America’s Management of Urban Forests Has Room for Improvement

Natural forests require only a light touch of management mostly to counter the negative effects of human encroachment.  Urban forests on the other hand require serious protection and management thanks to the pressures placed upon them by citizens.  Here are some ways to improve management of urban forests: Rick Coates

Author Amanda Kolson Hurley Mar 25, 2019

Forested areas in cities may seem best left untouched, but it’s a common misconception that they can take care of themselves, according to Sarah Charlop-Powers, executive director of New York City’s Natural Areas Conservancy.“We need to undo the conception that natural areas are inherently self-sustaining,” she said. “We need to start thinking of [them] as one more type of urban parkland, and we’d never say: ‘We built that playground; we don’t need to check and make sure the equipment is in good working order.’”That’s one conclusion to be drawn from a survey of managers of urban forests that Charlop’s group conducted with the Trust for Public Land and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. It’s the first national survey of people who oversee America’s “urban forested natural areas”—that is, native habitats and woods in cities, which account for 84 percent of urban parkland nationwide, according to the Trust for Public Land. (Technically, the term “urban forest” refers to all trees in a city; I use it here as shorthand for forested natural areas.)

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US climate policy must protect forests and communities, not the forest industry

Author :

The introduction of The Green New Deal resolution and the appointment of a House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, has propelled climate change back into the national policy debate. That’s why today, on the International Day of Forests, hundreds of citizens across the nation are urging members of Congress to stand up and protect America’s forests and to hold the US forest industry accountable for its contribution to climate change.

Forests play a vital, yet often misunderstood, role in solving the climate crisis. When disturbed they release carbon, but when left to grow they actively pull carbon out of the air and store it while simultaneously cooling the air, providing natural flood control, stabilizing fresh water supplies and supporting biodiversity.

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Are we going in the right direction?

March 8th,  2019

Hello, friends of Napa County’s watersheds and water protectors. We hope this finds you well.  First, in case you missed it, a Letter to the Editor from Mike Hackett with some clarifications post-Measure C. http://bit.ly/2XLDgqz

We also wanted to give you just a quick report, with more to come, on the March 6th Planning Commission meeting of the Draft water quality and tree protection ordinance, and a few other items we think will be of interest.

You may have seen the Register article summarizing the meeting. If not, you can read it here: http://bit.ly/2tVMVx5

If you would like to watch the video of the proceedings, you can do so here: http://bit.ly/2IXkOrx

Following public testimony, deliberations by the Commission begin around the 3hr 3 minute mark.

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To Fight a Pipeline, Live in a Tree

For almost five months, Phillip Flagg has been living in a chestnut oak tree 50 feet above the ground. His home is a four-by-eight sheet of plywood, a little larger than a typical dining room table, that is lashed to the oak’s boughs. Since going aloft on October 12, he has not set foot on the ground.

Below him there’s small group of about a dozen scrupulously anonymous young people who take care of Flagg’s basic human needs. They’re all here to halt the construction of a natural gas pipeline in rural Elliston, in the Virginia highlands near Roanoke. For many of them, organizing, staffing, and supporting long-term eco-protests like this is as a way of life.

Unlike his campmates, Flagg, a 24-year-­old native of Austin, Texas, doesn’t mind revealing his identity. Before Yellow Finch, as this particular tree-sitting exercise is called, he participated in two other “action camps.” He was also at Standing Rock, the much-publicized protests that erupted in 2016 in an effort to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But that doesn’t really count, he insists: “Everyone was at Standing Rock.”

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Treat homes, not forests, to reduce wildfire risk

Recently Donald Trump used his executive authority to mandate increased logging of our public lands with the goal of reducing wildfire threat to communities. His order instructs land managers to treat (read log) 8.45 million acres of land and cut 4.4 million board feet of timber ostensibly to reduce fire hazard.

Unfortunately, the mandate ignores the latest fire science which suggests you start at the home and work outwards to reduce fire risk to communities.  It’s time to change our fire policy to reflect what we are learning about the role of global heating in fire ecology and forest ecology.

Trying to minimize fire which is natural to most plant community in the West is wrong-headed. Instead, we must promote effective strategies that allow communities to persist in fire-prone ecosystems. We do this by reducing home construction in fire-prone landscapes and by reducing the flammability of homes.

Current fire policies focus on promoting forest alterations, mainly through logging, to change fire severity.   It is the lack of high severity fire that impoverishes many forest ecosystems.

Trump’s policies will harm forest ecosystems, while logging is one of the leading contributors to global GHG emissions, exacerbating global heating.

Most fires are small-burning less than 5 acres. These fires occur during low to moderate fire weather conditions. Though they account for 95-98% of all fires, they burn a small percentage of the landscape, and few threaten communities.

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