“The Versteeg Ranch thought that, with more sunlight, the amount of native grasses would increase, but that wasn't the case,” Richard Standiford said. “The vegetation in all the plots was mostly grasses and forbs that were introduced after Europeans began settling California, as it is in most oak woodland around the state.”This is interesting. First, because it agrees with what the California Chaparral Institute has been saying about the myth of California at one time being loaded with Oak Savannas everywhere. Actually, these so-called Oak Savannas were introduced into California by the Spanish and later American settlers for the Cattle business. Most all of the original Oak forests were within the chaparral ecosystems, the grasslands in such regions were almost non-existent, with the exception of low valley meadows which one would expect. Here below is another interesting quote with another invented term about "undesirable vegetation" which carries a lot of weight with the average landowner in California and the public in general. Small land holders tend to strip their land based on the uneducated propaganda created by so-called experts. It's to bad because it has provided an unfavourable message and viewpoint of the average person about the native Chaparral plant community. As a result, private landowners who number into the 10s of 1000s have ruined their land by stripping it of valuable native vegetation because they view it as dull and mundane and of little worth. But that opinion is based on gross incompetence and negligence on the part of the very scientific researchers who are shackled and committed to industrial business models.
"For thousands of years, fire was an important part of California's oak woodlands. Native Americans and, more recently, ranchers set fires to improve habitat and enhance desirable vegetation. However, aggressive fire exclusion during the last 30 years has led to significantly denser stands of blue oak trees."The key words or expression here convey the idea that habitat improvement is the result of removing what is deemed undesirable vegetation [traditionally Chaparral or now recently just having to many Trees], which prevents "non-native grasses" from expressing their full potential as cattle fodder. Oddly enough this was the same message conveyed in an Arizona Game and Fish Department mandate on removal of Manzanita chaparral which was posted last December on the Chaparral Institute pages in December 2014.
"Most of the ridges and mesas are in an undesirable ecological state (dense chaparral), which requires a disturbance to transition to a more desirable state (oak-savannah grassland)."Read the entire page without me adding more quotes here. You will find that not only are they obligated to the ranching industry, but even more heavily committed to the Hunting lobby which is apparent in the reasons given for what is defined as desirable from a Hunter's perspective. In the mean time the ecosystem takes a hit in having less function. However, there is one statement they made which is important and highlights the gross incompetence of the researchers knowledge of how the ecosystem operates.
"As chaparral density increases, herbaceous production decreases, leading to more bare soil, increased erosion, and increased water turbidity."
|image: Rick Halsey|
Trees have become the New Enemy to hydrology ?
|image: US Forest Service|
|image - American forest|
Seedlings planted at Rancho Cuyamaca State Park
|image: Chaparral Institute|
But the argument of fire frequency is yet another silly argument. With the frequent use argument being every 15-30 years, one wonders how the natural world ever developed all those old growth trees that were once a common presence. Sadly today, they are mostly gone and indeed disappearing as has been reported recently. That type of ongoing continued stripping the landscape of vegetation almost to the ground could not have been all that beneficial in times past as it is promoted today. That brings me to a Swedish Forest practice dilemma, that of harvesting trees by means of strip clearing every 25 years. Does this also have the same negative impact to the environment that burning so regularly does ? I've never found anyone anywhere ever discussing this. After all, this region of the world where Boreal forests thrive has never had that same kind of fire ecology as other areas, but as a result of climate change, that is even increasing. I can tell you that most forests here are unnatural as they are industrial plantation forests. In fact these trees have been genetically modified to produce less lignin which is what gives wood it's strength, but this was done for the Paper Mill industry by SweTree. In any event, these trees were also engineered to grow faster with the addition of regular annual intervals of tonnes of chemical fertilizers being dropped from planes and helicopter over large tracts of land at a time. For me this type of mismanagement is the reason that very little life lives within these forests as I have personally observed them. Larger animals like Moose would normally have a tough time moving their way through such density, but even smaller creatures like squirrels and birds can be absent. Surprisingly, even mosses and lichens can be scarce within such forests if it is dense and dark enough to prevent any light of day from penetrating through the heavy forest canopy. The Swedish forestry business model calls for a management program of forcing growth and harvest for every 25 years as opposed to waiting 100+ years for harvest. This is viewed as sustainable and their model is promoted in their literature that every other government around the world should follow the Swedish model for forestry.
|Logging and Sawmilling Journal|
"In the Finnish fertilizer program, a special hopper slung under the helicopter is fitted with a small diesel motor, controlled by the pilot, which throws the dry fertilizer out centrifugally"
Fertilizing the Forest
"The Finnish forest industry has confirmed pretty much what every gardener knows: The best way to manage your crop is to fertilize it—and they are doing exactly that with their trees, expecting some good gains in timber volume."
"It probably comes as no surprise to anyone with a green thumb, but the Ministry of Forests in Finland has stated that the best thing managers can do for their forests is to fertilize them. This is after independent scientists have proved that bigger and better trees result from spraying fertilizer."
"Government sources stated that forest fertilization is the most profitable thing a forest owner can do and taking the lead, ordered sufficient fertilizer to spray 36,000 hectares of state-owned forest in 2007. They plan to increase this to 100,000 hectares in future years and predict that a single application of fertilizer on this area will increase the wood availability by 1.5 to 2 million cubic metres. They also claim there are less defects in the wood."Nothing is really going to change land mismanagement practices of the world's governments and big business interests. However, this info should help and advise smaller landowners who do care about their property, the wildlife, various plant ecosystems and what it takes for proper land stewardship. The Land Management Gurus referenced in the News as having been credentialed and having the settled science like Richard Minnich, Roger C Bales and others should be taken with a grain of salt and understood in the light of just whom they really represent behind the scenes.
The main message here is that when it comes to official statements on management practices of natural resources as being backed by science, people rather than taking their official word for the statements, should do their own research and question the prevailing science as they demand it. Especially when such science is done by the very researchers who may have economic or political commitments to the Grantors. Expressions such as, "We have scientific consensus" or "follow the science" or "settled science" have no real meaning except to those who stand to gain financially or politically. Below is a good video documentary which was done back in 2011 on other E.U. countries taking up the Swedish Forestry model as the ultimate in sustainability. Specifically, it deals with an E.U. member country called Latvia. Any forestry model that counts 1000s of hectares of land with few inch high pine seedlings as a real forest has got problems. The fact is, we have more knowledge and understanding as never before in history, so yes that has changed. What hasn't changed is the same old human greed for short term wealth at any cost. I'll post the video and some relevant links below it.
Previously I've written about the same screwed up scientific logic where citation bluffing and shouting we have consensus were employed to justify an action favourable to large corporate industrial business interests which more often than not foul up nature. You may read it here:
References to the Swedish Forestry Business Model