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California cutting trees to combat drought

 
gardener
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This news article talks about the local tribe partnering with the forest service to cut trees for water conservation.

I feel like there are a lot of logical fallacies in this article and that the potential for misunderstanding the mechanisms at work here is very high. I do think that selectively thinning our forests is a good idea but to say that trees just suck up water that would otherwise flow gives the wrong impression. What happens when someone takes this simplistic thinking and says it only makes sense to strip every valley of its trees and make them all meadows?

What if, instead of arbitrarily deciding that we need to make certain areas of the forest into meadows, we used a major portion of our firefighting budget to proactively fight fires? Do lot's of small controlled burns where possible and then physical thinning of the areas that aren't safe to burn.

Many of these meadow areas are just a succession point that happens when a shallow pond or lake gets filled with sediment to the point where there's no longer standing water but a marshy meadow. As more soil builds and sediment collects you start getting areas in the meadow that are dry enough for trees to survive and the forest start's to establish itself once again over the meadow. One of the biggest causes of the initial sedimentation of this type of pond is when a fire burns off most of the uphill vegetation and subsequent rains wash everything off the hill into the natural catchment below that was the pond.
 
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Well we all know how well trying to one-up Mother Nature usually turns out....

In general people have a poor track record of success concerning there types of things
 
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I don't see any logic in that,that makes any sense to me at all.
 
pollinator
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The west was wetter when beavers controlled run off. They made meadows as wood was cut for dams and food. Perhaps they are trying to mimic that.
 
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i read an article somewhere years ago that if they paved the first 7 miles of the Sahara western edge it would turn into a rain forest.... cut the trees and pave the rest of the coast
line of CA and turn the west into a rain forest. that will stop the fires!
 
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The tribe in question is simply restoring meadows their ancestors built in the early 1800's and late 1700's. This is simply restoration work that the tribe is signing off on and yes they worked then and they will work again once the meadows are restored.

Goode is leading the effort to restore the thousands of meadows that dot the Sierra Nevada, to restore them to the way they were when his people lived on these lands -- wide open, lush and thriving with plants and animals. It's backbreaking work, involving chainsaws, axes and saws. Goode said, "We spent two weeks cutting and we're only at 70 percent, but look at what we've accomplished. That can be done to every meadow. Every meadow can be opened up."

While chopping down trees might not seem like restoration, Goode says it's vital. When the meadows become overgrown, any rain or snowfall gets sucked up by the trees, instead of soaking into the aquifers and feeding the streams. Thanks to their efforts the water is flowing, even in late July. This is the same water that eventually ends up in the Valley's rivers and reservoirs. A University of California study found forest thinning could add up to 16 percent more water flow yearly out of the Sierra Nevada and into California's water supply.



This is similar to when humans, for some reason, decided that forest fires were bad and needed to be put out just because the forest was burning.
Now they understand that the forest fires actually restore the forest and that it is Mother Nature doing her business as usual.
Learn about what you do not understand, that brings new knowledge and opens the mind.
Only when the four colors of man sit at the council fire and talk, and listen to each other, only then will there be peace in the world. "Black Elk"

We were here long before the ships crossed the sea, and we prospered with out destroying the land, do you really think we know nothing of our mother earth?


 
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