Thinning projects in the forests most susceptibel to fire

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Joe

Thinning projects in the forests most susceptibel to fire

Post by Joe » Tue Sep 10, 2013 7:32 pm

I know that in the west there is a controversy over whether or not to step up thinning projects in the forests most susceptibel to fire. Some argue that it won't help any and some think it will. Of course this shouldn't be done in National Parks which should be left alone. There are a lot of biomass facilities nationwide- most are controversial.

Of course if everyone played safe, we'd have fewer fires- but I don't know if that's likely. If the wood is going to burn- perhaps it's better to burn in a modern biomass facility- or not. I do believe many forests can be improved with such work- if the work is properly done- certainly much "forestry" work is poorly done. But as the climate warms up and fires become larger and more common- it may just be necessary to use the wood for useful energy- not just going up in smoke.
Joe

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Don
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Re: Thinning projects in the forests most susceptibel to fir

Post by Don » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:22 pm

Joe-
Good topic. If you don't mind, I'll reply in the body of your text below WITH MUTED (J) UPPER CASE FONT....
Joe wrote:I know that in the west there is a controversy over whether or not to step up thinning projects in the forests most susceptibel to fire. Some argue that it won't help any and some think it will. SO LET'S TALK SOUTHWESTERN...AS A REGION, MUCH OF THE FORESTED AREA IS EITHER PINON JUNIPER OR PONDEROSA PINE. BOTH HAVE ENDURED THOUSANDS OF YEARS AS FIRE-ADAPTED SPECIES. THEY THRIVED IN THE FACE OF FIRE, PARTICULARLY WITH A FREQUENT LOW BURN INTENSITY WILDFIRE REGIME. THIS KEPT THE FORESTS IN THE "OPEN PARK-LIKE CONDITION" THAT THE EARLY SETTLERS ENCOUNTERED AND RECORDED IN THEIR JOURNALS. SOME OF MY RESEARCH AT GRAND CANYON, AND THAT OF OTHERS INVESTIGATED COMPARISONS OF USING PRESCRIBED FIRE TO THIN PRETERNATURALLY DENSE FORESTS, WITH THOSE THINNED BY "FIRE SURROGATES" (VARIOUS MECHANICAL THINNING TECHNIQUES). Of course this shouldn't be done in National Parks which should be left alone. MY RESEARCH OCCURRED IN THE NATIONAL PARKS, AFTER NEARLY A DECADE OF NEPA COMPLIANCE. There are a lot of biomass facilities nationwide- most are controversial.SOME OF THE "FIRE SURROGATE THINNING RESEARCH EFFORTS WERE COUPLED WITH BIOMASS FACILITIES. LOTS MORE INFO ON THIS, BUT ONLY ON REQUEST.

Of course if everyone played safe, we'd have fewer fires- NOT NECESSARILY SO, AS THE SOUTHWEST HAS SOME OF THE HIGHEST LIGHTNING STRIKE COUNTS ON THE CONTINENT....but I don't know if that's likely. If the wood is going to burn- perhaps it's better to burn in a modern biomass facility- or not. ITS PART OF THE "FLAGSTAFF PLAN"...I do believe many forests can be improved with such work- if the work is properly done- certainly much "forestry" work is poorly done. But as the climate warms up and fires become larger and more common- it may just be necessary to use the wood for useful energy- not just going up in smoke. IF THINNING CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED (MECHANICAL OR BY PRESCRIBED FIRE) AND A MORE NATURAL WILDFIRE REGIME TAKES OVER, SUCCESS! IF NOT, THE DOWN SIDE IS THE NEED FOR CONTINUED THINNING. BOTTOM LINE, PRESCRIBED FIRE HAS A LIGHTER HAND ON THE LAND THAN MOST SURROGATE THINNING TECHNIQUES.
Joe
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

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