Reposted from Government Executive

Environmentalists Protest Forest Service Job Cuts
By Charles S. Clark February 24, 2015

Sunset in Olympic National Forest in Washington state. U.S. Forest Service

A Forest Service plan to eliminate 133 jobs in law enforcement on federal property prompted an outcry from the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an alliance of federal, local and state scientists, law enforcement officers and land managers.

The 16 percent force reduction, the group warned on Tuesday, coming after a previous cut of 15 percent, “will mean major cutbacks in security coverage for visitors, staff and the forests themselves.”

In documents accompanying President Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget released Feb. 2, the Forest Service offered a cut of $623,000 in the $120 million budget of the Law Enforcement and Investigations program, while assigning highest priority to “emergency and life-threatening situations.” The program combats illegal drug trafficking on National Forest lands primarily in the West near borders, and works with sheriffs in pursuing crime such as arson, theft and assault.

In December, the plan for a one-sixth reduction in personnel was discussed in a memo describing a reorganization from LEI Director David Ferrell. The memo urged officers to “work with your supervisor and forest staff to prioritize your work and accept that some things that you would like to do just won’t get done,” according to a copy the nonprofit released.

“The decision to increase the span of control for two of our [special agents in charge] by having them take on additional responsibilities was not an easy decision,” the memo said. “We all recognize the impacts that our reduced budget is having on the field. We see this as an opportunity for LEI leadership to share some of the impacts of our budget reduction.”

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who has tangled with Forest Service management over priorities, said, “The Forest Service plan is premised not on less crime actually occurring on our national forests but on having fewer cops who can respond” at a time of rising visitation to the forests. “In today’s Forest Service, protecting visitors and forest assets is officially a dispensable value – a diminishing priority in the face of a growing need,” he said.

At a Feb. 20 town hall with Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell, the nonprofit reported, officers said the job cuts will result in:

Fewer proactive patrols into forests to check on the safety of campers and hikers;
Less training and equipment, and fewer long-term investigations of forest crime; and widening inability to fill vacancies, no matter how critical.
The cuts also come at a time of low morale and when the 2014 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey found that fewer than one in 10 of LEI respondents said they “have sufficient resources to get my job done,” according to PEER.


Reposted from SURVIVALBASED:


Posted on September 8, 2014 by Capt. William E. Simpson
Pacific Northwest Wildfire Sky

As I write this I am vexed by the fact that nearly 100,000 thousand acres of pristine forests are burning and nearly one-million acres of forest (public forests) have burned to the ground in and around the Pacific Northwest so far this year alone. The vast majority of these forests are publically owned and managed by Federal agencies under the overview of the EPA (http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/07/northwest_wildfires_more_than.html).

wildfires - tree in flames

As a result of the flames, heat and smoke, thousands of forest animals have died and many others are suffering with severe injuries and their habitat is now long-gone. Wildfires are indiscriminate killers of endangered species, as well as numerous other species of birds and many other forest animals. It’s impossible to put an economic value on a forest full of life; but having said that; and simply from a renewable resource point of view, just the trees that have been lost had an economic (timber) value in excess of a billion dollars!

scorched earth
Photo: The scorched-earth devastation of just a small fire is obvious

The EPA, BLM, U.S. Forestry and their environmentalist (‘Green’) support base claim that they want to preserve habitat and save endangered species, but by way of their own actions, policies and regulations, more habitat and species have been lost over the past decades under their management policies than were lost ever before, and are being lost, every year, year after year at an alarming rate!
Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…
So the question is why are we losing so much forest? And the answer is very simple… the forests are being mismanaged through the continued bungling-intervention of the EPA, the ‘environmentalists’ and the ‘green’ movement into the arena of forestry.
I know something about the subject of forests and forest management since I grew-up living, working, hunting and fishing in the area of the forests that are being consumed by these incredibly massive fires, which have become a recurring annual theme over the past two and a half decades since the intervention of the ‘environmentalist’ into the area for forest management practices. But who are these ‘environmentalists’ anyway.

Generally speaking (and there are exceptions), the ‘environmentalists’ who have taken an interest in controlling how our public forests are used don’t live in the forests, and they view the human race (you, me our families and friends) as less valuable and relevant than a frog, fish, or a tree. They are people who seem to lack an understanding of the principals of renewable manageable resources, and who have become activists against those who would use the public forests responsibly, having had relatively little (if any) time and relevant experience living in or working in our forests themselves. Many of them are aligned with the concepts and principals of the ‘progressive’ socialist movement. If you debate them, many of these same people will quickly remind you of their ‘degrees’, etc…  In other words, they are telling you that they ‘know it all’, and certainly more than you. However, anyone who has successfully managed a forest knows (as is seen in privately owned and managed  forests) that reading some books in college and going on a few field trips just doesn't cut it; a piece of paper hanging on the wall is no substitute for actual experience that is gained over many generations of successful forest management. No more so than someone trying to be a farmer with the same token experience… it just doesn't work.

And coincidentally, many of the books that some universities are using in their forestry programs are authored by some of the same ‘green’ environmentalist forest managers who have had a hand in developing the current failed forest management polices as applied over the past two decades; just look what’s happening! Books and lectures simply cannot teach common sense or instill the on-the-ground experience that loggers and foresters develop over the span of their lives, and through generation after generation of families working in the woods. There’s just no debating when it comes to the contrast between the current recurring disaster management model, and the past successes in forest management with sustainable and renewable timber harvests, combined with abundant wildlife habitat; without the mammoth annual fires we are experiencing today.
Here (the link just below) is an important (precedent example) of how proper forest management, which includes selective logging and other proper management practices, saved a forest and stopped a major wildfire: http://cronkitenewsonline.com/2011/12/experts-decades-of-logging-treatments-helped-stop-wallow-fire-at-reservation/

wildfires - selectively logged forest
Photo of a tract of fire resistant forest that has been selectively logged

In the early 1970’s I worked in the woods logging and then later worked as a millwright for Southern Oregon Plywood. My brothers were also loggers as were many of my friends and countless others who lived in Southern Oregon. Like farmers who tended to their fields and cared for them year after year, and who depended upon those fields and the resulting crop production, loggers cared for the forests; they had to; forests were the lifeline for their family’s financial security.

Loggers and their families also spent a lot of time in the woods even when they weren't working; they hunted and fished in the forests for generations. And through that continual close contact with the forest and the wildlife, loggers gained more knowledge about the forests and the animals that lived there than many of the scientists, giving them a unique understanding of the intricate and complex interactions of the biodiversity that exists in the forests.
As just one example of the many successful practices of loggers; dead and dying trees and underbrush (fuel for fires) were removed and eliminated during selective harvesting of the forests, and in the process of harvests, small access roads were made, which served as fire breaks and access for firefighters in the event of a fire. During that time and preceding decades, back when loggers were allowed to log public forests, fires that burned hundreds of thousands and millions of acres of timber were very rare, almost non-existent. And that was because the forests were healthy and the density of the forest and the underbrush were kept to a minimum as a result of proper management and continued annual harvests. Forests were managed as a sustainable and renewable resource, which in turn benefited the wildlife with sustainable reliable habitat and in the process, also provided recreational opportunities for the people. That former relationship between loggers and the forest was truly symbiotic.

I can still recall the spotted owl debacle, where loggers, who for all intents and purposes were the caretakers of the forests were completely closed-out of the public forests in wholesale fashion as a result of the ‘green’ movement and environmentalists! All logging came to a complete halt as well as the associated management practices. This resulted in the shutdown of numerous West Coast lumber mills and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in and related to the timber industry which was thereafter decimated.
During the lobby by the ‘green movement’ and environmentalists, they argued that the rate of logging prior to the 1990’s would eliminate the old growth forests… here is a quote:
“Environmentalists admit that saving the owls' habitat could cost jobs. But, they argue, these jobs will vanish no matter what. For if cutting continues at its current rate of 125,000 acres a year, the old-growth forests will be gone within thirty years and the mills forced to close anyhow.”  
(taken from this article: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v4n1/ ).

However, as we have all witnessed, since the transition to the ‘green movement’s’ ban on logging in public forests, we are in fact actually losing many hundreds of thousands of acres of forest annually!  It’s a travesty of monumental proportions… when people like these try to play God, the results are usually tragic and harm both humanity and the wildlife.

Through the use of politics combined with bad science the ‘green movement’ and environmentalists led the way to the implementation of seriously flawed policies (regulations) and practices. The EPA and the BLM along with Federal forestry agencies and their environmentalist support base had in the early 1990’s effected a major management policy change in order to supposedly save forest habitat for a species of owl (spotted owl) that was ‘allegedly’ endangered (http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19930114&slug=1679945)
Result: In the early 1990’s Federal forests became off-limits to loggers.

Of course under the ‘new management’ practices of the environmentalist-led EPA, BLM and Federal Forestry Departments, the forests became (and are) very seriously overgrown leading to unhealthy stands of trees (with dead and dying trees) that were vulnerable to disease, insects and of course fire, as did the underbrush.

Forests became so dense that if a fire started (regardless of reason)… the fire would burn extremely hot and spread very fast; it’s so simple a child can understand the concept… more fuel, more forest fire.

And at the end of the day, many years later after Feds and the ‘green’ environmentalists kicked the loggers out of the forests and took-over, placing ‘their’ policies, regulations and management practices into place, the spotted owl population has continued to drop! This is irrefutable evidence that their interventions, policies and regulations have utterly failed to affect the owls, and in that failure, the public interest has lost even more animals and habitat to fire! Through their own actions, we now have even more animals heading towards potential extinction! What a contradiction to the claims of these people!

Under the ‘green environmental’ forest management polices/practices (‘hands off, no logging’), forests have become so dense that when lightning starts a fire, instead of just burning-off a relatively small area before the fire is brought under control, as it was in the days of managed logging, fires today now burn entire tracks of forests amounting to hundreds of thousands of acres annually, all of which is burned to the bare ground!

Let’s keep in the mind that this is now the new ‘norm’, and since it takes many decades for the trees to be re-established, the net result is that we are losing more and more forest annually, instead of gaining more forest area and wildlife habitat; just the opposite of what the environmentalists and the EPA preach to the public. So what’s the point?

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out…. Just look at the annual total acres that are burned to the ground… It’s truly shocking that this is even allowed to continue as it has, year after year.
wildfires - ashes

Photo: Ashes from Federally managed forests burning is covering the cars in several communities.

So much for the ‘habitat’ of the spotted owl! And of course the habitats for dozens of other species were (are) lost as well. As of this writing, I am down in the area of the fires interviewing local people, and hundreds of thousands of acres of ‘critical habitat’ (old growth and other trees) has been converted to the ash that is falling from the sky; it’s like a nuclear winter without the radiation. Ash from the burned forests is covering entire cities!

It’s a fact that under the continued management of the public’s forest lands by the same idiotic policies, we now have annual forest fires that devastate huge areas of forest, and in the process destroy all of the trees, as opposed to having some of the trees harvested resulting in a healthy forest as had existed in the past; forests which then were also more fire-resistant. Some may try to argue that the fires are a result of the drought. Of course that’s a ruse to deflect blame from the implementation of a seriously flawed management policy. In the prior era of managed forest harvests, we also had periods of severe drought, without the results we are seeing today. Added to which, forests which are selectively logged and managed are far more fire resistant, drought or not, and that fact is undeniable.
So which method makes more sense? Sustainable logging as it was successfully practiced for nearly a century; or…. The current ‘green environmentalist’ methods where no logging is allowed in public forests resulting in hundreds of thousands of acres of forests regularly burning to the ground leaving nothing but ash and bare ground that is devoid of plant life and subject to severe erosion?

The erosion of the scorched earth in-turn leads to excessive silt run-off into the streams and rivers, which covers the critical gravel beds in the streams and rivers that are required for the fish eggs of spawning fish such as Salmon. Of course the recent decline in Salmon and Steelhead runs are certainly associated to this situation. Additionally, the loss of forests results in the loss of critical shade trees in and around watersheds, which results in the warming of stream and river water temperatures; this also adversely affects the fish populations.

The late Summer and Fall storms of the Pacific Northwest which spawn the lightning that ignite the forests also provide the downpours that wash the silt into the streams and rivers that resulted from the aftermath of the massive forest fires. And this silting of the waterways comes at the worst possible time… just as the Salmon are moving upriver to spawn in the gravel beds of the rivers and streams. However, with the overburden of silt that has washed-down off the now barren mountain sides, the gravel beds are covered in silt and are no longer viable for the spawning Salmon. This is not an optimal situation for the spawning Salmon; in fact, it can cause entire runs of Salmon to fail in their efforts to reproduce! As a fisherman myself, this situation is beyond frustrating.

As anyone can easily see, the relative newcomer green environmentalist-scientists have it all wrong, and every year since the implementation of their fatally flawed concepts and polices we watch as more and more forests are consumed by massive fires such as those that are burning as I write this.

If these forests were properly managed and logged as they were just 30 years ago in the Pacific Northwest, we would have trees still standing and abundant animal habitat in areas that are now burned to the dirt, and we would have renewable forest harvests as in the past providing full-time jobs for thousands of people. And as it was in the past, healthy standing forests shading the watersheds and minimized erosion, providing optimal water temperatures and low water turbidity in the streams and rivers resulting in abundant runs of fish, something that local Indian tribes greatly desire.

Instead, thanks to the intervention of the EPA, the ‘green movement’ and environmentalists, we have less and less forest, which leads to less and less water, and less fish, while the good people of Siskiyou, Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties are suffering from record high un-employment as they watch helplessly as billions of dollars of timber is turned to ash each year.

And in the end, with the forests burned to the ground, if a few spotted owls survive the blaze, the spotted owl has no trees and no habitat.  So what was the point?

Life is hard...it's even harder if you're stupid

It just doesn't get any dumber than this.  We have the blind leading the blind.
Thinking Americans need to stand-up to the current stupidity and form a united front against the idiots who think they know what’s best for everyone else, our natural resources, our schools and our local Counties.

wildfires - smokey sky
Photo: Smoke from a massive wildfire pollutes the pristine mountain air of Northern California

How long can America survive the obtuse policies of ‘green environmentalism’?

Some readers might be thinking; why should I care? Or, how does this affect me since I live across the U.S. from these wildfires. We all need to care and take action because this kind of mismanagement can happen anywhere environmentalists stick their noses into areas where they have less than adequate experience. As I write this, and as a result of yet another environmentalist intervention, numerous perfectly good West Coast dams are being eyed for removal! Of course this makes perfect sense to these upside-down thinking people, especially given that the West Coast is seriously short on water as it is, and needs more dams, not less!
Are we going to wait until these clowns let it all burn?
Cheers!  Bill
Capt. William E. Simpson – USMM

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NauticalPrepper


Why conservationists need a little hope: saving themselves from becoming the most depressing scientists on the planet

The many positive stories

Despite decades of attention and advocacy, tropical forests are still falling at rapid rates worldwide. Now, mongabay.com's new special series, Innovation in Tropical Forest Conservation aims to highlight solutions to the crisis through short interviews with some of the world's leading conservation scientists, practitioners, and thinkers about new and emerging approaches to conservation. For more of these interviews, please check our Innovation in Tropical Forest Conservation feed.

Integrating forest conservation, use, and restoration
Liz Kimbrough, special to mongabay.com 
January 10, 2014


Reposted from Mongabay:


Rainforest near La Selva, Costa Rica. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Dr. Robin Chazdon has dedicated over 30 years to studying and working in tropical forests. Her research interests include biodiversity conservation, regeneration and restoration of tropical forests, and biodiversity in human-modified tropical landscapes. 

Currently, Chazdon is a professor at the University of Connecticut in the US, heading a multi-investigator project on long-term secondary forest dynamics in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Brazil. She is also the director of the recently funded Tropical Reforestation Research Coordination Network (PARTNERS). 

Among her laundry list of accomplishments, she has served as Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Biotropica, as President of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, and as a member-at-large of the governing board of the Ecological Society of America. She is an author of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles, the co-editor of two books, and the mother of two grown musicians. 

In January 2014, she will become the Executive Director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), and her sole-authored book “Second growth: The promise of tropical forest regeneration in an age of deforestation” will be published in May 2014. 

An Interview with Dr. Robin Chazdon 

Mongabay: What is your background? 

Robin Chazdon: I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Went to Grinnell College where I majored in biology. During my second year I spent 6 months in Costa Rica on an off-campus field studies program, which changed my life! After that experience I decided to become a tropical forest ecologist and to dedicate myself to understanding and conserving tropical forests. I got my PhD at Cornell University and returned to the tropics to study the ecology of understory palms at La Selva Biological Station. After three postdocs in the Bay Area, I got a faculty job in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, where I have been teaching and mentoring students since 1988 (25 years now). I have taught General Ecology, Methods of Ecology (advanced field-based course), Functional Ecology of Plants, and graduate seminars on Current Topics in Biodiversity. Since 1992 I have been studying forest succession in northeastern Costa Rica, and since 2007 have been coordinating a multi-investigator project to study successional pathways in forests of Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico. 

Mongabay: How long have you worked in tropical forest conservation and in what geographies? What is the focus of your work? 

Robin Chazdon: My work in tropical forest conservation has largely coincided with my research on forest regeneration, beginning about 20 years ago. Witnessing the recovery of forests in areas that were cleared and used for pasture and agriculture has made me realize the potential for incorporating regenerating forests into regional conservation programs. So, rather than seeing these forests as degraded counterparts to "primary" forests, they can be viewed as young forests with great potential to protect biodiversity and provide ecosystem services, if nurtured properly and if protected. This work has also incorporated a social perspective, as forests and their status are linked to human activities in surrounding landscapes that are driven by economic, political, and cultural factors at different geographic scales. 

Mongabay: What do you see at the next big idea or emerging innovation in tropical forest conservation? And why? 

Robin Chazdon: The next big idea is to integrate the social and natural components of forest conservation, use of forest products, and restoration. In reality, these aspects are completely intertwined, but in practice they are completely separated. I believe (along with many others) that the scale at which we can begin to integrate these components is at the landscape scale. Working at the landscape scale will require new approaches and new institutions, and this is where the innovations are needed. Further, the structures that are effective in one region or landscape may not be universally effective. So we need to work with local and regional teams of partners to make forest conservation and restoration work in ways that improve the livelihoods of local people. The traditional "top-down" approach to conservation involving large international conservation organizations that protect forests by isolating them from local people has not prevented massive deforestation around the world; a new approach involving local people as conservation stewards, reforesters, and prudent forest users is required. This is a huge challenge, but it is where we need to go. 

Crown of a giant rainforest tree in Costa Rica. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. 

Mongabay: Are you currently involved in any projects or research that represent emerging innovation in tropical forest conservation? 

Robin Chazdon: I'm so glad you asked! I am directing a new project that will integrate social and ecological aspects of reforestation in the tropics through interdisciplinary synthesis of existing information. This Research Coordination Network was recently funded by the US National Science Foundation, and we called it PARTNERS (People and Reforestation in the Tropics: A Network for Education, Research, and Synthesis). Our goal is to address the social and ecological factors that lead to forest transitions in different tropical regions, the factors that underlie forest resilience, interactions between climate change and reforestation, and the socio-economic and ecological costs and benefits of different reforestation outcomes (natural regeneration, agroforestry, restoration plantations, commercial plantations). PARTNERS will synthesize existing knowledge, identify knowledge gaps, identify new directions for interdisciplinary research, and prepare peer-reviewed documents for educators and policy makers. For more information about the 5-year project, visit our website http://partners-rcn.uconn.edu

This post was funded under Mongabay.org's Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) program. To support content like this, please visit mongabay.org and consider making a tax-deductible donation.

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