The forest thinning debate

Forest thinning

Recently there has been a series of articles in local newspapers on the topic of forest thinning. CSFM has been very much involved in this debate. This started with a report in the Fresno Bee, in an editorial page by Tad Weber. This was reported on a scientific paper from the University of California.

Too extreme? Why UC researchers propose idea of cutting down 80% of Sierra trees

Tad Weber, Fresno Bee, FEBRUARY 10, 2022 5:00 AM

This editorial is based on a peer-reviewed paper, published in the Journal of Forest Ecology and Management.

Operational resilience in western US frequent-fire forests

Malcolm P. North a,b, Ryan E. Tompkins c, Alexis A. Bernal d, Brandon M. Collins e,f, Scott L. Stephens d, Robert A. York d
a USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546, USA
b Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
c University of California Cooperative Extension, Plumas-Sierra, Quincy, CA 95971, USA
d Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, Ecosystem Sciences Division, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
e Center for Fire Research and Outreach, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
f USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, CA 95618, USA

The essence of the paper is that the western forest types are overly dense and in dramatic need of thinning to restore them to historic density levels.

Shortly after this, Chad Hansen had an opinion piece published that refuted this scientific paper.

UC researchers omit key evidence in study on massive tree cutting in Sierra forests

CHAD HANSON FEBRUARY 15, 2022 12:35 PM

Although the opinion by Hansen is appears to written with many references, the vast majority of these are to his own works.

The reaction to Hansen’s opinion was swift – with the Bee publishing two rebutals from experts with years of forestry expertise.

Key to having a healthy forest? Frequent, low-intensity fires that burn at ground level

JOHN R. MOUNT FEBRUARY 25, 2022 10:41 AM

And

Six of California’s biggest-ever fires burned in the last 3 years. Thinning is needed

JOHN BUCKLEY FEBRUARY 25, 2022 11:14 AM

Scientists and experts agree – forest thinning is necessary for the health of our forests

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