Comments on the Late Mungers Sale and the Integrated Vegetation Management Plan

Alan Journet & Gary Clarida
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now; May 10, 2023

Given the adverse publicity that has been directed at the BLM for management activities employing the Integrated Vegetation Management Plan, particularly those regarding logging old growth forests, a delegation of the SOCAN Forest and Fire Project Team (Gary Clarida and Alan Journet, accompanied by Rich Fairbanks) visited units in the Penn Butte section of the Late Mungers Sale on May 7th to assess what is happening on the ground.

McCarthy (2019) identifies succinctly the problem with the definition of old growth:

“In the 1970s, researchers started using the term “old growth” to describe complex, biodiverse forests at least 150 years old. Environmentalists prefer using the term to describe forests with large, old trees undisturbed by human impact. Under the environmentalist’s characterization, much more forest would qualify as oldgrowth. The tension between these two definitions remains unresolved.”

Meanwhile, FSG (2019) states that old growth forests are “Forests dominated by large, old trees, both live and dead, standing and fallen, that usually contain many other smaller trees.” They continue the explanation with the caveat that: “Tree size alone is not a marker of old growth. High productivity stands may have large, relatively young trees. Like all forests, old growth forests are affected by disturbances.”  More recently, Barnett et al. (2023) argue that mature and old growth forests are: “characterized by a relatively long period of development since catastrophic disturbance…”

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