Climate Change and Wildfires Linked, Forest Service Has A Plan

The U.S. Forest Service on Friday announced a new plan to address the problem of climate change in relation to wildfires.


“The health and resilience of America’s forests affect everyone,” said Gail Kimbell, the U.S. Forest Service Chief, while speaking at the National Convention of the Society of American Foresters. “The goal is to respond to climate change broadly, from helping forests adapt to warmer, drier conditions to reducing the agency’s carbon footprint by stepping up its purchase of alternative fuel vehicles.”

Kimbell continued to say that he attributes the growing number of wildfires across the country to climate change.

The Society of American Foresters is the nation’s leading scientific and educational organization for the forestry profession. Its Reno conference, titled “Forestry in a Climate of Change,” brought together forestry professionals and academics.

John Helms, past president of the Society of American Foresters, and retired UC Berkeley forestry professor, offered his opinion too. “The problem is not climate change,” he said. “The problem is the rate of climate change. We are increasing the rate of change faster than normal evolutionary processes.”

The plan, titled the “Strategic Framework for Climate Change,” relies heavily on science to shape agency decisions and calls for developing strategies to help forests soak up and store more carbon dioxide, the atmospheric gas most responsible for global warming. But so far, the plan is somewhat loosely worded and gives few specifics.

Photo Credit: Caeser Sabastion on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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