the visible hand

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Chad Hanson: Blowing Smoke

Posted by ecoshift on July 25, 2008

Chad Hanson: Blowing Smoke
Logging Industry Lies on Forest Fires and Climate Change
By CHAD HANSON

Recent editorials by timber industry spokespersons are a wildly misleading attempt to promote increased logging of western U.S. forests under the guise of reducing wildland fires and mitigating climate change. The timber industry fails to mention, however, that logging is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (Schlesinger, “Biogeochemistry: an analysis of global change”, Academic Press, 1997). A recent scientific study found that completely protecting our national forests from all commercial logging would significantly increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gases (forests “breath in” CO2 and incorporate the carbon into new growth), while increasing logging on our public lands would have the opposite effect (Depro et al. 2008, Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 255).

The logging industry also makes numerous scientifically-inaccurate assumptions about fire. For example, the industry would have us believe that little or no natural growth of forest will occur after wildland fire. In fact, some of the most vigorous and productive forest growth occurs after burns, including in high severity fire areas in which most or all of the trees were killed (Shatford and others 2007, Journal of Forestry, May 2007)….

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2 Responses to “Chad Hanson: Blowing Smoke”

  1. Mary A said

    I live in forest country and I believe that, in fact, logging sites are more prone to fire because of all the slash and debris left around. Also, logging sites promote the growth of underbrush which becomes fuel when a fire does start.

  2. ecoshift said

    Good point. It is important to distinguish between different types of forest practices here. There are significant differences in post harvest fuel loads depending on the type of harvest practices used… clear cuts vs selection management…

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