SUMMARY OF 10-26-15 FFCC PRESENTATION/DISCUSSION ABOUT RESPONDING TO WILDFIRES FROM AN ECOLOGICAL AND CARBON PERSPECTIVE

On October 26, 2015, the FFCC held a presentation/discussion with three noted scientists focused on how to respond to wildfires from an ecological and carbon perspective. Over 125 people registered for the event, including FFCC members as well as many federal, state, and federal agency personnel and government agencies from Canada as well. Our records show that about 100 people actually participated. Below is a summary of the event that was sent to everyone who signed up after the event ended


Thanks to the over 100 people who participated in today's FFCC presentation and discussion on Responding to Wildfires from an Ecological and Carbon Perspective. A special thanks goes to our three presenters, Dr. Bev Law, Dr. Matthew Hurteau, and Dr. Malcolm North. Slides from each of the presentations are posted at the bottom of the Webinars page.  This page can be accessed via the Webinars the tab at the top of this page.


 Many Areas of Consensus Exist: Although differences exist, the three scientists indicated that scientific consensus exists on many issues. In specific, we understood all three presenters to generally support these points:

 ·       Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, it is vital to respond to fires in ways that are explicitly aimed at enhancing the ecological function and resilience of forests. Enhancing ecological function and resilience will be vital to prepare forests for hotter temperatures and the likelihood of drier conditions.

·       Forest managers should tailor fire-management actions to the on-site conditions. All actions should be evaluated to determine their effects on resilience and to enable continual learning and improvement.

·       Fire is natural and essential for forest health and resilience and reintroducing fire will be critical to a more ecologically sound approach that enhances forest resilience: this includes letting fires burn in some locations, and introducing controlled burns where possible.

·       Landscape level thinning is not technically possible in many locations, and will undermine ecological health, release more carbon, and in many cases likely undermine future forest carbon sequestration as well.

·       Instead, agencies and communities should identify high-priority areas where fuel loads need to be reduced, and in these areas carefully controlled, ecologically beneficial fire generally should be used as the first treatment of choice. Where that is not possible, carefully planned and implemented thinning is needed--knowing that thinning will reduce carbon in the near and mid term but might in some cases/ locations increase it over the long term.

·       Efforts to reduce fuel in areas with high-density fuel loads should be implemented so they do not yield homogeneous conditions across landscapes. Doing so will extend the challenges that result from management actions that do not work in harmony with natural processes.

·       Anticipated changes in climate will alter the mix of species and biomes.

·       Post-fire salvage has little or no ecological benefits and often undermines forest health and resilience. Post-fire actions generally should aim to not interfere with natural recovery. Where there exists a high risk of soil erosion in burned areas, reasonable actions to re-establish new trees may be warranted.   

 Note that the presenters did not explicitly address questions about how to implement these principles given the social and political pressures, budgetary constraints, and organizational inertia that must be addressed. However, implementation is the job of others.

 

Next StepsThe areas of scientific agreement suggests that a sound basis exists for the identification of practices, regulations, and policies to respond to wildfires in ways that are more economically, socially, and ecologically effective. The Federal Forest Carbon Coalition plans to follow up on today's event by investigating ways to develop and implement more effective practices, policies, and procedures. Please let us know if you are interested in participating or supporting this work.

 


Focusing Federal Forest Management on Protecting the Earth's Climate
The Federal Forest Carbon Coalition (FFCC) is a 

FFCC News

​FFCC Releases Federal Forest Carbon Report Card

The FFCC has released the first ever Federal Forest Carbon Report Card​. It includes case studies demonstrating the failure of federal forest management agencies to provide clear direction on how carbon should be managed. It also includes a set of policy and programmatic recommendations for managing forest carbon in scientifically sound ways. In addition, it includes a Checklist conservationists and agency personnel can use to determine if they are addressing all of the key issues affecting forest carbon in a scientifically sound manner.  The Report Card can be found here

FFCC Releases Methods for Analyzing the Social Cost of Forest Carbon

Ernie Niemi, 
FFCC Co-Chair and economist with Natural Resource Economics Inc., ​developed​ a method for how the ​federal forest management ​agencies c​an​ assess the social costs of carbon from timber harvest and other development activities using the B​ureau of Land Management's ​ O&C lands as an example. ​The FFCC believes this method should ​be incorporate​d​ into ​forest ​planning processes ​nationwide​. 
The proposal can be found here.

broad-based national coalition that encourages federal forest management agencies to manage forests in ways that protect the Earth’s climate. Our focus includes minimizing the release of greenhouse gas emissions, optimizing carbon sequestration, and generating co-benefits for biodiversity, watersheds, nutrient cycling, and humans now and in the future, in just and equitable ways. 

The Federal Forest Carbon Coalition (FFCC) is a broad-based national coalition that encourages federal forest management agencies to manage forests in ways that protect the Earth’s climate. Our focus includes minim izing the release of greenhouse gas emissions, optimizing carbon sequestration, and generating co-benefits for biodiversity, watersheds, nutrient cycling, and humans hnow and in the future, in just and equitable ways. 

FFCC Webinars

Want to Learn About the Science and Policy of Managing Forest Carbon? 
If so, go to this link to listen to a series of FFCC webinars on the issue.







Forest management practices that minimize climate impacts will help reduce the impacts of climate disruption in the U.S. and abroad. They will also help conserve critical ecosystems and habitats and reduce the impacts of climate disruption on forests, biodiversity, watersheds, and communities locally and around the world.  Managing forests in ways that help regulate the climate is thus a deeply moral obligation as well as an economic and environmental responsibility for our nation.

What Organizations Are Involved with the Federal Forest Carbon Coalition?

FFCC members include organizations and individuals concerned about the links between climate disruption and the health of forests, biodiversity, watersheds, as well as the well-being of people and communities in the U.S. and globally, now and in the future. 

The members include:


 
Central-North Flyway of National                                   Audubon Society

         
 Midwest Environmental Advocates


The FFCC Steering Committee includes:
  • Bob Claus, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council
  • Asoka Bandarage, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate 
  • Tammy Belinski, Virginia Forest Watch
  • Dominick DellaSala, GEOS Institute
  • Garry George, Audubon California
  • Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild
  • Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy
  • Steph Larsen, Center for Rural Affairs
  • Niel Lawrence, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Heather MacSlarrow, Colorado Mountain Club
  • Valerie Serrels/Victoria Loorz, Kids vs. Global Warming
  • Shelley Silbert, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
Plus founding members:
  • Bob Doppelt, The Resource Innovation Group (co-chair)
  • Ernie Niemi, Natural Resource Economics Inc. (co-chair)
  • Jim Furnish, former Deputy Chief, US Forest Service

The FFCC has established a Science Advisory Committee composed of top scientists knowledgeable about forest carbon issues. The members include:

Dr. Mark Harmon 
Professor and Richardson Chair in Forest Science
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
Oregon State University

Dr. Olga Krankina 
Associate Professor, Sr. Research
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
Oregon State University

Dr. Beverly Law 
Professor
Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
Oregon State University
 
Dr. Stith T. Gower
Director of UW-Madison BioHouse
Profesor of Forest Ecosystem Ecology
Dept. of Forest & Wildlife Ecology
University of Wisconsin 

Mike Ryan
NREL, Colorado State University
Emeritus, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Matthew Hurteau
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of New Mexico


The FFCC has been endorsed by:

Mike Dombeck, former Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Jim Furnish, former Deputy Director, U.S. Forest Service


For more information email: forestcarbon@trig-cli.org