ALTURAS, Calif. — Moments after he saw the centuries-old junipers on the ground, Glenn Fair felt sick to his stomach.
A 60-year-old fishing guide from rural Lassen County, Fair has nothing against thinning forests to protect them from fire and disease. But the barren, dusty swath of stumps and downed junipers logged from public land last year and the adjacent house-high pile of wood chips was not that kind of cut.
Not only were trees mowed down across nearly 300 acres, they were leveled under a banner of ecological restoration, energy independence and climate-friendly power. It was portrayed as a win-win by the federal government, which was paying for the removal to undo the legacy of poor land management.
But to Fair, burning old-growth junipers in a wood-fired power plant to battle global warming just doesn't make sense.
"These trees are our carbon collectors," he said. "It's no different than if you went into a rain forest and cut it down."
The government's so-called "stewardship project" here in rugged, remote northeast California is a lens through which to view the changing nature of forestry. No longer is managing woodlands in California just about balancing jobs and the environment. These days, carbon, climate and restoration are part of the equation.
Read the full story at sacbee.com.