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As Trump demands more logging, we debate the effect on reforestation near Yosemite




A Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) at Yosemite National Park on March 8, 2014.
A Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) at Yosemite National Park on March 8, 2014.
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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In 2013, the Rim fire scorched more than 250,000 acres in and around the Sierra Nevada forests. Now, five years later, growing tensions center on the role of logging and reforestation activities in and around the fire’s footprint.

The tension comes at a time where timber production in California is seeing a steady decline. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is trying to change that by setting new logging goals. The California Forest Service is supporting such goals arguing that timber harvesting and salvage logging are cost-effective strategies that would reduce risks of future fires.

But not everyone agrees.

Activists opposed to timber interests are skeptical of the reforestation activities. On Tuesday, environmental organizations requested the Sierra Nevada Conservancy to halt logging and reforestation activities in the area until they get a clear scientific analysis of the effects these activities have on the ecosystem. They argue that reforestation is being used as a political tool to facilitate more logging. Environmental activists believe that the forest should be allowed to regenerate naturally.  

With guest host Libby Denkmann.

Guests:

Chad Hanson, ecologist and executive director of the John Muir Project, a nonprofit forest research and conservation organization based in Big Bear City, California; co-author of the book, “The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix” (Elsevier, 2015)

John Buckley, executive director of the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center, a nonprofit environmental organization that works to protect water, wildlife, and wild areas within the Northern Yosemite region of the Central Sierra Nevada; former wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service