Original NZ mammal & forest (Was Re: Clear-cut)

Brian Sandle bsandle at southern.co.nz
Sun Feb 6 09:17:11 EST 2000

truffler1635 at my-deja.com wrote:
: In article <20000204234404.27004.00001460 at ng-cj1.aol.com>,
:   gswoodsguy at aol.com (GSWoodsguy) wrote:
:> clear cutting is a vital part of timber harvesting.  You thin a few times, then
:> cut the remaining trees and replant.  IMHO
: Thanks for your _opinion_. But forest management should have a little
: more basis than just opinion, don't you think?

: The problem with clearcutting is that regeneration is presumed, not
: proven. Most mycorrhizal fungi associated with most trees dies out
: within a year after clearcutting. Without mycorrhizal fungi, most trees
: die.

: The last issue of McIlvania has an interesting article on successional
: mycorrhizal on glaciers in Washington. The mycorrhizal fungi associated
: with nearly exposed rocky areas is nearly completely different from
: soils 50-100 years old, and considerably different from established old-
: growth trees at lower elevations. In other words, there appears to be a
: succession of mycorrhizal fungi as trees grow. And as soils grow.

: Since most mycorrhizal fungi have _not_ been cultivated (most haven't
: even been identified) it is impossible to grow trees. The best thing
: that can happen is planting seedlings and _hoping_ nature is still able
: to inoculate the mycorrhizal fungi necessary to keep the trees alive.

: Many essential mycorrhizal fungi are hypogeous (underground) truffles.
: The Northern Spotted owl is the best vector for dispersal of these
: fungi. The fungi are the major source of food for Northern flying
: squirrels and California Red-backed voles. Voles especially need to eat
: their own body weight in truffles to survive. To stay alive, a mature
: vole needs to eat 16 pounds of truffles per year. But voles probably
: don't travel further than 100 yards from where they are born.

: Northern Spotted owls eat many voles each day. The spores pass through
: both voles and owls without apparent harm, and germinate some distance
: away. A Northern Spotted owl flies up to 40 miles each day. Each time it
: regurgitates an owl pellet, or defecates, it essentially is dispersing
: hundreds of mycorrhizal fungi species. That's how truffles get spread in
: nature.

: Clearcutting disrupts that cycle. Great Horned owls roost on the edges
: of clearcuts. When they see a Spotted owl, they try to overtake it and
: kill it. Most spotted owls are killed by Great Horned owls or other
: raptors.

: Widespread clearcuts are the reasons Northern Spotted owls are nearing
: extinction. Should the owls become extinct, old-growth forests may
: follow.

: Daniel B. Wheeler
: www.oregonwhitetruffles.com

So we have to watch out for this sort of talk:

        URL: http://www-vti.waite.adelaide.edu.au/agroforestry/afis.htm
   Last Mod: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 01:50:00 GMT
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   Slash-&-burn agriculture is, for example, a form of rotational (or
   "separate") agroforestry. In this practice, the farmers clear the
   forest, burn the slash, and cultivate annual or short-term perennial
   food crops along with some tree species. These plots are worked for a
   few years until fertility is exhausted and then abandonned. The plots
   are recolonised by pioneer, and later climax, species from the
   surrounding forest which restore the fertility of the soil.
   Slash-&-burn agriculture has not only been practised in the tropics.
   It existed in Europe up to the Middle Ages, still widely followed in
   Finland up to end of last century, and practiced in a few areas of
   Germany as late as the 1920s.

Not that we have plans for that in New Zealand at the moment. But I think 
that there is some disagreement as to whether former native forest shoudl 
be allowed to try to regenerate rather than be planted in exotics. The 
populations of many creatures in the forests have severely decreased. Is 
there a minimum range of forest needed for viability?

Moller, in the following, recently wrote an article for the Christchurch 
Press seeming to extol the TWC beech scheme. But in teh analysis of 
submissions on it he was very cautionary about improvement felling, which 
I thought was still part of the scheme which many are still trying to 
   Linkname: TWC Submission Analysis - Improvement felling

   Last Mod: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 23:29:05 GMT
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   The Royal Society notes that the impacts of improvement felling on
   ecosystem diversity or function are not addressed in the
   prescriptions. Moller is extremely concerned about the ecological
   impacts, especially on hole-using bats and birds, of improvement
   fellings and urges that this silvicultural approach be eliminated from
   the Plans. Elliott et al, West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board
   and Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society express similar concerns.
   The Maruia Society questions whether "improvement" should be sought,
   believing a policy of non-degradation is more consistent with the
   vision of near natural management. The Society believes that the
   improvement felling proposals should be reviewed.

Bats are our only original mammals in NZ. What functions do they have?

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