Wildfires should top list of greenhouse gas catastrophes
If we truly care about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions we need to evaluate, plan, and implement solutions to the growth of record-breaking wildfires over the past decade - particularly in New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, and California.
According to U.S. Senator Pete Domenici during Congressional testimony NASA reported that the 2002 Hayman fire in Colorado emitted more GHG in one day than all the vehicles in the United States emitted in a week.
The Forest Foundation claims that the fire in South Lake Tahoe burned 3,000 acres causing 190,000 tons of GHG to be released in the air. Combined with the emissions from decaying trees in the burn zone, unless they are harvested immediately the total emissions will reach four times that amount - roughly the equivalent of driving 143,000 cars for an entire year.
The Zaca fire in Santa Barbara has charred an area 100 times larger than the fire in South Lake Tahoe and is still burning after two months. With the above figures, it is easy to see that wildfires are the trump card of GHG - one bad mega fire can wipe out several years' progress of reduced emissions.
Many experts believe that well-intentioned efforts to protect the nesting grounds of endangered species are based on myths about wildfires. This has lead to obstructive litigation and counterproductive state and local policies that result in devastating destruction of whole forests teeming with wildlife. The wildlife that survives become refugees in adjacent ecosystems.
The problem is strongest on state and federal lands where decades of fire suppression and forest preservation has resulted in tree density 4-10 times historic norms. This has created unprecedented conditions for mega fires and bug infestations.
We need to create a massive scale emergency response relationship between public land management and private industry to implement an ecologically and economically sustainable forest restoration solution to this mounting catastrophe.
Below are links to stories that made August 2007 memorable...
· An educational "Hidden Treasure" on forest stewardship
· Restoration Forestry and 5 Myths about Wildfires
· California's Zaca Fire and Global Warming
· California wildlife threatened by mega fires
· Why "Rolling Stone" gathers no moss
· Motivating U.S. energy growth with "carrots" and "sticks"
· LS9 - Using synthetic biology to produce renewable petroleum
· A four-star idea for rating biofuels
· L.A. Times editorial against ethanol
· High Performance E85 with Jay Leno
· "Energy Victory" - Book of the Sentry
· Creating products from the residuals of bioconversion
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