Clearcuts & sustainability
sgordan at hevanet.com
Tue Oct 20 21:34:42 EST 1998
In <Pine.GSO.4.02A.9810201641410.7813-100000 at user2.teleport.com>, "Theodore M. Seeber" <seebert at teleport.com> writes:
>On 19 Oct 1998, Susan Gordanier wrote:
>> Why then in a natural forest, thick canopy and all, do
>> young firs grow on motherlogs?
>Because they aren't "young firs", they are the branches of the motherlog
>struggling to survive.
Sorry, Ted. Mine was a rhetorical question meant to point out
a common myth bandied about. But since you bit, here's some
A motherlog is a downed tree. Dead. Rotting. Seeds land on it,
take root and are nourished as the motherlog decomposes.
If you spend time hiking you can learn to read a forest's
history. You can see old trees perfectly aligned. They grew up
on the same motherlog, hundreds of years ago. In another
type, you'll see an old fir whose trunk starts up in the air.
In this case the seedling took root on a decaying stump, which
over the course of time completely disappeared leaving the
next generation seeminly suspended.
So... firs do grow in shade. That's why a douglas fir forest is
a *climax* forest. We don't see that term referenced much
any more because it begs to differ with the clearcut dictum
that fir seedlings need direct sunlight.
On the contrary, blackberries, etc need strong light. Hence
the reliance on herbicides by treefarms. If nature were left to
restore the land, a natural progression would occur: The
berries and other shrubs would grow; alder and other fast-
growing trees would move in next; then later the firs as
the final stage of the progression.
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