We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there. – Charles F. Kettering
As a forester, I am always thinking future- what can be done now to best manage forests and ecosystems for the future, because “guess what”, we will always be headed towards the future and we want to pave for a “better” future for younger generations. This morning I was talking with a a colleague and he expressed his gratitude for me being of younger generation and being environmentally conscious. Even at my age, I am worried about the younger generation because like my elders, I to am only borrowing this land from generations below me and I want to make sure I pave a better path then generations before me because I have the education and science to make it better. I can not turn my head and say, well the next generation will fix it, I need to ACT NOW.
Anyways, off my soap box and to the point of this post. Best Forest Management. Recently, there was a small forest fire in my backyard and the yards around me. One of my neighbors decided to burn leaves but did not consult Mr. Smokey first! If they had asked Smokey the Bear prior they would have know it was way to dry and the winds would blow the warm coals and catch fire. So a fire broke out, affected 5 property owners, my property included. No building damages caused but the ground of the woodlot sitting between us all had been burned.
This type of fire is called a cool fire or surface fire, it was low burning and did not affect the canopy. Although, this fire was not a prescribed fire it still has its benefits. I know some of the landowners affected are not happy, but I tried explaining to them that its actually “good” and since they did not lose any mature trees they will see in the near future that it has benefited them. Forest fires have been used since forever because of all their benefits. Fires can minimize the spread of disease and insects, it can remove the presence of invasive species that are not used to fire, it can improve habitat, and promotes the growth of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers! The key here is native…fire helps bring back native species while burning out the non-natives and invasive species. Some species require fire to regenerate! Serotinous cones such as the jack pine need fire to open up the cone and release the seeds. Fire is healthy when done correctly.
Although this was not a prescribed fire, I believe it will benefit the area burned in a positive way. But lesson learned to neighbors–consult Smokey Bear and do not burn leaves when its dry as dry out!
Best management for the future may include the scarier approach