Preserving California’s old growth

On Wednesday you read that private landowners conduct the majority of timber harvesting in California. This is due to the de facto moratorium placed on timber harvesting within national forests (state and national parks do not allow harvesting except for reasons of public safety). And, perhaps you wondered if old-growth timber could be removed. Well, fear not. National and State governments own, and have placed 99.5 percent of California’s 2.56 million acres of old-growth timber in California off-limits to any harvesting.

Nat'l and state govts hold 99.5% of old-growth. Source: USDA Forest Service, "Area of old-growth forests in California, Oregon, and Washington" by Bolsinger and Waddell

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California’s Deforestation Due to Wildfire

This is a map of the National Forests in California. These forests comprise about half of the forestland in California.

The Forest Service graphic below shows the results of the 2000-2009 fire season in California. About 1% of California’s fires chalk up 90% of the total acreage burned. Half a million acres that had the potential to provide wood instead produced smoke filled with carbon dioxide and water vapor.

According to the United Nations, deforestation accounts for nearly one-quarter of human-caused greenhouse gases. Half a million acres were converted by fire and maybe one-tenth of that has been replanted.

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