Trump Order Opens More Logging on Federal Lands

Donald Trump is fixated on addressing the West’s wildfire problem, a sentiment that would likely be welcomed if it came from a president interested in applying evidence-based research to the fiery infernos that sweep across California, Oregon, Washington and other Western states every year.

Unfortunately, when the president doesn’t believe climate change is real, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that his proposals for reducing wildfires fall short in the science department.

What they lack in science, though, they make up for in opportunities for his cronies to enrich themselves.

In a December 21 executive order, the president indicated that he’s interested in opening up more logging on federally-held lands — ostensibly to reduce the risk of wildfires. The order would allow for the extraction of nearly four billion board feet of timber from U.S. Forest Service land and another 600 million board feet from Bureau of Land Management property, a substantial increase over prior years.

However, if wildfires are what President Trump is really worried about, he should be concerned that all evidence suggests commercial logging can actually increase the risk of fire.

His current attack on forests mirrors earlier critical comments about timber management, especially in California. The president has tried to imply that the state is responsible for its own wildfires because of its timber management practices — despite the fact that many wildfires break out on federally-managed land — and that California should be using controlled burning to reduce fire risks.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was quick to hop on the bandwagon, suggesting that increased logging activity could help the West reduce the load of fuel that burns hot and heavy every fire season. But he and the president lack forestry credentials, as well as the sense to consult people who are qualified to make these assessments.

Take action: Join Care2 members telling Trump to leave trees alone!

One reason fires are burning so heavily in the West is heat and dryness, which desiccate undergrowth — especially highly flammable chaparral, a serious fire risk in Southern California — and allow fires to sweep through the landscape. Logging doesn’t solve the undergrowth problem. In fact, the practice can make it worse, as taking down trees leaves substantial debris — known as “slash” — behind. Leaving it as-is would be extremely unsafe, so it’s often burned, which is itself a fire risk.

Researchers with expertise in this subject note that logging can compact soils, making it harder for new growth to emerge, and contribute to erosion. Furthermore, fires tend to burn more fiercely in logged areas than they do in natural forests. Forestry experts say that the real problem is climate change and urban sprawl, which puts more people at the urban-wildland interface and makes that interface more dangerous.

No one disputes that there are management options available to help the West reduce the severity and intensity of fires. But indiscriminate logging isn’t one of them — unless, of course, you’re someone who stands to benefit from the logging industry. And guess who gets money from the “forestry and forest products” industry?

Take Action!

Join the activists calling on Trump to rescind this dangerous executive order and sit down with scientists to discuss how to address the devastating fire cycle in the West.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

63 comments

heather g
heather g2 months ago

My sympathy goes to Americans who have to put up with this destructive man.

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Maria P
Maria P2 months ago

Thank you

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Shirley S
Shirley S2 months ago

I was told that the problems re the wildfires was power lines touching the trees. Petition signed.

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Lorrie O
Lorrie O2 months ago

Read paper, read wood, read tree: Au ("owe") Thor. Au Thor. Au gold 79. Au. O. Thor.

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Muriel S
Muriel Servaege2 months ago

The survival of humanity and of wildlife are actually the least of his interests. Money first.

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Muriel S
Muriel Servaege2 months ago

Money is the only thing that matters to Trump. Why should he care about the wildfires he can cause if this allows him to make more money?

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Michael Friedmann
Michael Friedmann2 months ago

Thank You for Sharing & Caring !!!

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Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine Andersen2 months ago

He is not looking at stopping wildfires he is looking at the money it brings in. He would sell his own mother if he thought he could make a buck in the deal

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn2 months ago

Signed

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Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago

Thanks

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