Sustainability means forever
The March 19 issue of The Union highlighting the Tahoe National Forest timber cut contained a statement by Tahoe Forest Supervisor Steve Eubanks regarding the “technically sustainable” harvest level on Tahoe National Forest under his management.
Eubanks is technically wrong. He continues to characterize sustainability in terms of his “growth and yield” timber harvesting background with little, if any, reference to actual ecological sustainability. The issue is not so simple as the growing and cutting of trees but what is the impact on wildlife species, aquatic habitats, soil resources and old growth forests in general, from that cutting.
Had Eubanks spent less time attacking the new landmark Sierra Nevada Framework decision and spent more time actually reading the environmental impact statement, he would have found that the guidelines for harvesting trees which lead to the 87 million board foot cut level was anything but sustainable.
The 87 million board feet cut on the Tahoe National Forest was done under the outdated California Spotted Owl Interim Guidelines. Those guidelines were identified as Alternative 1 in the new Sierra Nevada Framework EIS. Just in terms of the spotted owl alone, the new environmental analysis suggested the likelihood of increased population isolation due to reduced habitat within the owl’s home range and increased harm from continued logging of suitable nesting and foraging habitat. The impacts to the overall owl population were rated as grade D-plus. Therefore, continuing the old direction was rejected in the new Forest Service decision.
Supervisor Eubanks’ limited vision of true ecological sustainability fails to serve the public well. The new Sierra Nevada Plan represents a positive direction for protecting at-risk species while treating hazardous fuels on our public lands. Eubanks’ continued effort to derail the Sierra Nevada Plan is out of step with California Sustainability means forever, technically.
Craig Thomas, Director
The Sierra Nevada Forest
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