The Forestry Source - May 2010 - (Page 1)
News for forest resource professionals published by the Society of American Foresters May 2010 • Vol. 15, No. 5
Cerro Grande Fire’s Legacy of Change in Prescribed Fire Policies
Ten Years After: Fire again a Management Tool at Bandelier National Monument
I N T H I S I S S U E
By Steve Wilent emories of the year 2000 still linger in firefighters’ minds as one of the worst in recent times. More acres burned that year than in any of the previous 40 years—nearly 7.4 million acres, more than twice the average burned annually since 1960. As destructive as the fires of 2000 were, one fire alone was especially devastating: the Cerro Grande Fire, which began 10 years ago this month as a prescribed fire in the National Park Service’s Bandelier National Monument in northcentral New Mexico. The fire escaped containment and burned 47,000 acres, destroyed 235 structures in the city of Los Alamos, and threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the locus of the Manhattan Project and subsequent nuclear weapons and national security research. Two months after the fire a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report cited estimates of $1 billion in total damages. In the fire’s aftermath, a Park Service board of inquiry pointed out several instances of “questionable judgment” in the planning and management of the prescribed fire but found no violations of agency policy. However, the board also cited numerous weaknesses in agency
National Park Service
Consultants on Consulting: Talking with Brooks Mendell of Forisk Consulting. The term “forestry consultant” conjures images of a forester alone in some secluded woodland, but Brooks Mendell, president and founder of Forisk Consulting, doesn’t fit that profile. Yet, while he may spend more time indoors than in the field, he is not immune to the challenges faced by more “traditional” consultants. Page 8
Documentary helps tell forestry’s “wonderful story.” If you had the money, resources, and time to produce a documentary that explained what forestry is and what foresters do, chances are the end result would look a lot like A Working Forest: Its Future with Fire, People, and Wildlife, a new film produced by Bob Williams, CF. Page 9 Understanding the habitat needs of the declining western yellowbilled cuckoo. The western yellowbilled cuckoo, once common along the streams and rivers of the American West, is now a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Page 12 Field Tech: Free, cool tools from the web. If tax season has left you without revenue, you might enjoy this list of free software tools for foresters. All you need is access to the Internet. Page 13
Tony C. Caprio/University of Arizona
The Cerro Grande Fire in the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico destroyed 235 structures in the city of Los Alamos in May 2000.
wildland fire management and prescribed fire policies as contributing factors, especially in guidelines and procedures for securing additional firefighting crews and equipment—known as contingency resources—and when to make these re-
sources available for prescribed fires. The GAO report noted problems specific to Bandelier and Park Service policy, but also said that the incident raised (See “Fire” page 4)
Tree Rings in Ancient Giant Sequoias Show 3,000-Year History of Fire and Drought
An interview with Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research Director Tom Swetnam
om Swetnam’s introduction to the recent special issue of Fire Ecology on fire history in California begins with these sentences: “A common refrain that fire historians hear from managers and scientists is: ‘Haven’t we done enough fire history studies already, especially in ponderosa pine? What more is there to learn?’” The answer, as you might expect, especially if you know Swetnam or have followed his work, is that there remains much more to learn. Seven papers in that issue of the journal prove his point. One by Swetnam and several coauthors describes the fire and climate history encoded within thousands of annual growth rings in 52 giant sequoia stumps and downed logs in Sequoia National Park Researchers Peter Brown and Tom Swetnam examine the tree rings and fire scars on a cross-section of a giant in California.
sequoia tree displayed near the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park.
Forest Carbon Marketplace
Getting Ready for Carbon
Here’s how to value damaged timber. The Land Expectation Value (or LEV) model provides a credible means to estimate the value of damaged immature timber stands. The concept is economically sound, because it ignores sunk costs and considers land opportunity, cost, and the impact on future rotations. Page 14
D E PA RT M E N T S
2 6 12 14 16 17 18 Letters Industry News Science & Technology Here’s How to... People in the News Continuing Ed. Calendar Classifieds
By Matthew Smith n my previous column, I reviewed historical developments in the carbon market in an attempt to bring the current state of the market into focus (see “US Carbon Markets: Where Are They Now—and How Did They Get Here?” February). I also took a brief look at what is developing ahead of the market in the form of federal regulation of greenhouse gases. As I write this column, it is readily apparent to me that the most critical development in the voluntary carbon market may have nothing to do with carbon at all, but instead with the passing of health care reform legislation into law. Love it or leave it, having overcome the prolonged debate on health care, Congress can now turn its attention to other priorities, which may include climate change legislation. In fact, before the ink in President Obama’s signature was dry on the health care reform bill, a bipartisan group of senators, including John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) were (See “Carbon” page 5)
(See “Rings” page 3)
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Forestry Source - May 2010
The Forestry Source - May 2010
Consultants on Consulting: Talking with Brooks Mendell of Forisk Consulting
Documentary Helps Tell Forestry’s “Wonderful Story.”
Science & Technology
Understanding the Habitat Needs of the Declining Western Yellow Billed Cuckoo
Field Tech: Free, Cool Tools From the Web
Here’s How to...
Here’s How To Value Damaged Timber
People in the News
Continuing Ed. Calendar
The Forestry Source - May 2010
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