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No, California’s Forests Aren’t Failing to Regrow After Big Wildfires – January 5, 2017

New study about low conifer regeneration based on Forest Service's timber stocking based silvicultural standards, lacks context

Recently researchers at UC Davis and the US Forest Service presented a new scientific study that suggested a dire future for forests in California. The study on conifer establishment after wildfires in California found that 43 percent of their study plots did not have conifer regeneration that met Forest Service Stocking Standards, implying that without additional management we may face a future without forests.

black oak saplings in a forest burn area Photo by George WuerthnerA 2015 image of black oak saplings sprouting in a 2013 Rim Fire burn area in Stanislaus National Forest, California.

The findings were viewed with alarm by some, with… more

by: George Wuerthner

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Genetically Unique Yellowstone Bison Deserve Endangered Species Status – October 4, 2016

Montana should stop killing wild bison that venture beyond park boundaries

A number of environmental organizations, Western Watersheds Project, The Buffalo Field Campaign, and Friends of Animals, have petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Yellowstone bison under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Some may be baffled why any bison deserve listing under the ESA when there are at least 500,000 bison found in North America.

 two bison at YellowstonePhoto by Jitze CouperusThe Yellowstone Park sub-population of bison has been subjected to severe slaughter and culling as part of an effort to prevent transmission of brucellosis, a bacterial infection, to cattle.

Here’s why. The Yellowstone Park sub-population of bison has been… more

by: George Wuerthner

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The Profanity of the Profanity Peak Wolf Pack Massacre – September 8, 2016

The only realistic solution to this conflict is to retire the grazing allotments on public lands

The recent killing of six members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in NE Washington in retribution for the loss of a few cattle is emblematic of what is wrong with public land policy. As I write, trappers are out to kill the remaining pack members- including 4-month old pups.

night photo of young wolves in a forestphoto by Protect the WolvesTrappers are currently hunting down the remaining pack members, including four-month-old pups.

What is significant about the destruction of this pack is that the Profanity Peak wolves roamed national forest lands. These are our lands.  They belong to all Americans and… more

by: George Wuerthner

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A Birthday Gift for NPS: Obama Creates Maine Woods National Monument – August 25, 2016

Decades of efforts to establish a national park in Maine’s vast North Woods region pay off

graphic depicting a hiker overlooking a valleyIn honor of the National Park Service, which turns 100 today, President Obama yesterday signed into law the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine using his authority under the Antiquities Act.

Obama’s action follows in the tradition of many other presidents who have created national monuments such as the Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Olympic and others that were subsequently upgraded to national park status. The new national monument – which will be managed by the National Park Service – will protect approximately 87,500 acres, including the stunning East Branch of the Penobscot… more

by: George Wuerthner

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At Katmai National Park, Bears and Humans Too Close for Comfort – July 7, 2015

Sightseers disturb bear feeding habits, biologists warn, but Park Service shows little willingness to redirect human traffic

One of the most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles in the world is the scene of brown bears catching salmon at Katmai National Park. During the summer sockeye salmon runs, brown bears congregate on the Brooks River to capture salmon jumping the Brooks River waterfall, and later to feed on carcasses of dead salmon washed downstream after spawning. The annual salmon feast sustains the dense bear population found in Katmai which is home to an estimated 2,200 bears – the largest protected bear population in the world.

Brown Bear fishing Salmon photo by Christoph Strässler, on… more

by: George Wuerthner

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