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The Yellow Wolf is the name given to forest fire, voracious, wicked, all consuming. Alive

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Bookmarked 2020-09-15T17:54:09.888214:


There’s something inaccurate and potentially misleading about a lot of media coverage on western forests & wildfires. Many articles mention the end of Indigenous mgmt, fire suppression & climate change as factors responsible for recent uptick in fires - all true, but...🧵1/11

What they often fail to mention is the role commercial logging plays in creating today's more fire-vulnerable forests. This is important because if we don’t understand the main factors contributing to undesirable fire effects, we’re unlikely to choose the best path forward. 2/11

It is well-documented that logging has resulted in the widespread and dramatic loss of large/old conifers in most western dry forests – these trees by far are the most resistant to fire and historically comprised the "living foundation" of fire-resilient forests. 3/11

Forests previously dominated by large/old, fire-resilient conifers have mostly been replaced by younger, denser, more homogeneous stands of less fire-tolerant trees that exhibit more continuous fuels, higher rates of fire spread & are vulnerable to more severe fire effects. 4/11

Compared to forests dominated by large/old trees, stands planted after logging (plantations) are much more vulnerable to fire because they tend to be windier/drier/hotter (esp. under extreme weather) and exhibit higher surface and ladder fuel loads. 5/11

A number of studies have found that logging has contributed significantly more to increased tree density & higher fuel loads than changes caused by fire exclusion alone (Minnich et al.1995, Kauffman et al.2000, Odion et al.2004, Naficy et al.2010). 6/11

Yet in most media stories & public policy dialogs, the effects of fire suppression & timber mgmt. practices are conflated, leading to the common misperception that increased fuel loads and tree density are solely the result of fire suppression. 7/11

Most logging on both public & private land continues to focus on overstory tree removal, running contrary to what we know about how to create fire-resilient forests.Timber sales on BLM & USFS lands (here in s OR & CA) still removing large numbers of old/fire-resistant trees. 8/11

“Eventually you’re not going to have any big trees on the whole forest,” said Dave Mertz, who worked as a government natural resources officer overseeing Black Hills [NF] logging until retiring in 2017. “The timber industry is pulling the strings now.” 9/11

The reality is if we're serious about restoring dry forest ecosystems, we need to align timber mgmt practices w/what we know about the ecology of fire & forest dynamics. Even-aged logging & removal of large/old trees are incompatible w/creating more fire-resilient forests. 10/11

The takeaway – we need to pivot forest mgmt toward what to retain/restore based on ecological concerns, rather than what to remove to generate economic returns; e.g. ⬆️⬆️⬆️ wildland fire use, prescribed fire & pyrosilviculture. 11/11