Friday, February 18, 2011

Whaddya mean, "It's not economics"

Had a thought. Googled forest fire policy. Found this:

Forest Policy Up in Smoke: Fire Suppression in the United States

Alison Berry

Property and Environment Research Center

For most of the 20th century, U.S. federal fire policy focused on suppressing all fires on national forests. The goal was to protect timber resources and rural communities, but this policy ignored the ecological importance of fire. North American forests have evolved with fire for thousands of years. Fire returns nutrients to soils, encourages growth of older fire-resistant trees, and promotes establishment of seedlings.

Decades of fire exclusion have produced uncharacteristically dense forests in many areas. Some forests, which previously burned lightly every 15-30 years, are now choked with vegetation. If ignited, these forests erupt into conflagrations of much higher intensity than historic levels.
Found this, too:

Forest fire strategy: Just let it go
By Tom Kenworthy, USA TODAY

In the worst year for wildfires in nearly half a century, it may seem odd to celebrate how well some of them burned. But the Payette National Forest in central Idaho is doing just that.

Their reasoning is that fire is a natural part of the landscape that clears out underbrush and small trees and creates forest openings in a mosaic pattern. Such conditions help keep small fires from growing into the kind of large, catastrophic blazes that have become increasingly common in recent years. They now say that decades of aggressively fighting fires was a mistake because it allowed forests to become overcrowded and ripe for fires nearly impossible to control.


A policy of prevention of small forest fires led to less frequent, more severe large fires.


Come back for my 8:00 post to see how I work this in...

1 comment:

The Arthurian said...

From a Q&A with Gary Gorton at FT:

"Since 1970 there have been about 145 systemic banking crises around the world, and not just in developing economies. In about 65 percent of these cases there were bank runs. The problem is that market participants expect the government or the central bank to act, and so the run—if there is one—is delayed. This seems to result in larger crisis costs."

(Emphasis added.)