Tag: Logging

The burning of our forests!

But it is not a total wall-to-wall disaster.

The latest news is that our Klondike Fire is now burning an area larger than 100,000 acres. Or to use the words from the incident webpage(my emphasis):

The Taylor Creek and Klondike Fires were split into zones on Saturday, Aug. 18. The fires are now referred to as “Taylor Creek Fire” and “Klondike Fire East,” managed by the Northwest Incident Management Team 12 out of Lake Selmac, and “Klondike Fire West” managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 out of Gold Beach. A transfer of command of the Klondike West Zone will occur at 6:00 AM Friday when the Southern Area Red Team who arrived on Wednesday will take over.

As of the morning of Aug. 30, the Taylor Creek Fire is estimated 52,839 acres and is 95 percent contained. The Klondike Fire is estimated at 100,996 acres and is 40 percent contained. There are 1,214 personnel working on the Klondike Fire and 126 personnel assigned to the Taylor Creek Fire.

Courtesy Jeffersen Public Radio

Then just over a week ago, The Conversation blogsite published a reminder that I wanted to share  with you today, under the permissions offered by The Conversation site.


Many native animals and birds thrive in burned forests, research shows


Associate Research Professor of Biology, Pennsylvania State University

August 22nd, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is blaming this summer’s large-scale wildfires on environmentalists, who he contends oppose “active management” in forests.

But the idea that wildfires should be suppressed by logging the forest is far too simplistic. Most scientists agree that large hot wildfires produce many benefits for North American forests. Notably, they create essential habitat for many native species.

Fifteen years of research on Spotted Owls – a species that has played an oversized role in shaping U.S. forest management policies and practices for the past several decades – directly contradicts the argument that logging is needed to protect wildlife from fires. Wildlife biologists, including me, have shown in a string of peer-reviewed studies, that wildfires have little to no effect on Spotted Owls’ occupancy, reproduction or foraging, and even provide benefits to the owls.

Nonetheless, despite this steadily accumulating evidence, the U.S. Forest Service advocates logging in old-growth forest reserves and Spotted Owl critical habitat in the name of protecting Spotted Owls from forest fires. Zinke’s recent statements are just the latest and broadest iteration of the false viewpoint that logging benefits wildlife and their forest habitats.

Protecting Spotted Owl habitat

Spotted Owls are birds of prey that range from the Pacific Northwest to central Mexico. Because they nest in large old-growth trees and are sensitive to logging, in the 1980s they became symbols of the exceptional biodiversity found in old-growth forests.

The Northern Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990. At that point, about 90 percent of U.S. old-growth forest had already been lost to logging. Every year in the 1980s the U.S. Forest Service sold about 7 to 12 billion board feet of public lands timber.

Figure 1. National forest timber sales (1905–2017). FY 1905-2017 National Summary Cut and Sold Data USDA Forest Service

Listing the owl drew attention to the dramatic decline of old-growth forest ecosystems due to 50 years of unsustainable logging practices. In response the U.S. Forest Service adopted new regulations that included fewer clearcuts, less cutting of trees over 30 inches in diameter and fewer cuts that opened up too much of the forest canopy. These policies, along with vast depletion of old-growth forests, reduced logging on Forest Service lands to about 2 billion board feet per year.

During the 1990s, national forest management policy for the Northern Spotted Owl included creating old-growth reserves and designating critical habitat where logging was restricted – mostly within half a mile of a Spotted Owl nest. In spite of these protections, populations of Northern Spotted Owls, as well as California and Mexican Spotted Owls, continued to decline on forest lands outside national parks. This was most likely due to ongoing logging outside of their protected nesting areas in the owls’ much larger year-round home ranges.

Fire and owls

Over the years the Forest Service shifted away from treating Spotted Owls as symbols of old-

Historical range (burgundy) of the Northern Spotted Owl, which also extended north into British Columbia. One hundred fifty years of logging, agriculture and urbanization have reduced the amount of old growth forest (potential Spotted Owl habitat) in this zone by 85-90 percent. NASA Earth Observatory

growth forest biodiversity, and instead started to cite them as an excuse for more logging. The idea that forest fires were a threat to Spotted Owls was first proposed in 1992 by agency biologists and contract researchers. In a status assessment of the California Spotted Owl, these scientists speculated that fires might be as damaging as clearcuts to the owls.

This perspective gained popularity within the Forest Service over the next 10 years and led to increased logging on public lands that degraded old-growth habitat for Spotted Owls.

Academic scientists, including some with Forest Service funding, published peer-reviewed studies of Spotted Owls and fire in 2002, 2009, 2011 and 2012. All four studies showed either no effects from fire or positive benefits from fire for Spotted Owls. Subsequent research on Spotted Owls in fire-affected forests has showed repeatedly that the owls can persist and thrive in burned landscapes.



(The U.S. Forest Service says wildfires harm wildlife habitat, but wildfires actually create rare and important habitat.)

Many wild species thrive in burned landscapes

I recently conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis that summarized all available scientific research on the effects of wildfires on Spotted Owl ecology. It found that Spotted Owls are usually not significantly affected by mixed-severity forest fire. Mixed-severity forest fire, which includes large patches with 100 percent tree mortality, is how wildfires in western forests naturally burn. The preponderance of evidence indicated that mixed-severity wildfire has more benefits than costs for Spotted Owls.

In 2017 I submitted an early version of this analysis with the same conclusions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during the agency’s peer-review process for its Conservation Objectives Report for the California Spotted Owl. My conclusions were not included in the final report.

Decades of science have shown that forest fires – including large hot fires – are an essential part of western U.S. forest ecosystems and create highly biodiverse wildlife habitat. Many native animals thrive in the years and decades after large intense fires, including deer, bats, woodpeckers and songbirds as well as Spotted Owls. Additionally, many native species are only found in the snag forest habitat of dead and dying trees created by high-severity wildfire.

Pileated woodpeckers excavate nests within snags, bringing life to charred forests in Oregon. NASA/S. Russell, CC BY-ND

Wildfires threaten homes, but wildlife and water supplies benefit

Studies have shown that wildfires are strongly influenced by a warming climate, and that logging to reduce fuels doesn’t stop the biggest, hottest fires. In my view, federal and state agencies that manage wildfires should devote significant resources towards making structures ignition-resistant and creating defensible space around homes to protect communities, rather than promoting ecologically damaging logging.

It is also time to reform Forest Service management goals to emphasize carbon capture, biodiversity, outdoor recreation and water supply as the most important ecosystem services provided by national forest lands. These services are enhanced by wildfires, not by logging.


These last two paragraphs are key lessons: 1. Logging does not stop the biggest, hottest fires, and, 2. It is time to change the goals under which our forests are managed emphasising carbon capture, biodiversity, recreation and water supplies!

I won’t hold my breath!

The sustainable dog.

Looking for sustainability?  Try this!

Sustainable is an overused word these days.  All for the right reasons, of course!  But how often is the word used in the context of relationships?  Of the relationships between the domesticated dog and man?  I suspect rarely.

Take the example of the Japanese Akita dog called Hachi, (Hachikō in Japanese) that I wrote about almost a year ago.

In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at theUniversity of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner’s life Hachikō saw him out from the front door and greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return on the usual train one evening. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage at the university that day. He died and never returned to the train station where his friend was waiting. Hachikō was loyal and every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk.

Hachikō 1925

“…. every day for the next nine years he waited sitting there amongst the town’s folk” Truly a sustainable relationship.

Now to something closer to home; literally.

The Payson Roundup is our local newspaper. Last Tuesday’s edition had the following story which Tom Brossart, Editor, has kindly given me written permission to reproduce here on Learning from Dogs.  Thank you, Tom.

Best friends help save man’s life

Both Logger and Harold Green are a little gray around the muzzle, but they have lots of good days ahead after Logger helped save Green’s life back on July 1.Photo by Andy Towle

By Teresa McQuerrey

August 30, 2011

Logger is Harold Green’s best friend. Logger isn’t a flannel-wearing, tattooed burly woodsman; he is a sweet-tempered chocolate Labrador retriever. And this best friend saved Green’s life.

Green makes his home up in Happy Jack. Recently he and Logger drove into the woods and went for a walk, and then Green had a heart attack. He didn’t have a history of heart disease, but all of a sudden his chest became tight. He collapsed and on his way to the ground, he hit a fallen log and wound up hitting his forehead and nose, tearing his bottom lip away from his gums, cutting his chin and breaking a rib.

“Right before I had the heart attack I had a page there was a fire, and that’s the last thing I remember,” he said. Green is an emergency medical technician with the Blue Ridge Fire Department.

He said the next thing he remembers was waking up and trying to call 911. “There was so much blood in my eyes I couldn’t see at first, but Logger licked the blood away.”

Green was conscious long enough to dial 911 and try to explain where he was. He heard the sirens go past him and with that information; the emergency responders had a place to start looking for him.

At that point, Logger left Green’s side to go to the rescue personnel.

“From what they told me, he was like Lassie. He came running to them, barking, and started running back to me, stopped and made sure they were following,” Green said.

The first person on the scene with him was a law enforcement officer with the Forest Service. Green said he told him his nose was bleeding so much he thought it was broken.

Next to arrive was a deputy sheriff. Green said he later learned the guy was off duty, but came to help anyway.

The Blue Ridge ambulance crew arrived next.

“Logger did the same with all of them as he had with the first one on the scene. They told me, without Logger’s help they would have had to search for me a lot longer.”

Green said when they first reached him his heart rate was in the mid-40s and he had no blood pressure. The rescue team stabilized him and carried him out to the ambulance to take him to the fire station where a helicopter could land.

“They said Logger tried to get into the ambulance with me,” Green said.

He said he has little or no memory of everything that took place, when he woke up he was in the hospital in Flagstaff.

Logger couldn’t ride in the ambulance with Green and couldn’t come see him in the hospital, but since he has been out, the dog has not been more than three feet from him for three weeks.

“It is really humbling to have so many friends there to help you out,” Green said.

The people who came to his rescue were all friends and, just like Logger, they did what best friends do, except it was something they do every day, for friends and strangers alike.

Logger has been part of Green’s family for seven years, joining it when he was just a puppy.

Green is the son of longtime Rim Country Realtor Bea Baxter, who has been in the community for around 40 years.

So dear, lovely Logger also demonstrated the same, deep sustainability of relationship that Hachikō did back in 1925.  There is so much that we can learn from dogs.  Think about sustainability, as it relates to the relationship between dogs and man.  It goes back at least 30,000 years.  It’s an unimaginable length of time.

In this context, sustainability is an underused word!