posted on Nov, 16 2018 @ 09:19 PM
As a matter of fact, and at the risk of being provocative, I don't think logging would remedy the overgrowth in real forests, either. I've been
researching this the last week and it turns out that the rate at which biomass is being removed (harvesting plus mortality) has not kept up with
growth for at least 60 years in US Forests. Nationwide, US forests now have about 60% greater biomass than they did in 1953. Recent papers in Nature
suggest that probably about 70% of this increase is due to CO2 fertilization due to the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere since,
roughly, 1900. Depending on your point of view, you could describe this buildup of fuel in the nation's forests as "bad" because it is "overgrowth
and clutter" caused by anti-business policies that prevent logging, or "good" because it is "greening" due to CO2 fertilization caused by burning
fossil fuels. I wouldn't be surprised if some people try to argue both at the same time.
Be that as it may, I think you would have to start harvesting timber at a rate about 3 or 4 times faster than we're doing now to keep up with the
growth rate AND cut away at the 60% that's already built up. There's no business case for that magnitude or effort in my opinion and that's probably
why it's not being done. Opening up additional timber tracts on federal land for foresting would probably result in cheaper lumber costs for the
forest product companies and thereby increase their profit margin. And I don't have a problem with that personally, as long as it is done
responsibly. However, I don't think it would make a dent in the forest overgrowth problem.
At the risk of being even more provocative, it also seems that overgrowth in the forests, even though it is real, is not the major cause of these
large, hot, and destructive fires. In a recent paper in Science, a group of forest researchers examined all the major fires in the western US since
the 1970s. They found that there was a major step increase in the number and intensity of these mega fires beginning in 1980. They are now occurring
at a rate at least 4 times the previous rate. They examined all the factors involved (biomass buildup, forestry practices, etc.) and they found the
answer was very simple: Spring comes earlier, snowmelt finishes earlier, Summers are hotter, the dry season lasts longer. The net result is that
forest fuels are uniformly drier throughout the year. By the time you get to the end of the fire season, the Fire Load Index is off-scale. BTW, the
greatest increase in these kinds of fires occurs not in California but in the Northern Rockies.
Food for thought.
a reply to: Phage