The effectiveness of fire fuel reduction

An invited feature in this month’s issue of Ecological Applications focuses on the U.S. National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study, a five-year effort to assess the effectiveness of wildfire reduction methods currently in use by forest management agencies. The study compares the effectiveness of fire fuel reduction methods on restoring ecosystem health to national forests. Many U.S. forests once experienced frequent natural fires...

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For now, forget biofuels in reserves

Ethanol as the next generation of alternative fuels has stirred significant controversy. While some tout its lower-than-gasoline greenhouse-gas emissions and its usefulness in creating carbon sinks in its agricultural fields, many other ecologists call ethanol production the most inefficient of alternative fuel options. Even the most optimistic scenarios still show that using current technologies, it can take years – in some...

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USDA’s new Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets

The USDA announced today that it will establish an Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets.  According to their press release, the office will help develop new guidelines and methods to assess ecosystem service benefits and create markets for ecosystem services.  The authorization for this office was approved in this summer’s Farm Bill, which Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer spoke out against. Ecosystem services are one way that...

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