14. LIFE BELOW WATER

Losing the trees for the forest (Opinion)

Losing the trees for the forest (Opinion)
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Losing the trees for the forest (Opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com  Tahoe Daily Tribune

Losing the trees for the forest (Opinion)

Improving Lake Tahoe Environment: A Report on Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction

As the CEO of the Tahoe Fund, my primary focus is to enhance the Lake Tahoe environment. Since our establishment in 2010, we have actively supported over 130 environmental improvement projects in the Tahoe region, resulting in more than $100 million in philanthropic and public funds. Our commitment to the environment is evident. However, it may seem contradictory when I state that our top priority is to remove trees from our forest.

The Issue of Overabundant Trees

The reason behind this seemingly counterintuitive approach is simple – we have an excess of trees. If we fail to address this issue, we run the risk of losing all our trees. While it may contradict the notion of preserving Mother Nature, scientific consensus among experts, land managers, and environmentalists indicates that our forests are excessively dense, leading to their decline.

Historical Context

A look back in time reveals a thriving Tahoe forest managed by the Washoe Tribe, who practiced traditional ecological methods that allowed for thinning and regeneration of the landscape each year. However, in the 1800s, logging and mining activities led to clear-cutting in the Basin. The forest subsequently regrew all at once, resulting in a lack of tree stand variety and species diversity. In the following century, firefighting agencies adopted a policy of “suppression first,” inadvertently causing unchecked overgrowth.

The Consequences

Today, we are left with a forest that has an excessive number of trees competing for limited water and sunlight. This makes them vulnerable to diseases, infestations, and mortality, turning them into highly flammable fuel for catastrophic wildfires. According to the US Forest Service, over 200 million trees have died in California since 2010, with 36 million trees dying in the past year alone.

The Magnitude of the Issue

A report from Land Tender in October 2022 estimated that there are approximately 300 trees per acre in Tahoe, whereas a healthy forest would have around 25 trees per acre. This represents an 1100% increase and indicates that there are approximately 22 million excess trees in Tahoe.

Sustainable Solutions

It is crucial to emphasize that clear-cutting is not a recommended solution by mainstream scientists or agencies. Clear-cutting is what led us to this situation in the first place. Instead, we advocate for targeted and data-driven forest health treatments that create space, improve access to water and light, and allow healthy trees to thrive.

Fortunately, there are viable solutions available. NV Energy’s Natural Disaster Protection Plan (NDPP) serves as an excellent example. Through this program, NV Energy, the US Forest Service, and the NV Department of Forestry collaborate to treat vegetation around power lines in the greater Basin. Their goals include improving forest health, slowing the spread of wildfires, and maintaining infrastructure capabilities during fire incidents. Since 2019, nearly 50,000 trees have been removed from overcrowded areas, along with over 8,000 tons of dried brush that acts as fuel for fires. Additionally, resilient native plants have been replanted in these areas.

Promoting Sustainable Development Goals

By implementing targeted forest health treatments and reducing the number of trees, we can create healthier forests while still preserving their overall integrity. These efforts align with several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including:

  1. SDG 15: Life on Land – Promoting the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
  2. SDG 13: Climate Action – Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, including through forest management.
  3. SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – Ensuring sustainable urbanization and reducing the risks of natural disasters in urban areas.

Conclusion

Through targeted interventions and collaborative initiatives like NV Energy’s NDPP, we can address the issue of overabundant trees in Tahoe’s forests. By doing so, we contribute to the achievement of various SDGs, ensuring the preservation and sustainable management of our natural resources. It is essential to strike a balance between environmental preservation and proactive forest management to secure a healthier future for Lake Tahoe.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 13: Climate Action – The article discusses the need to address the issue of overly dense forests and the increased risk of catastrophic wildfires due to climate change.
  • SDG 15: Life on Land – The article focuses on the importance of maintaining healthy forests and the negative impacts of having too many trees in a limited area.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters – The article highlights the need to improve forest health and slow the spread of wildfires through targeted treatments.
  • SDG 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation – The article emphasizes the importance of creating space in forests and replanting with resilient native plants.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Number of trees per acre – The article mentions that historically, a healthy forest in Tahoe had about 25 trees per acre, while currently, there are approximately 300 trees per acre. This indicator can be used to measure progress towards creating space in forests and reducing tree density.
  • Number of trees removed – The article mentions that NV Energy’s Natural Disaster Protection Plan has removed almost 50,000 trees from overcrowded parcels. This indicator can be used to measure progress towards improving forest health and reducing the risk of wildfires.
  • Amount of dried brush removed – The article states that NV Energy’s Natural Disaster Protection Plan has removed over 8,000 tons of dried brush, which acts as fuel for fires. This indicator can be used to measure progress towards reducing the spread of wildfires.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Table

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 13: Climate Action 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters – Number of trees per acre
– Number of trees removed
– Amount of dried brush removed
SDG 15: Life on Land 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation – Number of trees per acre
– Number of trees removed
– Amount of dried brush removed

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: tahoedailytribune.com

 

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