Forest management and fires

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Queen K
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Forest management and fires

Post by Queen K »

Okay fire is part of the natural recurring ecology, but is forest management part of the ecology?

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Drip_Torch
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Re: Forest management and fires

Post by Drip_Torch »

Both stands lack the diversity you would find in a natural forest. I guess, if all forests have become monotonous stands of timber then forest management is a part of it. I further suspect that the unmanaged forest will be just fine a few hundred burns, and a thousand years from now, if we just leave it alone.

Either that, or this place must have been one heck of a mess before they found gold here.
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Catsumi
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Re: Forest management and fires

Post by Catsumi »

Right, but we don't leave the forest alone, do we? We clearcut, build roads through, rampage through with atvs, start fires, etc.
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Drip_Torch
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Re: Forest management and fires

Post by Drip_Torch »

Catsumi wrote:Right, but we don't leave the forest alone, do we? We clearcut, build roads through, rampage through with atvs, start fires, etc.


True enough. Sixty million hectares of forest needs to be spaced, limbed and raked up, to remove all the debris. When it's all said and done, we can start the process again, but the land will still carry fire. Only it will do so more often and the fires will move faster under certain conditions. The argument (and I've heard it many times) then becomes, but we can manage those fires. True enough, again - until we can't.

I'm not arguing against it. Merely pointing out it's not a silver bullet. At best, it's a talking point at a symposium, or a bullet in politicians news briefing.
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Pete Podoski
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Re: Forest management and fires

Post by Pete Podoski »

Drip_Torch wrote:Both stands lack the diversity you would find in a natural forest. I guess, if all forests have become monotonous stands of timber then forest management is a part of it. I further suspect that the unmanaged forest will be just fine a few hundred burns, and a thousand years from now, if we just leave it alone.

Either that, or this place must have been one heck of a mess before they found gold here.


There was no mess before we found gold here. Fires were left to clean up debris and naturally space stands to reduce the impact of cyclical fire and provide suitable habitat for the animals and plant colonies that thrived therein.

Suppressing fire in fire-dependent ecotypes has created the problem we face now. Ingrowth, floor litter, and ladder fuels have been allowed to infest forest stands and create the perfect fire bomb.

Instead of low intensity burns through stands, we have ravaging firestorms. Until we restore fire as a tool to manage landscapes, we'll just continue to see more and more intense fires.
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Re: Forest management and fires

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Pete Podoski wrote:Instead of low intensity burns through stands, we have ravaging firestorms. Until we restore fire as a tool to manage landscapes, we'll just continue to see more and more intense fires.


:up: exactly. I'm with you on this, However time and time again when forest ministry staff attempt to perform a controlled burn after many weeks of pre work, the phones start ringing off the hook because there is a fire and we are anxious or we have COPD and the smoke bothers us.
Similar to the vocal minority regarding the TMX, they seem to get the ear and the fire is shut down.( Not the TMX though, just attempts.)
I vaguely remember before the Mt. Park fire in 2003, there was an attempt there to burn off in a controlled fashion and talking to ministry staff after while I was at a fire practice, they got the call to shut it down.

Someone in my opinion, should show some spine and explain the benefits of a controlled burn and not put it out until the job is done.
Summerland did some fuel mitigation years ago but the fine and medium fuels were piled up and burned, no broadcast fires. Very labor intensive.
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Drip_Torch
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Re: Forest management and fires

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Pete Podoski wrote:Fires were left to clean up debris and naturally space stands to reduce the impact of cyclical fire and provide suitable habitat for the animals and plant colonies that thrived therein.Suppressing fire in fire-dependent ecotypes has created the problem we face now. Ingrowth, floor litter, and ladder fuels have been allowed to infest forest stands and create the perfect fire bomb.Instead of low intensity burns through stands, we have ravaging firestorms. Until we restore fire as a tool to manage landscapes, we'll just continue to see more and more intense fires.


Yeah sure, and if I'm spending a few hundred to take the course, and you're offering me 3 credits, I'd be a fool not to put Gray and Blackwell in the bibliography. Not only did I watch the PBS special on the Yellowstone fires of 1988, I was standing right on the other side of the border while Glacier National Park went off like a field of bunchgrass in August - killing one and injuring 19 other firefighters.

All I'm saying is I'm no longer certain the answer is that obvious, or that simple.

Let's start with since just 1950 there have been over 145,767 wildfires in BC, over and above, those that we planned. The 25 year average for hectares burned to this date is 83,095. The 5 year average is 251,138. It's not official yet, but we're above average again this year. I think a quick poll of the top 10 fire years put the burned area at a little more than 8 percent of the forested area of the province. There's another 60 years of numbers there to be added up, but surely you get my point... we may have interrupted certain burn cycles, but it's not like we've ever been able to exclude fire from the land.

The answer always appears to be more, but how many and how much? Personally, I think there's a little more going on here.
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Re: Forest management and fires

Post by Glacier »

You know, we've been in this world such a short period that we don't realize how much things change. Here's an example I posted previously: this lake has dropped 20 feet since 1970 (it has no outflow). There's and Island I used to swim out to that now has a bridge 10 feet above the water.

eaglelake.jpg


eaglelk.jpg


Here's another I just figured out this year. A friend of mine came up with me to the Chilcotin a few years ago and asked why all the trees were so short. I assumed it was because it's 3500 ft elevation and all lodgepole pine, and those trees don't grow very tall. Well, I've learned recently that old Mr. Butler who's pushing 90 remembers when this entire area was all massive Douglas Fir. My mom doesn't remember, but she remembers that when she moved there in the late 1960s the trees were all just a few feet tall.

Back in the 1950s some big fires took out all the Douglas Fir, and guess what, it's all lodgepole pine today. It will literally take hundreds upon hundreds of years to restore what the fire destroyed. The fir that still stands Uphill from where the fire stopped are hundreds of years old. But before the fir takes over the lodgepole pine will have to be killed off by beetle or die off when the firs overshadow them. My great great grand children will probably not be alive to see that day.

So the moral of the story is this: Who cares. We know that forest change, and the come and go, either throw Nature or Man doing stuff, and that's okay. Let the forests live and die as Nature sees fit. She will outlast all of us, and it won't hurt anyone to let her have her way. We don't like change, but sometimes it's better for us to adapt to the change than to try and fight it.

BTW, in the picture above, you see Douglas Fir because this area did not burn in the 1950-something fire.

EDIT: Here's what it looks like at my mom's place. I took this one last week. Lots of mature lodgepole pine ready to go up in smoke, or if not, largely be replaced in two hundred years by Douglas fir.

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