I believe they did this mainly in the flat valleys, to maintain an "oak savanna" type habitat for plants & wildlife that they used for food. I'm pretty sure the hills & mountains were covered mostly with douglas fir. But fire (from people and lightning) visited even the mountains fairly often.
paul wheaton wrote:
Before the white folks showed up in the US, the douglas fir was considered by the natives as the invasive weed. They would burn them regularly.
Do you have a reference for this? I have never heard that before.
Fir trees, like other conifers, poison surrounding plants
I would say this may be true of a tree farm monoculture, but not of a mature natural forest. I believe most of the "life" action is happening at the top of the trees, out of sight of us humans. Also there is a lot of action when a big tree falls or loses a big branch. But a mature forest often has a lot of life on the ground too, e.g.
and when appearing in a forest, they make what Sepp Holzer calls a "fir desert" with a spooky lack of life.
paul wheaton wrote:
Douglas fir trees are considered to be native, but as toby hemenway points out in his book: native to when? Before the white folks showed up in the US, the douglas fir was considered by the natives as the invasive weed. They would burn them regularly.
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-made settings such as gardens, lawns or agricultural areas, but also in parks, woods and other natural areas. More specifically, the term is often used to describe native or nonnative plants that grow and reproduce aggressively. Generally, a weed is a plant in an undesired place.
A weed is any plant located where one does not want it,
paul wheaton wrote:
Conifers are allelopathic - they sorta poison the competition.
Emerson White wrote:
How do we thin to bring ourselves out of the canopy exclusion phase faster?
The reasons some plants grow less well or not at all under conifers is not because of chemical warfare on the part of the tree. It is, to the best of my knowledge,
Actually, it is incorrect to say that conifers are allelopathic. Repeat: conifers are NOT allelopathic. Allelopathy describes the secretion of chemical substances that prevent or stunt the growth of other plants (e.g. black walnut secretes juglone). Conifers do not secrete any "poisons".
The reasons some plants grow less well or not at all under conifers is not because of chemical warfare on the part of the tree. It is, to the best of my knowledge, because they are very heavy feeders that monopolize nutrients to grow fast (the video shows how fast they grow compared to oaks), suck up most of the water and create drought conditions in the upper layers of soil (in the summer months at least), and because their dense, superficial root system prevents other plants from establishing themselves.
Allelopathy describes the secretion of chemical substances that prevent or stunt the growth of other plants (e.g. black walnut secretes juglone). Conifers do not secrete any "poisons".
Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms. These biochemicals are known as allelochemicals and can have beneficial (positive allelopathy) or detrimental (negative allelopathy) effects on the target organisms. Allelochemicals are a subset of secondary metabolites, which are not required for metabolism (i.e. growth, development and reproduction) of the allelopathic organism.
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