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The political ecology of forest health in the redwood regionAuthor(s): Chris Lee; Yana Valachovic; Dan Stark
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-258. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 333-341
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionImported forest pests have changed North American forests and caused staggering monetary losses in the centuries since the country was founded. Since most problem-causing non-native pests are innocuous in their home ranges, where they have coevolved with their host trees, experts cannot predict which pathogens or insects will have lethal effect on other continents. Many non-native pests are unknown to science until they cause problems in their new homes. One common response to the threat of non-native insects and diseases in our forests is to appeal to science to develop technical means for management or eradication, yet common sense tells us that it would be more cost-effective and ecologically efficient to prevent pest introductions in the first place. The discipline of political ecology explores the ways in which many environmental issues that are usually presented as scientific or technical problems are actually policy issues that have been redirected into scientific discussion in order to avoid acknowledging the need for hard political choices. The political ecology of forest pest management is very relevant to 21st-century forestry in the redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) region, where we have no way of knowing whether the next pest will be the one to target redwood or another native California tree species. These questions are especially important to consider and to educate policymakers about in California, where the iconic coast and Sierra (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) Buchholz) redwoods have limited distributions that may make them vulnerable to future pest invasions.
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CitationLee, Chris; Valachovic, Yana; Stark, Dan. 2017. The political ecology of forest health in the redwood region. In: Standiford, Richard B.; Valachovic, Yana, tech cords. Coast redwood science symposium—2016: Past successes and future direction. Proceedings of a workshop. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-258. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 333-341.
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