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View Diary: Results from Wildfire Hearing (25 comments)

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  •  Is It? (0+ / 0-)

    As I'd pointed out, N California's native redwoods were replaced after clearcutting, with eucalyptus. Redwoods evolved fire retardant coping mechanisms, while eucalyptus evolved the opposite mechanism. Eucalyptus amplifies fires to burn themselves out, but that doesn't happen in the different environment of California than in Australia.

    Is the S California vegetation also native, and using the coping mechanisms evolved in that environment? If so, it's likely the best the vegetation can do. Even though the environment is changing, meddling with the complex system by, say, introducing or modifying to new plants is probably just as arrogant and shortsighted as  was ignoring our effects on the environment. But at least we can just narrow our focus to the other things we do know how to control, like protecting homes, evacuating, and fighting the fires before they get out of control, but letting them play their role in controlling vegetation overgrowth.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 02, 2007 at 11:42:40 AM PDT

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    •  The S CA vegetation (1+ / 0-)
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      is largely native AFAIK and has been through repeated cycles of explosive growth when rains are heavy and explosive fire during dry seasons, since about forever. It's not hard to find excerpts from the writings of the first Spanish settlers detailing the same fire conditions that exist today, and the archaelogical record pre-dating the Spanish provides support as well.

      In other parts of the west, things like cheat grass and knapweed are serious fire problems, and both are invasives. But largely ecosystems in the western US (with the exception of a few small, very wet coastal areas from N CA to AK) are tuned to repeated fire. What varies is the fire return interval, which can be as short as 5 years or as long as several hundred, and is climate dependent.

      The recent changes in western ecosystems are more due to the exclusion and supression of fire, which was more widespread and frequent prior to European settlement (and of course things like logging and grazing).

      There is no more New Frontier - we have got to make it here - Henley/Frey

      by badger on Fri Nov 02, 2007 at 01:46:55 PM PDT

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