Here’s an interesting research paper on predicting western forest response to climate change . . .
On the mountain slopes of the western United States, climate can play a major role in determining which tree communities will thrive in the harshest conditions, according to new work from Carnegie’s Leander Anderegg and University of Washington’s Janneke Hille Ris Lambers.
Their findings, published in Ecology Letters, are an important step in understanding how forest growth will respond to a climate altered by human activity.
As researchers try to anticipate how climate change will affect forest ecosystems, it is crucial to understand the factors that influence how forest habitats change over time — including both environmental conditions and competition for resources. One of the oldest ecological principles asserts that competition between trees will constrain growth under mild conditions and climate will constrain growth under harsh conditions.
As expected, the U.S. Forest Service has approved Gov. Bullock’s forest restoration proposal . . .
The Forest Service has approved Gov. Steve Bullock’s forest restoration proposal for federal lands across Montana.
Bullock recently nominated about 5 million acres of timberlands across the state, including several regions in the Flathead for more logging and other forest management under the recently passed Farm Bill.
The eligible lands are located in the Swan River watershed, the southern end of the Whitefish Range and the Tally Lake Ranger District.
Another lawsuit challenges Gov. Steve Bullock’s nomination of more than 5.1 million acres of national forest land in Montana as top priorities for restoration . . .
A new lawsuit has been filed over Gov. Steve Bullock’s nomination of 5.1 million acres of U.S. Forest Service land for priority management.
The complaint filed last week by Wildwest Institute, Conservation Congress and Friends of the Bitterroot is the second since Bullock forwarded his choices for expedited restoration and management to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in April.
In a Missoulian op-ed, George Wuerthner expresses misgivings about the impact of the forest restoration provisions in the new farm bill . . .
Recently the Bullock administration convened a committee to designate federal forest lands that could be logged under a special categorical exclusion provision of the recently passed Farm Bill.
This section of the Farm Bill repeals the National Environmental Policy Act to allow an unlimited number of commercial logging projects – up to 3,000 acres in size each – to be implemented on U.S. national forests without any environmental analysis of harmful effects to threatened/endangered or sensitive species. It would also eliminate administrative appeals, severely reducing public participation in forest management decisions.
Under the proposal, any lands outside of special set asides like wilderness areas and proposed wilderness deemed “threatened” by insects, disease or wildfire could be logged. Since insects, disease and wildfire are the major ecological processes that rejuvenate and restore forest ecosystems, and are found in all forested ecosystems, this means just about any federal forest lands could potentially be logged.
Part of the Flathead National Forest is on the list . . .
Gov. Steve Bullock has identified more than 5.1 million acres of national forest land in Montana as top priorities for restoration.
The Democrat said Monday the forest areas he picked are declining in health, have a risk of increased tree deaths or pose a risk to public infrastructure or safety.
The farm bill passed by Congress this year allows governors to nominate forest restoration priorities. Bullock says his aim in nominating 8,000 square miles from northwestern to south-central Montana is to increase the pace and scale of restoration and strengthen the role of citizen collaborative groups.
The USDA is kicking off a number of forest restoration project this year. There’s nothing major in this neighborhood, apparently, but that may change in subsequent years . . .
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday it will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.
Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said.
With longer fire seasons in recent years burning more areas, and beetle outbreaks devastating more than 40 million acres of forests in the West, the pace and scale of restoration need to be increased, he said.