|Wall Street Journal|
With all of this in mind, it brings me to the point of this post. There recently came up in the Media Reports a subject about the Rim fire in the L.A. Times and it was reviewed by Director of the California Chaparral Institute, Richard Halsey. The story cast a negative dire vision of the area of the Rim fire being so intensely destroyed, that it would be almost a century or more before the area could recover completely to what it once was. Again, keeping in mind the Media bias and the various entities that they may be beholding to like Government policy making, big business interests, etc, the reporting about the Rim Fire recovery was ignorant on much of the scientific understanding on how nature actually works in recovering from a disaster like a wildfire. Though I understand that somewhere in the deep dark back ground of all of this are companies waiting to offer their bids for participation in the human intervention and recovery programs, what ever these may be. Incredibly, they quoted a few so-called Forestry Experts who didn't have their information right either. Unfortunately, the average person is also ignorant on many things ecological and will not even attempt to question such authority when it is referenced, even if they only do so in their mind. In my book however, the experts in positions of charge are without excuse. As Rick Halsey alluded to on the effect of the bad reporting,
" . . . to the average reader will be that this fire "killed everything," the soil was "cooked," the charred trees have "no value," and if we don't do something soon, the landscape will "permanently convert to chaparral."
These quoted forest management experts in positions of authority should known better. Rick Halsey summed things up this way.
"Such statements are based on outdated perspectives, mainly that a forest has no value unless it can be logged. For example, charred trees have tremendous value as habitat-rich building blocks for a recovering forest. Despite the heat, the soil will be fine and the sediment that reaches the streams will introduce a rich variety of nutrients to the aquatic environment. To warn that "if we don't intervene, it will convert to brush," indicates that there is a clear misunderstanding about natural, post-fire processes."
Rick Halsey then asks the question, "How did the forest ever survive without us?", then he continues below:
"Photo below: the remarkable recovery since the 1988 Yellowstone Fires. The careers of a number of land managers were ruined because of the political pressure and hype about how the Yellowstone Fires were the fault of the fire service, past fire suppression, and that the park had been "destroyed." Nothing could have been further from the truth. Unfortunately, we haven't learned. The misconceptions continue with the Rim Fire."
|image: California Chaparral Institute|
One of the things I have always found fascinating is how many of those scientific innovations we all benefit from and our present understanding of how Nature really works have come not from accredited scientists, but from people who are often called citizen scientists. Why is that ? Mostly I believe because such people have an intense love for the natural world. They are not shackled to career advancement. They are not under the strict authority and biased agenda of the political forces under which they serve as no doubt many forest land managers are under. Such managers are held to account if natural resources are not made available for the needs of their masters. Scientists and/or other researchers can (and do) sometimes manipulate data in order to achieve the results they want, whether it’s publication, tenure, or what ever furthers there personal ambitions. They are not bought and paid for to make come true the wishes and desires of a corporate master. The citizen scientist however is for the most part motivated by none of this, though there no doubt could be an odd exception. This brings me to one citizen scientist who is the daughter of a very well known amateur citizen scientist, Forest Mims.
|photo: Popular Mechanics|
"Sarah Mims isn't the first amateur scientist to fly a kite to test a hypothesis. Taking a cue from Ben Franklin--but skipping the lightning--Mims (pictured above) used a nylon kite to send a homemade air sampler aloft and capture smoke blowing onto the Gulf Coast from Central American agricultural fires. The Seguin, Texas, high-school student used NASA satellite imagery and NOAA atmospheric models to time the sampling. Later, her microscope revealed a surprise: live fungal spores. Mims's discovery, published last year in the peer-reviewed journal Atmospheric Environment, challenged the common practice of burning diseased crops. Her work has earned Mims scholarships and awards, including First Grand Prize at the Texas Junior Academy of Science's annual competition. Now a 19-year-old college sophomore, Mims plans to continue her fungal-spore research. "I want to do more research on which spores are transported and what crops are affected," she says. Mims sees a possible health angle to her discovery. "It's well known that smoke causes respiratory complications, but we don't know exactly why. Part of the answer could be spores." Deployment date: Mims hopes to create an awareness campaign for farmers. "I'd like to develop a Web site that would include a brochure with alternatives to burning diseased crops."So what does any of this have to do with Fire Ecology, Rick Halsey and the L.A. Times article on forest recovery ? Actually it hit me some years ago long before this article came out, that fire could not totally destroy mycorrhizal spores or anything else completely which would be beneficial to forest recovery. But I have often wondered sometimes if anyone else higher up than whoever the heck I am has had the brains for putting this young woman's experiment to task with regards North American wildfires. Do they even know about the experiment to verify or even remember what she found out in the first place ? You know, this isn't exactly rocket science here. Is there no one within the U.S. Forest Service which could put two and two together and come up with enlightened solutions ? Certainly the Harvard School of Forestry understands the importance of leaving well enough alone by their research put out last year.
This whole Rim Fire LA Times mess reminds me of the News Media reporting on the Mountain Fire farce. And what did the Press do this year during and after every single fire in Southern California ? They ran to favourite darling who apparently has a problem admitting that his many years of failed fire policy pimping have been proven horribly wrong. I won't say his name. But I would think it would be so very very important for the Press to learn to distinguish between the actual facts from the personal biased interpretations of an ideologically driven man and his colleagues. It should make you angry, even if they oppose and resent the Chaparral Institute's shedding light on the subject and exposing a lack of competence, they should at least respect Rick Halsey's scientific integrity for presenting empirical evidence based on actual real world data and studies done by respected scientists. The media I get, the inability of this so-called self-correcting science by those in charge I don't get.
|print: Drew Friedman|
Once again, I get the media, just not the officials in charge of the State's Land Management Trust. In recent decades, as the number of television stations multiplied, but the amount of time viewers spent watching just one station fell drastically. People are further distracted by all the technological innovations provided to them by other branches of Science. Interestingly, to keep those short attention spanned viewers interested, news stations are compelled to offer something unique or entertaining. I remember the reporting on the 2003 Cedar Fire. I remember the reporter standing in the strong wind at Inspiration Overlook south of Julian and putting on an act for nothing more than it's entertainment value. There's a great reference on this later day development of Media entertainment in the book Media Bias. Here is a great quote from that source:
“The [television] news became a running picture show, with images selected to shock or titillate, and stories shortened to match an [ever-shorter] attention span on the part of viewers.”Seriously, the average person is disinterested and/or disconnected when it comes to intelligent subject content like this one. They have extremely short attention spans. Wonder how many people reading this post have even gotten this far with my own little lengthy diatribe here ? There's no doubt that the media leaves out deliberately pertinent facts, exaggerates and embellishes upon others for the sensationalism factor. Having been interviewed myself in the past by reporters, I can attest to the angle and slant of the story they are looking for. For example, when interviewed and my answer being less than desired, the reporter would "Yeah but" me. "Yeah but don't you think . . ", Yeah but isn't it true that . . ". If they don't like your response and prod you for another answer, then it is clear they already have a biased slant to the story line well before it was ever told. To give the benefit of the doubt, maybe in many of these folks interviewed were prodded like I was in the past. Some but not all. Of course, the Media darling, our own UC Riverside boy is one of those individuals who needs no help or prodding to say the most grossly inaccurate and out of touch with reality things.
|photo: Joeff Davis|
Well, once in a while, I guess the L.A. Times can get some things right. But then never count out newer and newer dumb incompetent ideas coming to the fore when it comes under the cloak of "We just want to save Nature". Replication of how Nature really works is never an option in many of the modern day conservation schemes. After all, nature is often viewed by many of the philosophers of science as imperfect and flawed, therefore the collective intelligent genius of scientists and other researchers know better how to push things alone at a quicker Not only do most of these insane schemes, as the one referenced below fail miserably, but you can be sure some Corporate elites along with their bought and paid for
"It is time to weigh up the pros and cons of using genetic engineering to rescue species from extinction," says Michael A. Thomas and colleagues.