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Wildfire logging debate heats up

Controversial Science paper lacked appropriate caveats, some forestry scientists say

Melissa Lee Phillips (mlp@nasw.org)
Nine scientists wrote a letter to Science asking the journal to withhold a one-page article on the potential risks of post-wildfire logging, arguing the article was short on qualifiers and context. But some forestry scientists say they support the conclusions, and last week, the journal published the paper.In a letter dated January 17, nine scientists, including six from Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, sent a letter to editors at Science, claiming that a paper from OSU forest science masters student Dan Donato and colleagues on the negative effects of logging since the 2002 Biscuit Fire in southwest Oregon was incomplete, misleading, and presented no new science.Three of the letter co-signers are employees of the U.S. Forest Service, which has expanded post-fire logging in Oregon with support of the Bush administration.According to co-signer John Sessions, distinguished professor of forestry at OSU, the Donato et al. paper omitted...

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