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Obi Kaufmann: The Forests of California by Ken Preston

Obi Kaufmann will discuss his new book, The Forests of California: A California Field Atlas & answer questions. Host: Brian Edwards-Tiekert

About this Event

KPFA Radio 94.1 FM with Heyday Books presents a webinar

Obi Kaufmann

The Forests of California

A California Field Atlas with Brian Edwards-Tiekert

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Suggested Donation $5-$20. After you visit the eventbrite tickets donation page, you will be given a Zoom link to use for the program.

From the author of The California Field Atlas comes another major work that not only guides readers through the Golden State’s forested lands, but also presents a profoundly original vision of nature in the 21st century. The Forest of California features a stunning wealth of Obi Kaufmann’s signature watercolor illustrations, maps, and trail paintings, weaving them into an accessible exploration of the biodiversity that defines California in the global imagination. Kaufmann tells an epic story that spans millions of years, nearly one hundred species of trees, and an astonishing richness of ecosystems. The Forests of California is the first volume in a planned trilogy of field atlases, with The Coasts of California and The Deserts of California yet to come.

Just as Kaufmann is creating a fresh understanding of the more-than-human world, KPFA Radio is herewith undertaking the new visual media of the webinar, leaping off with The Forests of California – a work unusually deserving of being visible on our screens.

Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Kaufmann spent most of his high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage expanses. Into adulthood he regularly journeyed into the mountains. He is the author of The California Field Atlas, which won the California Book Award, and The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Resource. His website is coyoteandthunder.com.

Brian Edwards-Tiekert is the founder and co-host of UpFront, the morning drive-time public affairs program on KPFA Radio. He began working in media by helping to set up the Independent Media Center in Chiapas, Mexico, where he also did human rights work. For two years, he ran a nationwide support program for progressive publications at colleges and universities. Brian started at KPFA as a beat reporter covering environmental justice issues, during which time he served as a network correspondent during international climate negotiations. In 2016, he was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University.

A Billion-Dollar Fortune From Timber and Fire

Red Emerson is the largest timber owner in California with huge holdings in the Sierra. He also has many politicians in his pocket.  And it is traditional for his company Sierra Pacific to hold a seat on the California Board of Forestry which makes the logging rules! …RCoates

Author Chloe Sorvino

From humble beginnings traipsing through California’s vast forests with his dad to salvaging wood from forest fires, Red Emmerson has built a logging empire by being cheaper and more aggressive than his rivals.

One of the largest fires to burn in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Rim Fire tore through 257,000 acres on the edge of Yosemite National Park in 2013. Not long after firefighters doused the flames, a fleet of bulldozers and trucks arrived, sent by billionaire Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson. Workers began ripping up the trees even as the brush nearby was still smoldering.

  • We’ll be in there before the smoke is out,” Emmerson boasts in a rare, three-hour interview from his Douglas-fir-paneled boardroom in tiny Anderson, California, which is wedged between the Shasta-Trinity and Lassen National Forests, about two hours north of Sacramento. Emmerson recalls the Fountain Fire of 1992 in Shasta County, 50 miles northeast of Anderson, that burned 64,000 acres and 272 homes: “We had trucks coming down the road that had flames on the back.” At 89 years of age he walks slowly but has no problem piloting his silver Dodge pickup truck to work before 8 a.m., six days a week. Adds his son Mark, who is CFO, “We get in, and we are very aggressive after a fire.”

    Nicknamed “Red” as a teen for his hair color, Emmerson is happy to reminisce about the many fires from which his Sierra Pacific Industries has profited. Wearing jeans held up by a belt buckle emblazoned with the insignia he brands on his ranch’s cattle, the feisty tycoon, who runs the business with his two sons, George, 61, and Mark, 58, makes more money from logging after forest fires than any person in America. When the government sells contracts to cut down trees after fires in national forests—a controversial practice known as post-fire salvage logging—Emmerson buys in at a steep discount, often paying one half to one fourth the price for traditional wood. Sierra Pacific then turns the usable lumber (about 90%) into boards and other wood products to sell to homebuilders and lumber retailers like Home Depot, Menards and Lowe’s

Nicknamed “Red” as a teen for his hair color, Emmerson is happy to reminisce about the many fires from which his Sierra Pacific Industries has profited. Wearing jeans held up by a belt buckle emblazoned with the insignia he brands on his ranch’s cattle, the feisty tycoon, who runs the business with his two sons, George, 61, and Mark, 58, makes more money from logging after forest fires than any person in America. When the government sells contracts to cut down trees after fires in national forests—a controversial practice known as post-fire salvage logging—Emmerson buys in at a steep discount, often paying one half to one fourth the price for traditional wood. Sierra Pacific then turns the usable lumber (about 90%) into boards and other wood products to sell to homebuilders and lumber retailers like Home Depot, Menards and Lowe’s.

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Science Says: Climate change, people stoke California fires By

The only “cause” for California’s fires that they forgot to mention was excessive logging that opens up more areas for grasses and fire-prone brush to grow. RCOATES

 Author SETH BORENSTEIN
In this Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 file photo, flames from the River Fire crest a ridge in Salinas, Calif. In California, a Mediterranean climate sets up ideal conditions for fire then is worsened by climate change, says University of California, Merced, fire scientist LeRoy Westerling, who has had his home threatened twice in the last few years. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

If you want to build a fire, you need three things: Ignition, fuel and oxygen. But wildfire in California is a much more complex people-stoked witch’s brew.

The state burns regularly because of fierce autumn winds, invasive grasses that act as kindling, fire-happy native shrubs and trees, frequent drought punctuated by spurts of downpours, a century of fire suppression, people moving closer to the wild, homes that burn easily, people starting fires accidentally or on purpose — and most of all climate change.

“California has a really flammable ecosystem,” said University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch. “People are living in flammable places, providing ignition, starting the wildfires against a backdrop of a warming climate that is making wildfires worse.”

Trying to manage California’s wildfires is like trying to hold back a tidal wave, said Columbia University fire scientist A. Park Williams: “Big fires are kind of inevitable in California.”

And it’s getting worse, fast. Area burned by wildfire in California increased more than fivefold since 1972, from a five-year average of 236 square miles (611 square kilometers) a year to 1,394 square miles (3,610 square kilometers) a year according to a 2019 study by Williams, Balch and others.

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2021 Save the Date: Redwood Tree Planting Jan. 9 & 10, Sat. & Sun.

Greetings! With 2020 already halfway over, Forest Unlimited is gearing up for our annual redwood tree planting next January 2021.

Our 2021 tree planting event will take place at the Jenner Headlands Preserve the weekend of Jan. 9th & 10th (Sat. & Sunday). We will be planting a combination of redwood, oak, and Douglas fir forests on property that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is maintained by the The Wildlands Conservancy.

We are so thankful for the 90 volunteers that helped us plant redwoods and restore our Sonoma County forests. We are looking forward to another planting, and expecting 2021 to be our biggest yet…

We will have more details and confirm start and stop times closer to the date. Please add the event to your calendar, and we will keep you posted! Since this is a private event, sign-ups will be required in order to confirm the number of participants. Sign-up contact information will be released soon. Thank you for your patience!


This year’s 2020 tree planting took place on a private property in Occidental where we planted about 900 redwood seedlings and the Madeleine Sone Wildlife Preserve in Sebastopol where we planted another 500 trees.

Fight over Gualala River logging plan heads to federal court

Author  GUY KOVNER

A five-year battle over plans to log in the remote Gualala River flood plain has taken a big step up with a powerhouse environmental group’s declaration to take the case to federal court, alleging the commercial tree harvest would harm protected fish, frogs and birds.

Friends of Gualala River, a grassroots group with an email list of about 600 people, now has the legal muscle of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental organization with a global reach and a $20 million annual budget, on its side.

“It is a welcome turn of events,” said Charles Ivor, president of the Gualala-based group that has stalled a 342-acre state-approved timber harvest plan since 2016.

The local group secured a state appeals court order in April temporarily halting the Dogwood project pursued by Gualala Redwood Timber LLC, which owns the land

“We’ve stopped it every year,” Ivor said.

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