Restoring California’s forests to reduce wildfire risks will take time, billions of dollars and a broad commitment
A great article on reducing the risk of high-severity wildfires by Martha Conklin Professor of Engineering, University of California, Merced and Chronicles Group Advisory Board member Roger Bales, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, University of California, Merced.
Forest restoration basically means removing the less fire-resistant smaller trees and returning to a forest with larger trees that are widely spaced. These stewardship projects require partnerships across the many interests who benefit from healthy forests, to help bring innovative financing to this huge challenge.
Read the full story here
Over 4 million acres of California have burned this fire season. That's roughly the size of the state of CT. Environmentalist Jim Thebaut talks about his documentary "Beyond the Brink .. California's Watershed" and how the mishandling of CA water and forests is the cause of our long fire seasons among other issues in CA.
By Melina Paris, Editorial Assistant
Over the past three-and-a-half years, we’ve watched the Trump administration bend trusted institutions to its will by rolling back decades of environmental protections for the sake of helping fossil fuel companies hoard profit and power. So much so, people of conscience are starting to believe that the only way forward for ecological and progressive change is to eliminate these institutions. As a result, public-private partnerships are viewed with prejudice. This can be problematic.
Earlier this year, I reviewed two environmental films, Beyond The Brink: California’s Watershed [an educational video] produced by Jim Thebaut, president of The Chronicles Group followed by Planet Of The Humans by director Jeff Gibbs and executive produced by Michael Moore.
In California’s Watershed, former landscape engineer, Thebaut, presented solutions for dispersing water from California watersheds through the Sierra Nevada forests to supply California’s agriculture and the commons. California’s Watershed asserts that the production of biofuels, produced through selective burning of forest trees, can play a part in providing a sustainable and healthy California watershed.
In building evidence for this solution, the video presented serious environmental and water supply issues in terms of agriculture and posited that forest overgrowth of trees from a century of fire suppression has degraded the ability to store water. But it didn’t connect on an ecological level how producing biofuels would help. Further, biofuels come along with a host of other problems which were not evaluated or quantified in the brief length of this video. However, in a later conversation with Thebaut he discussed more solutions for forest water channels not discussed in the video.
California’s Watershed is connected to a longer film titled Beyond The Brink [www.youtube.com/Beyond-The-Brink]. The full length film posits if forests are restored to a density historical to the 1900s, the hypothesis is that it may be possible to get more run off from the Northern Sierra with restoration of mechanical thinning of forests and controlled fire. The film showed the benefits resulting from the production of biofuels like, opportunities for public private partnerships, utilizing biomass as a carbon resource and converting biofuels into things people need.
More at RLn
RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. – It might have been overshadowed by the dramatic wildfires and images of smoke-choked cities that have dominated the headlines, but last month, Gov. Newsom and the U.S. Forest Service announced a new joint initiative called “The Agreement for Shared Stewardship for California’s Forest and Rangelands.”
The initiative brings state and federal government together to address watershed and forestry management at a crisis point, a crisis that ecological filmmaker James Thebaut, has been shining a light on for years.
Thebaut explained that the intensifying wildfires we see now are in part the result of years of poor planning, bad policy and blame shifting.
“It goes all the way back to the Gold Rush period,” said Thebaut. “[California] had a fire suppression policy. Well, fires are part of the ecological system. And, consequently, what we have now is thousands and thousands and thousands of dead trees. We have to start cleaning. We have to actually redesign the forest.”
More at SN1SoCal
Giselle Fernandez and Kelvin Washington interview Jim on Spectrum News 1 about the growing climate crisis, raging wildfires and his most recent film "California's Watershed." This was a live interview on Sept. 11, 2020, following a produced piece from SN1 reporter, Christopher Gee.