Published September 2, 2017
David Schott’s guest opinion criticizing let-burn fire policies in the Aug. 25 Mail Tribune smacks of alternative facts that would probably land him a job with the Trump administration.
First, the Chetco fire was a “suppress” fire from the get-go. Firefighters had to rappel into steep, remote terrain. The fire in July burned in a healthy pattern, increasing in intensity as the summer heated up and Chetco high winds kicked in. Putting more firefighters into that situation would have been a disaster. No amount of logging can slow down a weather-driven fire, as we learned from the Biscuit fire.
Second, his “sensible forest projects” have turned hillsides into flammable tree plantations that include mounds of slash as high as three-story buildings. Both the Douglas Complex and Oregon Gulch fires burned hottest when fire hit densely packed tree plantations just like thousands of other fires that have blown up when encountering plantations.
And finally, no one likes smoke. But the best way to deal with fire in general is to clear vegetation from the home outward, stop clearcutting native forests, and thin the existing plantations to reduce fire hazards. When it comes to fire preparation, facts trump hyperbole.
Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., chief scientist, Geos Institute
Bipartisan. Unanimous. Two words not heard often in contemporary politics describe a pair of bills passed by a divided Washington Legislature to revitalize forests in the face of climate change and megafires that have killed firefighters and cost the state many millions of dollars.
Now comes the real test: Will the Legislature provide the money needed to carry out these plans? The same can be said for two other young but high-profile efforts to restore Washington ecosystems in coastal and flood-prone areas. Most at risk is the restoration program for flood-prone regions, which could lose more than half of its funding under the Senate’s budget plan.
This Earth Day, I am giving thanks for the lingering effects of our cold-wet winter and the beautiful snow-capped mountains. Reservoirs are filling up, fisher-people are casting away in streams with hopes of bountiful catches, and kayakers are bucking the rapids again. We should all enjoy this wet winter that used to be the “norm,” while remembering that we have much work to do to make the climate safe for our children.
I would like to share my family’s story because it concerns all parents, hikers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts in the region.
When: Saturday April 22, 2017 at 1pm (right after the Science March)
Where: Science Works Museum (1500 E. Main St, Ashland, OR)
Speaker: Dr. Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute and Director of the Forest Legacies Initiative
Although President Trump’s budget is still taking shape, it appears that it would significantly reduce regulations, impact air and water quality and degrade the health of humans, the natural environment and Southern Oregon’s tourism industry, according to local environmental groups.
Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, said during a working trip to Washington, D.C., that there are many potential negative impacts, ranging from air and water pollution to an increase in disease-bearing insects moving north and west from the tropics.
“Cutting science and climate-change funding via the Trump budget proposal means increased human suffering, especially to vulnerable populations — the young, elderly and poor,” said DellaSala, whose daughter has had Lyme disease for five years, caught from a tick in their Talent backyard.
“In D.C., anything to do with science, especially climate change, is in the cross-hairs,” DellaSala said. “If there’s no viable EPA, there’s going to be more air and water pollution and less regulation, but here in Washington, they all say the budget is DOA (dead on arrival).”
Keep reading the full article in the Mail Tribune
Dominick DellaSala was interviewed in a recent Climate Central article “Food Security, Forests At Risk Under Trump’s USDA“.
The wildfire threat will not be reduced by efforts in Congress or in the Trump administration to increase logging, said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute, a climate change think tank.
“As climate change results in more extreme fire weather in places, throwing more money at the problem won’t result in a fire-fix as climate increasingly becomes the top-down driver of fire behavior,” he said.
DellaSala said it’s also important that the USDA manage and preserve forests — especially Alaska’s rain forests — as carbon sinks in order for the U.S. to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. The pact calls for countries to cut climate pollution to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), a level considered dangerous by the United Nations.
Forests are the nation’s first line of climate change defense. This is because forests are nature’s “cooling towers,” absorbing vast quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping to cool down run away climate change. Forests also are nature’s “water towers,” storing and gradually releasing clean water especially during dry summer months when water is most precious. And, where they are intact (free of roads and logging), forests are a refuge for countless plants and wildlife seeking a safe haven in a changing climate.
Download the full report to learn more about our progress towards
“A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status”, published by Science, is the most comprehensive inventory of roads and roadless areas in the world and shows just how fast we are losing wild places across the planet. Geos Institute’s Dr. Dominick DellaSala is one of the co-authors. You can listen to him talk about the study in a Jefferson Exchange interview.
Roads have done much to help humanity spread across the planet and maintain global movement and trade. However, roads also damage wild areas and rapidly contribute to habitat degradation and species loss. Ibisch et al. cataloged the world’s roads. Though most of the world is not covered by roads, it is fragmented by them, with only 7% of land patches created by roads being greater than 100 km2. Furthermore, environmental protection of roadless areas is insufficient, which could lead to further degradation of the world’s remaining wildernesses.
Author Contacts: Pierre L. Ibisch (Germany) – Pierre.Ibisch@hnee.de (+49-3334-65 7178) – English, German and Spanish | Nuria Selva (Poland) – firstname.lastname@example.org (+48-600135676)- English, Spanish and Polish | Stefan Kreft (Germany) – email@example.com (+49-3334-65 7296) – English, German and Spanish
Further co-authors: Monika Hoffmann (Germany) | Vassiliki Kati (Greece) | Dominick DellaSala (USA) | Mariana M. Vale (Brazil) | Peter R. Hobson (UK) | Lisa Biber-Freudenberger (Germany) | Guy Pe’er (Germany)
A new global map of roadless areas shows that the Earth’s surface is shattered by roads into more than 600,000 fragments. More than half of them are smaller than 1 km2. Roads have made it possible for humans to access almost every region but this comes at a very high cost ecologically to the planet’s natural world. Roads severely reduce the ability of ecosystems to function effectively and to provide us with vital services for our survival. Despite substantial efforts to conserve the world’s natural heritage, large tracts of valuable roadless areas remain unprotected. The study shows that the United Nations’ sustainability agenda fails to recognize the relevance of roadless areas in meetings its goals.
President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate first-term U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., a former Navy SEAL who is champion of the coal industry and a climate science denialist, as Interior secretary, according to multiple news reports.
Trump had reportedly considered U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., for the job last week, but has offered the job to Zinke, instead, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.
Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Ore. said that while Zinke supports keeping federal public lands under federal control, he would emphasize coal development during his tenure as Interior secretary.
“He has been supportive of oil and gas drilling, the Keystone pipeline, and believes climate change has not be scientifically proven,” DellaSala said.
Sign up to stay updated on our current initiatives and receive information you can use to build resilience in your community.