Restoring America’s Forests
Restoring America’s Forests
The forest is very helpful to humans for it does not only help in keeping the air clean, it also protects man’s drinking water and shelters wildlife. Without forests, it would be difficult for man to sustain healthy living especially with the rise of various environmental problems felt globally. Among these problems are global warming, water scarcity and the spread of forest fires in dense forests. It has been reported by the Forest Guild (n. pag. ) that more than any ten year period since 1960, the past decade has registered the highest number of forests burned.
This only indicates an alarming need to take action and protect our forests. The Forest Guild, a national organization of more than 600 foresters and allied professionals expressed their support for the Forest Landscape Restoration Act 2008. The Act establishes a program that will select, develop and fund high priority landscape scale forest restoration projects. The funding thereof will be generated from national, regional and non-federal funds in a period of ten years (American Lands Alliance, p. 1). This legislation will allocate $40 million annually to restore the health of American forests (Nature Conservancy, n.
pag. ). The Act aims of providing sustainable solutions to the critical forest health problems faced by the nation (Nature Conservancy, n. pag. ). The purpose of the Act is to encourage ecological, economic and social sustainability, facilitate the reduction of wildfire management costs as well as the re-establishment of natural fire regimes and the reduction of the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire. It also aims to demonstrate the different restoration techniques which will aid in achieving ecological health objectives and affect wildfire activity and management costs.
It also aims to demonstrate the use of forest restoration by-products that will help in offsetting the costs of the project (American Lands Alliance, p. 1). If the legislation will be passed, there will be an annual selection of forests with a minimum of 50, 000 acres that will receive forest treatments. The selection of sites will be based on the ecological needs of the landscape, the existence of multi-stakeholder collaborative planning, private investment and sound science. (Nature Conservancy, n. pag. ). According to the article published in Nature Conservancy (n.
pag. ), there is a need for lanscape scale treatments to restore forest health. The projects of the government which involve thinning the small trees, reducing fuels and restoring ecological conditions are not being conducted to an extent that will solve the problem on the health of forests in the United States. The land practices which the government also imposed in the past have resulted to the build up of vegetation which hinders tree growth and regeneration. Unhealthy forests have a greater probability of causing diseases and nurturing pests.
Aside from these, dense forests could also lead to forest fires. Among the benefits that the bill produces is that it provides an opportunity to address non-timeber related restoration needs such as roads, weeds, water quality, aquatics and the re-establishment of the natural fire regimes. It also predicates restoration projects that would take place on landscape scale. This will restore the functions and processes of the ecosystem that are needed in multiple spatial and temporal scales like rivers and the wildlife.
Among the potential commodities and goods that will be derived from the project are animal bedding, sustainble timber, fuel logs and wood pellet fuel (Conservation Report, n. pag. ). The bill also maintains the existing environmental laws which subjects to review, analysis and public participation. It also requires review of nominated proposals from experts in forest restoration and fire ecology and requires that such proposals describe the plans that will address fire problems. Aside from these, the project is not only dependent on one sector but involves a collaborative process, involving the whole community.
However, despite the promise that this bill provides to the future of US landscapes, there are also problem areas that needs to be solved. One of these problems is the concentration of the bill to the reduction of wildfire and treatment costs. It must be remembered that other than tree or fire work, there are also other aspects of restoration that needs to be looked into and given equal attention. Other concerns include fish and widlife management on public lands, invasive species, floodplain damage and road repair and maintenance. Aside from these, there is also a need to protect the mature trees.
The legislation does not provide for permanent protection of mature, large and old trees. It does not also address the issue on post-disturbance logging. In addition, the building of temporary roads in the forests can prove to be more risky and damaging as compared to permanent roads. The advisory committee also has a narrow scope of expertise. With such project involving large sums of money, there is a need for an advisory committee that has a wider area of expertise and can address most of the probable problems that will be encountered.
This will not only foster efficiency but will also lower the costs needed to pay other experts who can address the other problems which the advisory council cannot fully embrace. There are also no appropriate sideboards that will ensure that biomass plants will be sized in accordance to the available biomass material (American Lands Alliance, pp. 2-3). The Alliance recommends the bill to be revised an ensure that a comprehensive restoration of the ecosystem will be accomplished beyond thinning. The purpose, nomination and criteria of selection should address chronic annual costs to the federal treasury.
The advisory council should also include experts in fisheries, aquatics and hydrologists and wild life biologists. The bill should be amended to ban temporary roads or specifically state that the temporary roads built should be demolished within a specific period so as not to cause more harm. There should also be protection given to mature trees and added requirements that will protect all large and old trees. There should also be an ecological standard for the utilization of biomass that will be generated from the project.
All in all, the negative consequences raised should be outweighed by the benefits that the project aims to bring. The Forest Guild also recommends the bill to ensure that the program be a competitive and an open process. There should also be clarification as to the use of the project funding for monitoring. Through prompt and effective implementation of the project, there is more hope for the American forests, mankind and human nature. Man should take responsibility and see to it that he contributes to the improvement of the earth’s ecoligical conditions and not only contribute to its degradation.
Works Cited “America Lands Alliance Comments in the Forest Landscape Restoration Act of 2008. ” (n. d. ). America Lands Alliance. 14 May 2008 <http://209. 85. 175. 104/search? q=cache:YGqolCPaW2YJ:www. americanlands. org/issues. php%3FsubsubNo %3D1113510651%26article%3D1206997435%26PHPSESSID %3D4c231454444f0d00a1002996ee34a8b0+forest+landscape+restoration+act+of +2008&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=ph&client=firefox-a> “ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY: New legislation boosts forrest health and rural economies. ” 13 February 2008. Conservation Report. 14 May 2008 <http://209. 85. 175.
104/search? q=cache:N_Igl29K4GkJ:www. conservationreport. com/2008/02/environmental-policy- new-legislation. html+forest+landscape+restoration+act+of +2008&hl=tl&ct=clnk&cd=27&gl=ph&client=firefox-a> “Forest Guild to Testify Before U. S. Senate about Innovative Forest Restoration Legislation. ” (n. d. ). Forest Guild. 14 May 2008 <http://www. forestguild. org/FLRA. html> “The Nature Conservancy Urges Congress to Support Legislation to Restore Forest Health. ” (n. d. ). Nature Conservancy. 14 May 2008 <http://www. nature. org/wherewework/northamerica/states/
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 30 November 2016
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