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It states that “reducing vegetation through hazardous fuel management and strategic forest health treatments is effective in reducing wildfire severity and loss.”
Then it goes on to state that “[actions must be taken across landscapes to prioritize treatments in order to enhance fuel reduction and forest-restoration projects that protect life and property, and to benefit rural economies through encouraging utilization of the by-products of forest restoration.”
It then directs the Secretaries to “give all due consideration to establishing the following objectives for 2019, as feasible and appropriate” and then directs the agencies to offer millions of board feet of timber for sale in 2019.
Moreover, according to The Post, these agencies have given their permission for logging on federal lands to continue during the shutdown — something that was not allowed during the prior long lasting shutdowns in 2013 and 1995. Apparently, these agencies are even considering calling furloughed workers from these agencies back to conduct timber sales, but not to do the kind of land management that would actually prevent fires.
Why This Matters:Experts say that the timber sales directed by the President are unlikely to reduce fire risk since there is so much land at risk of fire due to climate change. The Post explained that “fires have increased fivefold since the 1970s as temperatures have risen and snowpack has shrunk. Just 2 percent of lands treated by the Forest Service between 2004 and 2013 experienced a wildfire.” In short, fire experts say we cannot “groom” our way out of our fire problems – the forces of climate change are too great. So the only winners will be the timber companies who get to harvest more timber, even as the government’s effective fire prevention efforts remain halted by the government shutdown.
As wildfires across the West continue to rage, President Trump has continued to push the message that the cause of the fires is solely due to poor forest management. It’s not a new message for Republicans, but science unequivocally points to the ways in which climate change is supercharging wildfires. Ezra Romero, an environmental reporter […]
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer As Stefanie Glinski reported for the Thomson Reuters Foundation this week, large-scale deforestation in Afghanistan, due primarily to the past 40 years of war, has advanced flooding in the country (as trees prevent soil erosion and serve as a buffer against flooding). According to Glinski, “Trees have long been […]
Why This Matters: The Tongass is the largest national forest and one of the most important forests in the world (as the Ag Department itself says – watch the video) because it contains some of the last surviving old-growth temperate rainforests in North America and is home to numerous species of endangered wildlife and is very important to several native tribes.
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