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Summary

Paul calls Alan Booker up to talk about the BBB, but decided to talk about the wildfires in the USA instead.

Boot camp currently full – person who replies to invitation email within 24 hours and has been on the waiting list longest gets to go to boot camp.  You’ll even get the top bunk!

Current forestry practices include logging the area (thin out trees that are least suited to for logs and leave the better ones, repeat every few years until the best are left), fuel reduction (clear dead and patches of sick trees), and silvopasture (reduce tree count by 75%, allowing faster tree growth and use the floor as pasture, think savannah).  However, conifers are allopathic so they tend to hamper growth of other plants around them making them not the best trees for silvopasture.  Another, though rarely used fire control method used in forestry is to feed junk wood to masticators instead of burning it.  A masticator is a machine that flattens and perforates wood to encourage even decomposition.  Wood processed like this is almost impossible to ignite and instead of polluting the air with smoke, it helps support the soil.

Wildfires are hardly new, so what happened regarding fires 500 years ago?  Alan cites the book “Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge” which claims that the native tribes of the Californian area widely used fire to control local vegetation and to open up a wide array of more useful plants for them.  

In a hypothetical scenario in which both Paul and Alan own a million acres of conifer forest in western Oregon, Paul would break the area up into 100-acre chunks, bring in 10 000 people to manage the 10 000 chunks, then move towards bringing down the chunk size to roughly 10 acres.  Goal is to leave it as something other than a conifer desert.

Continued in part 2

Relevant Threads

Fire Protection: safeguarding our home and property

Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge thread
Bootcamp thread

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COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
Posts: 1686
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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That part about the 'clumpyness of human beings' I found very interesting. Could you have more podcasts on that subject?
 
pollinator
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Can Alan be on every episode from here on out?
 
pollinator
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What is a masticator? Sounds like a suessian machine I could use...
 
pollinator
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It's so weird that pines are a climax species.  I never really thought about that, but they were here before deciduous trees, yes?  If you ask most people which species they would think would exist after a while of competition, they would probably say the broadleaf one that evolved later and out-competed the pine needle one and optimized its leaf size and shed the leaves in winter to avoid snow weight damage.  But that's not what's happened.  I really hope the podcast talks about why this is but I just had to post in case it doesn't get talked about.  OK, now going back to listening.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:It's so weird that pines are a climax species.  I never really thought about that, but they were here before deciduous trees, yes?  If you ask most people which species they would think would exist after a while of competition, they would probably say the broadleaf one that evolved later and out-competed the pine needle one and optimized its leaf size and shed the leaves in winter to avoid snow weight damage.  But that's not what's happened.  I really hope the podcast talks about why this is but I just had to post in case it doesn't get talked about.  OK, now going back to listening.


Joshua, maybe the 'evolution theory' doesn't explain everything that happens. Maybe it even isn't right. And maybe in one region pine trees are the climax species, but in other regions they aren't.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Could be.  But they seem to be here and in Montana.  I think the evolution theory (the "survival of the fittest" hypothesis part) is what needs reevaluating, there's much more cooperation in ecosystems than Darwin's model suggested, or more cooperation than the commonly understood Darwinian model.  It reminds me of Carl Ratner's point that most of human interaction is also cooperative, even in wars massive numbers of humans cooperate together for a common goal, but we tend to only look at the competitive part and overlook the cooperation.  Even outlaws probably stop for most traffic lights, unless in a high-speed car chase, and conifers have been documented supplying nutrients to deciduous if my memory serves (using radioactive tracing of nutrients).  

Maybe even the notion of a "climax species" is oversimplification, since there's always something that can happen next.  Fire, reforestation, even human disturbance that knocks down the climax species and opens up space for grasses and shrubs.  It's so habitual to think in simplistic ways, but then nature goes and flies in the face of our thinking.  

Maybe worth taking a look at the whole of evolution through the lense of cooperation to see what new observations show up, and to correct for a bias of only looking through a competition lense.  .  .good thinking means deliberate walking around one's confirmation bias.  

My intuitive feeling about it is that the pines cooperate with the deciduous and evolved a part of themselves to go beyond their needled form to expand the variety of the ecosystem as a whole.  

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:It's so weird that pines are a climax species.  I never really thought about that, but they were here before deciduous trees, yes?  If you ask most people which species they would think would exist after a while of competition, they would probably say the broadleaf one that evolved later and out-competed the pine needle one and optimized its leaf size and shed the leaves in winter to avoid snow weight damage.  But that's not what's happened.  I really hope the podcast talks about why this is but I just had to post in case it doesn't get talked about.  OK, now going back to listening.


Joshua, maybe the 'evolution theory' doesn't explain everything that happens. Maybe it even isn't right. And maybe in one region pine trees are the climax species, but in other regions they aren't.

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
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Ran across some more interesting quotes about forests.

"When Douglas fir seedlings were stripped of their leaves and thus likely to die, they transferred stress signals and a substantial sum of carbon to nearby ponderosa pine, which subsequently accelerated their production of defensive enzymes. "--NYTimes magazine article "The Social Life of Forests" on research of Suzanne Simard.  

Bill Mollison writes that we don't know forests very well, compared to rivers or grasslands, and should ideally have closer to forty words for forests to understand what's really going on.
 
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