[MCN] Define The Meaning Of 'Extreme' In Talking About Forest Health: Lance Olsen in Mountain Journal

Jim Coefield webmaster at wildrockies.org
Mon Feb 26 13:13:55 EST 2018

Lance Olsen, who often posts material here, has a column at Mountain Journal: "Dots and Datapoints.” His newest contribution was just published, and here’s an excerpt:

Define The Meaning Of 'Extreme' In Talking About Forest Health

We’ve all heard the common claim that forests recover from fire, and, just as surely, that forests can recover from logging. Conservationists have stressed that point in arguing that fire is not the catastrophe some have believed, because forest comes back after fire.

Logging lobbyists, meanwhile, have stressed much the same point in arguing that logging is not the catastrophe some have believed, because forests come back after logging.

So, despite their well-known clashes, conservationists and the logging industry have both argued for a view that forests can indeed recover.

They both have a valid point. After all, that’s what forests have done many times in the past following disturbance. 

That history is the basis for referring to forests as a "renewable resource." It’s presumably the basis of recent U.S. Forest Service planning documents boasting that a forest can be managed for “resilience,” a springing back to its former self following human manipulation.

Yet for much of the world’s forests, the familiar day of resilience is done. Gone with it, too, the vacuous claim of sustainable logging, and gone with sustainable logging the many forest-dependent jobs and careers based on that premise.

Given what’s coming down the road at forests now — namely increased tree dieoff from drought, climate change, and increasing periods when heat comes piled atop drought —there will be plenty of times and places where the promise of resilient forest careers don't live up to expectations.

The prospect of a broken promise raises questions about ecological—and economic— consequences. If a forest can’t recover, bounce back, show “resilience”, neither can the species that depend on forested conditions, and neither can the array of forest-dependent jobs...

Read the whole article here: http://mountainjournal.org/climate-and-fire-are-shaping-forest-health

Follow the link at the end his bio to learn more about Lance, and links to some of his other published work there

Jim Coefield
webmaster at wildrockies.org

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