (39 square miles, or 150 or 700 acres, whatever..) compared to the 150 acre and 600 acre projects we’ve talked about on this blog before. We could even then generate a litigation cost per acre..
Here’s a letter to the editor by the ranger describing the project and the FS side..Good work by the FS, OGC and DOJ on the case, and the District for the EA and getting the word out.
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
One more post before I leave..also if you sent me something to post and I forgot, please email email@example.com and I will get to it after my Solstice break.
Forest Service Failing to Create Jobs, Stimulate Economy in Forest Management Practices
Crystal Feldman House Natural Resources Committee
During the height of this year’s record-breaking fire season, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on bills to address forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fire. Following a Forest Service report on the need for restoration on 65-82 million acres of National Forest land, the Forest Service testified that it had restored 3.7 million acres in 2011. Restoration is the process of assisting recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. Following the hearing, we submitted a series of questions to get further detail on what methods the agency used to “restore” these lands.
In its response, the Forest Service explained that of those 3.7 million acres, over 1.4 million – nearly 40% of the total – were “restored” through a combination of prescribed fire (fire intentionally set and monitored by the agency) and wildland-use fire (fire allowed to burn to achieve resource objectives). Meanwhile, commercial harvest was only allowed on 195,477 acres – 5% of the total work for 2011 and only .1% of the 193 million acres managed by the Forest Service.
The .1 % seems to answer one of Derek’s questions. in the People’s Database.but does it agree with the below? It would be nice to see a table that shows prescribed fire, fire use, non-commercial and commercial thinnings and mechanical treatments by acre (like how many acres were touched by different treatments in a given year). Of course, if it’s a service contract, wood might still go to mills, not sure how that is considered in the numbers either..
x acres commercial harvest fuels reduction thinning followed by prescribed burning
y acres commercial harvest fuels reduction thinning alone
z acres prescribed burning only forest in WUI
a acres prescribed burning only grasslands and shrublands
b acres prescribed burning only forest outside WUI
c acres fuels reduction could have gone to mill but we don’t know for sure
Also A little birdie told me that some of the figures in the report below are not accurate.
U.S. Forest Service Program Reports Welcome Christmas News
Third Year of Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program Reveals Big Benefits for People, Water, and Wildlife
Arlington, Virginia | December 19, 2012
An annual report was released today on the performance of a U.S. Forest Service program, called Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR), revealing impressive returns for forests, jobs, water, and wildlife. The three-year old program invested $40 million in forest restoration at 23 forested landscapes across the country in 2012.
As identified in the report, the 23 landscapes cumulatively provided the following 2012 results:
• Created and maintained 4,574 full- and part-time jobs;
• Generated nearly $320 million in labor income;
• Reduced the risk of megafire on 612,000 acres;
• Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 6,000 miles of eroding roads;
• Sold 95.1 million cubic feet of timber;
• Improved 537,000 acres of wildlife habitat;
• Restored nearly 400 miles of fish habitat.
In addition to these on-the-ground results, CFLR also highlighted the opportunity to leverage matching investments in forest restoration. All told, CFLR leveraged an additional $45.4 million dollars towards collaborative actions in 2012.
Beyond the beauty they offer, forests are critical to life and livelihood across the nation. Americans forests cover one-third of the United States; store and filter half the nation’s water supply; provide jobs to more than a million wood products workers; absorb nearly 20% of U.S. carbon emissions; offer 650 million acres of recreational lands that generate well over $13 billion a year in economic activity; and provide habitat for thousands of species across the country.
Observers say the program is bucking the larger downward funding trend because restoration of National Forests is the new ‘zone of agreement’ where traditional adversaries in the timber industry, conservation, and local county governments are working to advance common goals. .
The collaborative results of the report were heralded by companies, community groups, and conservation organizations around the nation.
“The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program is bringing communities from around the country together to create jobs, to restore forest and watershed health, and to reduce the costs of wildfire suppression at impressive scales,” offered Laura McCarthy of The Nature Conservancy. “The program and its many supporters are charting a successful path forward for National Forest management.”
“This is an outstanding program because it simultaneously helps forests, water, and jobs,” said Kelsey Delaney of the Society of American Foresters.
“Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects are cost efficient, mostly because of their long time frame and larger scale,” added Scott Brennan of The Wilderness Society. “Selected projects are assured funding as long as appropriations are available until 2019, which provided certainty for businesses their banks and other investors, time for workers to be trained and become skilled, and for product markets to be developed and expanded.”
“Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration has shown that the critical importance of healthy and thriving forests can be a unifying force,” said Rebecca Turner of American Forests. “Our organization is proud to be collaborating with such a diverse collective of partners on a program that received bipartisan support from Congress to improve the health of our forests, as well as creating needed jobs.”
Dylan Kruse of Sustainable Northwest said, “Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration is about boots on the ground, creating jobs in rural communities. Now is the time to invest in rural communities and restore the health of our National Forests. CFLR does exactly that.”
CFLR is particularly valuable now, on the heels of the nation recording its third-largest wildfire year. A century of suppressing natural wildfires has resulted in unhealthy forests choked with small trees and brush that can lead to destructive megafires. Over the last 50 years the United States has had only 6 years with more than 8 million acres burned— all have occurred in the last 8 years (including 2012).
The conditions of our forests are further enflamed by pest and diseases, as well as climate change. All told, The Nature Conservancy estimates 120 million acres of America’s forests – an area bigger than the state of California – are in immediate need of restoration due to this “perfect storm” of threats.
The 23 sites to receive investment in 2012 were:
• Ozark Highlands Ecosystem Restoration, Arkansas, $959,000
• Shortleaf-Bluestem Community Project, Arkansas and Oklahoma, $342,000
• Four Forest Restoration Initiative, Arizona, $2 million
• Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group Cornerstone Project, California, $730,000
• Burney-Hat Creek Basins Project, California, $605,000
• Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, California, $829,900
• Front Range Landscape Restoration Initiative, Colorado, $1 million
• Uncompahgre Plateau, Colorado, $446,000
• Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration, Florida, $1.17 million
• Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, Idaho, $324,000
• Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater, Idaho, $1 million
• Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Project, Idaho, $2.45 million
• Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration and Hazardous Fuels Reduction, Mississippi, $2.71 million
• Pine-Oak Woodlands Restoration Project, Missouri, $617,000
• Southwestern Crown of the Continent, Montana, $1.03 million
• Southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, $392,000
• Zuni Mountain Project, New Mexico, $400,000
• Grandfather Restoration Project, North Carolina, $605,000
• Deschutes Collaborative Forest, Oregon, $500,000
• Lakeview Stewardship Project, Oregon, $3.5 million
• Southern Blues Restoration Coalition, Oregon, $2.5 million
• Northeast Washington Forest Vision 2020, Washington, $968,000
• Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, Washington, $1.63 million
The CFLR annual report was produced by the CFLR Coalition, which is comprised of 145 member organizations that include private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations, and non-governmental organizations.
Copies of the 2012 CFLRP Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLR Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on CFLRP can be found at the U.S. Forest Service’s website: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/CFLR/
Report:“National Forest Health Restoration: An Economic Assessment of Forest Restoration on Oregon’s Eastside National Forests.”
Thanks to Terry Seyden for this one.
In the interests of transparency, I’d like to try to establish some background information on these kinds of reports.
Who wanted it: This report was done at the behest of Governor Kitzhaber.
Who produced and funded it: “The report was assembled with funding and guidance from conservation groups, government agencies, academic institutions and business trade associations.”
Here is the link to an article about it (including a link to the document and a four page summary).
Below is an excerpt from the story.
The report looks at doubling the number of acres of east-side national forestland that undergo restoration – such as selective harvest, thinning and underbrush removal – from 129,000 annually to 250,000. Doing so, the report states, could create an additional 2,300 jobs in eastern and south central Oregon. The study says every $1 million invested in restoration generates $5.7 million in economic returns.
The work brings timber to struggling mills, provides jobs, and restores fire resiliency to the forest, the report states. Because of fire suppression, historic practices and passive management, some dry-side federal forests are choked with as many as 1,000 trees per acre, where historically about 75-100 trees per acre were typical. Some 80 percent of the 11.4 million acres of east-side forests under U.S. Forest Service management are at moderate to high risk of devastating crown fires.
The report highlights the importance of local collaboratives – in which government, industry and conservation interests work together to plan and implement restoration jobs.
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.
The 2009 Bridge Fire was started by lightning, and burned in both the Dixie National Forest and Bryce Canyon National Park. Since the fire didn’t closely approach structures, the fire was allowed to burn to the road, and in some places, to the rim.
Mortality was pretty severe but, there were still some green trees scattered about. It is hard to say if there has been a good cone year, since the fire. I didn’t see a single live new tree in this particular area.
I did see this dwarf Oregon grape but, it really wasn’t a surprise, since I had seen them growing among the hoodoos.
I also saw some manzanita and ceanothus becoming re-established, along with other desert brush species.
As the years go on, the odds for having a pine forest soon are worsening. At 9000 feet in elevation, this is a pretty harsh environment for any tree. I posted most of these pictures in high resolution, so you can see the vegetation easily, if you click on them. You cannot judge pine regeneration after only a few years but, in this case, pine regeneration looks very poor.
To see the pictures from my Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park adventures, go see my Facebook page, please. These include the Peekaboo trail in Bryce Canyon, and “The Narrows” in Zion National Park.