Forested areas worth preserving
lhfotoware at hotmail.com
Tue Feb 3 09:11:05 EST 2004
I spent a few weeks on the Cleveland National, err, Forest and saw
some very interesting "remnant" forests. I recently was looking for
OHV use to map and ended up at Mount Palomar, home of the famous
observatories. There's a really interesting combination of trees there
and it's quite pretty. Big cone Douglas-fir old growth (up to 60" dbh)
dominates the north-facing slopes and they look like stunted old
growth redwoods. Also present is incense cedar, Colter pine, white fir
and other hardwoods. There are also some old planted Giant Sequoias.
Currently, all the conifers are showing drought stress with about 80%
mortality in the white fir. Bark beetles are also getting pockets of
the pine and even the hardy cedar is showing some dieback. The area is
popular for recreation but at high risk to total loss to wildfire.
Brush clearing and controlled burns should help this unique area
survive the next wildfire. It's a perfect opportunity for a
"preservationist" group to step up and save something that deperately
In other areas of the Cleveland NF, I've been working within the Cedar
Fire, near San Diego. One area had hundreds of millions of dollars
worth of real estate surrounded completely by high-intensity burn. I
didn't see one burned house in this elite neighborhood. Poorer areas
in thicker hardwood forests, near Julian, had plenty of burnovers.
Given the windy conditions during the fire, it's no mistake that the
burn is a huge mosaic and spot fires must have been everywhere. I've
also seen interesting "experiments" of Colter pine and Torrey pine
plantations. They are also getting hit by bugs and haven't seen any
management for years.
Larry, have boots, will travel
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