Salvage Logging Hinders Regeneration, Increases Fire Risk, Causes Climate Change
I have written at length regarding how forest fires are often a natural part of forest ecology – resetting the system and providing for ecosystem renewal. And new scientific evidence establishes that logging following forest fires further damages forests – impeding regeneration, increasing the risk of further fires, and exacerbating climate change. “A general lesson has been the great resilience and recuperative capacity that are characteristic of natural forests.”
The preponderance of ecological science flies in the face of Bush's “Healthy Forests” initiative which opened up forests that had experienced natural wildfires, including old-growth, to heavy industrial salvage logging. The program was in fact a timber industry giveaway wrapped in false platitudes. Many recently burned areas in America's West continue to be targeted for logging. America under the neo-conservatives has little ability or desire to translate ecological science into sound environmental policy.
What is it going to take to get America's government – which works for its citizens who own forested public lands – to manage its forests based upon sound conservation science? The government's use of these natural fire disturbances as a pretext for industrial logging is criminally and ecologically negligent and further pushes regional landscapes into non-sustainability. America's ability to maintain ecosystems adequate to provide water, climatic regulation and other ecosystem services is threatened.