Over-conservation and forest fires

Over-conservation and forest fires

Paul Hessburg gave this amazing TED talk in Oregon. Combined with Oregon’s increasingly hotter and drier summers (which will only increase), he says that our well-meaning efforts at forest conservation have actually led us to have very unhealthy forests that are ripe for megafires. He gave this talk years ago, but it has turned out to be even worse than he knew. The Pacific Northwest now has summers with massive forest fires – and air quality so bad that is now regularly off the chart and worst in the world. Most summers you can no longer have campfires in federal, state, or local forests. Unless we change our unhealthy forest management, we should expect bigger and bigger megafires as well as massive forest diseases.

It’s another example of unintended consequences of human actions. Sometimes, as we’re finding, over-conservation is turning out to be just as damaging as unmanaged forest destruction.

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