Saturday, August 18, 2018

Wyoming-based GOP donor reaps timber salvage windfall after Black Hills fire and blow down

I've logged a number of timber salvage operations after fires and blow downs in the Black Hills, Bighorn Mountains and in Idaho. It's dirty, dusty and destructive.

Most of the timber salvaged from the Legion Lake Fire and the recent blow down in the Northern Hills went to Hulett, Wyoming-based Neiman Enterprises. Stumpage for salvage operations on public lands is discounted to expedite removal so the industry pays pennies on the dollar. Kristi Noem frequently calls for a socialized Black Hills timber industry to placate Jim Neiman.
Jake Jackson, a Forest Service representative who oversees timber contracts in the Northern Hills and Bearlodge ranger districts, said the tornado crossed areas where three timber contracts were already in place with Neiman Enterprises. After the damage in those areas was evaluated, the focus of the contracts shifted to salvaging affected trees. [Thousands of timber truckloads salvaged after fire and tornado]
Nearly all the trees in the state park named for a war criminal and the ponderosa pine in the blow down were drought-stressed and susceptible to wind damage because of South Dakota's failure to sufficiently clear decades of overgrowth and understory, a century of fire suppression, a decades-long Forest Service moratorium on prescribed burns, a lack of environmental litigators and GOP retrenchment.

European settlement in the New World and the Industrial Revolution took hardwoods for charcoal then humans allowed fast-growing conifers to replace lost forests. Ponderosa pine only reached the Black Hills less than four thousand years ago and when Case #1, the first Forest Service timber sale in history took place near near Nemo, South Dakota the Black Hills National Forest ceased being a wild thing. While ponderosa pine is not native to the Black Hills native limber and lodgepole pine have been mostly extirpated from He Sapa, The Heart of Everything That Is.

Now in the Mountain West aspen has been choked out by fire suppression and the timber industry exacerbating climate change. Aspen leaves reflect sunlight in the summer and aspen communities hold snow pack into the Spring while pine needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt warming the planet.
Given the great expanses of forest that are being affected by climate change and the fact that most will need to adapt in situ, it is imperative we begin to move past structural approaches to consider the genetic capacity of forest trees to adapt. The high degree of standing genetic variation found in most forest trees indicates many will have considerable ability to adapt. We need to be cognizant of adaptation that is occurring so that our management approaches act to support rather than hinder natural selection for traits needed under future conditions. [Dr. Diana Six, Are Survivors Different? Genetic-Based Selection of Trees by Mountain Pine Beetle During a Climate Change-Driven Outbreak in a High-Elevation Pine Forest]
Above photo lifted from earth hater Alan Aker's Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. “Many of the House bill’s forestry provisions are not supported by science. For instance, the bill seeks to aggressively expand post-fire ‘salvage’ logging on public lands to prevent wildfire, when in reality post-fire logging occurs primarily for economic reasons and rarely contributes to ecological recovery in the disturbed area. Post-fire logging of dead or dying trees is appropriate near roads where standing dead trees pose a safety hazard but should generally be avoided in areas where maintaining natural ecosystem processes is a priority. However, the House language does not recognize this key distinction.” Forest Ecology, Wildlife Experts to Farm Bill Conferees: Reject the House Farm Bill


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