News & Views
Forest ‘thinning,’ aka logging, is not going to save us from wildfires
Citation: Ric Bailey. June 15, 2023. Forest ‘thinning,’ aka logging, is not going to save us from wildfires. Seattle Times.
Synopsis: Longtime forest defender and ex-Forest Service wildland firefighter Ric Bailey points out that commercially driven logging increases wildfire risk by opening the forest canopy, drying out the ground vegetation, including the slash accumulation left by the logging operation, and eliminates a multi structured forest canopy that gives hot winds a free run through the forest, driving flames.
New trees are no substitute for old trees
Citation: Norm Christenson & Jerry Franklin. June 11, 2023. New Trees are no substitute for new old trees. Politico.
Synopsis: In this article the authors provide a succinct overview of how forests evolve through the process of succession, and why mature and old growth forests are so important for wildfire and climate resilience.
Log and Burn, or Leave Alone? Indiana Residents Fight US Forest Service Over the Future of Hoosier National Forest
Citation: Maryanne Lavelle. June 4, 2023. Log and Burn, or Leave Alone? Indiana Residents Fight US Forest Service Over the Future of Hoosier National Forest. Inside Climate News.
Synopsis: This excellent article is an absolute must read, and provides a deep dive into the dynamics of the Forest Service’s “oak restoration” initiative on the Hoosier National Forest, and how the maturing hardwood forests of the eastern U.S. are being prepared for harvest.
Healey administration extends pause on state forest logging contracts for 6 more months
Citation: Sam Hudzik. June 7, 2023. Healey administration extends pause on state forest logging contracts for 6 more months. New England Public Media.
Synopsis: Connecticut governor Maura Healey extends the pause on state forest logging contracts for an additional 6 months while guidelines for “climate oriented forestry practices” are being developed.
Forestry expert explains the big problem with replanting chopped-down trees: different species live in different heights
Citation: Laurelle Steele. May 30, 2023. Forestry expert explains the big problem with replanting chopped-down trees: Different species live in different heights. The Cool Down.
Synopsis: This short video from the Endangered Species Alliance breaks down the difference between old growth and second growth forests, the differences in ecosystem services they provide, and why old growth forest dynamics are more diverse and fire resistant.
Corporate capture, theft and pillage of public lands on Yellowstone’s western flank
Citation: Steve Kelly. June 4, 2023. Corporate capture, theft and pillage of public lands on Yellowstone’s western flank. The Daily Montanan.
Synopsis: In this op-ed Steve Kelley, president of the Council on Wildlife and Fish, provides an account of another large-scale Forest Service “restoration” project that is approaching the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park.
A Good Week for Forests, a Bad Week for Bioenergy
Citation: Matt Williams. May 16, 2023. A Good Week for Forests, a Bad Week for Bioenergy. Natural Resource Defense Council.
Synopsis: This short article from the Natural Resource Defense Council highlights recent challenges for Drax, a biomass energy company based in the UK, and why it is good news for forests.
How do you tally up forestry’s climate impact? Watchdog calls for more transparency
Citation: Inayat Singh. May 4, 2023. How do you tally up forestry’s climate impact? Watchdog calls for more transparency. CBC News.
Synopsis: A new report from the Canadian Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has determined that the government has not fully accounted for how Canadian forests sequester and emit carbon, and suggest that forest carbon emissions could account for as much as 10% of all emissions.
Pellet Plant’s Promises of Cleaner Air Go Up in Smoke
Citation: Ben Parfitt. April 28, 2023. Pellet Plant’s Promises of Cleaner Air Go Up in Smoke. The Tyee.
Synopsis: This report provides a glimpse into the community of Smithers, British Columbia, and how the combined forces of slash and burn logging and pellet manufacturing have caused adverse effects to human health and the environment.
Research & Peer Reviewed Articles
How tree diversity can help combat climate change
Citation: Chen, X., Taylor, A.R., Reich, P.B. et al. Tree diversity increases decadal forest soil carbon and nitrogen accrual. Nature 618, 94–101 (2023).
Synopsis: New research finds that high tree diversity in forest ecosystems is associated with increased soil carbon and nitrogen accumulation. In this study, higher species diversity resulted in increased soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations by as much as 30% – 50% in the organic and mineral horizons. These findings underscore how high diversity forests can help enhance soil fertility and ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and sequestration.
Forest protection and carbon dioxide stored in biomass: New study confirms protected forests preserve equivalent to one year of global fossil fuel emissions through avoided emissions
Citation: Duncanson, L., Liang, M., Leitold, V. et al. The effectiveness of global protected areas for climate change mitigation. Nat Commun 14, 2908 (2023).
Synopsis: Protected forest areas sequester and hold more carbon dioxide than their unprotected counterparts, primarily due to accumulated biomass and avoided degradation/disturbance. Results of this analysis underscore the importance of forest conservation for avoiding future carbon emissions, and for future carbon sequestration.
The importance of natural forest stewardship in adaptation planning in the United States
Citation: Faison, E. K., Masino, S. A., & Moomaw, W. R. (2023). The importance of natural forest stewardship in adaptation planning in the United States. Conservation Science and Practice, e12935.
Synopsis: Active forest management to enhance climate adaptation has become a major focus of forest managers in the United States. In this article, the author’s suggest that in most contexts management interventions can be counterproductive, and destructive to ecosystem functions. Conversely, natural forests that are protected and free from human management often develop greater complexity, carbon storage capacity, and tree diversity.
Research finds some Pacific salmon migration out of sync with food supply
Citation: Ashley Joannou. May 4, 2023. Research finds some Pacific salmon migration out of sync with food supply. Canadian Press.
Synopsis: New research examining the timing of juvenile salmon migrations suggests that climate change is causing migrations to occur earlier, and out of sync with the plankton blooms that serve as the young salmon’s primary food source.
Climate change is already impacting stream flows across the US
Citation: Abhinav Gupta, Rosemary W.H. Carroll, Sean A. McKenna. Changes in streamflow statistical structure across the United States due to recent climate change. Journal of Hydrology, Volume 620, Part B, 2023.
Synopsis: This article describes how changes in streamflow across the U.S. from 1980 – 2013 are largely attributed to the effects of climate change. Changes in snow-dominated watersheds were primarily caused by changes in snowpack, seasonal temperatures, and precipitation, while changes in rain-dominated watersheds were associated with increased winter temperatures.