Today, I’m moving from puzzlement into bafflement on the topic of Demonstration Projects.
UCSF says it ‘wants to take advantage of FEMA funding to do a larger demonstration project in the South Ridge area (8 acres rather than 2 acres). This would be more effective in reducing the potential for a damaging fire.’
So the demonstration, which was initially about forest thinning for other purposes, was only supposed to be 2 acres, a nice manageable size and not a huge problem if the demo failed. In fact, their own Plan said, ‘The primary reason this short-term strategy was adopted is because the community members involved in the planning process did not support a long-term management plan until some management actions had been implemented in small, relatively unseen demonstration areas of the forest.’
So the 2-acre site was supposed to demonstrate that the proposed actions wouldn’t look awful and endanger the forest. That’s what demos are, right? An opportunity to demonstrate that something works.
Now, with FEMA money, the “demonstration” area is upped by a factor of four. It’s the whole of the South Ridge, which is not exactly small and relatively unseen. And instead of being a visual and practical demonstration for the “community members involved in the planning process” it’s now, apparently, about demonstrating reduced fire hazard.
So how do you do that? Set the thing on fire and see what burns? If we’re right and these moves increase the fire hazard by drying out the forest, will UCSF have the funding to put in irrigation as they’ve done in the other dry open patch, the Native Garden?
I thought the FEMA money was to supposed to reduce fire hazards, not fund demonstrations of forest conversion.