Clean | Green | Sustainable

Video Clips: Ecological Role of Insects and Fire in Our Forests

Posted by Matthew Koehler on October 22, 2009

I work for a non-profit forest and wilderness protection organization called the WildWest Institute. Over the years we’ve spent more than our fair share of time in the public forests and wildlands of the northern Rockies.  We’re monitored countless timber sales and so-called “forest health restoration” projects. We’re documented illegal ATV and snowmobile trespass. And we’ve lead public field trips to the deep silence of ancient cedar groves in western Montana, as well as to the tops of peaks affording 360 degree views of unbroken expanses of wild forests.

Through all of these adventures, we’re also managed to also take our fair share of (amateur quality) pictures and video clips as part of our effort to educate the public about the management of their public lands and wildlife.

Occasionally, I’ll be sharing some of these clips and photos on this site. To start us off, I’ll post two video clips that were shot in January 2005 as part of our monitoring efforts of the Middle East Fork Heathy Forest Restoration Act project on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.  This project was one of the first timber sales out-of-the-gate after the Bush Administration passed their Orwellian-inspired Healthy Forest Initiative.

Originally, the project called for cutting down almost 6,000 acres of some of the best remaining unlogged old-growth forests up the East Fork of the Bitterroot River, a drainage that was so heavily clearcut and roaded during the 1960s and early 70s that it lead directly to the US Congress passing the National Forest Management Act.

Fortunately, in 2006 we were able to save over 2,000 acres of some of the best unlogged, old-growth from being cut down, but the rest of the project (which we still had some serious concerns with) went forward. Ironically, because of the collapse of the housing market and the subsequent plummeting of lumber demand in the US, all logging on this project stopped in 2008 and 2009, until $1 million in federal stimulus (taxpayer) money was given to subsidize a helicopter logging operation to finish the logging.

In the first video clip,
a field introduction to the Middle East Fork project is given.

The second clip includes a short talk about the important ecological role that insects, fire and disease play in the overall health of our forests, as well as how these natural processes affect fire risk in the short and long-term.

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