The Trump administration is threatening to use “chaining” to clearcut native pinyon-juniper forests in thousands of acres of Grand Staircase National Monument. Chaining involves dragging a huge chain between two bulldozers in order to knock down trees.
Supposedly, chaining improves grazing by clearing space for grass to grow, but the Wild Utah Project has analyzed scientific literature and found little evidence to show ecosystem or grazing benefits.
Nonetheless, Utah Congressman Chris Stewart (R-Ut-2) has boasted of eliminating environmental review of “vegetation management” (i.e. chaining) which he claims can restore habitat for sage-grouse and mule deer.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance: suwa.org/chaining-and-vegetation-removal/ A.J. Jones, ed. 2019. Do mechanical vegetation treatments of pinyon-juniper and sagebrush communities work? A review of the literature. Special publication, Wild Utah Project. Salt Lake City, UT. bit.ly/2Ph7oq2