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Scientists Call on Pres. Obama to Include Tongass in Climate Change Talks

Contact: Dominick DellaSala (541/621-7223; dominick@geosinstitute.org)

Ashland, OR – Alaska’s Tongass rainforest may fair better in a changing climate than more southerly rainforest locales, according to a new study published in an online reference module “Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences” by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

The release of the study coincides with President Barack Obama’s visit with the Arctic Council in Anchorage in advance of the United Nations climate talks. It follows a letter sent in April 2015 to the White House by hundreds of scientists calling on President Obama to speed the transition out of old-growth logging on the Tongass to preserve the rainforest’s unique climate and wildlife benefits.

Global Synthesis of Large Wildland Fires Shows They Are Ecologically Beneficial

For Release on June 29, 2015

Contacts:

Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., Chief Scientist Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Ecologist
Geos Inst., Ashland, OR John Muir Project
541-482-4459 x 302; 541-621-7223 (cell) Big Bear City, CA; 530-273-9290
www.geosinstitute.org www.johnmuirproject.org

Ashland, OR – 25 fire scientists from around the world released a new publication “The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix” published by Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.  

For the first time scientific research has been compiled from fire-adapted regions providing extensive documentation that forests and other plant communities need a variety of different types of fires, including severe fire, to rejuvenate over the long-term. These findings are timely, in light of current proposals by Members of Congress to weaken environmental laws, based on the assumption that current fires are damaging forest ecosystems, and that increased logging is needed to reduce fire effects.

Emerald Waters – Wild Rivers At Risk

The Kalmiopsis region in southwest Oregon is home to wild rivers and rare beauty. It is one of the most biologically diverse landscapes on the West Coast. It is also threatened by industrial scale nickel mines. British investors are looking to turn the wild and pristine wildlands into a wasteland of haul roads, ore smelters, and mountain top removal. Grassroots conservation groups are building support to protect 90,000 acres of the Rough & Ready, Baldface, and Hunter Creek watersheds from mine development. Join the efforts today.

Watch the video depicting this rare and beautiful landscape.

Emerald Waters – Wild Rivers At Risk from KS Wild on Vimeo.

fire natures phoenix bookcover

The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix

fire natures phoenix bookcoverThe Ecological Importance of High-Severity Fires, presents information on the current paradigm shift in the way people think about wildfire and ecosystems.

While much of the current forest management in fire-adapted ecosystems, especially forests, is focused on fire prevention and suppression, little has been reported on the ecological role of fire, and nothing has been presented on the importance of high-severity fire with regards to the maintenance of native biodiversity and fire-dependent ecosystems and species.

This text fills that void, providing a comprehensive reference for documenting and synthesizing fire’s ecological role.

  • Offers the first reference written on mixed- and high-severity fires and their relevance for biodiversity
  • Contains a broad synthesis of the ecology of mixed- and high-severity fires covering such topics as vegetation, birds, mammals, insects, aquatics, and management actions
  • Explores the conservation vs. public controversy issues around megafires in a rapidly warming world

Purchase the book from Amazon

Book Reviews of Nature’s Phoenix:

fire fireside chat thumb

Fireside Chat

fire fireside chat thumbIn the “Fireside Chat” presentation (click on link below), we view post-fire landscapes through an ecological lens that allows us to see the ecosystem benefits and unique biodiversity that follows wildfires.

An ecological perspective is needed because the public most often hears that fire (especially severe ones) is bad for forests. Indeed, many forests, from low- elevation ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir to upper elevation and high latitude subalpine and boreal, depend on a significant amount of severe fire. 

Fireside Chat was prepared for the media, managers, conservation groups, and decision makers using the Prezi presentation software and storytelling tool.

Click here to start the presentation.  You may enlarge the presentation to full screen and use the right/left arrows or slide bar  to navigate the zoomable canvas. Once finished, you may also use the pan/zoom to revisit sections.

In addition, you can click here to see a slide show of salvage logging on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, following the Biscuit Fire in southwest Oregon.  And click here to see a photo gallery of post-fire logging and roading on industrial, private lands near Glendale, Oregon.

fire factsheet thumb

Ecosystem Benefits of Wildfire vs. Post-Fire Logging Impacts

fire factsheet thumbMost wildfires in montane (mountainous) forests and shrublands of the western United States are ecologically beneficial and needed for the proper function and maintenance of fire-dependent biota. Unfortunately, many decision-makers view fire as “catastrophic” and believe it to be increasing beyond historical bounds. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a deficit of wildfire acresin most western montane forests as compared to historical times due primarily to fire suppression. Although historical data using comparable tracking metrics are lacking on a subset of the very large fires (“mega-fires”), there has been no significant upward trend in these fires detected in the past 15 years, although longer timelines are needed for meaningful conclusions.

Read the entire fact sheet.

New Report to Solve the Western Oregon County Payments Impasse

Shared Responsibility: The Conservation Community’s Recommendations to Equitably Resolve the O&C County Funding Controversy

Reports and Info:

As Oregon county governments receive their last checks from federal taxpayers under the expired county payments program, a coalition of seven local, state, and national conservation organizations has unveiled a balanced strategy to resolve the county funding conundrum.  Given the growing trend in Congress to end Oregon’s county payments program, the groups are promoting a shared responsibility approach, where county governments, the State of Oregon, and the federal government would each take responsibility for resolving a portion of the problem.

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