In an open letter to the U.S. Senate and President Obama, 276 scientists expressed concern that current legislation in both the House and Senate would use fear and misunderstanding about wildland fires to suspend federal environmental protections to expedite logging and clearcutting of both post-fire wildlife habitat and unburned old forests on National Forest lands, removing most of the structure a forest ecosystem needs to properly function.
The proposed House and Senate legislation addresses the borrowing of funds from other programs to cover costs of fire suppression. However, both bills would increase funding for suppression of mostly backcountry fires in remote areas, and neither would focus on, or prioritize, protection of rural communities. The best available science has shown that effective home protection from wildland fire depends on “defensible space” work within approximately 100 feet of individual structures, and improving the fire resistance of the homes themselves. Unfortunately, neither bill recognizes the ecological costs of further suppressing fire in fire-adapted ecosystems.
View the letter
For Immediate Release, October 26, 2016
TUCSON, Ariz.— A new study published in the scientific journal Ecosphere finds that public forests that are protected from logging burn less severely than logged forests. The study is the most comprehensive investigation of its kind, spanning more than 23 million acres and examining three decades’ of forest fire data in the West. Among the major findings were that areas undisturbed by logging experienced significantly less intensive fire compared with areas that have been logged.
In order to understand you better the current science on forest fires and why it is at odds with the current fire management approaches often used, we have collected a number of videos that explain the issues.
Congress is considering legislation that would weaken environmental laws that protect fish, wildlife, and water quality on national forests. Scientists are concerned about this - Geos' Chief Scientist, Dr. Dominick DellaSala, teamed with Dr. Chad Hanson in this opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle: Logging California's dead trees is harmful to the forests