Forest Management After Fires a Focus for California Agency

Bankrunner

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Nice post.
I hope they get the work done efficiently and with some care for the critters in the woods.
It's funny how the sierra club seems to get there views pointed out by the media so often.
 

Plain ol' Steve

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[FONT=&quot]Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, said many of the recent fires were driven by high winds, so clearing trees and vegetation in forests is not the solution. Calfire should focus more on clearing brush immediately around homes and ensuring their roofs and attics are safe from flying embers, she said.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]“We need to make sure we’re doing the things that we know will protect homes,” she said.

I think CA is going to have trouble with this and like gun control a lot of what is done will be window dressing. What needs to be done is to set controlled fires, which is arguably difficult with all the homes we build in our forests and the amount of bark beetle kill still standing. I have seen that Edison seems to really mange their forests well up around Shaver Lake. Maybe something can be learned there.[/FONT]
 

OPAH

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The Fact that Old Groth forest are not healthy forests, Fires are natures way of thinning the trees and minimizing over growth. Saplings must have sun to Grow, bushes and plants must have sun to grow. Old Growth forests block the light, killing thwe foos sources for many animals. Fire is necessary if someone is going to live in the forest they should care for their property to protect against fire and Have good insurance.
 

Stevehazard

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Glad to hear they doubled their efforts so they can still accomplish less then 1%. Need to step it up more then that.
 

Stevehazard

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The Fact that Old Groth forest are not healthy forests, Fires are natures way of thinning the trees and minimizing over growth. Saplings must have sun to Grow, bushes and plants must have sun to grow. Old Growth forests block the light, killing thwe foos sources for many animals. Fire is necessary if someone is going to live in the forest they should care for their property to protect against fire and Have good insurance.
Old growth also provides genetic and tree age diversification which leads to healthy forest if tree density is lower and mixed with new growth. I think theoretically the least healthy area would be an area that was clear cut then densely replanted all at once with seeds taken from the same tree and is now old growth.
 

dthome

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Interesting post. I do think our forests need substantial thinning to have any semblance of health.
I conducted scientific research in both old growth and heavily managed forests for many years. Old growth forest are typically very healthy. They are not the cause of these wildfire concerns by any stretch, and they represent a tiny fraction of the forests out there. Interestingly, some old growth forests are actually forests growing within forests. In old growth redwoods, for instance, the tree canopies are so tall and large, that each tree has its own microclimate. And the trees have such massive structure, you can find other species (like hemlock) growing from the branches of redwoods.

Anyway, I think forest health is really in the eye of the beholder. If you want deer and upland game, you really need multiple serial stages of forests. Clearcuts bring new understory growth, which brings in the bugs and the deer, and bats and songbirds. But there’s nowhere for anything to nest, no cavities for denning, and no protection from the hot summer sun or winter snow. That’s why some species are said to be “dependent” on the old stuff. Historically, fires provided the mosaic of young and old forests. That was likely the “healthiest” scenario, but is now impossible. The closest we can get is prescribed burning and manual thinning.

By the way, I totally agree with you, Stevehazard. Stands of uniform, monoculture trees are the worst.
 
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Bankrunner

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I helped with a forest management plan back east and one of the things implemented was the marking/saving of wolf trees and den trees in clear-cut areas. Those trees are easily identified by a forester or an avid outdoorsman. In most logging operations den trees will get cut and then left on the ground to rot or get piled for burning because they are hollow.
Wolf trees are old sentinels that provide cover and drop seeds, if you leave enough of them and have a little patience you don't have to spend as much money on replanting.
Most of the logging in California's national forest seem to be more of a thinning cut compared to SPI lands in California which seem to hold a lot of clear cuts.
Clear cuts are not good for deer and other animals if the management plan calls for spraying herbicides to kill plants that compete with the planted tree of choice which is usually pine or fur. Those sprayed and planted clear cuts end up being a uniform stand or a plantation stand, they are only managed for tree growth with no consideration for wildlife.
 

dthome

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Good points, Bankrunner. I hunt the Sierras, and the clearcuts are sterile because of the herbicide application. Totally different from where I worked in the Pacific Northwest, where clearcuts had bountiful game because they were allowed to grow naturally. I miss those days.
 

Stevehazard

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I've also read that since clear cutting takes all the trees the area is stripped of differing age trees and consequently the genetic diversity or the trees in the area, leaving the trees that replace them to be more susceptible as a whole to disease, insects, weather changes, etc. From a laymans perspective I want to say some of the logging operations around Tahoe look to be doing it right. Camp Richardson and Glenbrook areas for example they look to of gone in and taken about 2/3 while strategically leaving the rest. Is their a proper term for this sort of logging?
 

dthome

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Steve,
its possible that you are seeing “shelterwood” harvesting, which tends to be something the Forest Service will do on occasion. This is when older, seed-bearing trees are left to ensure natural seedling production.

Regarding genetics of trees growing from clearcuts, it really depends on a number of things. Redwoods, for instance, will sprout from their stumps, so there’s no loss in genetic diversity after harvest. If there is a sufficient seed bank in the soil, you’ll get decent diversity, too. The problem with genetic diversity in clearcuts is not really related to the method of harvest, but rather the method of regeneration. Timber companies want to maximize profit, so they plant the most valuable tree after harvest. In the area I hunt, that means they plant nursery-cultivated pine and incense cedar, even if those weren’t the species found in greatest number before harvest. And while timber companies must leave a certain number of hardwoods and old, gnarly trees like Bankrunner says, it’s not profitable to have a bunch of oaks and maples growing where a nice big incense cedar can bring money. But what do the critters like? As we’ve all noticed, they like a proper mix: oaks for acorns and cavities, pines and firs for pine seeds and sugary cambium, etc.
 
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ChrisAMX

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Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, said many of the recent fires were driven by high winds, so clearing trees and vegetation in forests is not the solution. Calfire should focus more on clearing brush immediately around homes and ensuring their roofs and attics are safe from flying embers, she said.
“We need to make sure we’re doing the things that we know will protect homes,” she said.

I think CA is going to have trouble with this and like gun control a lot of what is done will be window dressing. What needs to be done is to set controlled fires, which is arguably difficult with all the homes we build in our forests and the amount of bark beetle kill still standing. I have seen that Edison seems to really mange their forests well up around Shaver Lake. Maybe something can be learned there.
Someone should ask Kathryn Phillips what kind of deal Sierra Club made with Tejon Ranch, not to protest 19,000 houses being built of Hwy 138. The last herd of Antelope in the Antelope Valley could have used some of their protection.
 

OPAH

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Look at the Lodgepole Pine, their cones will not open and release seeds unless there is a fire, prevents over population and replants when needed. why are we always second guessing Nature ?
 


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