Although forest fires can be tragically destructive, they do have a natural and useful role in our ecosystem. However, as the years go by and the frequency of forest fires increase, some long- term effects are taking hold. Unfortunately, humans are the top cause of forest fires, which means that most of them are completely preventable. The incidents range from a small fire to roast marshmallows to miles of “controlled” burning to clear landscape.
Effects of Forest Fires
When a forest fire occurs, it changes the composition, structure, regeneration ability, and recovery potential of a timberland. Under certain circumstances, forests can regenerate quickly and, in some cases grow even denser than before. But in other situations when all of the existing mature trees are destroyed along with ground vegetation, regrowth can take decades.
The Center for International Forestry and Research and the World Agroforestry Center continually team up to find ways to find means of long-term prevention of forest fires (Sahagun, 2018).
In the wake of this summer’s forest fires that swept across California, President Trump is calling on his administration to take part in forest fire prevention. Trump feels that forest fires that occur today have more fuel because of poor environmental laws (Sahagun, 2018). As a result, the federal government is allowing logging of healthy forests for the first time in decades.
Environmental Concerns with Forest Fires
This is causing a lot of angst among some of the leading environmental groups. They feel that forest fires are used as an excuse to ravage thriving forests. The lumber industry is fighting back saying that without logging forests to remove deadwood, we are feeding the infestation of the mountain pine beetle and providing additional fuel for the fires.
Spokesmen for some of the largest logging firms in the U.S. are supporting the Trump administration by stating that forest management, harvesting, planned logging, and prescribed burns actually make for healthier forests and reduce forest fires (Sahagun, 2018). The Trump administration is supporting the notion to set aside regulations that have inhibited necessary harvesting in most of our national forests (Sahagun, 2018).
Forest Fires Prevention
As a result, the forest service in California has scheduled the removal of sagebrush and pine trees across 2800 acres of forest area. Furthermore, the Los Padres National Forest Service is planning several commercial logging projects to increase public safety and create healthier forests (Sahagun, 2018).
Those that work fiercely to protect this forest area, claim that when the Trump administration merely looks at this area on a map they are not fully understanding that such plans are environmentally significant. They are expressing concern for all of the animals that inhabit these areas. They state that if these habitations are destroyed, animals will no long forage these areas and will eventually become abandoned, further destroying the local ecosystem.
Although this is not currently occurring in any of Colorado’s forests, it is important that we take note of the effects. If this type of planning takes hold, it will eventually spill over to neighboring states. Is it possible for forests to recover from such interference in what is supposed to be a natural habitat?
Sahagun, L. (2018). As Trump tweets about California fires, his administration wants to expand logging.