30 Jul 2010, 10:57am
Restoring cultural landscapes Saving Forests
by admin

Squandering the Wisdom

Native Americans maintained American forests before the Europeans arrived and knew what they were doing.

Words and photos by Steven H. Rich, Range Magazine, Summer 2010 [here]

Selected excerpts:

The Danish forest ecologist sighed explosively, then spoke: “Your government’s wildfire and forest policy is a foolish and ignorant insult to the poor, and an insult to nature.” His voice was shaking, his tone illustrating the fact that grownups sigh when weeping seems out of place.

“Do you know the estimates of unused logging residues and dead wood rotting in your country are equivalent to 32 billion barrels of oil [more than four year’s supply for the whole nation]? When ecologists project a yearly total of the ecologically available logging waste [branches and tops] generated on private lands in the United States to all your forests, it makes 1.36 billion barrels [a good start on the 20 million barrels a day we use].

Do you know what that waste does to the price of fuel in poor countries? Every year you let another two- to six-million acres burn up! You do nothing effective to stop it and you do nothing with it!” …

The American public is not told that three times the CO emitted during any severe fire event continues to reach the atmosphere as the dead wood continues to degas and decompose. The environmentalists’ pro-wildfire/no-logging policy is a gigantic CO and other biogas factory, stacking up more and more “production units” in the form of billions of “sacred” dead trees which — due to lawsuits — no one is allowed to harvest. Frivolous fund-raising lawsuits that prevent sound use of forest biomass alternatives could end up as the single greatest cause of American fossil carbon releases, while hugely accelerating detructive fire emissions. …

The policy — letting disease-ridden too-dense forest structures continue and allowing fuel loads to build — kills forests. On average, they burn at least twice by the time the trees of the first fire decompose. The fire that burns the wind-fallen and/or rot-fallen fire-killed trees is vastly more destructive than the first.

In close contact with forest soils, the 1,700-degree Fahrenheit heat of 200 tons per acre of downed logs deeply sterilizes the forest floor. These intense blazes can last for many hours. Few biological potentials survive, nor does the wildlife that depends on these habitats.

Researchers Matthew Hurteau and Malcolm North modeled six prescriptions for mixed-conifer forest structure to study their potential for carbon sequestration. They came up with basically the same answers that Dr. Wallace Covington at Northern Arizona University reached in his work: Do it the way the Native Americans did.

Allowing a tangled mass of stunted trees to grow does sequester (take out of the atmosphere) lots of carbon — until it catches fire. When fire is added to the model, it becomes clear that a forest of widely spaced big trees is much safer from fire and sequesters more carbon for much longer. …

The ecological, social and economic benefits vastly favor restoring the Native American forest-structure maintenance system. Every year, the stream flows will increase and stabilize, wildlife will increase and soils will grow richer. This is a grazeable woodland, very productive of biodiversity and progressively healthier. These are the landscapes from which dozens of Arizona trout streams once flowed down to broad, beautiful, lower-slope grasslands, which are now choked with alien Utah junipers and chaparral shrubs. …

Who would object to restoring paradise while aiding the cause of energy independence? Who objects to restoring rural economies, relieving taxpayers of the burden of supporting the Forest Service (which used to make money), and greatly enhancing our national security both through an ecologically positive boost in tax revenues and a huge drop in oil imports? …\

Long ago, Native Americans knew that the trees and shrubs grew too thickly choking out everything else and then catching fire, doing huge damage. They worked very hard and used cool-season fire to thin tree and shrub stands, release grasses and flowers from domination, make meadows, attract game and increase useful plants and animals. They also did it to protect their families from being burned to death. They greatly admired large trees and used small ones. They increased nut crops by decreasing competition from other trees. Their management plan greatly increased nuts, berries, bulbs, corms, basketry and cordage materials, grass-seed production, game and water. It created farming opportunities. It was intelligent, superbly adapted, highly sophisticated, and it created beauty.

The environmental movement must abandon the false belief that the America the European explorers found was “pristine” in any way. Almost every American landscape was what ethnologists and ethno-biologists call an anthropogenic (human-created) landscape. Doctrinaire environmentalists are trying to recreate a world that never existed. To deny the Native Americans’ role in the beauty and abundance Europeans found is to perpetuate the 15th-19th century assumption that they had no role. Rural Americans must firmly resist any plans which use nature unsustainably and result in diminished potentials.

New forest-products technologies make smaller trees profitable in making beautiful homes. We can now spare many of the forest giants to make a safer, more beautiful, more productive forest using the research-proven model that Native Americans created.

Steven H. Rich lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is president of Rangeland Restoration Academy [here]

30 Jul 2010, 11:18pm
by Scott A.

Admin, I love what you’re doing. Keep up the good work. I turn everyone to your website I can, even some wayward rangers I hope to point this way.

Keep up the good fight and remember this statement from the Declaration of Independence… which rings true in all life’s endeavors: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

The self-evident truths will prevail, and the corrupt bureaucratic holocauster agenda which attempts to keep them hidden cannot win.



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