Forestry Friday … Sacbee Op Ed

I just saw this op-ed from the opinion section of the Sacramento Bee. Once I finished banging my head against the wall, I decided it would make a good post. I don’t disagree with most of what is said here. In fact I’m heartened that this originated from the Lahotan Water Quality Control Board, one of the strictest WQCBs in the state. The problem has been that forestry professionals have been pushing solutions like this for decades and the WQCB has been one of the most resistant agencies regarding timber operations.

So many agencies including the United States Forest Service have been stuck in the purgatory of “analysis paralysis.” for so long that the problem of overgrown forest has grown into a crisis. Plus, environmental groups seeking to shut down all harvesting projects have piled on. Our California forests continued to increase in density until another drought comes along, as is prone to happen here. The forests become stressed. Beetle population spike and huge swaths of forest are killed. Wildfires during red flag conditions become unstoppable. The impacts of these fires are exponentially worse than the impacts of the forestry projects that could be creating healthy, fire resistant forests.

It’s good to see acceptance of a possible solution voiced in this article, but the damage is done. We closing the barn door after the horse got out. I wish we could have had this support twenty years ago before 102 million trees died. If the USFS follows its usual pattern of not aggressively salvaging dead and dying timber, only a fraction of a percent of the dead trees will be harvested. They will rot on the stump waiting for the next big fire. These trees are the property of the citizens of the United States. What a waste.

3 thoughts on “Forestry Friday … Sacbee Op Ed

  1. Great post and article, Tim. What most people don’t realize is that trees NEVER would have gotten so dense and the dead trees so abundant in the historical forest past. Those wildfires you speak of took care of that long before it got so overgrown and dangerous. Like many political decisions, the law of unintended consequences is never considered. Too many times bureaucrats (and activists) are so invested in their point of view they cannot afford to change their minds. I guess people really can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well said Ruth. These forests are being loved to death. If they could look at forest harvesting as a tool to reach a desired result, instead of a destructive behavior to be avoided at all costs, we could make significant progress creating healthier forests here in the West.
      But this is California and all things must be politicized instead of understanding the science and making reasoned decisions.


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