The climate of the West is changing rapidly leading to the potential for more fires in places by the middle of this century. Chief Scientist Dominick DellaSala discusses how thinning a forest away from homes will not protect homes or fire-fighter lives when a fire eventually occurs particularly as fires are driven increasingly by extreme weather events. Living with fire is possible by re-directing fire suppression dollars to helping homeowners reduce their risks of fire. Logging in the backcountry will not help prepare homes or property from fire risks. Listen to the debate.
Defending Bedrock Environmental Laws and Policies
Fire is a natural force that has shaped the biodiversity of dry forests across the West for millennia. Fire is only catastrophic when it destroys homes or results in loss of life. Unfortunately, fire has been used as an excuse for opening up millions of acres of public lands to unabated logging based on the false premise that logging can prevent future fires and is needed to “restore” forests that have burned. We have chosen to work on fire as a key- stone ecological process because there is much public concern about whether it will increase during a warming climate and whether it is a significant source of CO2 emissions.
For over a decade, Geos Institute has been playing a leadership role in bringing cutting-edge science on the ecological importance of fire featured in top tier science journals, news media reports, and in efforts by partners to defend landmark environmental laws and policies. We continue to develop scientifically sound alternatives that advocate for let-burn policies under safe conditions in the backcountry and fuels reduction near homes and in flammable tree plantations.
Dr. Dominick DellaSala presents science behind the ecological role of fire and the importance of mixed-severity fire with regards to the maintenance of native biodiversity and fire-dependent ecosystems and species.
Forest thinning and use of logging slash and shrubs as fuel for energy production is being championed as clean, renewable energy. Geos Institute scientists Dr. Dominick DellaSala and Marni Koopman say that isn't so. Read the full report.
- Blogging for forests - woody biomass increases emissions (The Biomass Monitor)
- Southern Oregon University rejects forest biomass project on climate grounds (Ashland Daily Tidings)
Drs. Dominick DellaSala, Chad Hanson, and Tim Ingalsbee comment on why we need a new and ecologically appropriate fire management policy.
Dominick DellaSala comments on NYTimes dot earth blog on fire and climate change.