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The Yosemite Inferno In the Context of Forest Policy, Ecology and Climate Change

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the since-the-world's-been-turning dept.

Earth 111

Lasrick writes "Andrew Revkin at DotEarthblog posts an assessment of the drivers of wildfire trends in the American West. He shows a graph of fire activity for the past 400 years in the Yosemite-Mariposa area, and a rather surreal time-lapse video of the current Rim Fire now burning in and around Yosemite."

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so its not global warming? (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44731523)

no way

no one is going to believe it though since you need something simple for people to blame everything on

Re:so its not global warming? (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44731587)

It's a combination of factors, of which warming is one. Probably the best summation from TFA:

"When you look at the long record, you see fire and climate moving together over decades, over centuries, over thousands of years," said pyrogeographer Jennifer Marlon of Yale University, who earlier this year co-authored a study of long-term fire patterns in the American West.

"Then, when you look at the last century, you see the climate getting warmer and drier, but until the last couple decades the amount of fire was really low. We've pushed fire in the opposite direction you'd expect from climate," Marlon said.

The fire debt is finally coming due.

This is pretty much what you'd expect. Leaving aside the question of the human contribution to warming and what we can do about it, the fact of global warming is established to all but the shrieking denialists; it's also a fact that under normal circumstances, ecosystems adapt to any change in climate--sometimes better than others, but they do adapt. Our fire suppression policies for the last century or so have prevented what would have been the normal adaptation from taking place. So now we're getting it all at once.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44731647)

But think of all that carbon which was sequestered in those forests now being released. You can argue all you want about whether anthropic climate change is real or not. But it has been used to promote some pretty wacko policy decisions. Primarily that forests sequester carbon. They don't. They have been burning down (and rotting) for hundreds of millions of years. Ever since there was enough atmospheric oxygen to support combustion/decomposition. Trees, over their life span, may sequester carbon. But forests do not. They are carbon neutral.

Until the warmingists stop using this science as an excuse for wealth transfer to third world countries with trees rotting in swamps and start promoting real solutions, AGW can't be that serious.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731681)

Well, forests store CO2. Which is not a contradiction to what you're saying, but some of the more opinionated crap in your post might make one think that we shouldn't worry about cutting down the trees, because they don't really do anything -- they do. Just they're no miracle.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44739369)

I think it was also, in part, one of the lightning storm fires caused by this frigging crazy storm we had a couple weeks ago. We also had three fires burning up near a lake about an hour and a half from here.

Re:so its not global warming? (4, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44731717)

Trees, over their life span, may sequester carbon. But forests do not. They are carbon neutral.

This is true over the very long term--in the extreme case of Carboniferous forests, 300 million years or so; we're only now getting around to releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere by burning coal. Obviously in most cases dead trees rot and release their carbon faster than that, but "fast" is relative, and it's still a very slow process by human standards. And most of the carbon from a dead tree doesn't go straight back into the atmosphere; it's taken up by other organisms, and ultimately goes back into the soil as part of the organic waste that makes forest floors into fertile ground for the next generation of trees. Rotted wood, bits of smaller plants, bug poop ... it all looks like a buffet to a sapling.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about a year ago | (#44744961)

This is true over the very long term--in the extreme case of Carboniferous forests, 300 million years or so; we're only now getting around to releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere by burning coal.

A lot of the Middle East's oil reserves are sourced from marine-derived organic matter laid down into mudrocks and limestones in the Cambrian, 500+ million years ago. So, burning that today, as we do, is returning carbon to the cycle after a half-billion year hiatus. (As Michael Caine would put it, "Not a lot of people know that!")

the organic waste that makes forest floors into fertile ground for the next generation of trees. Rotted wood, bits of smaller plants, bug poop ... it all looks like a buffet to a sapling.

A sapling, almost always via a fungus. People tend to overlook the largest single organisms on the planet, but they're tremendously important to nutrient cycling.

Re:so its not global warming? (3, Interesting)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year ago | (#44731817)

Yes, it's ironic (and frustrating) that apparently "green" policies can often lead to undesirable results. Thus, it's nice when somebody comes up with an idea that solves the problem without them.

For example, Allan Savory [wikipedia.org] has a proven idea that, if adopted by even 50% of the industry, could sequester all the CO2 emitted since the industrial revolution in less than a decade. [youtube.com] And, by the way, it has potential to mitigate the problem of brush fires too. [youtube.com]

Another example: Amory Lovins, [wikipedia.org] who has a plan to wean us off oil within the next 40 years, led by business, driven by profit. [youtube.com]

There are lots of hopeful things happening. It would be nice if we would get past the left/right rhetoric and focus on the things we can all agree on. Unfortunately, "agreement" doesn't have enough "drama" to attract eyeballs to TV screens. Thus we end up with a spoon-feeding of "breaking news" every day with only a tenuous relationship to reality.

[sigh!] Have another soma...

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

bosef1 (208943) | about a year ago | (#44732943)

While I'm as much [citations needed] as the next guy; you could, you know, go through the trouble of explaining what this world-fixing solution that "industry / the green lobby / the government doesn't want me to see" instead of forcing me to wade through the YouTube videos. When you do it this way it looks like the worst kind of shyster "at home infinite electricity" solutions.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year ago | (#44735341)

That's why I included Wikipedia links too. You can get a pretty good precis in text form from there.

Re:so its not global warming? (4, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44732019)

Parent post is using some very incorrect assumptions.

Rotting vegetation does not release all the carbon that was sequestered during growth into the atmosphere. Much of it is transformed into other living things: termites and other insects, nematodes, fungus, etc. A log in contact with dirt becomes more soil; it does not evaporate into gases. The carbon is sequestered for as long as the ecosystem remains healthy and growing.

In a forest fire, a large amount of CO2 is released, but also a large amount remains in unburned wood (especially in the root systems) and in charcoal. The roots rot, as described above: that carbon is sequestered. The unburned wood above ground eventually rots as well; more sequestering. The char weathers into small bits over time and eventually enters the soil as biochar. That carbon is not only sequestered, but has become an important substrate to an enriched ecosystem. [One gram of biochar has an active surface area the size of a tennis court, which captures micro nutrients for slow release as the ecosystem can absorb them, and filters out heavy metals and other pollutants.]

In a forest fire, the ratio of carbon that remains sequestered to carbon that goes atmospheric as CO2 is somewhere between 1:4 and 1:2. Not all of the carbon in a forest is burned in a fire; somewhere between 25% and 33% is retained, basically forever, in the ecosystem as it recovers.

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44732155)

A log in contact with dirt becomes more soil;

Then I should be able to measure the thickness of that soil, its carbon content and deduce its age. But I can't. I can take a shovel into an old growth forest that has been here since the last ice age and dig through a few feet of organics until I hit rock. And it looks pretty much like newer forests. Some that have repopulated human habitats a hundred years ago or less. Forget the shovel. I can do that with the toe of my hiking boot in many places.

Trees and other organisms consume the organic matter lying on the ground, incorporate it into their living structure. And then they die, burn, or rot. And something else eats them. There are a few notable places where organics accumulate. Peat bogs are an example. But forests in general? No.

The only carbon credits that forests should receive is for every pound of carbon removed permanently on the back of a logging truck, used in permanent structures and then buried in a deep land fill.

Re:so its not global warming? (4, Insightful)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44732367)

Then I should be able to measure the thickness of that soil, its carbon content and deduce its age. But I can't.

Of course you can't. You are not a pedologist or edaphologist or other soil scientist; you are not an ecologist, or biologist; you are probably not any kind of scientist. You are not even well-read about the subject you write about. So no one with any sense would expect you to be able to do any kind useful soil measurements.

You are entitled to your opinion, which you have expressed in a manner which makes it very clear how broadly it is based in fact. Which is not very broadly at all; it is so narrow that it topples under its own instabilities. Nevertheless, it is a valid opinion that you are most certainly entitled to express. And which can be used by anyone to assess the value of your contributions to these discussions.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44733229)

You are not a pedologist or edaphologist or other soil scientist;

Not a member of the high priests of ecology then, right? Not privy to the secret knowledge of the inner circles? I can only wonder about how many goats get slaughtered at the monthly coven meetings.

So no one with any sense would expect you to be able to do any kind useful soil measurements.

But I can operate a backhoe and a measuring tape. And I know what rock ledge and other non organic geological formations look like.

Re:so its not global warming? (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44733313)

Protip: when you have been thoroughly pwned, all you accomplish by whining about it is to embarrass yourself and everyone else around you.

Re:so its not global warming? (1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44733835)

You embarrassed? I'm not.

You can't answer my question either: Why does a 10K year old old growth forest not contain 10x the carbon of a 1K year old one?

Re:so its not global warming? (3, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44734053)

Why does a 10K year old old growth forest not contain 10x the carbon of a 1K year old one?

Well, shoot. That's easy. The owls and the wolves and the raccoons and all the other critters carry the carbon away, to neighboring ecosystems.

None of this stuff is compartmentalized. The only compartments in ecology are in your head.

Re:so its not global warming? (1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44734699)

Flippant answer: You still can't come up with an explanation.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44735393)

Flippant, but true. Do you hunt? Every deer I have ever taken has gotten its carbon mostly from trees. Maybe a little from munching on grasses and forbes, but mostly from browsing trees.

The forest sequesters carbon, and exports some of it as living things. Or sometimes as venison. Yum.

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44736843)

You forgot that soil can erode and even end up at the bottom of the ocean. You apparently also didn't know that a significant portion of wood ash is calcium CARBONate. When calcium carbonate crystallizes (such as by the action of rain water), it becomes limeSTONE. The word stone there is not a coincidence.

The ability to operate a backhoe and a tape measure are useful skills, but it seems you also needed a bit more knowledge of chemistry and mineralogy to put all the pieces together.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year ago | (#44732371)

A log in contact with dirt becomes more soil;

Well, some of it does, but how much depends on lot of factors such as temperature, humidity, insolation, shade, etc.. And some of it will also get oxidized into CO2.

Re:so its not global warming? (3, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44732509)

Yes, a good bit of the carbon in rotting vegetation ends up as CO2 eventually. But not all of it; much of it moves from part of one living thing to a part of another. Trees are predominantly made of cellulose, which is polymer of a simple sugar. Much of a rotting log is literally being eaten by bacteria and animals that can consume cellulose: this feeds the ecosystem at its base level.

Temperature, humidity, and other factors affect the speed with which rot occurs, but do not affect the process or its eventual results. Some fraction of what was once a log becomes free CO2, but a much greater portion moves into the region's ecology.

The conifer forests are sometimes described as "primary soil builders". Partly because their roots begin to break up the bedrock of mountains, but also because when they die, their products of decomposition feed the nascent soils.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#44732613)

Rotting vegetation does not release all the carbon that was sequestered during growth into the atmosphere. Much of it is transformed into other living things: termites and other insects, nematodes, fungus, etc. A log in contact with dirt becomes more soil; it does not evaporate into gases. The carbon is sequestered for as long as the ecosystem remains healthy and growing.

A rule of thumb is that roughly 10% of total energy acquired by an organism is transferred to the next trophic level, when that organism is consumed. While energy and fixed carbon aren't entirely synonymous entities, they are connected, and I would expect to see a similar order-of-magnitude effect in this case.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about a year ago | (#44733471)

A rule of thumb is that roughly 10% of total energy acquired by an organism is transferred to the next trophic level, when that organism is consumed.

Whose thumb is that? I'm not just being clever, I'd like a pointer to that discussion. It looks like I might learn something. In other words, citation needed!

On a related note, it is important to recognize that the conversion of dead trees to other lifeforms in an ecosystem is not a one-time thing, but a continuous process. A ten percent rate of return is not a spectacular ROI for a speculator, but is quite good for the long term investor. In a climax forest, it probably represents the fishes, birds, and animals the forest exports to neighboring ecosystems.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44733559)

Over a long period (hundreds of years) the forest is CLOSE to carbon neutral. Over a very long time, it's not, unless you count the fact that every billion years or so, some species will come along and burn all the coal.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44732531)

Translation: until everyone adopts my political ideology you can all go fuck yourselves, and me too!!!!

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#44736023)

So the majority of forest isn't burned, and hasn't burned in the past, every bit of cellulose sequesters atmospheric carbon. Yon can release all of that by burning down the entire forest, but immediately, new growth will take up where the old growth left off. What part of that is unclear?

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44736773)

No, they actually do store carbon. They just have a limited capacity like everything else and the storage is dynamic. When the forest grows larger or denser, there is more carbon sunk into it. When it gets smaller or thinner, carbon is released. A particular plant stores carbon for a limited time, then decays. The carbon it releases is taken up by the plants that grow in it's place.

If you burn down a forest and prevent it from regrowing, the carbon remains in the atmosphere. If you allow it to expand again it takes the carbon back up.

If you take the dead plant matter and heat it in the absence of oxygen, you can drive off the various gasses and leave behind stable charcoal which is carbon mixed with minerals.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44738005)

If you are going to question anything, I suggest that you study up on the research that came of of the Yellowstone fires. you are old enough to remember that, aren't you. If not, do some constructive research.

Man is changing the dh/dt for global warming, but make has his hand in fire suspression. has that changed the df/dt over time?

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#44740555)

"Wealth transfer to 3rd world countries" ??

I'd say the West did a great job of transferring in the OPPOSITE direction for a long time - and still do.

Re:so its not global warming? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731677)

Fact: This was the one of the coolest summers on record for the USA.
You are an idiot for even trying to blame this on global warming. Another moron who claims everything that goes wrong is AWG making anyone who might be telling the truth about it look just as stupid.

Just quit with making shit up to fit your political views and hoping no one calls you on it. This is why no one believes any of the claims, because most of the claims are made up. Where are the unbelievable record number of cat 5 hurricanes this year? Where is LA under water from 3 meters of oceans raising? Is isn't, quit making shit up.

Re:so its not global warming? (4, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44731785)

Outside of suggesting increased dryness, they take a great deal of pain to point out how fire suppression is leading to vast increases in fuel, i.e. smaller trees, pines, brush, and other buildup, that used to get cleared out every few years by lesser fires.

Although in the 1970s, they started doing small controlled burns, they're still burning less per decade than used to be burned per year naturally. This is all from tree ring and other data.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#44731969)

But why do controlled burns? Why not do controlled logging of the forest instead?

If people are willing to consider that controlled burns are OK, why not controlled logging? Against "Enviro-Religion"?

Either way trees and wildlife will die. But with controlled logging you can more exactly determine which trees and where, and perhaps ensure a higher percentage of the wildlife will get survive. And depending on how you use the wood the carbon could stay locked up for a lot longer than if you burned forests.

Some tree seeds need fire to germinate, but I'm sure we can figure out how to trigger them more precisely when we need it and plant the seeds where we want.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732153)

Because the two are not mutually exclusive. Prescribed burning can be used to maximize growth in a forest. Just clearing out a big tree doesn't do the job; there's all of the smaller fuels which accumulate to the point where you can get crown fires and serious tree death.

Not to mention that some of the worst burning systems don't too awful much to do with trees in the first place. You can't just go harvest a chaparral (see: Los Angeles) of fuel in the "why don't you cut down a few trees and make a profit?" kind of way.

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

Elbows (208758) | about a year ago | (#44732463)

Fire burns up undergrowth and dead branches on the forest floor, but the larger trees mostly survive. Logging removes the large trees and allows brush to grow up in its place.

So logging has a totally different ecological impact, and probably increases the risk of fire.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44740005)

Depending on whether you rake/clear the ground before or not ( and even if you do) large trees still can and do die:
http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/documents/psw_gtr189/psw_gtr189_073-082_laudenslayer.pdf [fs.fed.us]

If you select what you want to remove you can be more certain of the survival of the trees you want. Whereas if you use fire the results are not so controlled.

But fire is faster and less labour intensive (assuming you don't lose control of it - I believe there have been controlled burns that have gone out of control ).

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44732471)

native americans used to do controlled burns

issue is not the wood, but the smaller plants that catch on fire first in case of lightning or arson and allow the fire to grow. the trees are the last to catch on fire

but some of the crazy greenies sue the idea of controlled burns out of existence and its now illegal

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44732933)

I strongly suggest you read the article because it will explain all your questions, and more.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44740113)

Really? I don't see the answers in that article. With controlled logging you can remove the smaller stuff and keep the bigger stuff. And you have far better control than "controlled burns" which don't always go as planned.

Anyway the real answer is in different articles and it's "Yes something like that is already being done" and it is called Forest fuel reduction/Mechanical Fuels Treatment:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5393869.pdf [usda.gov]
http://cnr.ncsu.edu/blogs/southeast-fire-update/2013/07/24/ga-forestry-commission-offers-new-service-mechanical-fuel-treatment/ [ncsu.edu]

But burning stuff is faster and cheaper (assuming the burn doesn't go out of control).

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year ago | (#44733273)

Although in the 1970s, they started doing small controlled burns, they're still burning less per decade than used to be burned per year naturally. This is all from tree ring and other data.

Well if you want to see what type of disaster that's going to cause us, you don't even need to look at Yosemite. Just look at all the dead forest area caused by pine beetles. I drove through part of the NW and Alberta and BC 2 years ago, and it was mile after mile, after mile of dead trees in ripe tinder dry conditions.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732525)

This is pretty much what you'd expect. Leaving aside the question of the human contribution to warming and what we can do about it, the fact of global warming is established to all but the shrieking denialists;

No no no.

Forest fires have little to do with actual global warming over a decade or two. They have much more to do with,

not allowing fires to burn, allowing large amount of tinder to accumulate in the forests

Then when they burn, they burn like hell.

If you really really must have an example of AGW causing pests to spread which cause trees to die, look no further than

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_pine_beetle [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Beetle_kill_forest_colorado.jpg [wikipedia.org]

But this is not THE reason for fires. THE reason is people. People and their stupid forest "management". Forests have "managed" themselves for millions of years, and then we come along and pretend we can do better. Then over last hundred years we have proof. The more you fight fire, the hotter it gets.

PS. Talking about GW and not accepting the *fact* that it is anthropological, is also being a denialist. :P

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732587)

Pointless study without a discussion of accumulated fuel from years of fire suppression.

Re:so its not global warming? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44733025)

the fact of global warming is established to all but the shrieking denialists[sic]

Global warming, and climate change, are facts. Anthropogenic global warming is not.

Belittling the arguments of those who don't agree makes you repugnant, and worthy of scorn.

Fortunately, you're just a random internet person, and not a real climatologist or someone with any standing in either scientific or political circles. I am hiding behind an anonymous tag because I am one, and your religion frowns on me publicly speaking out.

Re:so its not global warming? (0)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44733727)

the fact of global warming is established to all but the shrieking denialists

I'd take AGW arguments more seriously if they weren't so dependent on rhetorical fallacies. Ad hominem attacks such as the above ("shrieking denialists") and appeals to authority ("97% of scientists") are ridiculously common.

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44734453)

I'd take AGW arguments more seriously if they weren't so dependent on rhetorical fallacies.

You've already amply demonstrated that no amount of evidence will ever make you take a scientific analysis of climate change seriously.

Ad hominem attacks such as the above ("shrieking denialists") and appeals to authority ("97% of scientists") are ridiculously common.

"Ridiculously common" is an apt description of the denalist tendency to shriek "ad hominem!" every time somewhat accurately identifies them, and their constant pretense that appeal to authority is at the basis of scientifically based climatological arguments.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#44735959)

You've already amply demonstrated that no amount of evidence will ever make you take a scientific analysis of climate change seriously.

That argument hasn't been tried yet. The AGW side keeps overstating its case. The scientific analysis isn't as good as claimed.

"Ridiculously common" is an apt description of the denalist tendency to shriek "ad hominem!" every time somewhat accurately identifies them, and their constant pretense that appeal to authority is at the basis of scientifically based climatological arguments.

But then it doesn't materially matter to this discussion whether "denialists" (a blatantly ad hominem term right there) are "shrieking" or not via a keyboard. That's irrelevant to the "denialist" argument and hence, why it is an ad hominem attack.


Here, once again, the considerable bias in support of AGW in modern research is ignored. It's worth noting once again that a researcher has probably helped his funding situation by tenuously tying AGW to a problem that would have existed as is even in the absence of contributions from AGW.

Re:so its not global warming? (2)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about a year ago | (#44734857)

So you prefer appeals to non-authorities ("3% of scientists").

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year ago | (#44736041)

Not really. Adaptation, at least at the level forests take millions of years, centuries are simply too fast for forests to react to.That's part of the problem. What you get at current rates of change is extinction.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44731869)

The article has several sections suggesting that AGW is at least partly to blame.

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Pino Grigio (2232472) | about a year ago | (#44732323)

There are more people lighting more fires than ever before. Of course there are more bloody bush fires. What do you expect? This one was apparently started by illegal weed growers [telegraph.co.uk] .

Re:so its not global warming? (1)

Optali (809880) | about a year ago | (#44743497)

Amen! It's in the Bible!!

"Thou shalt not believe in Global Warmin and temptations from the IPCC"

It's all just a scam of the climate scientists who wouldn't have any other thing to do other wise. As it's a generally and obvious matter of fact that climate science is the most useless science on earth. BTW: What's it exactly used for, if I may ask?

Decrapified URL (4, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44731527)

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/29/the-yosemite-rim-fire-in-the-context-of-forest-policy-ecology-and-climate-change/ [nytimes.com]

Just in case anyone wants to actually, you know, read the article rather than being taken to a login screen.

Re:Decrapified URL (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44732475)

Alas the NY Times seems intent on making sure nobody reads the story and has put your link behind a login page too.

Here's the video at least. Not the down-ressed YouTube version included in the NYT article, but the original HD version posted by the National Park Service.
http://vimeo.com/73310936 [vimeo.com]

Re:Decrapified URL (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#44732521)

Here we go [googleusercontent.com] . Google to the rescue.

Re:Decrapified URL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732927)

Apparently you have reached your limit of 10 views of NYT articles this month. There is a very simple way around this. If you can't figure it out in less than 5 minutes, Turn in your geek card.

Re:Decrapified URL (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44733539)

Yes, but you can't conclude from that alone that using "correlation is not causation" makes people ignorant.

Re:Decrapified URL (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#44735615)

Hah! Very true.

Potheads Suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731537)

Re:Potheads Suspected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731585)

This is exactly the kind of convenient disinformation that Supreme Dictator Baraq Hussein Sotero is using to justify lobbing missiles at Syria. Notice how it happened right around the time that Chief Enforcer Eric Holder made concessions with states which legalized marijuana? Well, looks like its time to not only reverse those changes, but to crack down on all those filthy, wheezing, chronically-masturbating rapist potheads. My grandma is in prison for robbing a bank to support her marijuana addiction. True Story.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44731613)

Fox "News" is bad for your brain. Honest to shit.

I couldn't figure out whether Ethanol Fueled's "anonymous" reply post was troll or not until I clicked the link. Ethanol Fueled's post needs more points and visibility.

Forehead.picard.gif

--
BMO

Re:Potheads Suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731637)

Very intelligent retort. Meh.

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

milkmage (795746) | about a year ago | (#44731705)

Ethanol is an idiot. There's a difference between growers and users.. stoners didn't go up into the woods a drop a lit joint.

The Mexican cartels can't successfully operate a camp fire.

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44731783)

And you and the previous guy need your sarcasm meters recalibrated and then go read EF's post again.

--
BMO

Re:Potheads Suspected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731977)

FUCK YOU BITCH!!!!
 
Go take another dick up your unintelligent ass. Take another set of balls slapping off your chin.

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

ArcherB (796902) | about a year ago | (#44731773)

Fox "News" is bad for your brain. Honest to shit.

I couldn't figure out whether Ethanol Fueled's "anonymous" reply post was troll or not until I clicked the link. Ethanol Fueled's post needs more points and visibility.

Forehead.picard.gif

--
BMO

Yes, the post is obviously a troll. If you weren't sure, look at the grandma part.

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44731791)

Sarcasm and parody is not troll.

It's +1 insightful or +1 funny.

--
BMO

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#44732233)

In fact it is BOTH!

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44731887)

Whether you like MJ or not doesn't matter to the topic in the story, the reality is Mexican cartels have been going up into the Sierras and farming marijuana on large acreages of land. The bigger problems with this are the violence, guns, dogs, and apparently fires that can trap innocent bypassers in the area.

All this is why I will never favor a bill that legalizes consumption but not distribution/production. Legalizing consumption without legalizing production is like giving money to Mexican cartels. That's why Colorado's MJ laws are better than California's.

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44732025)

Oh hay, an actual intelligent reply.

I totally agree with your second paragraph.

But the "it was pot growers" idiocy on Fox was just sheer lunacy. If it really was, the other news outlets would have repeated it. But they didn't. Because the article wasn't actual news, but wild-ass speculation with weasel wording right in the title.

--
BMO

Re:Potheads Suspected (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44732389)

I'm going to blame Good Ol' Boys listening to Rush Limbaugh and lighting their farts on fire every time he says "Obama!"

Re:Potheads Suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44733221)

I'm going to blame Good Ol' Boys listening to Rush Limbaugh and lighting their farts on fire every time he says "Obama!"

Ugh. I'd rather play "Hi, Bob!"

Re:Potheads Suspected (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44732231)

Outlaw sales. You can grow it. You can smoke what you grow. Anything else is a gift to either the Mexican cartels or eventually Archer Daniel Midlands and R J Reynolds.

Re:Potheads Suspected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731615)

I've heard enough - ban all trees!

the biggest driver is arson (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731675)

Many, if not not nearly all, of the forest fires in the US are due to arson. In California, in particular, the police have found and caught foreign intelligence operatives setting fires. No doubt to help support the farce that is man-made global warming. Imagine the levels of CO2 and particulates are released into the air in these giant fires. Likely NOAA, NASA, and others take their measurements right after the fires so there is "proof".

The big issue isn't really "global warming", but rather global pollution. Monsanto has killed far more life on earth than global warming yet there is not a finger raised to do anything about Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, and all the other companies that are destroying Earth's biosphere.

With the NWO, it's just one scam after another. Even when each and every family that rules the NWO is worth over $1T, and some worth more than $50T, they are still wrecking the world for "moar".

Re:the biggest driver is arson (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731849)

Parent references NWO, feel free to ignore everything they posted.

Re:the biggest driver is arson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44731923)

Parent references NWO, feel free to ignore everything they posted.

Thanks for your input, George Soros.

Re:the biggest driver is arson (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44731891)

Most wildfires in California are started by lightning. Watch the weather sometime, after there's a lightning storm in August, there will be fires everywhere in its wake.

Re:the biggest driver is arson (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#44731901)

With the NWO, it's just one scam after another. Even when each and every family that rules the NWO is worth over $1T, and some worth more than $50T, they are still wrecking the world for "moar".

Silly Pothead, the lizardmen aren't in it for the money.

Tree killers (3, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44731997)

This is exactly what I said in the last article about this fire.

If you let fuel build up you create bigger hotter fires that kill trees and cause massive damage. It is evidenced by living trees with burn scars that trees can live through fires. When the fire get hot enough and enough bark is burned the tree dies. Another issue is that most tree trunks are bare a fair way up. This allows low burning fires to move through the forest and burn the brush. If these low burning fire get hot and high enough ther start burning the tree branches which also kills the trees. It also creates a crown fire [forestencyclopedia.net] which can spread rapidly and devastate large areas.

It is well known that proscribed burns are good for forests. We just are not doing them enough. We don't want to see blackened areas in our parks even though it is necessary to protect them from bigger fires.

Re:Tree killers (1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44732207)

We don't want to see blackened areas in our parks even though it is necessary to protect them from bigger fires.

We don't want some banker's hunting lodge burned down.

Re:Tree killers (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44733139)

We don't want to see blackened areas in our parks even though it is necessary to protect them from bigger fires.

Actually, you have this back to front. In the park, they have been doing proscribed burns and the damage in the park is less than that outside the park.

Re:Tree killers (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44733325)

Less but not as good as it could be. They do less burning in a decade that happened naturally year by year. They are getting better but there is a long way to go. 90% dead is less than 100% but it is still unacceptable(numbers just for illustrative purposes).

Re:Tree killers (1)

Reziac (43301) | about a year ago | (#44740325)

Forests evolved to be burned, a sort of regular natural cleanup. It can be simulated by judicious logging. But one or the other needs to happen, or you wind up with destructive fires like in California... where fires have been suppressed and logging is a thing of the past. The current overgrowth is about 5 times what a healthy forest can support, especially in an arid climate... meaning 4 out of 5 trees are dead or dying, and ripe to be fuel.

I've seen CA wildfires up close... before, during, and after. Clearcutting is less destructive.

Re:Tree killers (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44740849)

Clearcutting is less destructive.

Agreed. In clearcutting the ground is not baked to a cinder and there is plenty of branches left behind to decompose and enrich the soil. I am not saying clearcutting is great but it is much less harmfull than a hot wildfire.

Re:Tree killers (1)

Reziac (43301) | about a year ago | (#44741559)

The other downside of an overly hot fire is that what does come back is often mostly weeds and brush, invasive rather than native... and it grows into a mat of fuel.

Remember that fast-moving brushfire that burned about 700 sq.miles of eastern Oregon, about a year ago? I drove through it both during and right after the fire, and the next spring. Right after, it looked like a blackened moonscape, but come spring the native grass was taking over again and the sagebrush (which is an invasive weed, not native) had been at least temporarily exterminated. Grass likewise evolved to be burned (by a fast-moving, not-too-intense fire; it needs to be grazed or burned regularly, and doesn't matter which), and the sagebrush... well, being it was fuel in clumps, it burned hot enough to kill itself off.

Human Arrogance (4, Insightful)

billybob_jcv (967047) | about a year ago | (#44732067)

The arrogance of our species is astounding. Our perceptual timelines are far too short and our reactions are far too erratic. Nature grinds forward - with or without intervention by humans - and with or without the survival of life on this planet. It's not clear to me whether we have the power to remove all life on this planet and make it just another dead, lifeless space rock - I suspect we do not - not as long as the oceans contain micro organisms that can evolve very quickly such that even we can't easily eradicate them. Either way - the universe doesn't give d@mn - and thinking we have the ability to "control" our environment is the height of folly. Our mindset should be to try to survive and live within the current state of the planet - whatever that current state looks like. If the mean temperature of the planet is increasing, fine - then instead of trying to stop the environment's current direction - figure out how to live with the new status quo. Adapt or die - it's as easy as that. Hopefully, the squid will do a better job after we are gone and the squid rise-up to take our niche in the hierarchy.

Re:Human Arrogance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44732197)

The only "arrogance" I am sick of is the arrogance of secularists who think human beings can somehow affect the weather. The only "religion" that anyone needs to worry about any more is the one whereby enviromental terrorists want to destroy our very civilization based on lies and hyperbole of a few self interested secular scientists. SICKENING.

"the universe doesn't give d@mn"

Luckily for those of us who have found Jesus, we know this is not true and that we alone among the masses, are saved.

Re:Human Arrogance (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44732219)

I'm not clear here. Are you actually asserting that human activity cannot have an effect on the climate, or more specifically the weather? I just want to get clear what you're claim is, because, on the face of it, what you just wrote is completely false. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you're just ignorant, because the alternative is that you are immoral.

Re:Human Arrogance (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44732841)

"Luckily for those of us who have found Jesus, we know this is not true and that we alone among the masses, are saved."

Judging from this statement, your request for clarity and logic will go unmet. Perhaps your question was rhetorical.

Re:Human Arrogance (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44733637)

The only "arrogance" I am sick of is the arrogance of secularists who think human beings can somehow affect the weather.

Ever heard of "black rain", it falls from a type of manmade wether called "mushroom clouds". We have enough mushroom cloud machines to create a whole new season called "nuclear winter". Heating up the entire atmosphere/ocean system takes a bit longer but it's doable, in fact we have already pushed it up by a degree or two without really trying.

Re:Human Arrogance (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44732455)

Our mindset should be to try to survive and live within the current state of the planet

No thanks, I like having a house with four walls. My house changes the environment (especially when combined with billions of other houses), but I'm not giving it up to prove I'm not 'arrogant.'

Re:Human Arrogance (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#44734541)

Of course we can control our environment. It is trivial. At the small scale just start smoking in bed until your home (environment) catches fire. Big change, man-made. One person can overturn a truck carrying pesticide so that it flows into a river which poisons downstream land and farms.

Now I know you're talking about very large scale environment. One human doesn't have a lot of power to affect the very large scale environment, but 4 billion humans do. Humans absolutely have destroyed many environments already. We've drained marshes and created deserts. Arrival of Europeans to America has caused massive change. Most of Europe used to be one large forest. We created the dustbowl in America in recent history. Humans have cause huge changes in the past and the evidence is very clear that humans are greatly exacerbating the current climate change.

Yes, we need to adapt. But we need to stop doing the stupid stuff that is encouraging the climate change. You can't just keep using your 10mpg SUV and importing your food from the other side of the globe while shouting out the window "not my fault!"

Re:Human Arrogance (2)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | about a year ago | (#44735689)

Of course we can control our environment. It is trivial. At the small scale just start smoking in bed until your home (environment) catches fire. Big change, man-made. One person can overturn a truck carrying pesticide so that it flows into a river which poisons downstream land and farms.

Now I know you're talking about very large scale environment. One human doesn't have a lot of power to affect the very large scale environment, but 4 billion humans do. Humans absolutely have destroyed many environments already. We've drained marshes and created deserts. Arrival of Europeans to America has caused massive change. Most of Europe used to be one large forest. We created the dustbowl in America in recent history. Humans have cause huge changes in the past and the evidence is very clear that humans are greatly exacerbating the current climate change.

Yes, we need to adapt. But we need to stop doing the stupid stuff that is encouraging the climate change. You can't just keep using your 10mpg SUV and importing your food from the other side of the globe while shouting out the window "not my fault!"

Every time I see one of these humans can't change weather cranks, I just hear "Black Blizzard" in my head. Congress actually debated this very issue till one side said "look out the window, and you can see my home state of Kansas blowing by". Some people just refuse to listen to facts and cling to their beliefs until they personally experience just how wrong they are.

Even with AGW aside (3, Interesting)

estitabarnak (654060) | about a year ago | (#44732241)

In this discussion, we can completely ignore global climate change and end up with the same general calculus. If you let fuels accumulate (as they always have and always will) by putting out every fire, you will keep kicking the can down the road until there's a fire so big that you can't put it out. Add in budget problems and the situation is ripe in California.

This isn't a matter of wacky tree-hugging liberals preventing logging from saving our forests either. Use of prescribed burning and selective logging are taught extensively at the UC Berkeley Forestry program. Selective logging is used for various management goals in the Santa Cruz mountains (including revenue maximization). Neither of those places have a history of being particularly conservative.

This isn't a problem that you can micromanage your way out of. You can't take out a few juicy trees and declare your forest safe from fire. Regular, prescribed burns allow for the kind of patchy diversity and general fuels reduction that prevent these big fires from happening.

Re:Even with AGW aside (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44735075)

This isn't a matter of wacky tree-hugging liberals preventing logging from saving our forests either. Use of prescribed burning and selective logging are taught extensively at the UC Berkeley Forestry program. Selective logging is used for various management goals in the Santa Cruz mountains (including revenue maximization). Neither of those places have a history of being particularly conservative.

Except that the wacky tree-hugging liberals have been selling the carbon sequestration attributes of forests as an excuse to 'save' them. Another name for this carbon sequestration is 'fuel'. Fire is nature's way of maintaining a balance. And it will happen, either a bit at a time as prescriptive burns and natural burning of the undergrowth. Or it will happen every few decades as big, destructive fires, taking everything down to the ground.

The modern view of forests as carbon sinks considers them as diverse ecosystems made up of multiple species of foliage occupying different levels in the forest canopy. But that is an artificial situation, created by the intervention of fire management policies. The photographs in TFA of Yosemite in 1890 and 1960 illustrate the difference dramatically. The 'diversity' that we have become familiar with didn't exist in the same form over a hundred years ago. It isn't a natural characteristic of a healthy old growth forest. And nature will swing the balance back. Quite violently, in the present case.

Re:Even with AGW aside (1)

estitabarnak (654060) | about a year ago | (#44738057)

Connecting carbon sequestration with fire-excluded forest is short sited (well, for most forests in the US, anyway). While I'm sure there are folks all across the spectrum who are short sited, the point is that the liberal institutions that people point to aren't supporters. Equally myopic, however, is your view of forest management, history, and ecology in general.

It's pretty well recognized (including by me above) that a management plan to maximize revenue and productivity is going to include thinning (and fire is the easiest way). Maximizing carbon production or sequestration doesn't mean maximizing vulnerability to fire, though. Not all fuels are created equal.

In terms of history, you're forgetting what was happening in Yosemite (and had been for centuries and centuries): fire-based management. The natives of California (and this is by no means an exception) have a documented history of using fire to maintain a state in ecological succession. For instance, Quercus kelloggii, the California black oak, was valued for its acorns so the forests were managed to maximize their presence and production. So the "natural characteristic" you're referring to isn't really a model for how an unmanaged forest will look. But it's okay, John Muir made the same mistake.

There isn't any permanent "end state" in a forest (okay, who's gonna come in and say "bare ground?"). There are lots of states which are local maxima in terms of stability, but those are all subject to stochastic events. There is no global maximum to which nature inexorably and violently drives. We've put our forests in a less-stable situation which can't be maintained long-term, but fire isn't nature's way of punishing us for putting two different types of trees in the same forest.

I'm glad you agree with me about fire exclusion not working, though.

Parallels (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#44732581)

I'd say this exact same lesson - let small bad things happen at a natural rate according to natural processes - is worth reviewing in terms of the economy in an (allegedly) capitalist society.

Businesses fail. New businesses are born. That's how it works.
One cannot protect business from failure, and anything that's supposedly 'too big to fail' is PROBABLY the result of skewed former legislation that allowed it to reach sizes/dominance it otherwise naturally wouldn't have.

Just like forest fires...trying to prevent them totally is impossible, and just makes the consequences THAT MUCH WORSE in the end.

At least the illegal Mexicans will have jobs (0)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#44733799)

.....cleaning this mess up afterwards. Which is kind of the only thing that matters.

Mariposa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44734623)

when i did a search of Mariposa i saw links and pictures of butterflies. Just saying

life in gods little fire pit (1)

lazy genes (741633) | about a year ago | (#44741053)

several years ago i tried to solve the same riddle. Global warming +invasive species +poor forestry practices +human error = doomed. My solution was to remove the brush/fuels from around the house and plant an fruiting wall apple orchard with a drip irrigation and sprinkler system. i started 3 years ago with 20 trees and now have 180. last year it produced over 100 lbs of honeycrisp apples.
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