Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Sierra Club Forests and Climate Webinar

Sierra Club Forests and Climate Webinar by Dominick DellaSala and Jason Grant.

View the presentation- https://www.dropbox.com/s/56zrp1j3ea5615u/Forests%20&%20Climate_092519%20copy.pptx?dl=0

View the recording- https://zoom.us/recording/share/M03C_q4FuYzAtJjJ7AFIS8ZXvpY0Qozff4qO194zqJewIumekTziMw

 

This Trump administration proposal to roll back logging rules is reckless

By Jim Furnish

Jim is a consulting forester in Iowa, following a 34-year career with the U.S. Forest Service, including as the agency’s deputy chief from 1999 to 2002.

Published August 11 at The Washington Post

I was the supervisor of Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest in 1996 when a huge landslide caused by shoddy road construction sent tons of mud and debris into a critical salmon stream. I felt terrible ― and personally responsible. In the rush to build logging roads along treacherously steep hillsides, we mismanaged forests for decades and pushed salmon and spotted owls to the brink of extinction.

When I came to Washington to become deputy chief of the Forest Service a few years later, that Oregon landslide ― and countless other road-building mistakes ― motivated me to rewrite national forest policy. I was a chief architect of two landmark rules to reform logging and road building in our national forests.

Lane County’s forests being whittled down

By Roy Keene and Dominick DellaSala
Posted Jun 13, 2019 at The Register Guard

The Shotcash BLM timber sale would clear cut some 1,200 acres of ecologically healthy, still-growing, 60-80 year old timber within the heavily logged Mohawk River drainage. In a watershed checkerboarded with thousands of acres of clear cuts and almost entirely depleted of older forests, the BLM claims it needs more seedling plantations. We think this is a bad idea.

In its 1957 forest inventory, the United States Forest Service reported Lane County having a sawtimber volume of 97 billion board feet. Its 2001-2010 inventory reported only 64 billion board feet, a 34% decline. In the last half century of so-called “sustained yield management,” 33 billion board feet of Lane’s timber has been liquidated. The 2010 inventory shows 83% of the county’s remaining timber volume vested in federal forests. Having consumed most of their mature timber, Lane County’s mills now press federal lands. The BLM seems eager to accommodate the county at the public’s expense. 

Tall and old or dense and young: Which kind of forest is better for the climate?

  • Scientists say reforestation and better forest management can provide 18 percent of climate change mitigation through 2030. But studies appear to be divided about whether it’s better to prioritize the conservation of old forests or the replanting of young ones.
  • A closer look, however, reconciles these two viewpoints. While young forests tend to absorb more carbon overall because trees can be crowded together when they’re small, a tree’s carbon absorption rate accelerates as it ages. This means that forests comprised of tall, old trees – like the temperate rainforests of North America’s Pacific coast – are some of the planet’s biggest carbon storehouses.
  • But when forests are logged, their immense stores of carbon are quickly released. A study found the logging of forests in the U.S. state of Oregon emitted 33 million tons of CO2 – almost as much as the world’s dirtiest coal plant.
  • Researchers are calling on industry to help buffer climate change by doubling tree harvest rotations to 80 years, and urge government agencies managing forests to impose their own harvest restrictions

Read the full article by Paul Koberstein & Jessica Applegate at Mongabay

Forest Defense is Climate Defense

Dominick DellaSala’s presentation in Portland at a public event in Portland hosted by Oregon Wild.

Keepers of the spotted owl

pnw northern spotted owl USFWSAt the world’s first breeding centre in Langley, B.C., spotted owls are hatched in incubators, given around the clock medical care and hand fed euthanized rodents in a last-ditch effort to save the species from Canadian extinction. All the while scientists warn that the province has yet to recognize the endangered raptor as a symbol of our escalating failure to protect old-growth forests. Read the entire in-dept piece by Sarah Cox at The Narwhal.

DellaSala likened the spotted owl to the quintessential canary in a coal mine. The owl is an indicator of a “whole complex ecosystem with all the parts that are in jeopardy,” he said. “This is just one of the parts and it’s telling us we have not done a responsible job of maintaining the old-growth ecosystems upon which the owl and thousands of other species depend.”

Scientists say logging forests won’t reduce wildfire risk

By Annette McGee Rasch for The Mail Tribune, published September 21, 2018

A group of environmental scientists have written a letter to Congress advising that efforts to control wildfires should focus on reducing fire hazards near communities, homes and roads and not on logging larger, fire-resistant trees deeper in the forest.

More than 200 scientists with backgrounds in areas such as wildfire ecology and natural resource management recently sent the letter to Congress urging the removal of pro-logging amendments to the 2018 Farm Bill.

“It’s hard for most policymakers to ignore science from so many experts when they explain why the logging provisions would harm forests and worsen wildfire conditions in the West while doing nothing to protect communities,” said Dominick DellaSala, chief scientist with Geos Institute, which focuses on climate change and other environmental issues.

Oregon forest carbon monitoring and reporting suggestions to ODF

Comments submitted on August 1 to the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to help inform its legislative mandate (HB 5201) on the development of a statewide carbon policy framework, and to assist in presenting the best available science for forest carbon accounting. Read the full comments.

Circling the Drain: The Precautionary Principle and Northern Spotted Owl

Geos Institute Chief Scientist speaks on the importance of scientific integrity in endangered species conservation at the NACCB 2018 Symposium. (starts around 45:00)

 

Forest policy looms over Oregon’s climate change debate

By Ted Sickinger

For as long as climate change legislation has been debated in Oregon, the forestry sector has been the ghost in the room.

If policymakers bothered to discuss it at all, they assumed the sector was carbon neutral, with the greenhouse gas emissions from logging offset by replanting and forest growth each year. But no one really knew; the data didn’t exist for Oregon. And in a state where big timber exercises outsize political clout relative to its economic importance, the politics of including it in any potential regulation or strategy to increase carbon stocks was simply a nonstarter.

Until now.

As lawmakers gear up to make another attempt to pass a climate change bill in 2019, new data suggests that the forest sector is not only a factor in Oregon’s carbon picture, it is THE factor and one of national and even international importance as lawmakers look to reduce the concentration of heat trapping gases in the atmosphere.

Keep reading at online at The Oregonian

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