Implement Sierra Framework
“Conversation about the Forest” can be judged a failure based on its stated objectives. The lecturers asked each other no more than a couple of questions, the public were asked not to make statements with the result that lecturers turned questions into more lecture, and the public came away with little science (mainly from Barbour and Fites) and lots of political agenda for extensive cutting of the forests.
A focus was the return of the forest to a pre-condition defined as a wide-open forest. Fire suppression and environmentalists took the blame for our current overstocked forests. However, there was no discussion of how the last 100 years of management by agencies under the direction of university forestry programs had led us to this condition. The supposedly strict Timber Harvest Plan rules are being blamed for the exodus of logging companies from the Sierra. And yet somehow the forests got high-graded and left with large fuel loads under these rules. Nothing was stopping the logging companies from taking the smaller trees as part of Forest Service projects except their greed and knowing the Forest Service would let them get away with it. And now the solution seems to be to let SPI and the Forest Service do clear-cuts to establish plantations, so we can compete with the same world-wide strategy adopted by the major U.S. logging corporations.
The fact is that there have already been conversations about the forest. Hundreds of thousands of comments have been made on the U.S. Forest Service roadless rules and the Sierra Framework. The Framework is the result of 10 years of effort to combine the science of the Sierra Nevada Evaluation Project with public direction to resolve five major problems of the Sierran forests.
The Sierra Framework is a cautious approach to strategically reducing the fire danger, protecting old growth emphasis areas, watershed restoration of riparian and aquatic refuges and important bird areas, reducing noxious weeds, and enhancing hardwood ecosystems. And even this is under attack by the Bush Administration in an attempt to justify more logging.
Let’s implement the framework to restore the forests.
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