Date: 10/9/17 5:30 pm
From: Joel Geier <joel.geier...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Skinner's Butte "deforestation"
I'm cross-posting this to BOO which may be a better place to carry on,
if folks want to.

For starters, I have to say, I generally enjoy Lars' colorful and
erudite way of expressing himself, even when I disagree.

In this case, I agree with his remark that "restoration" has become a
buzzword that can be used to justify almost any anthropogenic
disturbance.

In my book, "anthropogenic disturbance" includes a wide range of
tree-planting projects that were aimed to "restore" riparian forests in
places that were demonstrably unforested (or at most sparsely wooded)
grasslands in the mid-1800s. We lost a small but significant population
of "Oregon" Vesper Sparrows at Luckiamute SNA to one such case of good
intentions in the early 2000s.

The current trend toward canopy thinning is still trivial in comparison
with past and ongoing forestation projects, so I welcome it. There's a
whole lot of room for the pendulum to swing back the other way, toward
maintaining open habitats.

I disagree with Lars on his suggestion that land managers are just doing
this for "brownie points." Also on most recent projects that I'm aware
of, there's been an effort to gather baseline data, though budgets are
limited.

Finally it's a bit unfair to poke sticks at public land managers because
many of them are not fully at liberty to defend their actions in this
forum.

There are a lot of ways for birders to get involved in the process, for
any patch of habitat on public land that you care about. Oregon's public
meeting laws are strict enough that public employees think twice about
even riding an elevator together, if they didn't publish their plans to
do so in the local newspaper of record, 5 days in advance.

So if you want to stay informed, it's easy to do so. You just need to
pay attention, and consider sacrificing some of your birding time to go
sit in boring meetings. Public lands managers are generally an
accommodating bunch. They will generally listen to you, and if you can
provide them with baseline information, they'll be thrilled.

But in order to have an influence, birders need to stay informed and
show up for meetings. Whether we're willing to talk about it on OBOL or
just push it off to BOO, we need to be a lot more proactive in
communicating about habitat issues at popular birding sites. Otherwise
we'll just be stuck with complaining after the fact when these
developments catch us by surprise -- and honestly, it'll be our own
fault.

--
Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis



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