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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Major progress in effort to protect CA giant sequoias from megafires

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Thursday, March 28, 2024   

Crews have been ramping up wildfire resilience projects to thin out brush and dead wood in California's giant sequoia groves, clearing twice as many acres in 2023 compared with 2022.

The Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition is trying to avoid a repeat of the disastrous mega-fires of 2020 and 2021 - which killed about 20% of large mature trees in their native Sierra Nevada range.

Joanna Nelson, Ph.D. is the director of science and conservation planning with the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League.

"We remove fuel," said Nelson, "we get to a safe place to do prescribed burning and to do cultural burning - which is always led by Indigenous people, which is another practice of taking care of the forest and reducing wildfire risk."

Sequoia National Park is just one part of California's giant sequoia groves, which stretch over 26,000 acres.

A new report shows that in 2023, the program treated nearly 9,900 acres in 28 groves - and more than 14,000 since 2021.

Crews have also planted 542,000 native tree seedlings in severely burned areas over the past two years.

Nelson said the groves must be re-treated about every 8 to 10 years.

"The cost of inaction is loss of giant sequoias in their native range," said Nelson. "And big fires that spread because of the fuel continuity. We risk further loss of trees that are anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 years old if we do nothing."

The groves have built up quite a bit of dead wood fuel because, until the last few decades, it had been national policy to suppress almost all fire - which led to intense firestorms that incinerated entire groves of old-growth trees.

It is now understood that judicious use of fire can clear out the understory and be beneficial to the forest.



Disclosure: Save the Redwoods League contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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