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16 September 2009

Comments

Mikey McD

I just picked up a USDA (Forest Service) fishing brochure: Second paragraph: "Due to a recent mandate by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the CA Department of Fish and Game is conducting a 3 year study ...to determine the status of the mountain yellow-legged frog.. these lakes will not be stocked with fingerling trout for the duration."

Steve Enos

"Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation".

George, why did you leave out that the main cause of "uniform vegetation" in the Sierra? The main reason is the past history of large clear cuts and theor even-age replanting and the mono-culture species used to replant the clear cuts.

The monoculture, even-age replanting is bad for so many reasons, like loss of diversity, making them highly susceptible to bug and disease damage and highly susceptible to 100% loss during fire events.

George, your "Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation" comment is just plain wrong and disingenuous.


Steve Enos

Mikey McD,

It's about stopping the planting of non-native, introduced fish species into the Sierra lakes. Seems the non-native fish have had a big impact on the native species in these lakes. This should not be a surprise.

Non-native species introduction is usually a bad thing. I worked in the Everglades NP and saw first hand what non-native species can do and the impacts resulting from them.

George Rebane

Steve -

"plain wrong" - I don't think so. Clear cutting througout the Sierra has only been done in selected regions and on selected parcels. Replanting has been done as regulated. The uniformity of dense forests across these mountains is overwhelmingly the result of misguided efforts at conservation that forbid prescribed burns and clearing of underbrush, along with the use of massive resources to extinguish natural fires. What do you think kept the forest densities at a level that hindered the huge fires we have today? Look at the photos in Gruell's book. As a volunteer fire lookout on Banner Mtn, I am always boggled by what I see in all directions.

"disingenuous" - Not at all, I am very sincere in making this statement. (I presume we use the same dictionary.)

But given where we are now Steve, what is your prescription for the future management of these forests?

Steve Enos

George, we need to get into the forest and get them healthy again. This requires logging and management and the use of fire.

I spent 18 years working in the woods. I set choker, planted trees, directed fuels management projects and prescribed fire, cleared underbrush, thinned trees, prepped clear cut blocks, cruised timber and fought a lot of wild land fire. I did it and lived it on the ground. I have seen it first hand.

The Sierra is full of even aged, mono-culture stands resulting from past clear cutting being the main, past logging practice. But no mention of this from you and John Spencer, just bashing against “enviro’s”.

George Rebane

Steve - not to discount your experience, but I do believe that, on the whole, today's environmentalism is radical, running rampant, and counter to the benefit of human life and progress. This, of course, is within the bounds of my subjective utility and probably at variance with yours. Yes, there are mono-culture stands as you point out, but they are marbled within large areas of what nature has done within the imposed human constraints of the last century. And, it seems, we both agree it's not a good situation.

But it seems you feel that resumption of "logging and management and the use of fire" in some positive and affordable way can be done within the present environmental strictures. If so (and I hope you are right), you should publish. Because that seems to be the gulf that divides.

Steve Enos

Geoerge, you opened with "Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation".

My point is you failed to include any information or comment about some critical issues like past logging practices and forest management, you blamed the forest problems and issues on "environmental zealotry". This was an over focused and incomplete position to take. Widen the view and the issues involved, look at the whole of the history that got us here.

Past logging practices and past forest management is a big part of the problem that got us to where we are now. You failed to include other issues, claimed it's "environmental zealotry" and thus lose the ability for real discussion and progress.

Why not consider that old growth and virgin forest in California is few and far between. That our current forests are mosly a result of past logging and replanting practices. That a big portion of this was harvested in clear cuts and replanting was mostly even age, mono-culture plantings. This has had a major impact on how we got to where we are now at.

Compine this with some over reaching anti logging folks, add in SPI and the USFS past logging practices and the over use of wildland fire suppression demanded by those building in high fire danger areas and a side order of cheaper lumber from Canada.

George, if you want to work for change why not widen the discussion past the claim it's all because of "environmental zealotry"? If you just want to appeal to the base and the CABPRO clan follow your narrow view.

George Rebane

Steve - unfortunately this post was not the comprehensive survey that you expected. However, I do believe, that within its intended scope, the summary it gives is accurate. Nevertheless, taking your assessment at face value, I still invite you to offer a way forward from here that avoids or obviates the "environmental zealotry" that I maintain stands in the way of positive and affordable solutions. Look forward and prove me in error.

Steve Enos

"unfortunately this post was not the comprehensive survey that you expected".

"Look forward and prove me in error."

George... your above posts are sad for so many reasons.

Geoerge, you posted "Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation".

If you want to discuss Sierre forest issues why not widen the discussion past the claim it's all because of "environmental zealotry"?

George Rebane

Steve - My use of 'environmental zealotry' was to name a movement that allows no sane solutions to problems like the reasonable management of our forests. I invited you to demonstrate that such usage was perhaps unwarranted hyperbole by outlining a straightforward way past the environmentalists in the management of our forests. I know of no such way, but then my knowledge only goes so far. You have yet to show the extension of yours.

We may now be talking past each other on this. If so, then I'm afraid that you will have deal with the sorrow that my posts cause.

Steve Enos

George you post... "I invited you to demonstrate that such usage was perhaps unwarranted hyperbole by outlining a straightforward way past the environmentalists in the management of our forests". George, you don’t get to mandate my method of response as a means to dodge a basic, common sense response to the real issue I raised.

Your desired response does not address or speak to the issue that I raised. The issue that I raise is simple. A number of factors have led us to the current forest health issues we now face and it’s fair and needed that they all be considered. I wasn't commenting on a way forward, I was commenting on your failure to take into account any other historical factors that played a role in getting to this point, that being unhealthy forests.

But instead of considering and agreeing that a number of issues have put the forests in this position you use only one issue, thus only one portion of the problem. Then you say it's up to me to "outlining a straightforward way past the environmentalists in the management of our forests".

The issues are much more and more complex than "Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation".

If you want to discuss Sierra forest issues why not widen the discussion past the claim it's all because of "environmental zealotry"? Why not look at a number of issues of cause and effect? Isn't this the standard you apply to discuss climate change? Is it possible to apply the same standard to this issue or do you pick and choose the standards you apply as you se fit?


George Rebane

Steve - we are now talking past each other. In this post I am not interested in how we got here, but I do claim to identify that we are at an insane point of public policy that is the direct result of existential 'environmental zealotry'. If this assessment is wrong, I invite (not "mandate") wiser heads to show the way forward that by its proposal will destroy the 'environmental zealotry' argument. BTW, if the label irks, I'm open to another one with equal operational semantics.

The path to where we are, warts and all, is now history, and its methods proscribed/confined by law and regulations. If you have nothing more to add, than excoriating me for not writing a comprehensive survey of forest management methods and history, then this conversation is over because I confess to not being able to make my point clearly enough for you to understand. On the other hand, if you feel such recounting of history is a necessary precursor to devising workable forest management policy, then I INVITE you to write it and I will publish it on RR.

Steve Enos

How we got here doesn't matter? Is that really your position for not discussing the ranger of issues that got us here?

History? But you posted about some of the history, as in "A little more than a century ago"… "Indians regularly set fires to husband their lands and forests"… "where before the land provided for people’s needs, it has now been transformed into a costly and dangerous taboo" and you feature a book (with photos) titled "A Photographic Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849". The history is the history and it is important and valuable to review it and give thought to it while undertaking an effort of discussion, understanding and change.

But you say how we got here and that history isn't relevant to developing solutions to the current mess? It isn't relevant to include in the discussion the issue of where we have built houses in high and extreme fire danger areas, thus resulting in increased resource losses because firefighting efforts must place the protection of houses above fighting the fires. It’s isn’t relevant to discuss past clear cutting, even-age, mono-culture replanting and it’s role in the current mess?

The Sierra forest issues are much more complex than the one contributing cause you provided, that being "Environmental zealotry bordering on madness has today transformed these forests into a Disneyesque landscape of uniform vegetation".

If you want to discuss Sierra forest issues why not widen the discussion past your single issue claim it's all because of "environmental zealotry"? Why not look at a number of issues of cause and effect? History is not only relevant to today, it’s critical to our future.

Dixon Cruickshank

Steve I can't take it anymore - if you can fix the forest issue and bypass the enviro's tell him how. Its just that simple, but guess what you and everybody else that MIGHT be able to fix it is stopped by ..... the Enviro Zealots (his point) - if have their ear then go for it or just STFU

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