Wildfires and CO2

I have read a number of articles, blog posts, op-eds, etc., declaring that timber harvesting is not the answer to the problem–timber harvesting is the problem. Well the old axiom about a picture holds,  a picture is worth a thousand words. With that in mind, check out Tom Knudson’s article, Fire, climate and thinning over at the Sacramento Bee. He has two photos that contrast what enlightened forest stewardship (Collins Pine Company) produces versus the near zero-cut regime the Clinton Administration imposed on the USDA Forest Service reaps. Two pictures are worth two thousand words.

I noted here, that northern California saw nearly a million acres burned last summer. According to NIFC (National Interagency fire Center), this year we could see a repeat of last season–and with the Jesusita Fire going on in Santa Barbara right now–it’s looking likely. Northern California fires could again add millions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Thinning and spacing using prudent forestry could lower the risk.

You see, without a change agent such as fire, shade tolerant trees begin crowding in under the forest canopy. This is not healthy. Fire normally clears these plants and keeps the ecotype in balance. Without disturbance, the forest gets unhealthier as conditions deteriorate. It’s not rocket science, forestry is much more complex.

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