Scientific data on tree growth, fire |

Scientific data on tree growth, fire

Re: tripling national forest logging and pro-logging opinion (“Scare tactics on forests by whom?” Jan. 21):

The writer goes far out on a limb, saying trees up to 30 inches in diameter fuel wildfires and should be logged – but grow back in 50 years even attaining 50-inch size in 80 years.

If this seems questionable, the Forest Service’s Fire Effects Information System web site and 2001 Sierra Nevada Frameworks environmental impact statement provide scientific data about tree growth and wildfire.

For example, the web site explains that Pacific ponderosa pine live 300-600 years. Rate of growth is dependent on elevation, soil texture, soil temperature, nutrient competition and moisture availability. Growth slows markedly as elevation increases. Volume 2, chapter 3, table 3.2a of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment lists average tree growth definitions as follows:

Ponderosa pine, productive soils. > 30 inches (would be) > 125 (years old); ponderosa pine, average soils > 30″, > 145; mixed conifer, productive > 39″, 285 (188-543) years old; mixed conifer, average > 29″, 323 (256-450); white fir, productive > 39″, 260 (143-413); white fir, average > 29″, 301 (239-359); red fir, productive > 30″, > 150 years old; red fir, average > 30″, > 200.

James Woods

Penn Valley

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