|Artist John Cox, Terre Haute, Indiana.|
(White Cloud 1942 - published in Life 1948)
Those large wildland Mega-Fires are actually Ecologically Beneficial - Seriously ???
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The wildfire that scorched nearly 600 square miles of land in Oklahoma and Kansas in March cleared out more eastern red cedars in a week than local efforts to eradicate the invasive species could have accomplished in decades, conservation experts say.
"This was an ecological cleansing for the environment," said Ken Brunson, wildlife diversity coordinator with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. "That's mixed-grass prairie down there. Prairie survives with fire."
|(Aron Flanders/US Fish & Wildlife Service photo via AP)|
May 2014 photo provided by Aron Flanders of the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows eastern red cedar infeastation in Southern Barber County in Kansas before the Anderson Creek wildfire.The article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was entitled, "Wildfire in Kansas, Oklahoma called 'ecological cleansing'" and the same theme was carried by other News outlets. But doesn't that new label or terminology, 'ecological cleansing', have an eerily familiar ring to it ?
"Ethnic Cleansing" - is the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. (Wikipedia)Keep watching out there for this latest derogatory term to make the rounds and become a regular part of the scientific community's more enlightened vocabulary. Especially where industrial business interests are concerned. One of the biggest mistakes human beings make when attempting to describe something in the natural world is they tend to judge and view things about Nature only in human terms and you cannot do that with the natural world around us. The common flaw in human viewpoint on things in nature are generally based on things they like or dislike, things they view as beautiful or things that are ugly, things that annoy or please them, etc, etc, etc. Things that are inconvenient, bad, creepy, spooky, evil, good, are motivated by loads of emotional bias. In the case of the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), there are economic considerations. Take a further look at what US Fish and Wildlife Service, Aron Flanders says regarding Eastern Red Cedar:
"Yes, we killed the trees with the wildfire, but we didn't remove the problem," said Aron Flanders, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The trees still standing will act as a shelter for the next generation of trees."
|(Aron Flanders/US Fish & Wildlife Service photo via AP)|
The May 2016 photo provided by Aron Flanders, of the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows reduced eastern red cedar infestation in Southern Barber County in Kansas after the Anderson Creek wildfire. The wildfire that scortched nearly 600 square miles of land in Oklahoma and Kansas in March 2016 destroyed homes, killed livestock and damaged thousands of miles of fence. But conservation experts say it also cleared out more eastern red cedar trees in less than a week than local efforts to eradicate the invasive species could have accomplished in decades.Apparently to some experts like Aron Flanders, if these dead trees are not removed by allowing logging companies to come in and harvest them, then this disastrous scenario will happen:
Red cedars, also known as junipers, are fast-growing, drought-resistant trees that are useful for erosion control along canyon edges in the region's Red Hills. But they're a nuisance on prairie land because they crowd out native grasses, suck up moisture from the soil and reduce the amount of forage area for wildlife and livestock.
|(Credit: US Forest Service)|
The Water Guzzling Alert: Roger C. Bales is still on the Tree Logging warpath for Industrial Agriculture again
New York Times: Sierra Nevada Snow Won’t End California’s Thirst - by Henry Fountain, April 11, 2016
=========================================The big question though to those hydrological experts is, did they do any studies in regions where millions upon millions of dead trees occurred and did shy mystic water magically increase in the streams, rivers and lakes ? No and the reason is you need water from normal rainy seasons to make that happen in the first place. Despite the less than as advertise El Nino saviour coming to the rescue, it didn't even make a dent in the drought. But back to the controversy of the Eastern Red Cedar, the ranchers and others with vested agricultural interests who have greatly exaggerated the Eastern Red Cedar as greedy user of water and those imaginary detrimental side effects these trees have on grasslands. Rumor has been spread around that the Eastern Red Cedar consumes 50-60 gallons of water daily, stealing it from precious grazing lands. However that appears to be a gross exaggeration. Oklahoma State Division of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources said this:
"With funding from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Giulia Caterina, graduate student, Will and Chris Zou, ecohydrology assistant professor, found that, on average, redcedar trees used six gallons of water per day."
The Eastern Red Cedar's biggest drawbacks are mainly a lousy public relations, because for the most part humans judge this native tree as having no value either economically or aesthetically in the opinion of the person who hates it. People have a flawed tendency to judge most things in the natural world the same failed way they misjudge other human beings who are from different cultures, races, ethnicities, etc. Hence we have a ruined planet as a result both physically and socially. I've stumbled upon this stupid reasoning with native plants in the chaparral plant community of Southern California where humans place value on certain specific plants because they have good ornamental value, can make money off them or generally have that eye candy curb appeal. So what exactly did Ralph Waldo Emerson mean by looking for "virtues" in a weed ? We should first define weed. A weed should not necessarily be considered one of those usual pesky annual ruderals which invade and carpet your yard for which Roundup is employed. Truthfully a weed is any plant that interferes with a human being's opinion of what they consider to be useful, pretty, good, of economic value, etc. The term "virtues" equates 'good qualities'. Emerson is just saying that plants classed as weeds may turn out to have uses we may not as yet know about. For example many chaparral plants in Mediterranean climates act as an important erosion control component mechanism for a time after disasters. Thereafter other more desirable plants can grab a foot hold and are helped to survive early life and eventually replace the chaparral nurse plants. Certain Chaparral nurse plants [many of them disliked as dull or mundane] have this same quality of mothering or nursing many valuable tree saplings until the trees are large enough to succeed them as an old growth forest. But there is no getting away from the repetitive ignorance for which most ignorant people accel. Much of the ignorance and arrogance comes from the very people who should know better for know other reasons than their credentials. Take note of one Professor's biased opinion of the Eastern Red Cedar.
If these were California Redwoods, beautiful and pristine, or some useful tree species to man or animals, I might feel differently. But even when they're allowed to grow with plenty of space around them, Red Cedars often aren't very pretty or useful.
Professor James Roush, Kansas State University
|Photo Devan McGranahan & M.C. Christy|
Migratory birds can disperse seeds long distances & create new ecosystems ???
|Image - Francesco Veronesi 2010|
Common Redstart male (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Some species of plants are capable of colonising new habitats thanks to birds that transport their seeds in their plumage or digestive tract. Until recently it was known that birds could do this over short distances, but a new study shows that they are also capable of dispersing them over more than 300 kilometres. For researchers, this function could be key in the face of climate change, allowing the survival of many species.
|Image: Sherri Patrick Brandt|
The real Water problem is not Nature, but rather a Human created Climate DisruptionLet's take a few examples. Another demonized Juniper in this region of the central plains is the Ashe Juniper which has been on the receiving end of other derogatory labeling to excuse and smokescreen human stupidity and ignorance. The Ashe Juniper as well as the Red Cedar in Texas has been labeled as "Water Thief", "Sunction Pump", and "Water Hog". Oddly enough, most of the negative articles demonizing these plants are produced by local industry leaders in commercial agriculture and Media sources whose own economy is based on those in the Ranching biz. Another demonized tree, Western Juniper, in eastern Oregon is also being accused of being invasive in it's own native range. Oregon State University who provided the research for the study was funded by the Oregon Beef Counsel. See my link below under references called "Pretzel Logic." Now below is another link which shows how important Junipers are to wildlife. So important that the Golden Cheeked Warbler of Texas is extremely endangered because of the Cattle Industry destroying habitat for raising beef.
"Golden-cheeked warblers are endangered because many tall juniper and oak woodlands have been cleared to build houses, roads, and stores. Some habitat was cleared to grow crops or grass for livestock. Other habitat areas were flooded when large lakes were built."Below here is yet another report on the lying assertions made against the Ashe Juniper of Texas which often is found with Eastern Red Cedar. The Ashe Cedar like the Red Cedar also has been given the reputation of being a water guzzler, but responsible scientific research has proved otherwise. These researchers had no vested financial interest in the outcome of the study because of who funded them.
Historically the Edwards Plateau was a dynamic mosaic of grasslands and woodlands and much more savannah like. Cedars were found mainly in canyons where they were protected from wildfires. When settlers arrived, the introduction of cattle led to overgrazing, and, combined with the lack of fire, gave cedar the opportunity to expand its range and take over.Now let's look at the real problem behind native prairie grass loss. Take into consideration what was reference above about agriculture. Human greed from it's earliest start on the North American continent where people from Europe fantasized about making fortunes in cattle ranching brought in more cattle than the land could support. The problem is, bobody ever considers the plant world's ecosystems as a cooperating biologically fine tuned run machine, but that's exactly what it is. Or rather was. Take a close look below at what overgrazing actually does to root infrastructure of prairie grasses.
|University of Florida|
|Photo - Mark Mauldin|
|Photo by Mark Mauldin|
Further Reading References
Pretzel Logic & the "Denial of the science is malpractice" Mandate Define science ?, What science ?, Who's science ?