I feel that pine trees haven't been working that well, and we should try something else - the forest should be able to bounce back from wildfires on its own instead of becoming barren and eroded afterwards. I propose that a mixture of the finest edible drought tolerant trees and shrubs be planted. The place could become a gigantic forest garden, which would also greatly benefit wildlife. Thoughts on the quality of the idea & suggestions for species to be planted? (I like mulberry trees, which spread on their own via bird droppings, are drought tolerant, and have deliciously edible fruit)
Same here! I would go for native woodland trees (lots of edibles etc among them) and then after a year or so introduce some other edible trees etc...
Not so much in this forest. I'm not entirely sure what is 'native' at this point - it has all burned down and been replanted several times. The native shrubs, herbs, etc. take care of themselves. I am mostly thinking of trees. The non-natives are simply better than tons and tons of pines.
I feel that natives should be preferred, BUT if non-natives are introduced carefully, they may be of great benefit to the system. After all, the majority of the terribly invasive plant species only thrive on earth recently disturbed by humans. Over time, the natural cycle re-balances and equilibrium is restored. Take wild mustard, for example - it grows wild wherever the Spanish explorers walked, but yet is not a major problem as an invasive plant. It has naturalized, and is food for wildlife and beloved by bees. Also, in some areas the best natives have already been destroyed, such as the eastern chestnuts. It is not a bad thing to replace these with similar species. For example, vast pine forests of one or two species are found only in the national forests. In the last truly natural forests in my area (overlooked bits of public land) you find a mixture of live oak, pine, etc.
As a finishing touch - sepp holzer does not support "native" pine monocultures. He cuts them down when possible to make hugelkultur and plants other forest trees and fruit trees instead.
Kirk Hutchison wrote:I'm not entirely sure what is 'native' at this point - it has all burned down and been replanted several times.
Certainly. And most of those were probably centuries ago!
Your goal might not be a landscape as it was before human habitation (you might need some mastodons and new-world species of horse to accomplish that, and they're as rare as hens' teeth these days) but something that resembles the vegetation under pre-Columbian management systems.
There's a great plaque in Yosemite that shows how vegetation grew with frequent controlled burns, via a very early drawing of the valley. I bet there are good studies of how your region was managed, also, that will give you some good ideas.
This 2 day workshop at Emerald Earth will be taught by Dennis Martinez, a specialist in ecocultural restoration. He will focus on how the land looked when the indigenous Indian people were burning these mountains and valleys on a regular basis, and how this positively affected the integrity and health of the North coast ecosystems while providing a rich bounty for its peoples. Dennis will relate this ecologically healthier and fire-proof past with the degradation that has occurred since Indians were removed from their landcare roles, and share ideas on how to restore a semblance of the past while adapting to current environmental conditions. Fire as a restoration tool will be discussed, as well as how to deal with water loss, fire hazard, diseases like SODS, and the names and uses of native plants. ...
I'm headed to EE for my work-trade season, so hopefully I'll get to participate in this workshop a bit. It sounds really useful to me. It's NoCal, though, so I'm not sure how much it applies.
i have read up on the wild plums and they do have some interesting appeal though..so i'm not disappointed that i have them..but did want to try the mulberry..maybe someone could send me some seed, i do understand they grow well from seed..but i've tried buying seedlings or small trees several times only to be told that the crop failed..so i have given up on the trees themselves..if anyone has any small mulberry seedlings i'd be happy to pay shipping to get some ..
Its not weather the plants are "native" or not -- its weather they work within the local ecology and certain native plants are going to be adapted to that ecology.
There is a group (at least one - probably many) studying the reforestation problem in Orange County.
Here is one:
The California Chapparral Institute: http://www.californiachaparral.com/
There is information about home reforestation and supporting wildlife habitats here:
Information for Home Owners Regarding Restoration and Structure Protection
After the Fires
Below are two weblinks with various information for home owners who need help with restoration and structure protection after a wildfire (preventing mudflows, erosion control, debri flows).
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers various types of technical and financial help for those who have been affected by natural resource disasters. Teams are already forming and assessing the needs and opportunities for conservation assistance following Southern California's wildfires. Natural Resources Conservation Service »
C.A.R.E. "Coordinated Agency Recovery Effort" provides information to residents seeking post-fire recovery assistance, mud flow protection advice, and related emergency notices. Visit the website http://dpw.lacounty.gov/CARE/ or call (626) 458-5100 for more information.
Here's the NRCS link from above:
If you have time you could learn about reforestation and wildlife habitat reconstruction by volunteering at one or more of these organizations.