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Protecting Forests is Our Best Defense Against Natural Disasters


Protecting Forests is Our Best Defense Against Natural Disasters

Philip K. Stoddard

October 13th is the United Nations’ International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. Today, I joined local elected officials ranging from Virginia to Florida to recognize the importance of Southern forests in protecting coastal communities. We are urging decision-makers in Europe and the U.S. Senate to address the flawed bioenergy policies that are driving the destructive logging of our forests, particularly precious bottomland coastal forests.


John Dennis Liu (of Lessons of the Loess Plateau) has started work on an eco-restoration camp in or around Andalusia, Spain. My very early understanding at this point is that it is currently largely crowd-funded, with over 5,000 parties interested in some way or another having joined on, of all things, a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1206960359323785/permalink/1259627810723706/).

Liu's open-handed and straightforward beginnings here are particularly encouraging given the welter of diddling that one encounters attempting to administer such things through traditional forms.

We shall lose a large percentage of the pine forest of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California to such diddling over the next several years. The pines are dying to a beetle infestation secondary to climate change. As the pines die and go wick-dry, many acres will burn as well. The watersheds for California's Central Valley, from just north of Los Angeles to several hours north of San Francisco, will thereby be shorn of most vegetation, and most of the water that the hills still hold will run in floods with topsoil to the sea, with the predictable cycle of drought and flood to follow.

Local NGO's chatter in secret about grant funds, and local companies discuss how they might sell off selected parts of the fuel load for profit at the cost of denuding the landscape--though not so much that it would not burn convincingly. Regulations designed to at least ostensibly spare the forests from such depredation do not entitle anyone to solve the problems, which are largely created elsewhere, in cities and in agricultural areas across the world.

I shall be very interested to see how Liu's group manages to administer its efforts, since administration and the conflict between follies have so far blocked almost all positive action here except straightforward fighting of fires after they do break out, and the occasional small permaculture homestead carrying on against the tide of economic extraction and governmental cant.

We know easily enough about trees and forests and ecosystems to hold forests on these mountains, though the sort of developed system maintained by the Natives up to a couple hundred years ago is still at great remove. There is plenty of self-interested human motive to accomplish such things, and even plenty of joy in the work that the project entails. And yet our institutions are so exclusively geared to conflict against one another that we have not managed to budge for all our flailing, and people imagine that the desperate and false apathy that results is somehow intrinsic to humans.


Don't forget that paving over paradise is not a good idea. Wetlands paved over to build the mcmansions for the 1%, shopping malls, casinos and what else are we doing to destroy this planet?


Forests are the skin, and the breathing system for our precious Mother Earth!
Every tree that is cut or destroyed is a blow against our Earth Mother!


Scientific American did an issue about the twelve signs of the Anthropocene. The one that made the most sense was the linear increase of CO2 from 300 ppm in 1950 to the current 400 ppm. The warming has caused an increase in forest and bog fires so that a complete stop of fossil fuel use might flatten the graph but the only hope is to start a planting war to sequester a trillion tons of carbon every year or so. when we get back to 300 the sequestering should continue paid for by carbon credits purchased by the incurable fuel burners. A few billion people are available to plant thanks to the war on birth control in developing countries.