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Daly City: Resolution to Ban Clearcutting in California

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Daly City’s City Council has passed a resolution to call on the state legislature and governor to ban clearcut logging in California, making it the first city in San Mateo County and the wider Bay Area, and the second city in the state, to pass the resolution. The City of Davis has passed a similar resolution. The resolution highlights negative impacts of clearcutting on climate and water.
 
Daly City’s Water Department offers free water-saving devices, rebates, and school programs for residents, commercial users, and students. The city also has a climate action plan to reduce its carbon footprint.
 
“I am delighted to partner with the Sierra Club in making sure that the governor and the California legislature take immediate action to prohibit industrial clearcut logging in the forests of California,” said David Canepa, mayor of Daly City. “I am also proud that Daly City is the first city in the Bay Area to demonstrate such leadership.”

A growing movement of communities, environmental groups, and fishermen's alliances is calling on the governor and state legislature to end clearcutting in California and to ensure that logging in California is done in a way that will preserve and protect fish, wildlife, forests, streams, and carbon sequestration.

Clearcutting is an ecologically destructive form of logging in which nearly all native vegetation is removed, soils are deep-ripped, and herbicides are applied across the landscape. It harms water quality and wildlife habitat, and exacerbates climate change. It replaces diverse forests with tree farms that can have a higher risk of catching fire. Timber can be harvested using a less destructive method known as selective logging (see top photo above), which involves carefully planned removal of some trees while leaving the overall forest intact.
 
What happens in the forests – especially in the Sierra Nevada – is important to Bay Area cities. Some 60 percent of Bay Area water is stored in and filtered through Sierra forest watersheds, and 15 percent comes from the forested Santa Cruz Mountains. At least 15 percent of California’s carbon dioxide emissions are sequestered by California forests, and clearcutting both reduces the amount of carbon that forests can retain, and releases excess greenhouse gases.
 
Photos (above): selectively harvested forest (top), clearcut (bottom)

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Actually Clayton, your statement on carbon absorption is entirely incorrect and based on old, flawed science. It is now known that older forests and trees, store more carbon, more rapidly, than younger forests and trees.

See:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7210/abs/nature07276.html

and:

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5658/20140116/older-trees-grow-faster-take-up-more-carbon.htm

It concerns me the way that one silvicultural system is pitted against another. Whether it is clearcutting or selection, both silvicultural systems are initiated for the purpose of growing new trees in place of trees harvested. The forest ecosystem is far too complex to simply limit the conversation to liking one way over another. The appropriate choice of silviculture depends on many factors: silvics of the trees, fire regime, wildlife habitat needs, geology, and much, much more.

The amount of carbon storage in the forest has nothing to do with choice of silviculture. As a hypothetical example, one part of a management objective is to harvest enough wood to build one house (approximately 13 mbf), depending on where you are in the state and the amount of standing volume. This could be accomplished by clearcutting 10 acres, or selecting 30 acres. From a carbon standpoint, the end result is the same amount of biomass removed from the forest. The difference is that the newly planted trees will grow faster over the next 80 years than the trees left by selection silviculture, absorbing far more additional carbon in the long run.

Please note that I have refrained from using the term selective logging, as this term means highgrading and is not a silvicultural system.

Thank you, Daly City, for taking an ethical stand on this vital issue. Without our forests we cannot breathe.

Here's to urban forests and backyards, which may be the saving habitat for honeybees, which are being chemically killed with herbicides in big agribusiness farms all over the country.

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