Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Four Forests Restoration Project

The draft EIS for the first 500,000 acres has been released.

Thinning work is already ongoing, but is behind schedule:

"The company said it is now thinning about 30 acres a day, which works out to about 625 acres a month. That’s a significant increase in the pace of operations since January, but still far behind the schedule established for the project nearly four years ago.  Ultimately, the company’s 10-year contract with the Forest Service requires it to clear 40,000 acres annually. In the nearly two years the company has had the contract, it has cleared about 3,700 acres. That puts the company about 70,000 acres behind the original schedule."

In my experience, in the Jemez, the major time lags are for completing NEPA and EIS and waiting for good prescribed fire weather.  Cutting the trees is fast and easy, and if they skip the fire (unnecessary and possibly environmentally detrimental) nothing should slow them down.  One of my other main criticisms from the Jemez is that they're not thinning enough trees to reduce the basal area to the most beneficial levels.  I know the ideal density and pattern of trees has been argued about ad infinitum... it seems they are trying to avoid conflict by cutting less trees, which totally defeats the purpose of preventing catastrophic crown fire.

No comments: