• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation

The Bureau of Land Management’s Medford District has proposed the Bear Grub timber sale in the mountains between Ruch in the Applegate Valley and Talent in the Rogue Valley. This project focuses on logging some of the driest watersheds in Western Oregon, including popular recreation areas along the East Applegate Ridge Trail, and in important wildlife habitat. The timber sale also literally surrounds thousands of rural homes and threatens nearby communities by creating significant fuel loads and additional fire risks.

The Bear Grub Timber Sale proposes “group selection” logging, a form of incremental or staggered clearcut logging that removes whole groves of mature forest and large, fire-resistant trees, including trees over 30 inches in diameter. According to the BLM, this prescription can include the removal of numerous stands up to 4 acres in size (the equivalent of roughly three football fields) where complete or near-complete tree removal can occur on up to 30% of a forested stand.

In southwest Oregon, when forest canopies are cleared, woody shrubs and flammable young trees will undoubtedly regenerate in the new canopy gaps. By removing large trees and drastically opening forest canopies, fire resistance will be reduced, fuel loading will increase, and stands will become more dry, windy and vulnerable to fast-moving, high-severity wildfires.

Some would have you believe that any form of logging will reduce fire risks, but this assertion is not supported by scientific research. Numerous studies conducted in our region have shown that heavily logged timber plantations, young stands and open forests tend to burn at higher severity than less-managed mid- to late-successional forests (Zald. 2018., Weatherspoon. 1995., Odion. 2004.). Many of the forests targeted for logging in the Bear Grub Timber Sale currently support high levels of fire resistance, which will be negatively affected if key components such as large trees and cool, shaded microclimates are removed.

In recent BLM environmental analysis, group-selection logging was proven to increase fire risks. The BLM admitted that forested stands subjected to group-selection logging “could exhibit higher flame lengths, rates of spread and fire intensity. Fires started within these stands could be difficult to initially attack and control. For five to

20 years following planting, the overall fire hazard would increase in these stands.” (Clean Slate Vegetation Management Project Environmental Analysis).

Although in many ways we agree with BLM’s analysis, we believe the duration of the effects will last far longer than 20 years. In fact, the elements of fire resistance currently found in many of the proposed logging units, such as thick, insulating bark, high canopies, mature trees and the suppression of understory growth with overstory canopy, will likely take at least 60 to 80 years to be restored, leaving nearby communities vulnerable for at least a generation.

Recent research conducted at Oregon State University demonstrates that the timber industry is the largest source of carbon pollution in the state of Oregon (Law. 2018). Mature and late-successional forests are vitally important as “carbon sinks” that trap and store carbon from the atmosphere, and they are mostly found on federal forest lands. Unfortunately, the Bear Grub Timber Sale will diminish the capacity of local forests to sequester carbon by removing whole groves of large, carbon-rich trees and reducing forest cover. Intact forests support climate resilience and are part of the global climate solution. This includes not only distant forests in the Amazon rainforest, but also the forests literally found in our backyard and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

These same forests also are incredibly important for recreation; however, the Bear Grub Timber Sale has proposed group-selection logging units in mature forest along the East Applegate Ridge Trail and within its beautiful viewshed. Approved by the BLM just four years ago, funded by public donations and grants, and built by local residents, the East Applegate Ridge Trail is now one of the most popular recreational trails in our region.

The Bear Grub Timber Sale will degrade the scenic and recreational values of the Rogue and Applegate valleys, impact our quality of life, damage important wildlife habitat, threaten our homes and communities with increased fire risks, and impact the ability of our local forests to store carbon and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is very clear what the timber industry will gain if this timber sale is logged; what is less clear is how the public will benefit.

For more information about the timber sale and to view photographs of the proposed units visit: stopbeargrub.org

Luke Ruediger of the Klamath Forest Alliance wrote this on behalf of the Coalition to Stop Bear Grub, which consists of organizations and residents in the Rogue and Applegate valleys in southern Oregon.

More articles by:
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
Charles Pierson
Who are the “Wrong Hands” in Yemen?
David Schultz
Trump isn’t the Pope and This Ain’t the Middle Ages
Andrew Levine
Trump Is Unbeatable in the Race to the Bottom and So Is the GOP
Ramzy Baroud
Political Ambiguity or a Doomsday Weapon: Why Abbas Abandoned Oslo
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
A Growing Wave of Bankruptcies Threatens U.S. Recovery
Joseph Natoli
Conditions Close at Hand
N.D. Jayaprakash
No Lessons Learned From Bhopal: the Toxic Chemical Leak at LG Polymers India 
Ron Jacobs
The Odyssey of Elias Demetracopoulos
J.P. Linstroth
Arundhati Roy on Indian Migrant-Worker Oppression and India’s Fateful COVID Crisis
Melvin Goodman
Goodness Gracious, David Ignatius!!
Roger Harris
Blaming the COVID-19 Pandemic on Too Many Humans:  a Critique of Overpopulation Ideology
Sonali Kolhatkar
For America’s Wealthiest, the Pandemic is a Time to Profit
Prabir Purkayastha
U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the Telecom Crisis
Paul Buhle
Why Does W.E.B. Du Bois Matter Today?
Mike Bader
The Only Way to Save Grizzlies: Connect Their Habitats
Dave Lindorff
Pandemic Crisis and Recession Can Spark a Fight for Real Change in the US
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail