A white-headed woodpecker probing for insects in a sugar pine cone. Pen and ink.
The Pacific fisher is a large member of the weasel family that makes its home on our California timberland.
The company I work for, Sierra Pacific Industries, has been involved in a fisher relocation project for a number of years. Our partners in the project include US Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and researchers from North Carolina State University. The purpose is to re-establish fisher into parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains that used to be their historic range. The project has been highly successful. You can read more about the project here at the Fish and Wildlife Service website.
This is a mixed media illustration of a fisher with a radio collar that I did for the children’s book Timber!. The pen and ink version appeared in the young reader book Timber In The Working Forest. Both books were written by Mary A Livingston and illustrated by me. You can read her blog at Sneaking Bliss.com.
I found this to be an interesting story on plans to reestablish forests in Northern Britain. It’s a noble goal to be sure. The goal is to plant 62,000 acres back to forest with 50,000,000 trees. The cost is expected to be $690 million. That’s where I start to cringe.
When comparing projects done in California by private timber companies doing wildfire restoration I think it could be done better in Britain. We would use about 20,000,000 trees to do the same size area. With soil site preparation, tree planting and initial herbicide treatment to control the weeds for a year or two, our reforestation cost would be about $25,000,000 for 62,000 acres. Now, if they were to plant the trees in Britain at a 12’x12’ spacing like we would here, they could cover 165,000 acres. Our costs here would be approximately $65,000,000. Plus, planting the trees as close together as they propose, about 7’x7’ will require the trees be thinned within a few short years at substantial expense. Otherwise, the trees become overly crowded and stressed.
This doesn’t sound like forestry, because it really has a price tag for landscaping. I believe it’s a worthy project, but can be done better. I realize our infrastructure for these types of projects is different and cheaper, but that is still a huge cost difference. I also know that many American foresters outside of California are thinking my cost estimates are too high. That’s California. My suggestion is to draft some good Canadian reforestation foresters to come over and lend a hand.
I was in the Trinities this week and there was thick smoke everywhere. It’s burning season in Northern California. We had quite a lot of rain in late November. I assumed that some agency was doing a large burn project. However, I couldn’t see where the smoke was coming from. It appeared to be drift smoke.
During my drive down from the mountains I heard a news report. They reported that smoke from the Thomas Fire was drifting up the coast. I checked Google Earth that evening and the smoke had drifted nearly 500 miles from the Thomas Fire in Southern California to north of Redding. The residue of so many homes and so much wildland was adrift in this smoke.
Here is another installment of the 60 Second Forester by Frank Barron.Today, he’s talking about Fire History in California and what he says is true for most of our western forests. Managing the fire ecology of these forests is tricky business especially now when our forests are so out of balance ecologically. Overgrown forest resulting from over 100 years of all or nothing wildfire suppression have set the stage for the massive bark beetle infestations and enormous conflagrations. Only through the use of forest management can we bring back fire resiliency to our forests.
This crew is getting ready to start shipping logs. The loader hasn’t arrived yet. The skidding crew is getting trees to the processor. The processor is making logs so there will be enough to load the trucks first thing in the morning. I don’t usually get a shot of the processor working by itself without the loader parked beside it.
The 60 Second Forester is the name of a series of spots done by good friend and fellow forester, Frank Barron. They were originally radio spots done for the local Northern California airways. Now they’ve been remixed for short videos. Enjoy!
The Sierra Cascade Logging Conference is all over, but for the clean up. The Forestry Education Fund Auction was last night and it was a booming success. The final result of the entire fund-raiser was north of $100,000. Now if you’ve been following our blogs, you know that Mary (Sneaking Bliss) and I provide original art, which is bid in a competitive way. Both pieces of art are on the auction block together. The winning bidder gets to pick the painting of their choice and then bidding begins anew on the second place painting.
Here’s how things went down. Our paintings were items 18 and 19. This is a great place to be on the schedule, the early middle. There were fifty items to auction. Everyone was still there with plenty of money left for bidding. When our turn came they asked us to come up front and say a few words, but this auctioneer was a total pro. I didn’t have a chance to needle Mary with my witty comments when the auctioneer jumped right in and was talking so fast I could hardly keep up. The first bid opened at $1,000. This was a great start! Within seconds it shot up over $4,000. As it went above $5,000 things really got serious. A new bidder jumped in and one bidder got out. Then another dropped out and it looked like we had reached the end. Suddenly, the last bidder to drop out decide he wasn’t done and the bidding took off again. As it shot up to $7,000 then $8,000 I leaned behind the auctioneer and looked at Mary and she look at me with “what is happening here” looks on our faces. The auctioneer finally yelled “SOLD” and the bidding was done. One of our paintings just sold for $10,000! I was floored.
Now the moment of truth. The winner came up to claim his prize. We waited to see which painting it would be. Do you think he agonized over which painting to choose? Heck no! He beelined straight to Mary’s painting and snatched it off the display like he was rescuing a baby from a fire. Mary’s painting brought in $10,000 in support of forestry education! It was an amazing moment.
At this point my painting was back into the bidding and the auctioneer began searching for a new price. Long story short it fetched $5,000. Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic price. Higher than I’d seen before, but … she crushed me! Mary absolutely annihilated me! Together our art brought in $15,000. We were thrilled at its success and what it meant for the education fund.
Tonight I’m going to relax, lick my wounds and have a toast with my favorite competitor. Tomorrow will be soon enough to start thinking about redemption for next year. Congratulations Mary, you are an amazing artist!