16. Coarse Woody Debris Fire Protection
426. Logging on National Forests INCREASES the risk of forest
fires more than any other human activity, according to the governments own
427. Fire is a natural and beneficial part of ecosystems. Without
it, the ecosystem quickly degrades.
428. But avoiding catastrophic fire risk is often used to justify logging.
Ironically, however, according to the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project Final
Report to Congress, "Timber harvest, through its affects on forest structure,
local microclimate, and fuel accumulation, has increased fire severity more
than any other recent human activity."
429. Clearcutting can change fire climate so that fires start more
easily, spread faster, and burn hotter. If the intent is to seek the
most environmentally sound and cost effective means to reduce the fuel hazard
and fire risk, then the Forest Service should be instructed and fully funded
to implement understory prescribed burning without commercial logging.
The long-term goal should be full restoration of ecological processes, including
430. Logs become habitat for a variety of invertebrate species shortly
after falling. CWD is used by invertebrates as a source of food, for nesting
and brooding sites, for protection from predators and environmental extremes,
as a source of construction material, and as overwintering and hibernating
sites (Samuelsson et al. 1994) (Voller and Harrison, 1998).
431. Free-living bacteria in woody residues and soil wood fix 30-60%
of the nitrogen in the forest soil. In addition, 20% of soil nitrogen is
stored in these components (Harvey et al. 1987). Harmon et al. (1986) reported
that CWD accounted for as much as 45% of aboveground stores of organic matter.
Symplastless wood in terrestrial ecosystems is a primary location for fungal
colonization and often acts as refugia for mycorrhizal fungi during ecosystem
disturbance (Triska and Cromack 1979; Harmon et al. 1986; Caza 1993) (Voller
and Harrison, 1998).
432. An unbelievable story is the PHLIGHT OF THE KOALAS.
433. The plight of this partially blind koala is due to ignorance of
tree basics. Koalas eat the leaves of only about six species of Eucalyptus.
Man loved the koalas so much, he built his homes close to the Eucalyptus
Groves because he wanted to be close to them. But, the Eucalyptus Groves
go up very fast and burn very hot. So, out of the ignorance of tree
biology, man dug fire trenches. In doing so, the trees were injured
below ground (woody and non-woody roots for starters). When trees
are threatened or injured they do something they respond. Because
of the fire ditches to reduce the threat of fire and over development, most
of the leaves on the declining trees in the area tanned. Tanning is a chemical
process of combining phenol-based substances with proteins, and the disruption
of hydrogen bonds leaves the protein indigestible. In one sense the hydrogen
bonds, are held open by toothpicks. The enzymes of the koala would
enter to digest the leaves. Tanning is like, removing the toothpicks.
The animals ate and ate, but received little nutrition. Lots of moisture,
wet spot developed. A spirochete similar to syphilis entered and was
passed along by mating. Many koalas died. The good news is that development
in the area was not only stopped, but many developed areas will be returned
to their original state. (More on the topic; "A
Touch of Chemistry".)
434. Checklist of plants and animals. There are few checklists of
either plants or animals that inhabit fallen Douglas fir in Pacific Northwest.
[Let alone, in other areas with other species, in the USA (Termed as profiles
or unique features of organisms)]. No checklist of the microorganisms
in fallen trees of western old-growth forest is available [I know of none
in the east.]; the subject has hardly been studied. (Higher fungi have
been cataloged for many kinds of so-called rotten wood in Europe.)
Lawton listed the mosses that occur on so called rotten wood or stumps in
the Pacific Northwest. Deyrup (1975, 1976) has done a thorough job
with insects and has identified about 300 species associated with fallen
Douglas fir. The only published checklist for vertebrates that use
fallen trees is for northeastern Oregon (Maser and others 1979 not listed
in references here). (Maser and Trappe, 1984, page 18-par 2)
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