Arizona's 4FRI Project
Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed "Four-Forest Restoration Initiative" on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests Project (4FRI project) in Arizona by Dr. Chad Hanson, research ecologist with the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, May 23, 2013.
Major points of the analysis:
- The Forest Service failed to cite studies showing historic tree densities as great as 178 trees per acre in the project area. Relying on studies from small plots, they assumed an historic average of only 23 trees per acre.
- Historically severe fires occurred more often than the Forest Service assumed. Ecological resilience in ponderosa pine forests depends on a mix of low-intersity and severe fires.
- The Forest Service ignored data showing dense stands of ponderosa pine are not at risk to bark beetle mortality.
- The Forest Service used an invalid model to assess the number of natural fire return intervals that have been "missed" due to fire suppression.
- The Forest Service ignored studies showing mixed-severity fires benefit, not harm, Mexican Spotted Owls.
See the full text of Dr. Chad Hanson's Comments