So after coming up with the term “The War on Epidemiology” which has been adopted by one other person (thanks Tara), I’ve been encouraged by that overwhelming success to devise another phrase: The War on Forestry.
By way of DailyKos, I came across this LA Times article about a graduate student at the University of Oregon’s Forestry School who has come under severe pressure due to a paper accepted and published online at Science. Members of the faculty even tried to prevent the paper from being published in Science by writing a letter to the editors claiming it was lousy science. Way to support your students.
The conclusion of the paper? That post-fire logging is really bad for forest regeneration. Not an entirely novel result, but the timing was critical: Congress was examining legislation that would ease restrictions on post-fire logging.
Now, it’s important to note that the Forestry School not only has received a lot of money from the world’s largest helicopter logging firm, but also receives 12% of its budget from logging revenue. Clearly, the career of one student is acceptable collateral damage.
Related note: Fellow ScienceBlogs blogger Karmen has a great post on how the War in Iraq has left our forest firefighters short-handed. Between the loggers and the fires, our forests could be in a lot of trouble.
An aside: is attacking the scientific credibility of a peer-reviewed paper by one of your students over money grounds for dismissal? It should be.