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.
|(Photo: Grant Rolf/Higgins Storm Chasers)|
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.
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|
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."
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”.
“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.”