Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stupid unscientific things said about Forests and Trees

Especially by people who should know better 

Lately, well over the past year, there has been a plethora of dumb things said about trees and the forests they create. Did you know that they are partly to blame for all of our present climate problems ? Did you know they cause Smog ? Did you know that they create wasteful water shortages ? With idiocy such as this, don't expect the climate change denialists to be won over anytime soon.

image: Forrest M Mimms III

Sapling conifers like this one near Cloudcroft, N.M., form
heat islands that melt surrounding snow, especially when
sunlight warms their needles.
"A pair of scientists at Dartmouth College plan to present new research this week that suggests that, in some snow-covered places in the world, cutting down trees might have a net benefit for the climate because of the cooling effect the snow provides."
This would require understanding the basics of the Albedo Effect 
"To put it simply it is the amount of solar energy reflected off a surface. Surfaces that are covered in snow are white, and they reflect more sunlight, which has a cooling effect. Surfaces that are darker in color, like forests, absorb more light and are warmer. Think of snow like a mirror, bouncing heat back off into space."
Can Cutting Down Trees Actually Help Save The Planet?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rather than provide a long list of asinine absurd silly arguments being waged against trees and forested ecosystems, you can go Google this list below here:
Trees cause global warming
Trees cause air pollution.  
Trees cause drought.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Image: US Forest Service

The Stanislaus-Tuolumne Experimental Forest after it was
thinned recently leaving more space on the ground
for snow to collect.
Now oddly enough there is something which came out recently on March 24th 2014, for which many people took offense. There is a UC Merced engineering professor named Roger C. Bales who specializes in mountain hydrology and proposes a silly idea, no doubt politically & economically influenced, with regards requiring forest harvesting of trees to reduce competition for water which he says they gulp down in enormous quantities, depriving other life, particularly humans from accessing this precious resource. The article which came out in the Modesto Bee was titled: "Overgrown Sierra forests gulping water that could flow to Valley" (San Joaquin Valley).
“It’s one of the lower-cost options (to increase California’s water supply) … and it also would reduce the probability of big destructive fires,”
“There could be measurable and significant gains” – a hypothesized 9 percent increase in snowmelt runoff – if the forests are properly thinned. 
"All those extra trees gulp water that once would have flowed to the Valley. They also prevent snow from hitting the ground and melting into the soil. A lot of snow gets caught in the tree canopy, where it evaporates.
This is insane reasoning. Why now ? Why all the accusations against trees and so-called undergrowth now ? Wasn't it a problem previously when rainfall was normal or even above normal during El Nino events ? No one said anything about such density of trees being evil back then. So because of California's Mega-Drought & Climate Change, this lack of water in creeks, streams, and rivers has all been caused by trees, not the total lack of measurable rainfall ?
“There are 2½-to-3-times more trees today than there used to be, and they’re sucking up water,” explained Eric Knapp, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station. “A lot of the Sierra is in pretty bad shape” because it’s so overgrown." 
“Climate change is upon us,” Dion warned. “The snowline is moving up the hill.” He said forest overgrowth is worsening the impact of that change by reducing water flows. 
So once again it's the tree's fault for lower stream flow and not the fact that we are experiencing one of the worst changes of climate brought about by mankind which has reduced rainfall. Message here: Let's don't fix the global climate mechanisms, let's blame trees and reduce their numbers which will provide us with the same rate of water flow, which in the end is what we all really want anyway.  
 "The plan is to thin the overgrowth to create gaps in the forest floor so more snow can collect on the ground – as it did in centuries past."
"Dion said doing that may cost an extra $450,000 to $500,000, but it could enable Bales and his people to scientifically measure the results on water flow. Thinning at the demonstration site could start in 2016, and it would take more than two years to complete." 
So now, the plan is to spend almost $500,000 on a fresh test plot for thinning trees to see the effects of less trees in the plot area on stream flows ? This won't begin until 2016 ? No way, they can save that money and begin NOW by setting up equipment in the already obliterated region of the Rim Fire near Yosemite. Stream flow there ought to reveal a landscape with such an over active bladder problem for which only adult nappies on steroids would alleviate. Seriously folks, this has more to do with Industrial Forestry & Agriculture biased science fingerprints written all over it, than some eco-green motivated science for biodiversity.
(Source)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Below wait, here is another earlier article from the Modesto Bee editorial page back on September 2013 after this past summer's Rim Fire up in the Sierra Nevada mountains titled: Our View: "Lessons from Rim fire near Yosemite a generation out" 
Another, longer-term view, is offered by Roger Bales, who directs the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced. He notes that "the philosophy has been to suppress all fires in order to protect people and their property. The result: Forests that are much denser than they would have been if nature had been allowed to take her course." 
(source: Modesto Bee Editorial) 
Apparently, people's lives and property are also responsible for the mess these ecosystems are presently in. It's also firefighter's fault for protecting lives and property. Well, at least according to Mr Bales and the Editors of the Modesto Bee.

But this economic scheme cloaked under the guise of Eco-Green is really nothing new. This has been researched and proposed before. In fact back on May 2013 in the online journal Live Science was an article with a stupid title called: "Surprising Pollution Problem: Too Many Trees". The article pointed out much of what the recent Modesto Bee article did yesterday, but it went much further and used irresponsible descriptive adjectives which offered no value when it described the forest growth as something cancerous. This is a term traditionally used in describing chaparral plant community, but apparently those plants are much more favoured than forest trees in this instance.
The new trees' canopies collectively intercept 20 to 30 percent of snow and rain that can no longer seep into the ground, and each additional tree's roots suck 18 gallons of moisture up out of the ground before runoff can feed thirsty creeks.
That adds up. Helen Poulos, a fire ecologist at Wesleyan University, and I have estimated, conservatively, that excess trees in the 7.5 million acres of Sierra Nevada conifer forest are responsible for the loss of more than 15 billion gallons per day, or 17 million acre-feet of water per year. That's more than enough water to meet the needs of every Californian for a year. 
Metastasizing native tree growth also physically alters the temperature, chemistry and biology of the landscape. It crowds out indigenous plant and animal species. Shade tolerant species take over. Deprived of low-intensity, naturally occurring fires, aspen, lupine, sequoia and fireweed can't reproduce. Deer lose edge habitat. Threatened owls and raptors can't navigate through increasingly dense thickets.
(source) 
So apparently in the eyes of Helen Poulos & Roger C. Bales, the forest is a cancerous metastasizing invasive tumor which is in dire need of surgical removal from the landscape for the benefit of human economic water usage, but of course that's under the guise of we really do care about Nature ? Oddly enough the use of the negative adjectives is generally more reserved for other less desired plant community species by foresters such as Chaparral, which in the past have been labeled "Dull" & "Mundane". Chaparral also has been described as "invasive", "hindrance to forest regrowth" and "competitive". Yet these terms are now applied to native Forest Trees. This is confusing since much of the promoted ideological movement in past decades has been to forcibly limit chaparral to actually increase & spread forest cover back to it's former range and beyond. And yet, even these Trees are now considered invasive greedy water loving biological invasives in their home range ? The other perverted adjective used here in the literature is describing these once promoted Forests as now somehow being Cancerous ? If not, then what in the world do they mean by this expression, "Metastasizing native tree growth"  ? So I guess the successful spread of forest trees across the landscape up in the Sierras is nothing more than Mother Earth having breast cancer ? The idea that these wild native forest trees in the Sierras use such massive volumes of water is also illustrated by using another irresponsible descriptive adjective word like, Gulping, which is far more appropriate a description for those trees much further on down the Sierra Nevada mountains on the very floor of the San Joaquin Valley. Take a look once again at the photo above which was used in that article to help you picture or visualize greedy water gulping native trees and compare it to an agricultural photo of an commercial  Orchard which the same Modesto Bee referenced earlier on March 10th 2014. That earlier  article dealt with the recent rains which pushed back irrigation times by three weeks. But you tell me which set of trees and practices requires the gulping down of water ?  


imgae: Joan Barnett Lee — jlee@modbee.com

Irrigation water flows into an orchard in Hughson in March
 2012. Modesto Irrigation District board members will review
a plan that proposes delaying the start of this year’s
irrigation season by three weeks.
This certainly is not rocket science here. I wrote about this very subject back on October 1, 2012. The subject was about deep pipe irrigation and implementing concepts patterned after replicating what we observe out in Nature into agricultural practices. 
Deep Irrigation Methods for Training Deeper Rooting networks
IRRIGATION ISSUES: Why Isn't Nature Replicated more often ?

image: sprinklerwarehouse.com

It's worthless to write a post on this subject with nothing but complaints and other criticism and not provide better practical application as a alternative. Deep Pipe irrigation has been successful in restoration of native shrubs and trees by various California Universities in desert habitats. But why not carry this over to industrial agriculture ? In my exploration of mountains of Southern California, I have stumbled upon private property, some occupied, some abandoned, where large Standard size Fruit Trees are still alive and producing with no irrigation. Many of these trees are close to 100 years old. Why is this ? First, they are Hierloom Standard trees, as opposed to the convenient commercial Dwarf or Semi-dwarf trees used in commercial orchards. Standard trees have a deeper root system, but were mostly replaced by the semi-dwarf varieties which are grafted onto a much different rootstock which restricts their size in favour of easier harvesting trees for farm worker convenience. The drawback of course is a much shallower root system as compared to Standard trees which are not only deeper rooted, but much larger in height which always required tall ladders. 


courtesy: Buckinghamshire County Council
Above is how orchard harvesting was done in the old days. These are Cheery Pickers with long tall ladders. Mostly they are the typical tripod designed type of ladder. But many of such trees are also over 100 years old. Semi-Dwarfs can often be short-lived depending on the tree variety and might need to have to be replaced at some intervals for continued productivity. They were marketed as a convenience tree for farmers and of course for home gardeners with small yard spaces which requires much surface waste. But again because of the shallower root system, they need water more regularly. In the wild, on those abandoned homesteads, most deep rooted standard trees do fine without surface water if the deeper moister soil layers are tapped into. Also the domestic standard trees on old homesteads are also connected to the mycorrhizal grid, another thing no doubt missing from commercial orchards if they adhere to a strict science-based Industrial Ag regimen. If I have the time, I'll go back to some of these trees this spring on my visit out there and photograph some of them.

Below, once again, here is a Naval Orange Tree in my Mum's backyard from a former orchard in El Cajon California which resprouted from a stump the 1954 developers of the Ranch Style housing tract couldn't pull out. This orchard was actually planted in the early 1930s. Next it is a dwarf Meyer Lemon. The top photo is of the trees while the septic leach line which ended between both trees. The line is four or five foot underground. Both trees thrived year after year with no surface water other than rain which fell during the rainy season. The bottom photo is a year after the system was disconnected and she went on the public sewer system. She irrigates with surface water from time to time which is far more expensive. This tree now struggles and produces no more fruit. The point here is underground deep root irrigation actually works, but I can find no where in research pages where anyone is taking any of this seriously.





image; Rittenhouse
The other reason I am so sold on deep root irrigation on standard trees Agriculture hasn't really had to do much change especially and in particularly the way they irrigate Farmscape. They have always had political lobbies which allowed those ongoing continued cheap water rates. But they like everyone else are going to have to be forced to change the way they irrigate, especially with regards commercial Orchards. This is where the articles above mask the real problem. It's no so much urban cities needing water as much as powerful wealthy business entities within the Ag Industry. As you have all read in the News lately regarding California's drought, many 1000s of acres of Almond orchards are being ripped out because of water shortages. Below are a few photos which illustrate other horrible examples of irrigation waste in Orchards which have been going on for years. Most all of you have seen all of these at one time or another. If these farmers were to just change their practices, then maybe many of those orchards could be saved. There are no more reasons for the old archaic ways of flood and other above ground industrial Rainbird type irrigation.


Image Michigan State


Image: David Doll, University of California, Merced County



image: Virginia Beahan



image: UC Davis - Almond Orchard

The gallery of pictures above merely illustrate how things need to change along with other areas of business which have been forced to improve, innovate or go under. 

April 21, 2014 Update:
Sacramento Bee: "Views on Food: Outsmarting the Drought"
"Shahar Caspi tends acres of gardens, fruit trees and a commercial vineyard in the hamlet of Oregon House in the foothills between Marysville and Grass Valley. His job since 2012 has been raising food year round for his community and bringing perfect wine grapes to harvest – all without tilling, and with little to zero added water."
Now to conclude here, this whole ridiculous tree slaughtering idea promoted as science-based hydrological management has zero to do with water going to Metro areas and is more shackled to huge Industrial Agricultural interests. Who do you suppose pays for many of these studies ? Below is a photo from an Ag Hay growing and shipping firm called Kuhn Hay Inc in the Imperial Valley just west of Seeley & east of Plaster City on the Evan Hewes Hwy (old US 80) and Jeffrey Road. I first saw this place back in the late 1990s and asked someone in El Centro & Seeley what the small railroad yard was doing next to this giant Hay Storage facility. I remember seeing stacks of 40' containers at the east end of the facility and along track side. The containers were loaded & unloaded from well cars with a large fork lift style container crane.  The individual I spoke with in Seeley said the Hay was loaded into the containers and then sent by Southern Pacific, and then later by Union Pacific, to Long Beach for shipment to Asia & Japan. Folks use to call it the million dollar train. Service was discontinued I believe in mid 2003, due to the fact that the Union Pacific railroad kept raising the prices, and then he also said that they had trouble getting the train to Long Beach on time, so the company (Kuhn's Hay) pulled the pin on this train. They used to run 80+ car trains, mostly with big SD-40 power Locomotives. I suppose my point here is I was told Japan and other Asian countries had no land space available to grow hay for their own Beef industry, hence they paid big bucks for hay grown in Imperial Valley and elsewhere in the southwest at a huge profit. Hay takes tonnes of water irrigation and is mostly grown during the hottest months of the year. It's a waste and the resulting crop isn't even used there in the USA. Of course I guess it's great for someone's economy and taxes. But once again, the critical water shortages and absurd proposals have nothing to do with people in cities and everything to do with Industrial Ag.


Credit: http://www.kuhnhay.com

(Released: March 29, 2014)
New video from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on Tree Aerosols being responsible for increased pollution, seriously, no kidding. (VIDEO)
Quote:
"We found two things. When urban pollution mixes with forest pollutions we get more secondary organic aerosols," said Rahul Zaveri, FCSD scientist and project lead on CARES.
Forest Pollutions ? No, those are naturally occurring aerosols which aid in cloud formations. *sigh*
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.)


Pay Close Attention to Part Two 




Friday, March 21, 2014

Separation of Church & State ? Seriously, it's more emulsified than you think!

First off I need to clarify something and that is that I am in no way political one direction or the other. Never once in my almost 60 years have I ever participated in any political activity or ever voted. No offense folks, it's none of my business what others choose to do or direction to take. When people are puzzled at my stance, I will often asked, "What is it that both sides do that is different ?" I proceed to get bombarded with a list of definitions of what one side stands for as compared to the other side. Then I have to remind them of my actual question, "What do they DO that is different?" See, I actually know of the definitions, I had to learn this in School where Civics was required. If you actually ponder it for a moment though, you will find their mode of operation is almost identical. Oh yes there are the differences in outward appearances by means of ideological definitions, but behind the scenes there are uncanny and glaring similarities. I remember back somewhere in 1989 when both sides of the political aisle wanted pay raises for themselves and average folks were in opposition and it did not matter what side. I remember it well because radio talk show host Tom Leykis was raising a huge fuss over it and the movement of protest was seemingly gaining steam. This was around February 1989. But then it was after adjournment one day 10 months later and after the public cameras were turned off, both political sides sneaked back in under the camera's radar and voted for the 33% pay raise. LOL, my, but how clever and yet also how similar. Oddly enough it's protest label had been called the Tea Bag Movement. How uncanny considering Mr Leykis' ideology.


Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special (NBC-TV) - 08/19/72
When I was in School still, I remember in August 1972 John Denver and Mama Cass Elliot singing "I'm leaving on a Jet Plain" and it was at some Voter Registration Charity Event one day. Mama Cass Elliot said she had been traveling around the country gathering people thoughts about how they felt about elections & voting, but then she said she found there was a tremendous amount of Apathy out there. Then she had this to say: "I don't think it's so important who you vote for, you vote for who you believe in. But the important thing is to vote." Interesting because time have changed and that generation which started this and others who've come after have a far different opinion than that. However, she was right about one thing, "it really doesn't matter who you vote for" because underneath it all they are basically the same. Take for example the usual Election promises you all hear by those who actually are elected and what happens after being elected to that office. Here are two glaring historical examples which beautifully illustrate where both side fall short.
Read my lips, no new taxes
AND
I will change things when I'm in office 

Credit: David Dees

Really ? Changed ?
Now frankly, if we all watch the Nightly News, we know how both of the above promises turned out afterwards. And to be quite honest, I'm neither  offended or surprised by either side's choice because I totally  expect such business as usual activity especially behind the scenes which goes with the job. Besides, I'm disconnected anyway, remember ?  Supporters of both sides however will always rationalize that such behavior is merely a necessary evil to prevent the other guy's ideology from getting in there and grabbing the reigns of power, although they may not necessarily use those exact words. Both sides are beholding to the special interests that helped get them there which also makes them the mirror image of each other. So frankly I am not usually interested in this subject, but there are some exceptions that give me pause. For example I had an experience on Joel Salatin's blog which got my post held in moderation as it didn't follow the other supportive political views of his usual supporters, but more on that further on down. 


Credit: Sergey Gapon
These hypocritical similarities of all ideologies however were not what inspired me to write a post on the subject of politics for which I am mostly dis-interested in anyway. Now remember, in my title I also included the subject of religion. Events over here in Europe are rarely published in full over in the United States as I found out last Spring 2013. BTW, other Europeans I've met while traveling told me they've noticed the same exact thing. There appears to be an image of the mighty Socialist E.U. as being the poster child for how things should be run by USA Media, but again, that is their business. Things are actually a mess over here with the financial crisis and other political nightmares. No different than anywhere else. Lately the world has been focused on the civil war events taking place over in Kiev, Ukraine & Russia.
In fact many lately have been uncovering the actual reasons behind the protest as being strongly influenced by coming from the United States and especially the European Union. You can read just a couple of these opinions Here and Here . Sadly, it's not about the average person on the street, but rather a wrestling of control between the usual super power players. Not much of a surprise as this ongoing struggle between Russia and the Western Ideologies is almost like an extension of the cold war, even heating up with the former NSA employee seeking asylum in Moscow. But it was a conversation I had with a young Bulgarian man a few weeks ago about a Catholic Priest who was protesting along with other militant combatants in Kiev, Ukraine and the reasons being used to justify this Priest's behavior. Though the world in former communist countries are much more free now, the influence of Church with State still exists. In fact several links were provided to me where wholehearted support for these religious actions were being published. Here , Here , Here , and then an opposing religious view from the Russian Orthodox Church Here . Seems every Church has something to say and contribute when it comes to any political controversy. But it's nothing new as this has been going on for centuries. Why I remember in the late 1970s/early 80s when "Liberation Theology" was being preached from the pulpits. 

I actually do have a real sincere interest in many things biblical, especially from a literary viewpoint on original meanings of words/terms, but not necessarily from a Christendom Dogma point of worldview or perspective. In the early 1970s I took English Literature as an elective course, as I was burned out and had enough of the usual English grammar lessons. My teacher was a real stickler about us learning real true original meanings of words/terms. For good reason as it turned out. In this course, I learned to read classics by such authors as Geoffrey Chaucer who many consider as the Father of English literature, and is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. You may even know of such classics as Canterbury Tales. Frankly it really is a challenging read. The English language used in the era of 1343 to 1400 when Chaucer lived is far removed from anything we speak today. In fact Shakespeare who came almost 150-200 years later is a much easier read by comparison. But it disciplined me for paying attention to original meanings of words/terms penned by writers centuries ago. That's also why I am so interested in older literature which documents observations of wild landscapes of various ecosystems. After graduating I made an earlier move to Europe in the 1970s where I lived in Burnley Lancashire in northern England. Took me 6+ months to even grasp the city of Burnley's dialect. Recently I did interviews in my data research collection with folks living in Manchester just south of Burnley and it was a pleasant feeling to listen to their twang as they call it. It was there that I really picked up on actually researching original meanings of biblical words/terms from the original writers of that historical time period. Burnley was a large Mormon community and I was constantly approached by their 18-19 year old elders about their version of truth. I knew nothing about their history of beliefs. I spent hours each day in the city Library doing research the old fashioned way by means of actual book reference reading. It was also here that I learned of Literary Scholar William Whiston (translator of the works of Jewish historian 'Josephus') and Scientist Sir Issac Newton and the work they did exposing deliberate attempts by the ruling Ecclesiastic Hierarchical Clergy Class of their day who actually made deliberate changes of various texts from the earliest known available manuscripts to prove Christendom's Holy Trinity. Some of you may remember my mention of it "A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?"  where I made religious comparisons with historical past and present Academia, especially when it comes to science. I appreciate of course most of you did not agree with that, but you should go back and read it once again with an open unbiased mind. In other words do so by dumping the usual close minded ideologically driven prejudice. So I learned to look up and research original meanings of words, terms and other expressions and compare these to context and by cross referencing. Amazing how many of the present dogmas, doctrines and beliefs understood today have no true meaning in the original Hebrew and Greek texts. Frankly, were it not for these dogmatic views from today's version of Christendom, the Biblical narrative would mostly likely go unnoticed today by most of the usual secularist opponents. 

Now the talking points I brought up to this Bulgarian young man were of a scriptural text one by comparing actual biblical texts of what their holy book actually says and the present political course these churches take today. The two (Biblical Texts & traditional Church Doctrines) are actually radically opposed to each other. One of the main points which stand out is the Biblical insistence that those early Christians were to remain politically neutral and separate from the world around them. In other words, their own Holy book condemns them from sticking their big noses into this world's politics. Seriously, there are such texts and a main theme which runs throughout this biblical narrative. But they have never seemed to follow, believe or show any respect for those biblical commands based on their actions historically speaking. One of the glaring points I brought up was wholesale support by most all religions for the Nazi Regime in Germany. I asked the young man what would have been the outcome for Germany and the rest of the world had ALL those various religious denomination's leadership believed what their own holy book said at this scriptural text:
Acts 10:34-35 Good News Translation 
 34 "Peter began to speak: “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. 35 Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to."
In the 1920s when Hitler wrote his own version of a Nazi Bible (Mein Kampf), he made no secret of his intention for racial hatred and how he intended on dealing with it. Even Winston Churchill got that from the read. Again, how did all the religious folks forget such clearly important passages in their own holy book like the one I've just referenced above which would have resulted in such a man as Hitler being taken for a loon as opposed to a Nordic Messiah ? When I pointed these things out to the man, it was like water off a duck's back. The young man insisted the Priest had to lead the people out of their misery. He insisted "How could he leave them without his guidance ?" But I asked finally would he consider the Priest responsible or accountable for his part in encouraging the rebellion which led to over 100 deaths the day before ? Our conversation abruptly ended. When I have previously asked such questions about justification for war on the part of the religious, often the reasons given are that "one of the 10 Commandments says you must not murder, but it says nothing about killing which is sometimes necessary." Seriously, that's what I've been told !!! I've been banned previously for asking these very questions on other discussion sites, so the response was no surprise. But now back to Joel's blog post.

In my blog News stream I follow some of the posts of Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm crew. Now I do like some of his reasonings regarding land management care and holistic maintenance in regards to rebuilding by responsibly using animals in replication of Nature. He follows a biomimetics type of management the way Nature use to maintain the land. I also find his talking points logical for the most part about the failure of any promoted Law which mandates GMO labeling as a waste of time. Sure enough, even with such a law, there are no guarantees that such genetic pollution would be absent from any product purchased at any grocery store. But he wrote a piece about his displeasure with the new US Law called the USA , "Affordable Care Act (ACA)" and his strong displeasure about now having to pay $12,000 more a year for the two Salatin families who presently reside on the Polyface farm together. I understand such experiences are common, but that is after all the way most well intention government programs work, irrespective of what type of program. Look at all those Eco-Green Industrial Solar & Wind Farms programs. Clearly they have created other unique and disastrous environmental consequences that were not well thought out or perceived beforehand. Nevertheless, this new AVA brought his displeasure and if it were not for the fact that he brought up Jesus, Jesus, Jesus several times in his angry rant, then I probably would have moved on and never finished the read. But here are a couple of paragraphs where he referenced anger and used Jesus to justify it.
"While Jesus taught charity, He never suggested that the vehicle for that charity was through the government.  He didn’t say:  ”Give to widows by creating higher taxes so the bureaucrats can dole your money out to the folks who need it.”  No, He said to give directly, to give to neighbors and even people far away.  He never brought the government into the issue; it was a personal and cooperative, voluntary charity.  To equate a voluntary charity fundraiser or church collection plate with a state-mandated tax is preposterous and offensive to philanthropy."
"Government meddling in the affairs of private individuals created the assumption that health care was a basic human right the same as the right to worship, speak, or assemble.  Jesus preached that I was to help my neighbor;  He did not preach that the government, or society, was to demand that I help someone I didn’t want to.  That wouldn’t be very neighborly, you see."
Polyface Hen House: "A Note From Joel"
Frankly it's none of my business what any government does or implements as far as laws which ever country I'm residing. But were it not for the fact that Joel's website specifically held my comment up in moderation for so long and perhaps edited some points  afterwards, then again I would not have cared. The other commenters on his blog were in favour of demonizing the present ruling political party and/or it's policies and the moderator had no problem posting their comments. What fascinates me is the historical direction Christendom has taken with interfering in what governments do or don't do, especially when their own holy book the Bible commands them to abstain from & keep their big noses out of any world politicking. The historical record shows that the Churches have always conducted their business exactly the opposite to what was commanded their holy book.


I just had a couple talking points to bring out about this from their own Biblical references. One is the subject of Taxes and how or where any of the world's governments use these monies, because this has always been one of the biggest complaints these churches have had regarding how such monies are spent and on what. So what did their leader Jesus Christ say about taxes. This is actually interesting. It appears that Jesus worst enemies were not governments nor politicians, but rather the Religious leaders of the day. They schemed a plot to catch him at being a rebel against the occupying Roman government which they hated here at Luke 20:20 God's Word Translation
20 "So they watched for an opportunity to send out some spies. The spies were to act like sincere religious people. They wanted to catch him saying the wrong thing so that they could hand him over to the governor."
The Jews hated the Roman occupation and resented the paying of taxes to the Roman authority which they considered illegitimate. BTW, the Roman citizens didn't have to pay this tax. Hence, trip this  irritating heretic Jesus Christ up in speech and report him to the authorities and they'll rid him for us. Seemed a good scheme. They pretended to be interested religious followers, and asked a seemingly innocent question. But here was the response to the scheme recorded at Luke 20: 21-26 God's Word Translation:

21 They asked him, “Teacher, we know that you’re right in what you say and teach. Besides, you don’t play favorites. Rather, you teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to the emperor or not?”  23 He saw through their scheme, so he said to them, 24 “Show me a coin. Whose face and name is this?”  They answered, “The emperor’s.”  25 He said to them, “Well, then give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and give God what belongs to God.”  26 They couldn’t make him say anything wrong in front of the people. His answer surprised them, so they said no more.
The odd thing here is that there were no conditions attached to the paying of taxes. There were no tax loop holes for not paying, nor was there to be interference or influence as to how such monies were spent by the government. There was to be no rebellion if whatever government requiring a tax misused or abused such taxes. For any future followers of this Christ, Taxes were simply to be paid to whatever government around the globe they were subject under and whomever's inscription was on the currency. So if a future government wished to spend it's collected tax money on Nuclear War Missiles or Social Welfare Programs, it was never to be a Christian's business. They were to simply pay taxes and obey all laws that did not conflict with their beliefs. But that's not what we see and observe today in modern times. Interference and disruption are the order of the day, especially from the Clerics. And the Sheeple will follow matter what that lead. Most never consider actually finding out what their holy book actually says. They put their trust in such Clerics to do their religious thinking and study for them and take their directional take about living on blind faith.


Another interesting point by way of illustration I always found interesting in reading the older biblical account about the nation of Israel prior to the formation of the Christian Congregation. There is an issue during the early days of their Nation which was still in it's infancy. The people demanded from the Prophet Samuel to set over them one of their people as a King so that they could be just like all the other nations round about them. Samuel was incensed at the people, but he was told by the Hebrew God that it was not Samuel they rejected, but him. Then he told him to warn the people about the consequences of following a human King, that there would be community responsibility for the King's actions.
1 Samuel 8 (Living Bible)

 1 In his old age, Samuel retired and appointed his sons as judges in his place. 2 Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba; 3 but they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and were very corrupt in the administration of justice. 4 Finally the leaders of Israel met in Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. 5 They told him that since his retirement things hadn’t been the same, for his sons were not good men.  “Give us a king like all the other nations have,” they pleaded. 6 Samuel was terribly upset and went to the Lord for advice.  7 “Do as they say,” the Lord replied, “for I am the one they are rejecting, not you—they don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but warn them about what it will be like to have a king!”  10 So Samuel told the people what the Lord had said:  11 “If you insist on having a king, he will conscript your sons and make them run before his chariots; 12 some will be made to lead his troops into battle, while others will be slave laborers; they will be forced to plow in the royal fields and harvest his crops without pay, and make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 He will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his friends. 15 He will take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it to his favorites. 16 He will demand your slaves and the finest of your youth and will use your animals for his personal gain. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 You will shed bitter tears because of this king you are demanding, but the Lord will not help you.”  19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning.  “Even so, we still want a king,” they said, 20 “for we want to be like the nations around us. He will govern us and lead us to battle.”  21 So Samuel told the Lord what the people had said, 22 and the Lord replied again, “Then do as they say and give them a king.”
I only had these two examples, which in reality are just the tip of the iceberg. The modern day holy war movement by those claiming to be Christian and yet supporting any government which they have been warned to stay completely free from carries with it the same penalties according to their own book. Yet they ignore this. In our day and age a form of government which is touted as the most superior of all historical government experiments mankind has ever invented is none other than "Democracy". Funny thing though about Democracy for either side of a political ideology aisle is that there is this collective community responsibility by what ever leader is elected. People of either side are responsible for the actions and misdeeds of whoever is elected whether they voted for them or not. That is what democracy is about, accepting defeat of your flavourite candidate and supporting whatever government is elected until the next round of elections. But we all know that is not how things are really done. This is supposed to be known and accepted by all such proponents of this type of government no matter the Party. Otherwise they rebel and revolt to over throw such government. The Churches of Christendom are the most reprehensible as they should know the folly revealed from their own holy book which condemns them for their taking any political stance. So there is a penalty to pay. As mentioned in 1 Samuel chapter 8, they can pray all they want, but their God refuses to listen to their prayers. Interesting isn't it! I appreciate that most religious folks here reading won't appreciate this, but nevertheless it is true. Well at least in your own Bible it is.



Joel Salatin, while I do admire much of his land management work and biomimicry experiences, it is nevertheless going against his own holy book when he espouses one particular political ideology over another. Frankly I could care less. Whatever any person wishes to choose is up to them, but either way, even he bares a measure of guilt when things go wrong whether he will acknowledge this or not. Both opposing ideologies only alternative is to revolt and overthrow the government and appoint either a version of Theocracy imagined in their own minds or some dictatorial Socialist government all of which has been tried and done before. And yet, look what all the various historical precedents have brought mankind throughout history. It's only going to get worse. All the fighting for a political solution by those claiming to be Christian sadly are doomed to fail. But then, they should have already known that. People are going to have to make serious decisions soon about separating themselves away from the majority.
BTW, my comment was finally allowed on his blog.
And finally a tribute to one of the most famous texts ever printed on a wall. This text & the inspiration for the famous statue below come from both the biblical books of Micah and Isaiah which references beating Swords into Plowshares. You'll actually find this on a famous wall outside of the United Nations building, but it has had little meaning to any of those nations. The most reprehensible of them all being all the major Churches who have ever wielded power and influence over the Kings of the Earth for Centuries. Whatever calamity is headed their way is well deserved. What a different world it would have been had they actually believed and practiced standards, principles and Commands as written down in their holy book, the Bible

Wikipedia




Saturday, February 15, 2014

What is meant by the word "Natural" when it comes to Land Management?

We live in the times of definition shell games, terms being muddled and where gray areas and absolutes not existing are championed. Mostly I find all this later day murkiness to be a mere marketing ploy, not only of business in the conventional sense which we all understand, but also religious institutions and political entities when it comes to push or wanting to justify various doctrines, programs or policies. Funny how that word natural can be manipulated and promoted as having meaning beyond it's original creation, purpose and intent as it has been traditionally understood for ages in the real world. Take for example the illustration at the right here. Would you find it absurd, maybe even asinine if an obese man justified his condition as being natural, rationalizing that obesity can also found out in the Natural World ? Interestingly, many with hidden agendas do manipulate that term for selfish reasons. The word natural has been further exploited in other ways by the addition of unique words to exaggerate or embellish the original meaning. "All Natural", 100% Natural", "Natural Fire Regime" etc. Take a look at this very humorous and illustrative play on the word "Natural" by our world's big business interests. 



The manipulation and advertising game playing by the giant Corporate Industries in our world I think we all get, but it's when the Scientists who work for or with them is where much of this goes wrong. These are actually the very people who should know better, at least from the higher educational backgrounds we are constantly told they have, hence deserving of our respect and trust. The big problem is they have screwed up so many times lately, that like religion and politics, they appear to be on the same lower level of suspicion. Take the Industrial Science-Based agricultural giant located in the San Joaquin Valley called Harris Ranch Beef. They have an interesting motto or clever statement on their website.
Harris Ranch Beef Company, "Beef the way nature intended it to be."
(SERIOUSLY ???) The way Nature intended it to be ? Anyone who has traveled Interstate 5 in the San Joaquin Valley on the west side and driven through Coalinga is well aware of dust cloud hell you have to endure with no relief for at least 15 to 20 minutes of fast driving. Yet not only is this site's business model promoted as natural, but also sustainable, which is yet another one of those interesting seemingly fuzzy words with definition problems. Montana Ranchers for example find the existence of Wolfs, Mountain Lions and even Buffalo as things which make their business model unsustainable. Seriously, a quote from an article yesterday in Yahoo Financial News about the government having to "Yellowstone bison slaughter begins" . A quote in that article says it all:
"But Montana's livestock industry has little tolerance for bison because of concerns over disease and competition with cattle for grass."
There is also a similar attitude from another science-based agricultural entity like the Industrial Forestry business model which has an intense hatred of the western landscape's native chaparral. In their grossly pseudo-scientific worldview, they mistakenly promote Chaparral as impeding the regrowth of what they consider proper plant species worthy of being called a forest. A forest which they intend to harvest for future profit. They also manipulate words in their irresponsible land management policies and programs to promote their industry and livelihood. They also no doubt manipulate political ties to get what they want. In the land management industry business itself when it comes to mastication and control burning, you can bet there are a significant amount of profit to be had by folks who are hired by that industry as this video from 2012 shows: 



Interestingly, "Pioneer Forest Products" did not live up to the original agreement and barely thinned 1000 acres and did not have the finances to build that promised sawmill for producing wooden products which would have supposedly boosted the local & state economies. However last summer 2013, another company called "Good Earth Power" was said to be in line for the new contract. See link AZ Central: "New forest-restoration contract, same old problems" . Unfortunately for Nature and the environment, this company is huge and powerful with large business venture operations in Africa and financing is said to be coming out of the Middle East and China. Bottom line is, it's all about the money and to justify the money angle, the word term "Natural" and play of  on emotions of the public is the usual strategy. They've come up with a term or phrase called "Natural Fire Regimes".  In so using this term, many large Industrial Forestry people and US Government land managers are utilizing a ongoing romanticized myth about Native American use of fire for land management and how much the natural world will benefit from this regular burning practice. Of course were are talking about the modern practice of "Control Burns" or "Prescribed Burns" which are more of a political hot potato solution solution to appease an otherwise upset public concerned with our present later day climate change enhanced wildfires. Actually, the debate is however whether Indians (Native Americans) should be considered as a part nature. I have previously written about Native Americans here in a post called: Dances With Myths: Indigenous Native Peoples and Fire Ecology and my opinion of course is that they are as equally human as any other peoples around our globe. But many fire defenders don't have that exact view of them. Why they were considered the ultimate eco-greenies when it comes to sustainability and conservation. But were they really ? Yes they no doubt they knew how to live off the land, but interestingly not all were successful. The most successful were those in large groups who cooperated with each other and that wasn't always the case. There is also another proposed movement which is now championing many of the much larger native civilizations empires throughout the Americas who are likewise romanticized today for their sustainable agricultural practices and how this art and ancient knowledge has been lost. (As a side not, there is presently also another kooky proposal scheme to story tell how this ancient knowledge was given them by ancient aliens, but I'll not go there. Many know what I'm talking about with the major so-called science entertainment channels) Does anyone out there appreciate that these civilizations are long extinct as successful Empires ? For example, I never ever hear this next subject brought up in discussion. From several centuries BC up until the 12/13 centuries, both the Anasazi empires of the western USA and the civilization which built the huge pyramid-like Cahokia Mounds in the eastern USA were far more advanced than the Natives the first Europeans encountered when they finally came to North America centuries later. So what happened ? Isn't the story told of how for 15,000 years the North American Natives were simple wildlife conserving cultures with an almost uncanny ability encoded within their genetic makeup to be the ultimate in everything eco-green ?  Why it's in their blood. The true facts reveal more and more that those Native American Empires overused and abused their surrounding lands and in so doing brought about a miniature localized climate change in the form of sustained droughts which led to their downfall. They also had problem with distrust and carrying on war with each other (hmm sounds very European to me) and no doubt would even used fire to war on their enemies. As European influence made inroads into the North American landscape, they actually influenced the natives who took up European technologies. Rather than rejecting the foreign invader's less than eco-green policies, they actually embraced them. Horses were not natural to the natives, as they hunted and chased prey on foot. So observing the huge advantage the Spanish brought with them, they adopted and traded for the ways of the horse. Please consider this, what native would have been willing to turn back the clock and chase Bison on foot in championing a more eco-green cause ? Hardly! What natives would opt for leaving the Winchester Repeating Rifle and going back to more eco-green hunting tools made from natural earth friendly materials like Spears, Bows  Arrows in the cause of their genetically encoded Eco-green preferences ? Again hardly! Why ? Because the early Natives were Human Beings equal to the Europeans they encountered and that is what all humans do. They advance to make room for more comfortable living conditions and survival a little easier. Eco-World had nothing to do with it. So there is no doubt they used fire just like every other culture on Earth had used it for thousands of years. No doubt there may have been some intent for creating better forage of berries (as the website below suggests) and possibly to facilitate an easier time of chasing herbivores on foot over cliffs with fire, but such strategies are not necessarily conservation nor does it explain fire's ability to create and maintain as well as other more *cough-cough* "Natural" components rarely mentioned.

Now for a change of thought here, take a look below at one iconic picture comparison being used from one website showing how natural it is to employ fire as a conservation and preventable wildfire practice. The website is http://www.cskt.org and has this to say  about it's backers.
"A People of Vision... The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are comprised of the Bitterroot Salish, the Pend d'Oreille and the Kootenai tribes."
On another page under the subject of "Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation" it has this to promote about it's people. 
"The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have always been good stewards of the natural resources. Today we strive to achieve good stewardship through excellent Fish, Wildlife, Recreation, and Conservation Program Management."
"Our efforts include continuing our cultural traditions, interdisciplinary consultation, setting high standards and professional qualifications, providing due process and public involvement as part of the regulation development process." 
One major cultural tradition which is greatly referenced through story telling is the Native use of fire for conservation. It champions fire as the great ecosystem molder and creator of healthy wildlife and plant habitat creation. It dedicates much photos and storying behind them to paint a picture of their great understanding of the natural world. But never once does it touch on animal influences on an ancient pristine landscape nor does it attempt any honesty with regards human error when it comes to lighting fires. For example, as humans, we all have our own predisposition to making mistakes. But no reference is made to this on the website. Things like Waring with neighbouring tribes who were considered enemies by means of fire, or irresponsibly leaving a campfire improperly left unattended with the possibility of an afternoon Santa Ana-like wind phenomena kicking up a wildfire which got out of control only to burn itself out eventually or at least until seasonal rains came back. Times would be similar back then to modern humans now. No mention of kids playing with daddy's flint stone to try and see if they too could make fire behind that hill outside the camp, only to get out of control. You all know kids, right ? The reasons for fire are many, just like today, but only the myth of conservation is dealt with on that site. Any idea of the effects of mistakes on the ancient landscape back then ? They also seemed prone to embellishing the Fable about themselves on that site. Now for any who wish to go down the road of , well you are making fun of them and therefore a bigot, seriously, don't even try and go there. I have a great fondness for their history and a strong dislike for the hand they were dealt by the Europeans. But I am also a realist, they were humans equal to us.


Photos: cskt.org

http://www.cskt.org/fire_history.swf


(Photo: Grant Rolf/Higgins Storm Chasers)
Personally, I don't find either of the two fire pictures settings  above to be natural. However I would define the one to the right here as a natural occurring fire ignition event often found out in Nature. I have to admit the website was interesting and in some cases compelling in it's arguments, but there were also some other clear flaws. For example, many of the historical photographs were from the 1920s and 30s and were compared with today. One has to keep in mind that by the 1920/30s, the Europeans had already had a major out of control natural resources obsession impact effect on the landscape's environment. These were also times when for the most part there were no rules as to conservation and rehabilitation with regards the landscape. Early white pioneers were out to make a killing financially based on rumors of the west and would have done what ever irresponsible thing they could to obtain that goal. Could much of those bare spots in the photos been European influenced ? Unfortunately we cannot go back much beyond 150 years to get an accurate visual of what the natural world was like or what influence the Natives had on a pristine landscape centuries prior. Hence at best all we have is story telling in the form of myths and fables to go by and taking things on faith. There is also clearly no way to defend a practice which 150 years ago did not have the climate extremes we experience now with climate change or shifting. The website brought out the regions which seem to show more open grassland ground than today's present denser tree and chaparral cover in the same locations. The site claims that they did this to provide grassland grazing areas for their herbivore prey. 

One of my major problems with much of this justification for such usage of fires for modern conservation is that animals are never taken into the equation as landscape modifiers or transformers and they clearly were a HUGE factor as modern outdoor lab examples testify to. And the beauty is that we don't really have to go back all that far in historical timeline to find such examples. 


Credit: OPB
Probably one of the greatest examples of a major factor other than fire as a plant community maintainer is the prime example of the Elk effect on plant life within the National Park called Yellowstone. It is said that in the early 1990s Elk numbers were close to 15,000. The countryside was more open and Alders, Willows, Cottonwoods and Aspen woodlands were kept in check by these large browsing animals. Wolves were introduced back then and the numbers are now said to be around 9,000. Now the young aspen trees are just finally recovering in the Yellowstone National Park, after wolves that were re-introduced in 1995 which helped to limit elk browsing that had been killing young trees. The older trees seen here date to the last time there were wolves in the park 70 years ago. Seriously, watch this video of how wolves changed Yellowstone's landscape. The researchers also noticed how when Elk and Deer numbers dropped and behavior changed, the narrator pointed out that most of the bare of bald spots in Yellowstone changed to a heavier vegetation cover than previously. This is the exact opposite of what the storytelling myth or fables invented by those in charge tell us on some of these use of fire conservation websites who credit fire as the fix it all answer. 



Okay, once again, the main point of those before and after photos on that Native American website is that the open space was the result of consistent regular Native American Control Burning with Fire, for which the website is a champion. However from this video you just watched and listened to, the modern "Natural" example in Yellowstone and the effect on vegetation by large browsing herbivores, is it not more clear that it was they who had a much more profound effect than admitted or discussed by anyone when it comes to the Prescribed Burning Policy. The subject of wildlife being used in land management is never brought up in hardly any discussion and it should be. If we are to believe the other scientific literature about not only Elk, but also Bison and Pronghorn Antelope, these creatures are said to have each numbered into the millions before the Europeans came. Ponder this for a moment! So what effect did these millions have in shaping the landscape ? If 15,000 unhindered unmolested Elk had a major effect on the Yellowstone ecosystem (creating open bald regions), what did millions upon millions of these herbivores have on the whole of North America ? Unlike Domestic Herbivores, the Pronghorn will eat many chaparral species of which many are toxic to the domestic cattle who won't touch them. Again, nobody ever factors this in. The beauty here of the Yellowstone example is that it is not something from way back in history where the need for myth manufacturing or fable fabrication needs to be employed as an embellishment or exaggeration to justify a belief system used for promoting an idea, policy or flawed program of land management. It actually did happen before the eyes of many modern day human beings present today who can read and watch what has been documented a mere decade ago. It truly is an example of a natural occurrence of how nature's various mechanized components work in harmony when restored properly to their former position in the Natural World's cleverly engineered system. Remember the old time saying, "If it's not broken, then why fix it ?"

Especially when Chaparral Biologist Richard Halsey brings all these points up to public debate. Surprisingly, he's often attacked by even his own followers who otherwise support his California Chaparral Institute's mission for bringing up this very subject. There are clearly those who just cannot give up this old time cherished religious dogma, hence the use of the terminology such as "faith statements" by those championing such control burn causes based not on actual science but rather a flawed gut felt myth motivated by heart felt belief in and reverence for an unfortunately mistreated people and culture. The main point behind Richard Halsey's research is very simple, Observational Science backed up by utilizing a discipline called Biomimetics resulting in Biomimicry or replication of Nature for restoration ecology. That is what we can truly call  "Being Natural" 


Credit Richard Halsey

Native American Burning & Natural Fire Regimes

By all means please read the very informative article referenced above from the Chaparral Institute's website. Now for another change of thought. I'd now like to straighten up a couple of other points here. I am not totally against using fire as a necessary tool and for that matter neither is Richard Halsey, if it's respected as only as a tool and used properly. The general problem I have always observed with the US Forest Service's attempts at forest restoration is they attempt to bypass several "Natural" rules in forest re-establishment by cutting out several necessary progressive steps and accelerating tree growth which will be used as future profit. I also find most programs which are use as an attempt to re-establish trees after a catastrophic wildfire are as a rule done way too late, often times 3 or 4 years after the event. Anyone know how long "Nature" takes to repair and mend the environment after any kind of disruption ? That's right, immediately! Unfortunately most Forest Service projects wait until scientific environmental impact studies can be done and starting times are at best two or three years later. At that point chaparral has grown back and suddenly war is declared on this plant community as if it were an alien invader. The fact is Nature actually start trees off immediately during the first winter rainy season. In fact most seeds germinate in the ground long before Spring with seedling emergence quite often pushing through snow. That's called a clever head start. I know, because I experimented with various pine seed by actually outplanting them in the soil on my own acreage at the beginning of winter up in Anza California to see what would happen as opposed to Spring planting year old seedlings. They out performed by means of the head start because of a more advanced already in place functional root structure prior to the onset of summer. The companion chaparral that also sprouts up with it is actually an ally not the enemy. It could well be considered a nurse plant or mother tree. Without going into much detail again, an excellent example of successful nature-based reforestation where trees live along side and within chaparral was a 1982 fire event where the results of nature-based reforestation came off successfully at Mountain Center California south of Idyllwild. Nobody replanted anything nor cleared any chaparral. The area which is mostly private land was left to it's own redevelopment.


The result is more trees than previously and larger by comparison than many of the land stripping programs in Garner Valley to the east where chaparral was obliterated and also soils are much deeper. Yet even the trees from the Forestry sponsored plantation project up the road on Hwy 74 near Keen Summit which is forest land from Mt Center are not nearly the size of the same age trees. They actually stripped acreage for a sterile planting bed and maintained it a couple years after by use of a water wagon, I know because I commuted past there for almost 20+ years. See the article: "1982 Mountain Center Fire & the Forest's Regeneration" (Article Link) also see the article I wrote about a similar 1983 project I did utilizing biomimicry in forest establishment which left about 40% to 60% of the native chaparral down in lower elevation Terwilliger CA where rainfall is even less. This was a property I care took for free rent. The chaparral plants are the main heroes for this success, not me or the property owners. I also inoculated the trees with symbiotic fungal spores found in higher elevation forest areas which also enhanced the root infrastructure under the ground. Many of these trees are larger than even the Garner Valley tree plantation sites and some equal to the Mountain Center trees. See the post: "Establishing a Forest where the Experts said it would Fail" (Article Link)

Old Dawson Place Terwilliger CA
Now in the event of wanting to establish forest using fire, fire should be used responsibly, along with the site remaining untouched and unmolested of it's native chaparral that following rainy season. In other words, don't remove these plants by further mechanized  or chemical destruction of all other plant roots, considering these as competitors. Then plant already pre-existing nursery raised trees immediately not waiting and wasting precious months or years as has been the conventional method. I have also written about pesticides and herbicides and I while do have a strong dislike of them, I also have used them properly and only under desperate circumstances to create and immediate eradication of an overwhelming scenario of weeds or pests, then you can establish a healthy ecosystem whether it's in the wild or urban landscape utilizing beneficial bacteria and fungi. Once the successful system is established and in place, the future need of such chemicals will be unnecessary if maintained properly through replicating the Natural World's version of maintenance. 

Sad to say many myths are hard to erase from people memory and deep internal psyche. I read comments by average citizens in News item articles on the subject where fire is championed as necessary for Nature to survive, exist and/or even reproduce. Why is that ? Because the average person not familiar with such natural mechanisms take it on faith that the experts have it right. Especially is the question important in why such ignorant talk comes from a group of people like Scientific Researchers who are promoted to the public as above all of this ignorance ? Below is an interesting couple of articles you should take up and really read which came out last years which beautifully examine what is at the heart of irresponsible belief systems and wrong understanding of our natural world. The first article is how scientists tend to employ story telling as a tool to educate, but often times go to far with embellishments and exaggerations which tend to mask the reality of the natural world. It was published in Nature magazine in October 30th 2013 and titled: "Should scientists tell stories?" Here are some excellent quotes:
"Everyone loves a good story, and writers of many kinds use narrative techniques to get their message across. A recent Points of View article (Krzywinski and Cairo, Nat. Methods 10, 687, 2013) described how techniques of storytelling, such as a structured story arc, can effectively guide the presentation of scientific data in figures. But as pointed out in a Correspondence by Katz (p. 1045, this issue), the notion of communicating scientific information by storytelling can be taken too far."
(source) 
Sadly this is where myths and fables about Native Americans have been etched in stone and hard to eradicate. But again, why the scientists ? Seriously, of all people, why Scientists who are supposed to know better ? We all get an easily manipulated and ignorant public believing this stuff, but why Scientists ? This next article from the website "The Conversation" published back in December 13th 2013 posted an excellent article titled, "Scientists falter as much as Bankers in pursuit of Answers". Here are some awesome quotes:
"Bankers aim to maximise profits. Scientists aim to understand reality. But Mike Peacey of the University of Bristol suggests, based on a new model he has just published in Nature, that both professionals are equally likely to conform to whatever views are prevalent, whether they are right or wrong."
In the past decade scientists have raised serious doubts about whether science is as self-correcting as is commonly assumed. Many published findings, including those in the most prestigious journals, have been found to be wrong. One of the reasons is that, once a hypothesis becomes widely accepted, it becomes very difficult to refute it, which makes it, as Jeremy Freese of Northwestern University recently put it, “vampirical more than empirical – unable to be killed by mere evidence”.
(source) 
 “vampirical more than empirical – unable to be killed by mere evidence” 
Isn't that a beautiful quote ? I tell you, I just eat this up with a spoon. It doesn't get more illustrative than this. People everywhere need to train up their powers of perception. For human beings they don't come naturally. Blindly believing any word out of some Expert's mouth because they claim to wear some self-described badge of authority isn't good enough. You have to determine what is truly "Natural" otherwise known as the  real world and what is artificial and manipulative. I don't have anymore references to post as you have plenty above. Please read the references and make it real by burning it down into your memory through practical application of what was said or learned by means of reading. It will actually take getting your back side outdoors and making practical application. Practical experience is what helps you understand the truth of what is and what is not "Natural".
Maybe this is a good time to consider Murphy's Second Law: 
“No matter what the experiment’s result, there will always be someone eager to: (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it supports his own pet theory.”