Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What does a Clear-Cut Forest Look Like?

Self described Student of the Forest and guest blogger at milliontrees.me, Deane Rimerman, commented on one of my photo albums, Eradicated Area as seen from Claremont Avenue.

I don't know if he looked at the entire album or if he only looked at the cover. I find it hard to believe he could look at all the pictures I have of the eradication area and conclude it is a "traditional California clearcut..."

Here is his description, I assume he is only commenting on this single photo:

Looks like a traditional California clearcut... Most industrial timber lands in California look just as immature and structually impoverished as this stand of seedlings and saplings.

The foreground is eucalyptus wood chips piled 2 feet high.

I Googled traditional california clear-cut forest, and I must say, I saw no pictures that look like the riparian woodland on the south side of Claremont Avenue that I took photos of.

The traditional clear-cut looks more like this.

Traditional clear-cut coniferous forest

Deane then goes on to make unfounded claims regarding the carbon cycle, another topic of which he appears to lack understanding.
Of course it will be more than a century before an equivalent amount carbon is absorbed out of the atmosphere and locked up again on this site. 
I asked him if he had a reference that supports this notion, but he failed to respond to that request.

Two things I believe he is overlooking.
  1. The trees are not being removed from the site, therefore the carbon is still locked up at the site, and will be for centuries.
  2. The stunted trees beneath the canopy will pick up the slack once the nutrients and sunlight are no longer being hogged by the eucalyptus.
As far as I can tell, no one has done a quantitative analysis of the East Bay Hills eucalypti. The trees themselves store carbon for centuries, but since they outcompete all other native and non-native species for nutrients, the net carbon footprint could even be negative. Even if the Eradication Project is carbon positive, which I suspect it will be for the first 10-20 years, it is still negligible in the short term, and infinitesimal or even carbon negative a century from now.

Also at least a century before the previous vertical structural diversity that creates wildlife habitat is restored .
There is very little habitat created by the eucalyptus. Of all the trees targeted and removed so far, none have contained nests. The native canopy supports about 100 times the insect population of the eucalyptus canopy. Insects being a primary food source for birds... well here again, Deane is cherry-picking his facts to support his belief.

These last two sentences are a bit garbled. This appears to be a common symptom of the cognitive dissonance associated with trying to argue a false premise.
And since "facts" are so important to you, where are your "facts" that say that all the carbon off gassed via this clearcut is a benefits to the important need for carbon sequestration. 
The facts are, the Project's off gassed carbon will be insignificant, since the biomass will not be removed, but left to decompose on site. The carbon will be slowly released into the soil and atmosphere. Meanwhile the newly liberated native flora will increase their photosynthesis and carbon uptake.
Also where are your "facts" that say loss of whole stands of the world's biggest flowering trees are a benefit for at risk pollinator species?
Since eucalyptus are not native, removing them in favor of native flora is without question of benefit to the at risk native pollinators.

I have numerous Photo Albums full of pictures of a riparian woodland and young redwood forest.

Deane's only evidence is his claim to superior knowledge.

Well Deane, anecdotes and appeals to authority are not evidence.

If you have evidence that the following picture is a traditional California clearcut...

Claremont Canyon West of Grizzly Peak. Eradicated eucalypti and liberated forest/woodland.

not a traditional California native woodland, grassland, scrubland, and forest...

Please provide some, or stop harassing me with personal attacks (ad hominem fallacies) and specious arguments. (argumentum ad logicam)

Here are the other albums with more photos of the rich and diverse ecosystem, liberated from the oppressive eucalypti.

Sign post 24
Summit House Trail
Area 29 Restoration
Native Rain Forest
Native Rain Forest II