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    Start turning garden dreams into reality with these January tasks – La Jolla Light - January 24, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    New years bring new opportunities in life and in the life of your garden. What will you do this year? Plant a vegetable garden? Add fruit trees? You can create the landscape of your dreams.

    When theres rain, be sure your irrigation system is on pause. Theres no need to water when the soil is already saturated. Leave the water off until the soil is dry at least to your second knuckle when you stick your finger into the soil.

    Treat newly planted water-wise gardens the same way. For established water-wise gardens, wait until the soil is dry about 4 inches deep.

    If theres been no rain, continue irrigating on a reduced winter schedule.

    In January, the new crop of bare root fruit trees, vines and shrubs arrives in the nursery. They look like scraggly sticks with a wad of roots at the base, but they are the best way to buy deciduous fruiting plants (the ones that drop their leaves for winter).

    This is the best time to shop for:

    Now is the ideal time to buy stone fruit trees, such as plum trees.

    (Getty Images)

    How to select the best fruiting plant for your garden:

    How to plant a bare root plant:

    Prune and spray established fruit trees:

    Harvest citrus:

    All native and non-native drought-tolerant plants are best planted now in the cool (and maybe wet) weather.

    Add beautiful flowering shrubs to your garden: Grevillea from Australia, conebush from South Africa, native Ceanothus (California lilac), native lemonade berry.

    A honeybee collects pollen from blue Ceanothus flowers (California lilac).

    (Getty Images)

    Heating houses dries out the air, and thats hard on many houseplants. So give your plants a spa day in the bathroom. Fill the tub with a few inches of water. Prop your houseplants on top of empty plant pots (upside down) or other props set in the tub. Allow the houseplants to enjoy the humidity but not sit in water. Leave them for a day or so.

    Have your pothos vines grown very long and leggy? Encourage side branches by cutting back long stems to a branching point.

    Check houseplants for aphids, mealy bugs or scale. Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to kill the critters.

    Nan Sterman is a water-wise garden designer and writer and the host of A Growing Passion on KPBS television. More information is at AGrowingPassion.com and waterwisegardener.com.

    Link:
    Start turning garden dreams into reality with these January tasks - La Jolla Light

    Witches and faeries give blackthorn a prickly name in the north – JohnOGroat Journal - January 24, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Beautiful Botanicals by Joanne Howdle

    Early to blossom, blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is a deciduous shrub or small tree which has clouds of snowy-white flowers in early spring.

    Blackthorn belongs to the same genus (Prunus) as almond, cherry and plum trees. The specific epithetspinosarefers to the sharp spines or thorns that are characteristic of this botanical, which is best known for its rich, inky, dark and waxy berries that are used to make a favourite winter tipple sloe gin.

    Blackthorn is widespread across temperate Europe and also occurs in the Near East and Northern Africa. It is also naturalised in New Zealand, and eastern North America. Blackthorn often grows in hedgerows or thickets. Mature blackthorn shrubs can grow to a height of around 6-7m and live for up to 100 years.

    It is an important plant for wildlife, its spring flowers providing nectar for early emerging insects. The foliage of this botanical is a food plant for the caterpillars of many moths, while birds nest among its dense, thorny thickets, eating caterpillars and other insects from the leaves, and feasting on its fruit in the autumn.

    In the past, Highlanders believed that blackthorn was associated with evil spirits. It is said that witches' wands and staffs were made using blackthorn wood and children stolen by the faerie folk were said to have been left under blackthorn shrubs and would grow up to become changelings.

    Pricking oneself on a thorn of this botanical was thought to be able to bestow a curse.

    Blackthorn wood is very hard and in the past was often used to make the teeth of agricultural implements. Suitable branches were used for making walking sticks and were highly valued for this purpose because of their twisted and interesting shapes.

    The bark, leaves and fruits were often used in the Highlands to make dye for clothes and food. The juice from blackthorn bark was used to produce a bright red dye, while the leaves of the shrub produced a green dye. With the addition of vitriol or copperas, the juice from the bark and fruit was used to make blue and black dyes and an excellent ink.

    Traditionally, blackthorn flowers and fruit were used in a wealth of remedies including tonics and syrups that cleansed the blood, aided digestive complaints and eased rheumatism.

    Blackthorn fruits, known as sloe berries or sloes, made into a jelly was a popular treatment in Scotland for throat problems, while blackthorn flowers were used as a laxative or infused and then applied to the skin to kill off scabies. Today, the pulp of ripened sloe berries is combined with other ingredients to make commercially available face masks said to maintain skin elasticity for younger looking skin.

    Sloe berries are astringent when fresh and are therefore not eaten in the same way as those of many otherPrunusspecies (such as cherries and plums). The archaeological remains of sloes have been found on Neolithic dwelling sites and traditionally in Scotland sloe berries were used to make jellies and preserves and as a flavouring for gin, whisky and other drinks.

    In the 1820s, sloe berries were often used to adulterate port wine and when tea was a very expensive product, the young leaves of blackthorn were dried and used as a replacement for, or addition to, the more expensive tea.

    In modern gin manufacture, sloes are best picked after a frost, as this reduces the tannin content of the fruit. When distilled, sloe berries add a complexity to the gin, imparting a sweet yet tart taste with earthy undertones.

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    Witches and faeries give blackthorn a prickly name in the north - JohnOGroat Journal

    Smart Irrigation Market To Reach USD 3147.29 Million By 2027 | Rise in Awareness about Conservation of Water and an Increase in Investment for R&D… - January 24, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    New York, Jan. 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The global market for smart irrigation has been foreseen to rise with a 17.1% CAGR, touching a valuation of USD 3,147.29 Million in the year 2027. These systems aid in monitoring soil conditions, weather, water used for plants, and evaporation to adjust the schedule of watering automatically to the actual sites conditions. The market is witnessing a steadfast growth, owing to the farmers and agriculturalists demand towards automating the agricultural process for reducing the water usage. Rapid emergence of renowned institutional farms and the rising popularity of gardens with irrigating landscape are the two major factors fueling the industrys growth.

    Conventional methods of watering lead to the waste of 50% of water used because of the inefficiencies in evaporation, irrigation, and overwatering. Moreover, they operate on the basis of a timer, not responding to different weather conditions or the water amount required for a plant. All these factors have elevated the need for smart irrigation, sensors for historical or real-time data for informing routines of watering along with modifying watering schedules in order to enhance efficiency. However, less technical knowledge and the high cost of sensors and controllers of smart irrigation systems are hindering the markets growth. Several farmers in various developing countries are deficient in the skills required for operating these smart systems. Get FREE Sample Copy with TOC of the Report to understand the structure of the complete report@ https://www.reportsanddata.com/sample-enquiry-form/2359

    Further key findings from the report suggest

    Buy Your Copy Now (Customized Report Delivered as per Your Specific Requirement)@ https://www.reportsanddata.com/checkout-form/2359

    For the purpose of this report, Reports and Data has segmented the smart irrigation market on the basis of type, component, application, and region:

    Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 20172027)

    Component Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 20172027)

    Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million; 20172027)

    Click on the link to read key highlights of the report and look at projected trends for years to come: https://www.reportsanddata.com/report-detail/smart-irrigation-market

    Regional Outlook (Revenue in USD Million; 20172027)

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    Smart Irrigation Market To Reach USD 3147.29 Million By 2027 | Rise in Awareness about Conservation of Water and an Increase in Investment for R&D...

    SavATree Extends Reach in Minnesota Twin Cities by Acquiring TREeCOLOGY – PR Web - December 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    TREeCOLOGY Team

    BEDFORD, N.Y. (PRWEB) December 10, 2020

    SavATree, the industry leader in professional tree, shrub and lawn care, has announced the acquisition of TREeCOLOGY, a tree and landscape maintenance company that has provided high quality tree and shrub care throughout the Twin Cities. This local Minnesota company specializes in maintenance of HOAs and townhomes. TREeCOLOGY will be incorporated into SavATrees existing Hopkins, MN branch.

    TREeCOLOGY operates with a focus on client education and involvement in the tree and shrub care process. Services include tree and shrub planting, pruning, cabling, removals, mulching, PHC treatments for insects, mites and disease, application of fertilizers, bio stimulants and growth regulators to keep client properties beautiful, safe and protected.

    We are thrilled to join forces with an experienced team and tree company like TREeCOLOGY that specializes in working with property managers, said SavATree CEO Carmine Schiavone. We will continue to support our current and new clients while providing an expanded portfolio of services, including professional lawn care and consulting services. We are confident that our combined expertise will further expand our presence in the commercial sector.

    TREeCOLOGY owners Chris Romer and Mary Fontana stated, Were very fortunate to have found a company like SavATree that maintains a great reputation with their clients and in the tree care industry. We have an exciting future ahead!

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    SavATree Extends Reach in Minnesota Twin Cities by Acquiring TREeCOLOGY - PR Web

    We’re All the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree This Year – POPSUGAR - November 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    We all need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize that the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is one of us. As we settle into month eight of staying at home, working from home, sheltering in place, quarantining, and every variation of the words that redefined what "normal life" has looked like in the year 2020, we, as a nation, should hold the Norway spruce to the same standards that we hold ourselves to. You know, rolling out of bed and immediately signing into work meetings, jeans collecting dust in the back of our closets what even is a hairbrush? You see where we're going here.

    On Nov. 14, the famed Christmas tree arrived at Rockefeller Center after a two-day drive, and people had the audacity to judge its appearance. Sure, she was missing a few branches and immediately got the meme treatment as a stark representation of the year we're all having, but she's doing her best! According to the New York Times, it's normal for the tree to look like this after being wrapped tightly during travel. It will "take the branches time to settle." Also, after arriving in New York City, employees discovered an adorable little owl had been chilling in the branches. It's unknown how long the owl had been in there, but he's now in good hands at a wildlife rehab facility. Just like us, the 2020 tree is going through it!

    The "symbol of hope" before the holidays looked more like an anticlimactic shrub straight out of A Charlie Brown Christmas, but let's give our girl some time to freshen up! She'll get her lights, her extensions, her glitz, and her glamour just in time for the Dec. 2 lighting ceremony, the same way we will when we're ready to reenter society. Glow up, girl, we believe in you! Check out some funny reactions to the tree ahead, including one from the Rockefeller Center Twitter account who said it best: "Wow, you all must look great right after a two-day drive, huh? Just wait until I get my lights on! See you on December 2! ;)."

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    We're All the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree This Year - POPSUGAR

    Indigenous Burning Myths and Realities – The Wildlife News - November 25, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Prescribed burning by Forest Service. Photo by George Wuerthner

    There has been a spate of articles in various newspapers and magazines asserting that if the Forest Service were following burning practices of Indigenous people the large wildfires we have seen around the West would be tamed.

    Here are some representative of Indian burning will save the forest articles.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/23/karuk-tribe-california-slater-fire-insurance

    https://www.vox.com/first-person/21517619/california-wildfires-indigenous-controlled-burns

    https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/10/07/oregons-indigenous-communities-know-how-to-stop-megafires-will-the-state-let-them/?utm_campaign=2020-10-07+WildNews&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

    The October 7th 2020 article Wildfires have ravaged the Western United States this year, sending firefighting experts to Indigenous communities for guidance by Jim Cowan in the New York Times is typical of the erroneous assertions about Native American burning and its influence on large wildfires..

    Long before California was California, Native Americans used fire to keep the lands where they lived healthy. That meant intentionally burning excess vegetation at regular intervals, during times of the year when the weather would keep blazes smaller and cooler than the destructive wildfires burning today.

    And the Guardian article, like most of these recent publications, implies that the loss of native burning is contributing to large blazes: a century of practicing fire suppression over traditional tribal land stewardship, has led to larger, more destructive wildfires.

    The idea that tribal burning impacted the broad landscape is asserted by some scholars (Williams, G.W. 2004), but often with scant evidence to back up these claims except for oral traditions of Native people.

    MAJOR ISSUES

    MYTH OF INDIAN LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT

    As Barrett et al. 2005 noted: For many years, the importance of fire use by American Indians in altering North American ecosystems was underappreciated or ignored. Now, there seems to be an opposite trend. It is common now to read or hear statements to the effect that American Indians fired landscapes everywhere and all the time, so there is no such thing as a natural ecosystem. A myth of human manipulation everywhere in pre-Columbus America is replacing the equally erroneous myth of a totally pristine wilderness.

    We believe that it is time to deflate the rapidly spreading myth that American Indians altered all landscapes by means of fire. In short, we believe that the case for landscape-level fire use by American Indians has been dramatically overstated and overextrapolated.

    Noss, et al. 2014 asserts: Despite ample evidence that lightning fire was a primary ecological driver in the NACP [North American Coastal Plain], the myth persists that most fires before the arrival of Europeans were set by Native Americans. For example, Mann (2005; 361) provides a map that shows essentially the entire pre-Columbian NACP, including the lightning-riddled Gulf coast and Florida peninsula, as dominated by anthropogenic fire or with widespread forest clearing for agriculture. No evidence is offered to support these claims.

    Most evidence for the widespread influence of indigenous burning is based on oral tradition which is notoriously subject to variation of interpretation and misinterpretation.

    DID INDIGENOUS BURNING PRECLUDE LARGE BLAZES?

    The question is not whether Indian burning occurred, but rather to what extent it influenced the landscape as the whole and precluded the occurrence of large mixed to high severity blazes or what some people term mega fires. Is it a panacea for precluding large blazes as implied? Furthermore, it needs into the notion that high severity blazes are somehow unnatural and ecologically destructive.

    The idea that fire suppression has led to some fuel build up in some plant communities is accurate, but fuel build-up is not the primary cause of large high severity blazes. Most of these blazes are burning in plant communities like lodgepole pine, spruce/fire, juniper, and other plant communities that naturally had long intervals between fire events and naturally accumulate fuels. In other words, fuel build-up in these plant communities is completely natural.

    Mountain hemlock, like many forest communities has naturally long fire intervals and fuel build up is completely natural in such communities. Photo by George Wuerthner

    There is ample evidence that Indian burning had little effect upon the occurrence of large fires on the landscape. Except for some high-use areas, Indian burning did not significantly alter fuels across the landscape; more importantly, it did not preclude larger blazes.

    Large mega fires have occurred for thousands of years, and Indigenous burning did not preclude them. Plus, the idea that low severity fires dominated western landscapes ignores the fact that numerous species depend on the high severity snag forests that result from large high severity blazes. The second-highest biodiversity after old growth forests is found in the snag forests and down wood that results from these blazes. These high severity habitats would simply not exist if such Indigenous burning were as successful as advocates suggest

    .The snag forest that results from large blazes is critical habitat for many species and has the second highest biodiversity after old growth forests. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Indeed, the effectiveness of fire suppression can be questioned. For instance, in the early part of the 20th Century, as much as 50 million acres burned annually in the United States during several drought decades. https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html

    https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html

    LIVING WITH FIRE

    Just as today, wildfire was a natural force that influenced where people lived. One of the ways tribal people lived with fire was to locally reduce fuels so as to safeguard their villages, trading centers, and traditional gathering areas from large dangerous blazes.

    This is the model that we should be promoting todayworking from the home outward to reduce local flammability of homes and edge of communities.

    Since most tribal people lived in lower elevation landscapes like valley bottoms with grasslands or dry ponderosa pine forests where wildfire was naturally more frequent, Indigenous burning likely favored the continued existence and even expansion of these plant communities.

    It is important to note that these community types are often a small percentage of the landscape. For instance, dry montane forests (largely ponderosa pine) make up only 4% of western Montana and northern Idaho. http://www.northernrockiesfire.org/drymont.htm

    Pondoersa pine is a common dry forest species. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Cultural burning was also done for a variety of other purposes as well. To create favorable conditions for the growth specific plant foods that might be favored by fire, to create fresh new growth of grasses and other plants favored by wildlife like deer, elk or bison. Fires were also used in warfare to burn out enemies that might be hiding in dense brush.Camas roots were among the plants that Indian burning sought to increase. Photo by George Wuerthner

    However, the question remains as to whether this cultural burning was sufficient to change fire regimes across the landscape to the point it precluded larger wildfires.

    While there is no doubt that Indigenous burning was widely practiced, the idea that cultural burning was a major influence on landscape-scale fire influences is questionable.

    There are multiple lines of evidence to suggest that Indian burning likely was local in nature and did not affect the larger landscape.

    FUELS DONT DRIVE LARGE FIRES

    Perhaps the biggest problem with the Indigenous burning will preclude large blazes is that it feeds into the narrative that fuels are driving the large fires we see around the West. The problem with this explanation is that large fires are primarily climate-weather driven events-and have always been a consequence of climate-weather. There is abundant coloration between extensive drought and large landscape fires. Conversely, during periods of wet, cool climates, there are fewer large blazes.

    If you have severe drought, low humidity, high temperatures, and most importantly wind, you get large landscape fires. If you do not have these weather/climate conditions, you get fewer ignitions, smaller fires that mostly self-extinguish.

    While Indian burning likely did influence fuel loading in some localized areas, it did not change the basic weather/climate ingredients that drive all large blazes (Whitlock, C et al. 2010).

    Furthermore, unless you have these extreme fire weather conditions, you simply will not get large acreages to burn.

    CLIMATE/WEATHER DRIVES LARGE BLAZES

    First, most cultural burning, like the prescribed fires set today by state and federal agencies, was practiced in the spring and fall when fire spread was limited by moist fuels, high humidity, cool temperatures and when winds are calm. High fuel moisture and cool temperatures limits fire spread. In other words, you will not burn very much acreage. Under such conditions, most fires simply self-extinguish and are difficult to maintain.

    Despite the implied notion in some of the above articles that somehow the Forest Service is ignorant of burning practices, this is the same reason federal and state agencies usually do prescribe burning during these seasons.

    By contrast, all our larger landscape fires occur during extreme fire weather conditions which is typically in the summer and early fall months. These include extreme drought, low humidity, high temperatures, and most importantly wind.

    Why is this important? Because most fires, even natural fires, are small. Unless you have these extreme fire weather conditions, 97-99% of all fires will burn 1-5 acres even if you dont suppress them. Whether the ignitions are from lightning or humans, if you dont have the right weather conditions, you will not burn a significant amount of the landscape.

    For instance, a total of 56,320 fires burned over 9 million acres in the Rocky Mountains between 1980-2003. 98% of these fires (55,220) burned less than 500 acres and accounted for 4% of the area burned. By contrast, Only, 2% of all fires accounted for 96% the acreage burned. And 0.1% (50) of blazes were responsible for half of the acres charred. (Baker 2009 Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes).

    In another example, between 1972 and 1987 Yellowstone National Park did not suppress backcountry fires. During this period, there were 235 blazes. Of these 222 charred less than 5 acres, and most burned less than 1 acre. And all 235 blazes self-extinguished.

    Then in 1988 more than a million acres burned in Yellowstone. Did fuels suddenly balloon overnight to sustain large high severity blazes? The reason Yellowstone burned in 1988 was that it was the driest year on record since the park was established, with humidity as low as 1-2% and winds exceeding 50 mph.

    Even large, high severity blazes burn in a mosaic pattern seen here in the aftermath of the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Thus, it would require setting thousands of these small fires when the climate/weather is not conducive for fire spread to burn any substantial amount of the landscape. So, the idea that Indian burning which can be characterized as primarily low severity frequent fires were of sufficient size and scale to affect larger landscapes is questionable just based on the timing of such ignitions.

    Native people were wise enough not to purposely set fires in the middle of extreme fire weather. Setting a blaze under conditions with variable high winds, and during a drought was a recipe for disaster because it easily leads to uncontrollable fires that would threaten villages and life.

    ECOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

    Most of the plant communities in the West tend to naturally have long to very long fire rotations, of many decades to hundreds of years in length. This includes aspen, most fir species, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, west-side Douglas fir, chaparral, sagebrush, juniper-pinyon, lodgepole pine, white pine, western larch, and various spruce species.

    This means wildfire historically did not burn in these communities except at infrequent intervals almost always dictated by climate/weather.

    During extreme weather conditions, the relative importance of fuels diminishes since all stands achieve the threshold required to permit crown fire development. This is important since most of the area burned in subalpine forests has historically occurred during very extreme weather (i.e., drought coupled to high winds). The fire behavior relationships predicted in the models support the concept that forest fire behavior is determined primarily by weather variation among years rather than fuel variation associated with stand age (Bessie, and Johnson 1995).

    Many of these species have few adaptations to withstand frequent fires and would simply not exist if tribal burning affected them.

    HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR LARGE BLAZES

    Though most fire ecologists concede that native burning likely declined after European American settlement due to native population decline resulting from disease, warfare and displacement, there is plenty of evidence for large fires before large scale Euro American occupation.

    For instance, in Oregons Willamette Valley most large trees were established after large, high severity fires that occurred long before Euro-American influences on native populations. The 1865 Silverton Fire burned more a million acres of the western Cascades. The 1853 Yaquina Fire burned nearly a half million acres. Recent records from Washington estimate that a series of large fires in 1701 may have burned between 3 and 10 million acres in a single summer. To quote from a recent article on fires in Washington state: 1701 is given as the best estimate for the last devastating fire that occurred throughout Western Washington, a fire that burned an estimated 3 million to 10 million acres. At the upper end of that range, the area is roughly equal to 10 Olympic National Parks. (https://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2020/05/western-washington-wildfire-what-are-we-facing-this-year-and-beyond/).

    Although individual accounts can vary, the detail of the observer can provide some hint of the accuracy of early accounts. For instance, David Douglas, (for whom Douglas Fir is named) traveled down the Willamette Valley in 1826 carefully noting the vegetation from the Hudson Bay Post at Fort Vancouver across from present day Portland. Douglas reported seeing burnt patches but noted that most were small (Knox and Whitlock 2002).

    Peter Skene Ogden noted extensive areas of burns in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and attributed it to natives. But there is no way for Ogden to know whether the fires were human ignitions or due to lightning.

    On the other hand, numerous travelers who kept meticulous notes like Lewis and Clark and John Fremont seldom mention encountering Indian burning. The absence of evidence is not the same as no evidence, nevertheless, when someone like Lewis and Clark or John Fremont fail to report extensive Indian burning, it does raise a cautionary note about how to interpret historic accounts.

    The other consideration is that Douglas, like most people traveling through the landscape, used the Indian trails and natural travel routes, and since human occupation is greatest in such areas, it may provide a bias view of the occurrence of human ignitions. Even today the majority of wildfires occur near roads. Also, since most of these areas were dominated by grasslands and low elevation dry pines where fire is more frequent even today, does not provide support for wider influence of human burning on the landscape.

    FIRE STUDY TECHNIQUES GIVE A BETTER LANDSCAPE SCALE PICTURE OF FIRE

    Beyond just historic accounts of fires, there is proxy evidence for past fire occurrence. Scientists use various methods to determine the fire history of any location.

    The scientific evidence for historic fire regimes is based on a few different methods. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages (Whitlock et al 2004).

    The most common method for reconstructing fire history are fire scars, but other methods including use of charcoal and pollen, among other techniques result in different perspectives.

    When a fire burns through an area at low severity (i.e. typically does not kill mature trees), it can leave a scar in the surviving trees. The scar eventually heals and is recorded in the tree rings. By examining tree rings, one can count the years between fires, and in some cases even determine the season of the burn. Thisthe most popular method of determining fire histories.

    Fire scar on a ponderosa pine. Photo by George Wuerthner

    There are, however, some problems with fire scar methods that some researchers believe results in an overestimation of fire frequency and influence (see Baker and Ehle 2001). For more detail on the problems of fire scar historical reconstructions see (Wuerthner 2018) https://www.thewildlifenews.com/2018/07/14/fire-scar-historical-reconstructions-accurate-or-flawed/

    Ecologically speaking, from a landscape perspective, it is the larger fires that significantly influence both vegetative communities as well as the fuels available for mega fires.

    There have been numerous studies that have looked at Indian burning and its influence on fire regimes. Most work done by fire ecologists who focus on large landscape fires do not find any additive influence from Indigenous burning. Rather climate/weather appears to control periods of significant wildfire activity (Baker W.L. 2002).

    In other words, they find evidence for more frequent fires during major droughts and in the immediate area of villages, along major travel corridors, trading centers, and other high use areas, but across the landscape as whole, they do not find evidence that human ignitions were additive to total landscape acreage charred by wildfire.

    The best way, in my view, to document whether human ignitions were an important influence for landscape scale fires is to use charcoal or pollen studies. But other techniques such as air photo, General Land Office (GLO) surveys, and even historic accounts of early Euro Americans can also provide insights.

    Charcoal studies are a proxy for wildfires that rely on examination of core drillings in lakes and ponds to extract sediments where charcoal from major wildfires are recorded. By examining such cores, researchers can document the larger wildfires in a landscape going back thousands of years.

    Pollen from the same core samples also documents the major vegetation present in surrounding lands.

    To give another example, one can show that Indian burning was more frequent in the Yosemite Valley where Indian people resided much of the year, but not evidence for wide-spread human burning in the majority of what is now Yosemite Valley or the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a whole (Vale 1998).

    For instance, Vachula et al 2019 did a study of Yosemite National Park where historically large Indigenous communities resided. Their research found a direct correlation between climate and the amount of burning on the landscape.

    View of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil Falls and El Capitan. Yosemite NP, CA. George Wuerthner

    We analyzed charcoal preserved in lake sediments from Yosemite National Park and spanning the last 1400 years to reconstruct local and regional area burned. Warm and dry climates promoted burning at both local and regional scales

    Regional area burned peaked during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and declined during the last millennium, as climate became cooler and wetter and Native American burning declined.

    Our record indicates that (1) climate changes influenced burning at all spatial scales, (2) Native American influences appear to have been limited to local scales, but (3) high Miwok populations resulted in fire even during periods of climate conditions unfavorable to fires. However, at the regional scale (< 150 km from the lake), fire was generally controlled by the top-down influence of climate. (Vachula et al 2019)

    In another study in the Willamette Valley found that the mean fire interval in Oregons Coast Range was 230 years and the presence of fire sensitive species like Sitka spruce indicates a lack of frequent fire (Knox and Whitlock 2002).

    Sitka spruce in Oregons coast range. Fire was infrequent in these forests due to high moisture and cool temperatures. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Regarding Indigenous ignitions in the Willamette Valley, Whitlock notes: The idea that Native Americans burned from one end of the valley to the other is not supported by our data, says Whitlock. Most fires seem to have been fairly localized, and broad changes in fire activity seem to track large-scale variations in climate she says. (Fire Science 2010).

    In other charcoal study of Washingtons Battle Ground Lake, Megan Walsh (Walsh et al 2008) concluded that Fire frequency was highest during the middle Holocene when oak savanna and prairie were widespread near Battle Ground Lake. She suggests: The vegetation and fire conditions were most likely the result of warmer and drier conditions compared with the present, not from human use of fire (Fire Science 2010).

    Hoffman et al. 2016 looked at Indian burning influence in coastal British Columbia and concluded: fires. At the decadal scale, fires were more likely to occur after positive El Nio-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation phases and exhibited 30-year periods of synchrony with the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation. Fire frequency was significantly inversely correlated with the distance from former Indigenous habitation sites.

    Though the Karuk and other tribes in northern Californias Siskiyou Mountains assert that their traditional burning precluded large fires, and fire suppression of native burning practices contributed to the large high severity blazes now burning the region. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/23/karuk-tribe-california-slater-fire-insurance

    Columbaroil and Gavin (2002) documented that large fires always occurred in the Siskiyou Mountains, primarily due to climate/weather, even during the pre-European period. Fire is a primary mode of natural disturbance in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Increased fuel loads following fire suppression and the occurrence of several large and severe fires have led to the perception that in many areas there is a greatly increased risk of high-severity fire compared with presettlement forests. To reconstruct the variability of the fire regime in the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon, we analyzed a 10-m, 2,000-y sediment core for charcoal, pollen, and sedimentological data. The record reveals a highly episodic pattern of fire in which 77% of the 68 charcoal peaks before Euro-American settlement

    Biscuit Burn Illinois River Rouge Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon Photo by George Wuerthner

    Odion et al. (2004) (Conservation Biology), conducted in a 98,814-hectare area burned in 1987 in the California Klamath region, found that the most fire-suppressed forests in this area (areas that had not burned since at least 1920) burned at significantly lower severity levels, likely due to a reduction in combustible native shrubs as forests mature and canopy cover increases: The hypothesis that fire severity is greater where previous fire has been long absent was refuted by our studyThe amount of high-severity fire in long-unburned closed forests was the lowest of any proportion of the landscape and differed from that in the landscape as a whole (Z = -2.62, n = 66, p = 0.004).

    Early timber surveys also record large high severity fires (Leiberg, J. B. 1903).

    Contrary studies that presume to substantiate a major influence of Indian burning tend to focus on major village sites, foraging areas, and other areas of high human use where no doubt Indigenous burning was additive to the background fire regime.

    Unfortunately, this evidence of increased burning is then extrapolated to the larger landscape where human activities were less frequent. A good example is a study by Kimaszewki -Patterson (2019) who looked at Indian burning in a meadow of the southern Sierra Nevada, and then inferred this represented the fire regime of the southern Sierra Nevada.

    This is the same error made by William Cronon in his book Changes in the Land (Cronon 1983) about Indian burning in New England. Cronons conclusions were challenged by Parshall and Forester 2002. The major factor influencing the distribution of fire across New England is climate, which has a direct effect on the physical conditions conducive to fire ignition and spread and an indirect effect on fire through its control on the distribution of vegetation at this spatial scale. We find evidence that other factors exert some control over local fire regimes as well including landforms and their impact on vegetation composition, firebreaks and prevailing winds. Native Americans likely influenced the local occurrence of fire, but their impact on regional fire regimes in New England is not apparent from this or other studies.

    More recent review of the evidence by David Foster of the Harvard Experimental Forest came to the deduction that Native American burning was localized (Oswald et al. 2020). The researchers conclude: Our new research, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, tests this human-centric view of the past using interdisciplinary, retrospective science. The data we collected suggest, in New England, this assumption is erroneous.

    Our study contradicts the theory that people had significant ecological impacts in southern New England before European arrival. Instead, it reveals that old forests, shaped by climate change and natural processes, prevailed across the region for thousands of years.

    The lush green of eastern decidious forests precludes large blazes except during exceptional drought. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Read the original:
    Indigenous Burning Myths and Realities - The Wildlife News

    Indigenous Burning: Myth and Realities – The Wildlife News - October 29, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Forest Service using drip torch for prescribed burning. Photo by George Wuerthner

    There has been a spate of articles in various newspapers and magazines, asserting that if the Forest Service were following burning practices of Indigenous people, the massive wildfires we have seen around the West would be tamed.

    Here are some representative of Indian burning will save the forest articles.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/23/karuk-tribe-california-slater-fire-insurance

    https://www.vox.com/first-person/21517619/california-wildfires-indigenous-controlled-burns

    https://www.wweek.com/news/2020/10/07/oregons-indigenous-communities-know-how-to-stop-megafires-will-the-state-let-them/?utm_campaign=2020-10-07+WildNews&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

    The October 7th, 2020 article Wildfires has ravaged the Western United States this year. Sending firefighting experts to Indigenous communities for guidance by Jim Cowan in the New York Times is typical of the erroneous assertions about Native American burning and its influence on large wildfires.

    Long before California was California, Native Americans used fire to keep the lands where they lived healthy. That meant intentionally burning excess vegetation at regular intervals, during times of the year when the weather would keep blazes smaller and cooler than the destructive wildfires burning today.

    And the Guardian article, like most of these recent publications, implies that the loss of native burning is contributing to large blazes: a century of practicing fire suppression over traditional tribal land stewardship has led to larger, more destructive wildfires.

    The idea that tribal burning impacted the broad landscape is asserted by some scholars (Williams, G.W. 2004; Lightfoot, K.G. and R.Q. Cuthrell. 2015) but often with scant evidence to back up these claims except for oral traditions of Native people.

    MAJOR ISSUES

    MYTH OF INDIAN LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT

    As Barrett et al. 2005 noted: For many years, the importance of fire use by American Indians in altering North American ecosystems was underappreciated or ignored. Now, there seems to be an opposite trend. It is common now to read or hear statements to the effect that American Indians fired landscapes everywhere and all the time, so there is no such thing as a natural ecosystem. A myth of human manipulation everywhere in pre-Columbus America is replacing the equally erroneous myth of a pristine wilderness.

    We believe that it is time to deflate the rapidly spreading myth that American Indians altered all landscapes by means of fire. In short, we believe that the case for landscape-level fire use by American Indians has been dramatically overstated and overextrapolated.

    Noss et al. 2014 assert: Despite ample evidence that lightning fire was a primary ecological driver in the NACP [North American Coastal Plain], the myth persists that most fires before the arrival of Europeans were set by Native Americans. For example, Mann (2005; 361) provides a map that shows essentially the entire pre-Columbian NACP, including the lightning-riddled Gulf coast and Florida peninsula, as dominated by anthropogenic fire or with widespread forest clearing for agriculture. No evidence is offered to support these claims.

    Most evidence for the widespread influence of indigenous burning is based on oral tradition, which is notoriously subject to variation of interpretation and misinterpretation.

    DID INDIGENOUS BURNING PRECLUDE LARGE BLAZES?

    The question is not whether Indian burning occurred, but rather to what extent it influenced the landscape as a whole and precluded large mixed to high severity blazes or what some people term mega fires. Is it a panacea for thwarting large blazes as implied? Furthermore, it needs into the notion that high severity blazes are somehow unnatural and ecologically destructive.

    The Blow up or 1910 Burn that charred 3.5 million acres of Idaho and Montana occurred well before fire suppression led to fuel build-ups Photo George Wuerthner

    The idea that fire suppression has led to some fuel build up in some plant communities is accurate, but fuel build-up is not the primary cause of sizeable high severity blazes. Most of these blazes are burning in plant communities like lodgepole pine, spruce/fire, juniper, and other plant communities that naturally had long intervals between fire events and naturally accumulate fuels. In other words, fuel build up in these plant communities is entirely natural.

    There is ample evidence that Indian burning had little effect on large fires on the landscape. Except for some high-use areas, Indian burning did not significantly alter fuels across the broader landscape; more importantly, it did not preclude larger blazes.

    Large mega fires have occurred for thousands of years, and Indigenous burning did not preclude them.

    Plus, the idea that low severity fires dominated western landscapes ignores the fact that numerous species depend on the high-severity snag forests that result from sizeable high severity blazes. The second-highest biodiversity after old-growth forests is found in the snag forests and down wood that results from these blazes. These high severity habitats would simply not exist if such Indigenous burning were as successful as advocates suggest.

    Indeed, the effectiveness of one hundred years of fire suppression can be questioned. For instance, in the early part of the 20th Century, as much as 50 million acres burned annually in the United States during several drought decades. https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_stats_totalFires.html

    https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/fireInfo_statistics.html

    LIVING WITH FIRE

    Cultural burning was done for a variety of other purposes. To create favorable conditions for the growth of specific plant foods that might be favored by fire, create fresh new growth of grasses and other plants favored by wildlife like deer, elk, or bison. Fires were also used in warfare to burn out enemies that might be hiding in dense brush.

    Just as today, wildfire was a natural force that influenced where people lived. One of the ways tribal people lived with fire was to locally reduce fuels to safeguard their villages, trading centers, and traditional gathering areas from large dangerous blazes.

    This is the model that we should be promoting todayworking from home outward to reduce local flammability of homes and communities edge.

    Since most tribal people lived in lower elevation landscapes like valley bottoms with grasslands or dry ponderosa pine forests where a wildfire was naturally more frequent, Indigenous burning likely favored the continued existence and expansion of these plant communities.

    Ponderosa pine forests characteristically experienced low severity frequent fires that reduced ground fuels. Photo by George Wuerthner

    It is important to note that these community types are often a small percentage of the landscape. For instance, dry montane forests (chiefly ponderosa pine) make up only 4% of western Montana and northern Idaho. http://www.northernrockiesfire.org/drymont.htm

    However, the question remains as to whether this cultural burning was sufficient to change fire regimes across the broader landscape to the point it precluded larger wildfires.

    While there is no doubt that Indigenous burning was widely practiced, the idea that cultural burning was a significant influence on landscape-scale fire influences is questionable.

    There are multiple lines of evidence to suggest that Indian burning likely was local and did affect the broader landscape.

    FUELS DONT DRIVE LARGE FIRES

    Perhaps the biggest problem with the Indigenous burning will preclude large blazes is that it feeds into the narrative that fuels drive the massive fires we see around the West. The problem with this explanation is that large fires are climate-weather driven events-and have always been a consequence of climate-weather. There is abundant coloration between extensive drought and large landscape fires. Conversely, during periods of wet, cool climates, there are fewer large blazes.

    If fuels were the primary driver of large blazes, we would expect large mega-fires along the Pacific Northwest coast where forest biomass is the greatest on the continent. Yet these coastal forests burn very infrequently-typically on 500-1000-year rotations due to the cool, moist climate.

    Tom Butler hugs old growth Sitka spruce, Hoh River Valley Olympic National Park Washington. Photo by George Wuerthner

    CLIMATE/WEATHER DRIVES LARGE BLAZES

    If you have severe drought, low humidity, high temperatures, and, most importantly, wind, you get large landscape fires. If you do not have these weather/climate conditions, you get fewer ignitions, smaller fires that mostly self-extinguish.

    The wind driving flames through vegetation during the 1988 fires that charred more than a million acres of Yellowstone National Park.

    While Indian burning likely did influence fuel loading in some localized areas, it did not change the basic weather/climate ingredients that drive all large blazes (Whitlock, C et al. 2010).

    Furthermore, you simply will not get large acreages to burn unless you have these extreme fire weather conditions.

    First, most cultural burning, like the prescribed fires set today by state and federal agencies, was practiced in the spring and fall when fire spread was limited by moist fuels, high humidity, cool temperatures, and when winds are calm. High fuel moisture and cool temperatures limit fire spread. In other words, you will not burn much acreage. Under such conditions, most fires simply self-extinguish and are challenging to maintain.

    Despite the implied notion in some of the above articles that somehow the Forest Service is ignorance of burning practices, this is the same reason federal and state agencies usually do prescribe burning during these seasons.

    By contrast, all our larger landscape fires occur during extreme fire weather conditions, typically in the summer and early fall months. These include severe drought, low humidity, high temperatures, and, most importantly, wind.

    Why is this important? Because most fires, even natural fires, are small. Unless you have these extreme fire weather conditions, 97-99% of all fires will burn 1-5 acres even if you dont suppress them. Whether the ignitions are from lightning or humans, if you dont have the right weather conditions, you will not burn a significant amount of the landscape.

    For instance, 56,320 fires burned over 9 million acres in the Rocky Mountains between 1980-2003. 98% of these fires (55,220) burned less than 500 acres and accounted for 4% of the area burned. By contrast, only 2% of all fires accounted for 96% of the acreage burned. And 0.1% (50) of blazes were responsible for half of the acres charred. (Baker 2009 Fire Ecology in Rocky Mountain Landscapes).

    In another example, between 1972 and 1987, Yellowstone National Park did not suppress backcountry fires. During this period, there were 235 blazes. Of these, 222 charred less than 5 acres and most burned less than 1 acre. And all 235 fires self-extinguished.

    Then in 1988, more than a million acres burned in Yellowstone. Did fuels suddenly balloon overnight to sustain large high severity blazes? 1988 was the driest year on record since the park was established, with humidity as low as 1-2% and winds exceeding 50 mph.

    Mosiac pattern of the 1988 wind-driven fire in Yellowstone National Park. Photo by George Wuerthner.

    Thus, it would require setting thousands of these small fires when the climate/weather is not conducive for fire spread to burn any substantial amount of the landscape. So, the idea that Indian burning, which can be characterized as primarily low-severity frequent fires, was of sufficient size and scale to affect larger landscapes is questionable based on such ignitions timing.

    Native people were wise enough to avoid purposely setting fires in the middle of extreme fire weather. Setting a blaze under conditions with variable high winds and drought was a recipe for disaster because it quickly leads to uncontrollable fires threatening villages and lives.

    ECOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

    Most of the Wests plant communities tend to naturally have long to very long fire rotations between fires, of many decades to hundreds of years in length. These communities include aspen, most fir species, mountain hemlock, western hemlock, west-side Douglas fir, chaparral, sagebrush, juniper-pinyon, lodgepole pine, white pine, western larch, and various spruce species.

    Old-growth mountain hemlock forest which typically remains fire-free for hundreds of years between blazes.

    This means wildfire historically did not burn in these communities except at infrequent intervals, almost always dictated by climate/weather.

    During extreme weather conditions, the relative importance of fuels diminishes since all stands achieve the threshold required to permit crown fire development. Weather/climate is important since most of the area burned in subalpine forests has historically occurred during very extreme weather (i.e., drought coupled to high winds). The fire behavior relationships predicted in the models support the concept that forest fire behavior is determined primarily by weather variation among years rather than fuel variation associated with stand age (Bessie and Johnson 1995).

    Many of these species have few adaptations to withstand frequent fires and would simply not exist if tribal burning affected them.

    HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR LARGE BLAZES

    Though most fire ecologists concede that native burning likely declined after European American settlement due to population decline resulting from disease, warfare, and displacement, there is plenty of evidence for large fires before large scale Euro American occupation.

    For instance, in Oregons Willamette Valley, most large trees were established after large, high severity fires that occurred long before Euro-American influences on native populations. The 1865 Silverton Fire burned more than a million acres of the western Cascades. The 1853 Yaquina Fire burned nearly a half-million acres. Recent records from Washington estimate that a series of large fires in 1701 may have burned between 3 and 10 million acres in a single summer. To quote from a recent article on fires in Washington state: 1701 is given as the best estimate for the last devastating fire that occurred throughout Western Washington, a fire that burned an estimated 3 million to 10 million acres. At the upper end of that range, the area is roughly equal to 10 Olympic National Parks. (https://www.pugetsoundinstitute.org/2020/05/western-washington-wildfire-what-are-we-facing-this-year-and-beyond/).

    Although individual accounts can vary, the observers detail can provide some hint of early accounts accuracy. For instance, David Douglas (for whom Douglas Fir is named) traveled from the Hudson Bay Post at Fort Vancouver down the Willamette Valley in 1826, carefully noting the vegetation. Douglas reported seeing burnt patches but indicated that most were small (Knox and Whitlock 2002).

    Oak woodland in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Peter Skene Ogden noted extensive burns in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon and attributed it to natives. However, unless one actually observed Natives setting fires, it is difficult to know the source of ignition.

    On the other hand, numerous travelers who kept meticulous notes like Lewis and Clark and John Fremont seldom mention encountering Indian burning. The absence of evidence is not the same as no evidence; nevertheless, when someone like Lewis and Clark or John Fremont fails to report extensive Indian burning, it does raise a cautionary note about interpreting historical accounts.

    The other consideration is that Douglas, like most people traveling through the landscape, used the Indian trails and natural travel routes. Since human occupation is greatest in such areas, it may provide a biased view of the occurrence of human ignitions. Even today, the majority of wildfires occur near roads. Also, since most of these areas were dominated by grasslands and low elevation dry pines where fire is more frequent even today, it does not support the broader influence of human burning on the landscape.

    FIRE STUDY TECHNIQUES GIVE A BETTER LANDSCAPE SCALE PICTURE OF FIRE

    Beyond just historical accounts of fires, there is proxy evidence for past fire occurrence. Scientists use various methods to determine the fire history of any location.

    The scientific evidence for historical fire regimes is based on a few different methods. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages (Whitlock et al. 2004).

    The most common method for reconstructing fire history is fire scars, but other ways, including charcoal and pollen studies, among other techniques, result in different perspectives.

    When a fire burns through an area at low severity (i.e., typically does not kill mature trees), it can leave a scar in the surviving trees. The scar eventually heals and is recorded in the tree rings. By examining tree rings, one can count the years between fires, and in some cases, even determine the season of the burn. This is the most popular method of determining fire histories.

    Fire scar in ponderosa pine Oregon. Photo by George Wuerthner

    There are, however, some problems with fire scar methods that some researchers believe results in an overestimation of fire frequency and influence (see Baker and Ehle 2001). For more detail on the problems of fire scar historical reconstructions, see (Wuerthner 2018) https://www.thewildlifenews.com/2018/07/14/fire-scar-historical-reconstructions-accurate-or-flawed/

    There have been numerous studies that have looked at Indian burning and its influence on fire regimes. Most work done by fire ecologists who focus on large landscape fires do not find any additive impact from Indigenous burning. Instead, climate/weather appears to control periods of significant wildfire activity (Baker W.L. 2002).

    In other words, they find evidence for more frequent fires during major droughts and in the immediate area of villages, along major travel corridors, trading centers, and other high use areas. Still, across the landscape as a whole, they do not find evidence that human ignitions were additive to total landscape acreage charred by wildfire.

    In my view, the best way to document whether human ignitions were an important influence for landscape-scale fires is to use charcoal or pollen studies. But other techniques such as air photo, General Land Office (GLO) surveys, and even historical accounts of early Euro Americans can also provide insights.

    Charcoal studies are a proxy for wildfires that rely on examining core drillings in lakes and ponds to extract sediments where charcoal from major wildfires are recorded. By reviewing such cores, researchers can document the larger wildfires in a landscape going back thousands of years. Charcoal studies tend to record the larger regional blazes.

    Pollen from the same core samples also documents the primary vegetation present in surrounding lands.

    For instance, Vachula et al. 2019 studied Yosemite National Park, where historically large Indigenous communities resided. Their research found a direct correlation between climate and the amount of burning on the landscape.

    Yosemite Valley, smoke from fire, Yosemite NP, CA. Photo by George Wuerthner

    We analyzed charcoal preserved in lake sediments from Yosemite National Park and spanning the last 1400 years to reconstruct local and regional area burned. Warm and dry climates promoted burning at both local and regional scales Regional area burned peaked during the Medieval Climate Anomaly and declined during the last millennium, as climate became cooler and wetter and Native American burning declined.

    Our record indicates that (1) climate changes influenced burning at all spatial scales, (2) Native American influences appear to have been limited to local scales, but (3) high Miwok populations resulted in fire even during periods of climate conditions unfavorable to fires. However, at the regional scale (< 150 km from the lake), fire was generally controlled by the top-down influence of climate. (Vachula et al. 2019)

    Another study in the Willamette Valley found that the mean fire interval in Oregons Coast Range was 230 years, and the presence of fire-sensitive species like Sitka spruce indicates a lack of frequent fire (Knox and Whitlock 2002).

    Sitka spruce in Oregons Coast Range experience a mean fire interval of 230 years. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Regarding Indigenous ignitions in the Willamette Valley, Whitlock notes: The idea that Native Americans burned from one end of the valley to the other is not supported by our data, says Whitlock. Most fires seem to have been fairly localized, and broad changes in fire activity seem to track large-scale variations in climate, she says. (Fire Science, 2010).

    In another charcoal study of Washingtons Battle Ground Lake, Megan Walsh (Walsh et al. 2008) concluded that Fire frequency was highest during the middle Holocene when oak savanna and prairie were widespread near Battle Ground Lake. She suggests: The vegetation and fire conditions were most likely the result of warmer and drier conditions compared with the present, not from human use of fire (Fire Science 2010).

    The authors (Walsh et al. 2008) concluded that wildfires were: mostly large or high-severity fire episodes. The fire history at Battle Ground Lake was driven by climate, directly through the length and severity of the fire season, and indirectly through climate-driven vegetation shifts, which affected available fuel biomass.

    To give another example, one can show that Indian burning was more frequent in the Yosemite Valley where Indian people resided much of the year, but no evidence for wide-spread human burning in the majority of what is now Yosemite Valley or the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a whole (Vale 1998).

    Hoffman et al. 2016 looked at Indian burning influence in coastal British Columbia and concluded: fires. At the decadal scale, fires were more likely to occur after positive El Nio-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation phases and exhibited 30-year periods of synchrony with the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation. Fire frequency was significantly inversely correlated with the distance from former Indigenous habitation sites.

    Though the Karuk and other tribes in northern Californias Siskiyou Mountains assert that their traditional burning precluded large fires, and that fire suppression of native burning practices contributed to the sizeable high severity blazes now burning the region. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/23/karuk-tribe-california-slater-fire-insurance

    Columbaroil and Gavin (2002) documented that large fires always occurred in the Siskiyou Mountains, primarily due to climate/weather, even during the pre-European period. Fire is a primary mode of natural disturbance in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Increased fuel loads following fire suppression and the occurrence of several large and severe fires have led to the perception that in many areas, there is a greatly increased risk of high-severity fire compared with presettlement forests. To reconstruct the variability of the fire regime in the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon, we analyzed a 10-m, 2,000-y sediment core for charcoal, pollen, and sedimentological data. The record reveals a highly episodic pattern of fire in which 77% of the 68 charcoal peaks before Euro-American settlement

    High severity burns always occurred in the Siskiyou Mountains, despite Indigenous burning. Photo by George Wuerthner

    Odion et al. (2004) (Conservation Biology), conducted in a 98,814-hectare area burned in 1987 in the California Klamath region, found that the most fire-suppressed forests in this area (areas that had not burned since at least 1920) burned at significantly lower severity levels, likely due to a reduction in combustible native shrubs as forests mature and canopy cover increases: The hypothesis that fire severity is greater where previous fire has been long absent was refuted by our studyThe amount of high-severity fire in long-unburned closed forests was the lowest of any proportion of the landscape and differed from that in the landscape as a whole (Z = -2.62, n = 66, p = 0.004).

    View original post here:
    Indigenous Burning: Myth and Realities - The Wildlife News

    Homeowners, beware: ‘Bag’ worms are infesting trees and shrubs – Kankakee Daily Journal - October 10, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Do you have a bagworm infection in your trees? The bags they inhabit are easy to spot but often confused for cones or seed-bearing structures.

    According to the University of Illinois Extension of Kankakee County and The Morton Arboretum, they take up homestead in conifer, arborvitae, spruce, eastern red cedar, other junipers or white pine trees.

    The bags are usually 1.5- to 2-inches long and will look different depending on the host plant, the Morton Arboretum says. For example, the bag on a maple will look different from a bag on an arborvitae. Because bagworms add plant materials to the top of the bag, the freshest and greenest material is on the top of the bag. Inside the bag is, or was, a worm. A few of them and your trees would be OK, but a whole lot of them could eat down your tree or bush.

    The dark brown bagworm caterpillars are 1/8- to 1/4-inch long when they first hatch, eventually reaching 1-inch long. As the insect feeds, it creates a silken case covered with the leaves made from the host plant, binding the bag together and attaching it to the plant with a silken thread.

    Once a plant is infested, populations can grow quickly.

    Life cycle

    Bagworm young hatch in the overwintering bag and emerge in June to begin feeding, the extension says. They are blown to other plants easily. As they feed, female worms construct their case (bag) for about three months; sometimes during this stage, it is possible to see the bags moving as the worms move. In late summer the mature worms pupate for seven to 10 days; winged males emerge and exit the bag, and wingless females stay and mate while still in the bag. One female lays up to 1,000 eggs in the bag, where they will stay until the next year. Meanwhile, the female dies.

    You will find bagworms feeding during the summer, but they are much easier to kill when they are small. These caterpillars remain susceptible to chemical treatment into early July. Heavy infestations can be unsightly with all the eaten foliage and can kill branches or whole plants.

    By the time August comes, when bagworms are most likely to be noticed, these caterpillars already have formed their bags, it is too late for chemical control. Hand picking is an option.

    So, now is the time to get outside and remove the bags. They can be handpicked and destroyed from fall through spring, thus removing the eggs and helping to eliminate the threat next year.

    Damage being done

    Bagworms usually begin feeding at the top of the tree, according to the extension office. When small, the worms feed in the layers of the leaf tissue, creating light patches on leaves. As they age, they consume entire needles or leaves.

    A severe infestation could defoliate plants, which can kill branches or entire plants. A healthy deciduous tree or shrub that has been defoliated usually produces a new flush of leaves and survives. However, a defoliated evergreen cannot push out an additional set of leaves and might die.

    Sources: University of Illinois Extension of Kankakee County and The Morton Arboretum

    See the article here:
    Homeowners, beware: 'Bag' worms are infesting trees and shrubs - Kankakee Daily Journal

    Invasive shrubs in Northeast forests grow leaves earlier and keep them longer – Penn State News - August 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. The rapid pace that invasive shrubs infiltrate forests in the northeastern United States makes scientists suspect they have a consistent advantage over native shrubs, and the first region-wide study of leaf timing, conducted by Penn State researchers, supports those suspicions.

    With the help of citizen scientists spread over more than 150 sites in more than 20 states, researchers collected thousands of observations over four years of exactly when both invasive and native shrubs leaf out in the spring and lose their leaves in the fall. The study area was expansive, stretching from southern Maine to central Minnesota south to southern Missouri, to North Carolina.

    In the spring, the invasive shrubs in the understory at Shaver's Creek have green leaves to take advantage of extra sunlight while the overstory canopy is leafless. However, native shrubs have barely burst leaf buds. Citizen scientists collected data on this phenomenon of extended leaf phenology across the Northeast.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean/Penn State

    Eastern North America is the recipient of more invasive shrubspecies into naturalareas than any other geographic region of the world, said lead researcherErynn Maynard-Bean, postdoctoral researcher in the College of Agricultural Sciences, working under the guidance of Margot Kaye, associate professor of forest ecology.Invasive shrubs are growing in both abundance and in the number of species established at the expense of many types of native species.

    The researchers reported in Biological Invasions that invasive shrubs can maintain leaves 77 days longer than native shrubs within a growing season at the southern end of the area studied. The difference decreases to about 30 days at the northern end of the study area. At the southern end of the study area, the time when invasive shrubs have leaves and native shrubs do not is equally distributed between spring and fall; in the northern reaches of the study area, two-thirds of the difference between native and invasive growing seasons occur in fall.

    The location of observations used for modeling leaf emergence and leaf off. The final number of observations used to model leaf emergence by citizen scientists was 911 across 153 sites, and for leaf off was 589 observations across 72 sites.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean/Penn State

    The longer period with leaves gives invasive plants an advantage in acquiring more energy from sunlight and their leaves create shade in early spring and late fall that may limit growth of native species, such as forest ephemeral wildflowers, Maynard-Bean explained.This helps explain their negative impact on native tree regeneration, plant diversity and abundance, she said. But invasive shrubs also have a negative impact on communities of animal species sensitive to light and temperature, such as bees, butterflies and amphibians.

    Small, local studies in Northeast forests have shown that invasive shrubs have leaves longer than native shrubs. However, because the phenomenon known as extended leaf phenology varies geographically, the degree to which it benefits invasive shrubs across the region had previously been unknown.

    The difference between native plants and invasive plants having leaves is not consistent, Maynard-Bean noted. It varies, dependingon latitude, species studied and weather for the study period.

    But with the help of citizen scientistswithUSA National Phenology Networkwatching plants with us from around the eastern U.S., we found a pattern of greater extended leaf phenology as you move south, she said. This provides a unified framework for connecting local-scale research results from different parts of the eastern U.S. that had previously not agreed with one another.

    In early spring, northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a native shrub that is just breaking buds on the left, while an invasive shrub, Morrows honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii), has well-developed leaves on the right.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean/Penn State

    With the goal of understanding on-the-ground implications for eastern deciduous forest ecosystems, the researchers chose common, widespread species that co-occur in forest understories. Native shrubs followed in the study included alternate-leaf dogwood, flowering dogwood, gray dogwood, spicebush, mapleleaf viburnum, southern arrowwood, hobble-bush and black haw. Invasive shrubs native to Europe or Asia followed in the study included Japanese barberry, burning bush, multiflora rose and several species of honeysuckles and privet.

    About 800 citizen scientists collected more than 8,000 observations of leaf timing for 804 shrubs at 384 sites, from 2015 through 2018.In addition, Maynard-Bean made observations at three sites in Pennsylvania.

    In late fall, the native shrub, mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium), exhibits fall color prior to the adjacent invasive privet (Ligustrum obtusifolium) which is still bright green and photosyntheticallyactive.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean/Penn State

    Thepatterns of extended leaf phenology for invasive shrubs compared to native shrubs found in this study have important implications for policy and management, according to Kaye, whose research group has been evaluating invasive shrubs in Northeast forests for more than a decade. She pointed out that invasives included in this study are still commonly used for horticultural purposes in some states but are banned in others.

    The presence of this phenomenon may serve as a predictive trait for the invasion potential of new horticultural specimens, Maynard-Bean said. From a management perspective, extended leaf phenology makes invasive shrubs an easier green target in the spring and fall for detection, removal and treatment, which can protect dormant, non-target native species.

    Also contributing to the research were Tyler Wagner, adjunct professor of fisheries ecology, andEric Burkhart, associate teaching professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

    In late fall, the native shrub northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin), with yellow fall color surrounded by Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) that still has deep green foliage as well as red fruits.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean/Penn State

    The National Science Foundation funded this research and theUSA National Phenology Network's support was instrumental in the study. The Arboretum at Penn State and Shavers Creek Environmental Center also supported the research by allowing data collection at their sites.

    Extended leaf phenology becomes apparent at the ends of the growing season in early spring and late fall when most native woody species have lost their foliage.

    IMAGE: Erynn Maynard-Bean

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    Invasive shrubs in Northeast forests grow leaves earlier and keep them longer - Penn State News

    What Is Oleandrin? Trump Reportedly Wants FDA to Approve Plant Extract for Coronavirus – Newsweek - August 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    President Donald Trump reportedly wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the plant extract oleandrin as a potential treatment for COVID-19, despite a current lack of evidence that it would be effective for this purpose.

    The extract was promoted to the president during an Oval Office meeting in July, which involved Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell and Andrew Whitney, an executive at Phoenix Biotechnologya company that is developing and pushing the oleandrin product to the Trump administration.

    During the meeting, Trump "basically said: ...'The FDA should be approving it,'" Lindell told Axios. But what is oleandrin and does the substance have any medical uses?

    Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

    Oleandrin is a botanical extract from the oleander plantan evergreen shrub or small tree that is highly toxic to humans and many animals if any part is ingested. Oleandrin is one of several toxic compounds that the plant contains.

    Some "in vitro" researcha term used to refer to studies done in test tubes rather than animals or humanshas suggested that the substance could potentially be useful as a treatment for various cancers, including those of the colon, pancreas and prostate.

    Furthermore, one in vitro study published in the journal Fitoterapia found that the compound inhibits the ability of HIV to establish an infection, although it should be noted that the results of test tube studies do not always translate into animal or human models.

    Professor Sharon Lewin, an internationally renowned expert on antiviral drugs from the University of Melbourne in Australia, told Axios: "Oleandrin looks to have antiviral activity at high doses in a test-tube model. You'd certainly want to see more work done on this before even contemplating a human trial" for its effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2the virus that causes COVID-19.

    Get your unlimited Newsweek trial >

    While one paper published in July by researchers from the University of Texas at Galveston indicated that oleandrin inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in monkey kidney cells, its conclusions should be viewed with caution. The paper, which lists Robert Newmanchairman of Phoenix Biotechnology's scientific advisory boardas an author has not been peer-reviewed. This means it is yet to undergo evaluation by experts in the field in order to be published in a scientific journal.

    In May 2020 the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) conducted some preliminary testing of oleandrin against SARS-CoV-2. The results were "inconclusive," a spokesperson, Caree Vander Linden, told Axios.

    "Additionally, USAMRIID was contacted by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, indicating that they were also testing it," Vander Linden said. "Given our inconclusive results, and having other high priority therapeutics to assess, we did not continue with this line of research."

    Aside from the aforementioned research, there appear to be no other published papers testing oleandrin's efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 in animals or humans. However, Whitney told Axios on Saturday that an unpublished lab study testing oleandrin on humans as a COVID-19 treatment is in the process of being peer-reviewed.

    Whitney says that oleandrin can "cure" COVID-19, causing symptoms to disappear "in the vast majority of cases," Axios reported, although there is currently insufficient publicly available evidence to back up these claims.

    "We have something that we believe will address the problem and we want to make it available," Whitney told Axios. "We believe we should be given the opportunity to demonstrate that in a hospital clinical trial setting and we believe that must happen now and not a month from now."

    The company is exploring oleandrin as a potential COVID-19 treatmentsomething which would require the drug to undergo rigorous human clinical trials. However, Phoenix Biotechnology is also pushing the FDA to allow oleandrin to be sold as a dietary supplement. This could happen quickly, according to Whitney, although the company would not be allowed to make claims about its effectiveness in treating or curing COVID-19.

    Oleandrin's use against COVID-19 is supported by Carson and Lindella Trump backer, who recently bought a stake in Phoenix Biotechnology. Lindella personal friend of Carson and the presidenthelped to arrange the July Oval Office meeting where Whitney discussed oleandrin's use against COVID-19, The Washington Post reported.

    Some senior administration officials have expressed their concern over oleandrin being pushed as a COVID-19 treatment at the top of the U.S. government.

    "The involvement of the Secretary of HUD and MyPillow.com in pushing a dubious product at the highest levels should give Americans no comfort at night about their health and safety during a raging pandemic," a senior administration official told Axios.

    In March, Trump pushed FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to authorize the emergency use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19.

    The agency subsequently issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the drug. however, the FDA revoked this in June based on results from a large, randomized clinical trial in hospitalized patients "that found these medicines showed no benefit for decreasing the likelihood of death or speeding recovery."

    Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

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    What Is Oleandrin? Trump Reportedly Wants FDA to Approve Plant Extract for Coronavirus - Newsweek

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