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Who would have thought!

All Home » News » Scientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water RunoffScientists Propose Thinning Sierra Forests to Enhance Water Runoff
November 30, 2011

Less water used by trees would result in more runoff, which could benefit farmers and water managers statewide; Project will examine impacts on forest health and other ecosystem services Quick Facts
A team of scientists believe thinning forests in the Sierra Nevada to historical conditions could enhance water runoff from the mountains, a key source of water for California.
Vegetation uses much of the water received through snow and rain, so by selectively reducing the number of trees, the scientists believe they can increase water runoff.
The project could help counter the effects of climate change on water runoff, as warmer temperatures have had and will continue to have direct impacts on water supply. Runoff from the Sierra Nevada, a critical source of California’s water supply, could be enhanced by thinning forests to historical conditions, according to a report from a team of scientists with the University of California, Merced, UC Berkeley and the Environmental Defense Fund.

The team proposes to test the hypothesis that forest-management strategies that use thinning to reduce fire risk and maintain the historical mix can also increase water yield and extend the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.



Scientists believe thinning forests could enhance water runoff from the Sierra Nevada.The scientists suggest that by selectively reducing the number of trees — which use large amounts of the water received through precipitation — the amount of water that is released from the forest as runoff could increase. This enhanced runoff could make things easier for farmers and water managers statewide.

As part of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Ecosystem Enhancement Project (SWEEP), the scientists plan to reduce forest density in test areas and examine the impacts on water runoff, forest health and other ecosystem services, and provide a template for broader forest management in the Sierra Nevada.

The thinning of forests, which are much denser now than in past centuries, is already a common practice to reduce the risk of wildfires. The scientists also believe thinning can be done in ways that enhance the forests’ overall ecological health.

“It is critical to test these thinning prescriptions in well-controlled, well-monitored experimental areas to evaluate and verify the effects before applying them statewide,” said lead author Roger Bales, a UC Merced professor and director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. “Reductions in forest density to enhance runoff have been attempted in past experiments, but never over a sustained period of time, and never under the conditions that currently exist in the Sierra Nevada.”

California’s water supply has been diminished by drought in recent years, and climate change is only exacerbating the problem, the researchers said. Warmer temperatures mean more rain and less snow, which leads to runoff that comes earlier in the year. Warming can also lengthen the growing season for trees and other plants, reducing runoff, and the warmer, drier conditions have been shown to increase the frequency and severity of wildfires.

Reducing forest density can help counter the effects of climate warming on runoff, they said, in addition to enhancing the runoff directly.

“Climate change is having and will have direct effects on the water supply and storage capacity of the Sierra Nevada forests,” said UC Berkeley Professor John Battles, one of the researchers on the project. “Management with an eye toward the water balance provides one potentially important mitigation tool.”

Other researchers on the project include Yihsu Chen, Martha H. Conklin and Philip Saksa of UC Merced; Kevin L. O’Hara and William Stewart of UC Berkeley; and Eric Holst of the Environmental Defense Fund.

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I wonder who's gonna thin the forests, with the lumber industry strangled to death?
More evidence that the Sierra Club and other elitist groups leap each day without looking at long term solutions as they play out over time.

Randii
 

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I wonder who's gonna thin the forests, with the lumber industry strangled to death?
More evidence that the Sierra Club and other elitist groups leap each day without looking at long term solutions as they play out over time.

Randii
Their out look would be to plant more trees so their is less water then remove the dams as there not needed and move everone into mass citys and use reclaimed water for drinking.
 

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The team proposes to test the hypothesis that forest-management strategies that use thinning to reduce fire risk and maintain the historical mix can also increase water yield and extend the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada.
During the Michael Jackson (Of the Herger Feinstein Quincy Library group) testimony at the Congressional Hearing in Sac last year he said where we used to have 120 trees per acre we now have 1650.

Over 40% of out annual rainfall doesn't even make it into our streams a lakes.

Climate change???? Not even close. Hypothesis?? Come AWN.

They are out there now shooting Barred Owls (who are fewer in number) to protect Spotted Owls. The very same bird that has a range of 9 States. The very same bird that the Logging Industry was destroyed over. The very same Logging industry that paid for our public education.

Someone make it stop.The Sierra Club is ruining our world not helping it. :shaking:
 

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More wasted money and more junk science. This was proven way back in the
'50's.

Look up "Recovering Rainfall-More Water For Irrigation" (Barr 1956a, a 1000+ page report and Barr 1956b, a shortened summary of that report)

This report actually gave birth to the Arizona Watershed Program, that has subsequently been handcuffed and more or less destroyed by Big Green.

Kind of amazing what can be found over at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
 

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More wasted money and more junk science. This was proven way back in the
'50's.

Look up "Recovering Rainfall-More Water For Irrigation" (Barr 1956a, a 1000+ page report and Barr 1956b, a shortened summary of that report)

This report actually gave birth to the Arizona Watershed Program, that has subsequently been handcuffed and more or less destroyed by Big Green.

Kind of amazing what can be found over at the Rocky Mountain Research Station.
This does not surprise me! Joe Public has a case of memory lost! We as a society do not pay attention to history and we keep making the same mistakes!
 

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During the Michael Jackson (Of the Herger Feinstein Quincy Library group) testimony at the Congressional Hearing in Sac last year he said where we used to have 120 trees per acre we now have 1650.

Over 40% of out annual rainfall doesn't even make it into our streams a lakes.

Climate change???? Not even close. Hypothesis?? Come AWN.

They are out there now shooting Barred Owls (who are fewer in number) to protect Spotted Owls. The very same bird that has a range of 9 States. The very same bird that the Logging Industry was destroyed over. The very same Logging industry that paid for our public education.

Someone make it stop.The Sierra Club is ruining our world not helping it. :shaking:
I was at the hearing, when I heard that the testimony on the number of trees per acre and the reduction of water flow in to the reservoirs, I thought we (the land use orgs.) have a tool to bring back logging.
This would mean more access to the forest!:homer:
 

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In order to bring the lumber companies back and hence jobs there would have to be a market for the wood but since new construction in the housing market is low or non-existent and will remain that way for the foreseeable future there would need to be another place to sell it.

Sure China will buy it but why continue to play with them on an unlevel field. I suppose we could use it to pay back our debt to them.

OMG, our public lands and their resources have been locked away as collateral for our national debt! :homer: :homer: :homer:

Too bad we couldn’t convince them to use the wood here in the US where it belongs as a beneficial renewable energy source for biopower generation, biofuels and more jobs.


Sustainability
Biomass energy production involves annual harvests or periodic removals of crops, residues, trees or other resources from the land. These harvests and removals need to be at levels that are sustainable, i.e., ensure that current use does not deplete the land’s ability to meet future needs, and also be done in ways that don’t degrade other important indicators of sustainability

Woody biomass
Bark, sawdust and other byproducts of milling timber and making paper are currently the largest source of biomass-based heat and renewable electricity; commonly, lumber, pulp, and paper mills use them for both heat and power. In addition, shavings produced during the manufacture of wood products and organic sludge (or "liquor") from pulp and paper mills are biomass resources. Some of these “mill residues” could be available for additional generation of renewable electricity.

Beyond these conventional types of woody biomass, there are additional sources of woody biomass that could be used for renewable energy. With the proper policy (see below), these additional sources could be sustainably harvested and make a significant contribution to renewable energy generation.

Forest residues
It is important to leave some tree tops and branches, and even dead standing trees, on-site after forest harvests. Coarse woody debris left on the soil surface cycles nutrients, especially from leaves, limbs and tops, reduces erosion and provides habitat for invertebrates.

Dead standing trees provide bird habitat. Provided that appropriate amounts of residues are left in the forest, the remaining amounts of limbs and tops, which are normally left behind in the forest after timber-harvesting operations, can be sustainably collected for energy use. Often, limbs and tops are already piled at the “landing”—where loggers haul trees to load them unto trucks. Using these residues for biomass can be cheaper than making additional trips into the woods—and reduce impacts on forest stands, wildlife and soils.

Forest treatments
Many forest managers see new biomass markets providing opportunities to improve forest stands.[9] Where traditional paper and timber markets require trees to meet diameter and quality specifications, biomass markets will pay for otherwise unmarketable materials, including dead, damaged and small-diameter trees. Income from selling biomass can pay for or partially offset the cost of forest management treatments needed to remove invasive species, release valuable understory trees, or reduce the threat of fires, though the science behind fire reduction is very complex and site specific.[10]

Removing undesired, early-succession or understory species can play an important role in restoring native forest types and improving habitat for threatened or endangered species, such as longleaf forests in the Southeast.[11]

Thinned trees
Thinning plantations of smaller-diameter trees before final harvest can also provide a source of biomass. In addition, thinning naturally regenerating stands of smaller-diameter trees can also improve the health and growth of the remaining trees. With the decline in paper mills, some areas of the country no longer have markets for smaller-diameter trees. Under the right conditions, biomass markets could become a sustainable market for smaller-diameter trees that could help improve forest health and reduce carbon emissions.

Short-rotation trees
Under the right circumstances, there may be a role for short-rotation tree plantations dedicated to energy production. Such plantations could either be re-planted or “coppiced.” (Coppicing is the practice of cutting certain species close to the ground and letting them re-grow.) Coppicing allows trees to be harvested every three to eight years for 20 or 30 years before replanting.

Short-rotation management, either through coppicing or replanting, is best suited to existing plantations—not longer-rotation naturally-regenerating forests, which tend to have greater biodiversity and store more carbon than plantations.

Policy is needed to ensure that the growing biomass industry will use these beneficial resources, and use them on a sustainable basis. See below for more on the policy needed to guide the biomass industry toward sustainable, beneficial resources.

In forestry, where residue or biomass markets are less common, new guidelines might need to be developed. Existing best management practices (BMPs) were developed to address forest management issues, especially water quality, related to traditional sawlog and pulpwood markets, with predictable harvest levels. But the development of new biomass markets will entail larger biomass removals from forests, especially forestry residues and small diameter trees. Current BMPs may not be sufficient under higher harvesting levels and new harvests of previously unmarketable materials.

However, because woody biomass is often a low-value product, sustainability standards must be relatively inexpensive to implement and verify. Thankfully, we can improve the sustainability of biomass harvests with little added cost to forest owners through the use of existing forest management programs, including 1) biomass BMPs, 2) certification or 3) forest management plans.

Working with forest owner associations, foresters, forest ecologists, wildlife conservation experts and biomass developers, UCS helped develop practical and effective sustainability provisions that can provide a measure of assurance that woody biomass harvests will be sustainable.

State-based biomass Best Management Practices (BMPs) or guidelines. Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin developed biomass harvesting guidelines to avoid negative impacts of biomass removals. Other states and regions, including Southern states, are also developing biomass guidelines. Developed through collaborative stakeholder processes, BMPs are practical enough to be used by foresters and loggers.

Third-party forest certification. Certification can also be used to verify the sustainability of biomass harvests. Between them, the Forest Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and Tree Farm have certified nearly 275 millions of acres of industrial and private forestland in the U.S. Certification programs already address, or are being updated to address, many of the concerns related to biomass harvests.

Forest management plans written by professionally-accredited foresters. Foresters can help anticipate and therefore minimize impacts of additional biomass removals. Although a minority of smaller forest owners have management plans, forest owner associations have long recommended that more forest owners have them written to better achieve their financial and conservation objectives. Forest owners who have management plans stand to make more money than if they lacked such plans. To avoid out-of-pocket costs, proceeds from biomass sales could cover the cost of writing management plans.

Whether implemented through BMPs, certification or management plans, sustainability standards should minimize short-term impacts and avoid long-term degradation of water quality, soil productivity, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity—all key indicators of sustainability. Science and local conditions need to be used in determining the standards. For example, fire-adapted forests will likely require retention of less woody biomass than forests adapted to other disturbances such as hurricanes.

Sustainability standards should ensure nutrients removed in a biomass harvest are replenished and that removals do not damage long-term productivity, especially on sensitive soils. Coarse woody material that could be removed for biomass energy also provides crucial wildlife habitat; depending on a state’s wildlife, standards might protect snags, den trees, and large downed woody material. Biodiversity can be fostered through sustainability standards that encourage retention of existing native ecosystems and forest restoration. Lastly, sustainability standards should provide for the regrowth of the forest—surely a requirement for woody biomass to be truly renewable.”

Source and more: http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/...gy_technologies/how-biomass-energy-works.html
 

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Someone make it stop.The Sierra Club is ruining our world not helping it. :shaking:
PLEASE make it stop..
 

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When I was a full time working man (instead of a double full time landuse man), one of my specialties was prescribed (controlled) burning for wildlife habitat and increased water flow. Logging and fire are about the only things that will thin the forest and increase water runoff.

In fact, that was my Master's Thesis a long time ago...But anyway, the eco-wacko extremists have cut off their nose to spite their face when you look at these two sciences. Yea, mistakes happen. Yea, sometimes it's not pretty when you change nature (for a while). But in the long run, it's better than the alternatives of water wars, drought, and wildfire.

Del
here's a blurb on my website about fire:
http://www.delalbright.com/Articles/fire.htm
 

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Here are two steps in the right direction . . .

AB 744: Establishes a 5-year pilot program in the Sierra Nevada in which trees with a stump diameter of 24” or less can be removed without a timber harvest plan. Provides needed regulatory relief to California’s timber industry while helping to reduce wildfires. STATUS: Awaiting Governor’s Signature
MORE




Amendment Allowing Burned Timber To Be Salvaged From Fire Areas Approved by House of Representatives

September 20, 2013 2:47 PM

Amendment Allowing Burned Timber To Be Salvaged From Fire Areas Approved by House of Representatives

Washington, DC – HR 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests Act, was approved today by the House of Representatives. The measure includes an amendment by Congressman McClintock to allow the burned timber from the 2013 fire areas to be salvaged in an expedited manner. McClintock’s amendment was adopted by a vote of 243-172.

“This measure has taken on poignant and crucial importance to my district in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, where the Yosemite Rim fire has burned through hundreds of square miles of forest land,” remarked Congressman McClintock. “Salvaging the timber will provide for an economic lifeline to communities already devastated by this fire as local mills can be brought to full employment salvaging the timber.”

An estimated one billion board feet of fire killed timber can still be salvaged out of forests that have been devastated by the Yosemite Rim fire. Immediate action is required, however, because after a short period of time the timber declines until it becomes unsalvageable. The amendment authored by Congressman McClintock streamlines the process by waiving judicial review of salvage plans for the 2013 fires.

A second amendment by the Congressman to H.R. 1526 was also approved by a vote of 249-166. That amendment guarantees that the public will have a full opportunity to comment before the U.S. Forest Service decides to close or destroy a forest road.

Among other things the forest legislation, H.R. 1526, streamlines regulations and refocuses the Forest Service’s mission on sound forest management practices, meaning environmentally healthier forests and economically healthier communities. The bill also includes a one-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools program to maintain an important lifeline to counties as the Forest Service transitions back to productive timber management.

H.R. 1526 next goes to the United States Senate.
SOURCE
 
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