As California continues with massive wind-driven, high-intensity wildfires that often turn deadly, the governmental and institutional response has been to thin forests and “grind up vegetation” to fight fires. Naomi Pitcairn points to a movement by plant community and wildfire experts led by the Richard Halsey of the Chaparral Institute to focus on protecting vulnerable communities rather than trying to control nature, which now faces extreme heatwaves and droughts from an unpredictable greenhouse-gas-warmed climate.
The US Forest Service salvage logging plan ended up damaging the health of the Greater Yosemite Ecosystem far more than 2013’s massive Rim Fire. Chad Hanson from the John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute explains how wildfires can promote ecological health and survival of many plant and wildlife communities, despite the intense heat and scale of the blazes.
Though the Rim Fire of 2013 was the third largest conflagration in California’s history, it improved the ecological health of the forest and the majority of the iconic landscapes of Yosemite National Park remained unscathed. A salvage logging plan approved by the US Forest Service put in danger the regenerating effects of the fire.
Deep in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia grows a rare and beautiful tree whose wood is so highly prized that men will kill to possess it. In Thailand, environmental organizations and park rangers are fighting back against organized crime syndicates bent on logging it and smuggling it to the burgeoning Chinese market.
Honduras grants Miskitu People title to huge swath of coastal, border lands they occupy, but massive dams under construction on the Patuca River and pilfering of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve continue unabated in a region undergoing massive militarization.
The Sacred Land Film Project captured a revival of a canoe ceremony with feasting, dancing and carving, honoring their sacred Ramu River. The region is part of the third largest intact rainforest ecosystem left on earth, where sustainable agriculture and forestry practices have allowed societies to thrive for thousands of years, now threatened by multinational logging interests and corrupt governmental entities.
Wesleyan University academics argue “unnatural” forests, resulting from fire suppression policies, deplete water supplies and should be cut back. We disagree.