Does Nature Know Best?

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Tue Jan 13 14:42:40 EST 1998


In article <34BAE2CF.79C5 at livingston.net>,
  dstaples at livingston.net wrote:
>
> dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:
> >
> > [This is a courtesy copy of an article posted to Usenet via Deja News]
> >
> > In article <34B833E1.C4A at livingston.net>,
> >   dstaples at livingston.net wrote:
> > >
> > > dwheeler at teleport.com wrote:
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > > We foresters not providing cultivated mycorrhizal fungi must account for
> > > > > the desertifaction of the south east, north east, mid-north, etc.  I see
> > > > > no reason to try to grow or "provide"  that which is so abundant in
> > > > > nature, i.e., mycorrhizal fungi.  I can see where propagation in sterile
> > > > > soils in a green house may not provide the necessary fungi, but they
> > > > > will be in the soils when planted, unless totally off site (arctic?)
> > > >
> > > > Not "provide"ing  mycorrhizal results in desertification. So how many
> > > > species of mycorrhizae have you cultivated?
> > >
> > > As many as were there when I started managing the land. Cultivation can
> > > include doing nothing.
> >
> > Benign neglect, huh? Wasn't that what was tried in Yellowstone NP? ;) So
> > if you're growing them, you should be able to identify them, right? What
> > species are you finding? Here in Oregon, a typicaly Douglas fir has 5-50
> > different species of mycorrhizal fungi. I'd love to know how many you're
> > finding with Loblolly pine in the SE US.
>
> Benign neglect?  We are talking crops with 50 to 100 year rotation,

We have yet to establish that trees are a crop. No one has cultivated an
old- growth tree and lived to tell about it.

 what
> would you do, hoe between the rows on a yearly basis?

Actually, yes. This is generally how truffles are collected. The act of
truffling appears to act as an aeration for soils, much like plowing does
in fields. Aeration is beneficial to many soil-building organisms, and
does not + appear+ to damage truffle mycelium. However, other mycorrhizae
such as Tricholoma magnivelare (matsutake) detest soil disturbance.

  Yellowstone was a
> product of beleaving Smokey the Bear, under pressure from citizens to
> not "show all that burnt ground".

An interesting quote. Citation?

  I grow lots of things in my woods
> that I don't identify, insects, fungus, lizards, reptiles, small mammals
> (although I do better with the higher evolved animals and plants)and an
> occaisional suprise plant, long endangered,but hey, my woods got 'em.
> Quite frankly, mycorrhizal fungi don't interest me, they are there, they
> do their job, I couldn't get rid of them if I tried, that happens in
> the sub-tropics.

Actually, it's easy to get rid of mycorrhizal fungi. Clearcut, and don't
replant trees for a year. Another method is to fertilize with more than
80 lbs. of urea per acre. Eliminate the tree's need for mycorrhizal
fungi, and their quickly disappear. Unless the feeding regimen is
maintained, the trees usually follow the fungi. :(

  You like them, be my guest, identify away, enjoy, grow
> 'em, hell, take 'em out to lunch,  we foresters have a few bigger plants
> to worry about.
>

We have yet to establish that there is a crop. Mostly what I see
foresters/ loggers doing locally is equivalent to strip-mining the soil.
I'm glad that so many diverse life forms survive near you. But I question
whether you are growing them. Perhaps they are growing in spite of your
management.

> > > >
> > > > If your thesis were true, there would be no deserts today. Unfortunately,
> > > > the history of mankind has proven otherwise. The deserts of the world
> > > > continue to + increase+, not decrease. Many mycorrhizal fungi die upon
> > > > direct exposure to ultraviolet light, according to Dr. William Dennison,
> > > > past president of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association. Perhaps the
> > > > fastest way to kill most of these mycorrhizal fungi is to clearcut. In
> > > > Oregon at least, clearcutting also results in large amounts of dead woody
> > > > debris. This material is ideal for growing several species of root-rot
> > > > fungi. The main difference between forestry east of the Mississippi for
> > > > forestry west of the Cascade Mountains is the number and size of
> > > > evergreens per acre. Hardwoods have different mycorrhizal requirements,
> > > > which have not been assessed as yet.
> > > >
> > > Desertification does not grow from lack of fungii, but from miss use,
> > > loss of top soil, changing wheather patterns, etc, ad infinitum.
> > > "Perhaps the fastest way to kill.....is clear cut"?  Studies here, or
> > > opinion?  To my knowledge (and it is not of depth of a college proff,
> > > but hey, I try) dead wood lacks the necessary requirments for most
> > > root-rots, i.e., phloem and zylem, functional.
> > >
> >
> > I disagree. The history of agriculture has historically been tied in with
> > forestry in the US. Desertification is a long-term trend, and has
> > increased since widespread agriculture practices were instituted over
> > 2,000 years ago.
> >
> > As J. Russell Smith says in Tree Crops, "first the saw, then the plow,
> > then move on when the soil is gone." While Smith was speaking of the
> > 1700-1930 period, he was also refering to forestry in the Appalachian
> > Mountains. The remaining untouched forests there typically were where
> > slopes were too steep to log safely.

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