Hot Time at Cold Spring

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bach2yoga

Guest
I enjoyed Dr. Emile's article, Bob. Thanks for posting it! I especially found the turkey beard info interesting.

Renee
 
J

JeffD

Guest
I just read Dr. Devito's article on the exclusive use of "natural" fire to let nature take its course in some areas.

In some very remote areas, which haven't been touched by humans, it may be good to just let fires burn. This was one of the ideas advanced in the many hours of testimony during hearings on protecting communities from wildfire that the congressional Forest and Forest Health subcommitte held. The idea was that up high on mountaintops, where nobody goes, and where it doesn't endanger anybody, the U.S. Forest Service should just let the fires burn. I don't know of any such areas in the Pine Barrens.

I don't agree with Dr. Devito that the controlled, what she calls "cold" burns turn the forest into a wasteland. Actually, if a fire is too hot, it sterilizes the soil. I remember reading a link on FIRE IN THE PINES, where it was explained that, mainly in the sandy, high northern parts of the Pine Barrens, controlled burns not only remove underbrush which can fuel wildfires, but the burns put nutrients back into the soil to help the trees grow. And as far as the oak underbrush eventually overtaking pitch pine as well as cedars, why not just cut the oaks. This way you can use this hot burning wood for firewood or for some other usefull purpose, rather than wait for a forest fire to burn it away, polluting the air in the process. The professor doesn't seem to mind that cedars were burned down in the fire because the loss off cedars was due to mismanagement and not fires. This is silly reasoning. Equally silly is the idea that a fire set by an arsonist is better for an aestetically pleasing forest than a fire from a controlled burn. I guess if it's uncontrolled it's good; if it's controlled it's bad.

It certainly is neat how a fire allows pitch pine seeds to open as well as does a nice trick with that turkey beard. But as Professor of Forestry at Texas A & M Thomas Bonnicken stated in testimony before congress (which I posted while back on the PBE board), the exclusive use of fire is inadequate to keep forests healthy. Dr. Bonnicken rightly advocates using loggers to help foresters thin the forests to help keep them healthy.

And managing the forest by employing logging and controlled burns doesn't eliminate biological diversity, as Dr. Divito claims. This doesn't happen even in a clearcut, according to Patrick Moore. http://www.greenspirit.com/key_issues/the_log.cfm?booknum=13

The New Jersey Forest Service needs to continue and even step up it's silicultural practices, scienficially selecting how much, when, and what to cut as well as continue doing controlled burns, especially, but not exclusively, in areas close to communities.
 
B

bach2yoga

Guest
I don't agree with Dr. Devito that the controlled, what she calls "cold" burns turn the forest into a wasteland

Um, the article was written by a man...wonder what else you missed...?
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,508
8,046
Not everyone seems to be happy with her....I mean him....


OPEN SPACE ACTIVISTS DROPPED BY MIDDLESEX COUNTY

Date: 990116
From: Star-Ledger, 990115

Preservation committee clouded by politics

By Joe Malinconico, Star-Ledger Staff

Middlesex County officials once bragged about what an asset Emile
DeVito of South Plainfield was to the open space advisory committee.

A conservation biologist whose gung-ho spirit energized his academic
expertise, DeVito campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the public ballot
question that created the county's open space preservation tax in
1995.

After the open space tax was approved, DeVito became chairman of the
advisory panel and focused on the meticulous process devising a fair
system for spending millions of taxpayers' dollars on preservation.

But last week, the freeholders dropped DeVito and several other
environmental activists from the advisory committee, cutting outspoken
members who were becoming increasingly critical of the county's
handling of preservation issues.

Government officials attributed the removals to a restructuring of
the open space committee, which reduced its membership. They said the
moves had nothing to do with activists' independent ways.

"Emile has been a very valuable asset to the committee; there is no
doubt about it," said Freeholder Camille Fernicola, who oversees the
open space panel. "Emile brought tremendous environmental experience.
But we cannot please everybody. If Emile feels he has been pushed out,
I'm sorry to hear that."

"Frankly, they don't want me around, because I do nothing but point
out where they're falling short," DeVito said. "Deals were being made
based on expediency, based on economics and based on what the various
political leaders wanted. I haven't seen any deals made based on
preserving natural resources."

The advisory committee was created in 1995, after voters approved an
open space tax that generates about $4.4 million a year for
preservation and park projects.

Among the other environmentalists dropped from the panel are Walter
Stochel of Edison; Edna Peterson of Woodbridge; Barbara Lumina of
Monroe and Miriam Wolin of East Brunswick.

The downsized panel, appointed by the freeholders last week, is
composed of Fernicola; County Parks Superintendent Ralph Albanir;
County Treasurer James Phillips; Joseph Jennings, a labor leader from
Jamesburg; Angelo Franchette, a parks advocate from South Brunswick;
James Campbell, New Brunswick's recreation director, and Theodore
Kruse, a former school board member from Piscataway.

"It's a lot of political people; how about that?" ousted board member
Wolin commented. "I'm sure that's why they got rid of us. We were a
bunch of very idealistic people. I hope the people who will be on it
will be idealistic, too."

In the past two years, DeVito, Wolin and other ousted advisory panel
members have evolved as critics of some of the freeholders' open space
moves.

They strongly opposed the county's decision to allow senior citizen
housing to be built on 350 acres in Old Bridge, a tract that
originally was supposed as part of a massive 2,600-acre preserve. The
housing, the activists argued, would jeopardize the nearby Duhernal
Watershed.

Also, they criticized the freeholders' support of plans to allow a
school to be built on parkland in Jamesburg and Monroe and plans for a
commercial development on 60 acres of environmentally sensitive
property in Edison.

In general, the activists contend their role as an advisory committee
was undermined once the freeholders assigned the Middlesex County
Improvement Authority to handle open space purchases. They asserted
that the freeholders no longer seek their input.

Fernicola and other officials countered that the open space panel
already had served its primary purpose of putting together a list of
sites to be acquired. The details involved in the purchases should be
left to professional consultants hired by the county, officials
argued.

Fernicola emphasized that DeVito and the other removed panel members
would be welcome to attend open space committee meetings and offer
input. Indeed, DeVito emphasized that he does not intend to stop
monitoring the county's open space decisions.

"If they think that by not having us on the committee that they've
eliminated a thorn in their side, they're wrong," he said. "They're
going to have a bigger thorn in their side."
 
J

JeffD

Guest
As Steve Martin would say, well exCUUUUUUUUUUUZE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I was tired from the long hike and writing late and I mistook E Meel, a guy's name, for Em Ill Lee, a female name. I realize there is no excuse, so I guess that faux paux destroys my credibility and my whole arguement because I just wasn't paying attention. Chalk one up for the tree huggers. They've convinced me that we need to stop piddlin' around with these cold, planned, controlled burns and just let fire rip through the forest. Next time I'm out in the forest I'll have to commit arson, as this is the closest thing to what nature did before humans arrived on the scene and started cutting down trees and, to clear out the undergrowth, making brush fires. :roll: :bounce: :bow:
 
B

bach2yoga

Guest
JeffD said:
As Steve Martin would say, well exCUUUUUUUUUUUZE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I was tired from the long hike and writing late and I mistook E Meel, a guy's name, for Em Ill Lee, a female name. I realize there is no excuse, so I guess that faux paux destroys my credibility and my whole arguement because I just wasn't paying attention. Chalk one up for the tree huggers. They've convinced me that we need to stop piddlin' around with these cold, planned, controlled burns and just let fire rip through the forest. Next time I'm out in the forest I'll have to commit arson, as this is the closest thing to what nature did before humans arrived on the scene and started cutting down trees and, to clear out the undergrowth, making brush fires. :roll: :bounce: :bow:

Jeff,
No need to ruffle your feathers, calm down...did you also realize that you missed the section where Dr. Emile talked about treating the wildlife-urban interface differently?
Cold control burns should be done ONLY where it is essential to safety-proof areas of human occupation. Hot burns, which more closely imitate natural fires, need to be intensely studied and developed for use in more remote areas of the Pines. The good intentions of the Forest Fire Service need to be redirected. Spend more time protecting villages, and less time turning vast, remote public lands to biologically impoverished syvicultural stands of pine and lowbush blueberry. Inhabited areas should be few but well protected, so that when a hot fire roars deep in the Barrens, the headlines read:


"MAGNIFICENT FIRE RESTORES COMPLEXITY
TO NEW JERSEY'S PINE BARRENS,
NO HOMES OR LIVES THREATENED."




Renee
 
J

JeffD

Guest
I agree that forested areas around communities should be a priority, which is what the feds are doing, but controlled burns and silvicultural practices ARE consistent with biodiversity and an aestetically pleasing forest. Thinning, and occasional clearcuts in the forest mimicks the naturally occuring forest -- that which was found before humans arrived. I don't believe there are any areas in the Pine Barrens that were not touched by humans where we should just let nature take it's course. Keeping the vegetation trim around buildings (and electrical transformers) and the woods nearby is a start. But monster fires from quite some distance can reach communities. Besides, when you just let a hot, hot fire rip through and area and don't clean up, it looks like cacca -- alot worse than a clearcut or a controlled burn. And when a fire gets too hot, the soil is sterilized, which means trees can't get nutrients to grow. This Divito GUY is just advocating the "leave it alone" philosophy, with, or course, a little compromise for allegedly protecting communites from wildfire. Here's the scoop from Texas A & M Forestry Professor Thomas Bonnicksen, whom I've mentioned and find right on target.

http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/107cong/forests/2002jul11/bonnicksen.htm

The NJ Forest Service needs to expand its silvicultural practices. I've seen areas where fires occurred and where they haven't occured where there is too much debris on the forest floor and trees are overstocked. These areas need to be cut and a controlled burn needs to be conducted. The public needs to be educated that this leave it alone philosophy is destroying our forests.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,100
4,191
Pines; Bamber area
JeffD said:
This Divito GUY is just advocating the "leave it alone" philosophy, with, or course, a little compromise for allegedly protecting communites from wildfire. ...Here's the scoop from Texas A & M Forestry Professor Thomas Bonnicksen, whom I've mentioned and find right on target.... The public needs to be educated that this leave it alone philosophy is destroying our forests.

A little compromise (which includes my mantra; burn baby burn!) is just what the doctor ordered for the Pine Barrens of NJ. Fire has given the pines their unique character, which is evident in their being named a United Nations Biosphere reserve and a United States National Reserve.

The prescriptions being offered that you cite don't apply here. Not in my backyard.

I'll tell you what I won't do, is question Professor Bonnicksen, drag his name through the mud, and belittle his knowledge.
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Burn baby burn! We have fever here and it's not even Saturday night! :shock: :roll:

We've been having fire in the Pines, Bob, via the controlled burns. The general principles that Bonnicksen and Moore offer certainly has and will help to maintain and healthy, pretty forest. It's the de facto let in burn policy that turns today's forests into wastelands. The Pine Barrens has been inhabited by humans for hundreds of years, and I don't believe there is anyplace untouched by humans. Finding a virgin forest in the Pine Barrens is like finding a tree in Brooklyn. Yet Disney Ecologists are still looking at the Pine Barrens as though it was uninhabited. I guess you can't hear the voice of Bonnicksen and Moore in the wilderness. What can I say? If a tree falls in a forest and noone hears it, it must not make a sound, especially if you hold your ears :bounce: :prop: :? .
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
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1,857
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
Even I have to disagree with you on this one, Jeff.

Historically speaking, the Pine Barrens have largely been uninhabited. Populations grew up around the forges and furnaces of the Pines (which often were the cause of many fires) and much of the surrounding forest was used for fuel. But if you were to travel 10 or even 5 miles away from those sites, you would be looking at virgin forest.

On a sand road, every few miles or so, there would be an inn or tavern for travelers to refresh themselves and their horses, but that's about it.

The Pine Barrens has never been host to huge communities or centers of population. People claim that Chatsworth is the Capitol of the Pines. There are more people living within walking distance of my house than there is in all of Chatsworth.

So much of the Pine Barrens forest is virgin and untouched.
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Truely virgin forest, Ben? Didn't the Lenape Indians burn the forests in the PIne Barrens to clear land for crops, etc.? I guess this is where history comes in.

Well perhaps a tree does grow in Brooklyn and there are spots in the Pine Barrens that were away from the early communities and Indian villages where there may be virgin forest. But didn't people early on, log the forests heavily? In early times they used alot of wood for their operations. Still I realize that there weren't that many people around then and there may have been areas that were untouched. But during the last several decades weren't the forests logged? Certainly with all the roads loggers, farmers, ect, could get around better than they could in the old days.

There may be some spots of virgin forest in the Pine Barrens, but five to ten miles away from civilization isn't that far... the way the forest burns. If wildfires were allowed to burn in those places, it still could get out of hand and spread to non-virgin areas and maybe even to communities, as the one did in Los Alamos New Mexico. Those backcountry areas where we go could turn into wastelands, not to mention the air pollution from the smoke. These alleged virgins are not THAT far away from civilization. The fire Dr. Divito praises shut down the Garden State Parkway (which some may think not a bad idea to do permanently). Were'nt some houses, etc. also damaged in the fire?

Are you sure Emile isn't related to Danny Divito? :) :wink:
 
J

JeffD

Guest
The thing that concerns me about Devito's idea is that he wants the New Jersey Forest Service to stop it's current silvicultural practices. He says that natural fire should weed nature's garden in small areas away from communities. But the Forest Service hasn't been managing land via silviculture on too great an area. I've found a few places where trees were crowded together, there was excessive standing and lying dead wood that needed cutting not very far from main roads!
 

Ben Ruset

Administrator
Site Administrator
Oct 12, 2004
7,616
1,857
Monmouth County
www.benruset.com
The Lenape were hunters + gatherers, not farmers. The Pine Barrens were named that way because it's nearly impossible to grow crops there. Once you get farther North (North of Toms River, that is) the soil becomes much more suitable for growing food.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
25,508
8,046
I was breezing through one of the books I purchased at the Atsion Ranger station today, and could not help noticing a few things. One photo shows a charcoal kiln being burned at Quaker Bridge with many of the trees around it cut down for that event. Can you notice today where that occurred? Certainly not! Did that do irreparable harm to the pines? Certainly not... but today you would be arrested if you own that property and tried that. I am not saying you should be allowed to do this, just that doing it will not destroy the pines.

Another photo shows the catholic cemetery which we visited at the recreation area yesterday, and you could tell that the trees at one time in the past had been taken down and were growing back. Before the recreation area that is presently there was built, the pine trees that grew back there made you think that they had been there forever. But they had not as the photo shows. But the state who is protecting the pines from the bad guy's, decided that a recreation area needed to be built there, and removed many of the trees that they told us not to damage. Hypocritical to me!

And one photo shows dynamite being used to remove stumps, apparently a common and acceptable practice back then. Obviously Friendship Bogs may have been created the same way, and we all can see how much those bogs have damaged the pines. Just walk back there and take a photo, or read what environmentalist's say about them. Some of the words are beautiful, magnificent, an ecological gem, etc, etc.

And it is obvious that in years to come you will not know where the JCRR went through the pines, unless the steel tracks are left there. Nature will return it to the way it was before humans raised their axes in the air to clear the trees for their one moment in time. I'll bet a dollar on it!

Guy
 
J

JeffD

Guest
Only certain crops grow in the Pine Barrens, then, Ben. I guess the Lenapes weren't into growing blueberries and cranberries. They didn't need to grow cranberries; they could always get a supply from the pilgrims on Thanksgiving. The Indians just brought the hard cider. :wink:

That's right, Guy, the pines, and the cedars, will grow back. There's just a problem when over the years you cut more than will grow back. That was the problem in the late 19th century, which John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club spoke against and lobbied to have something done about the problem. Muir was a naturalist, not a forester. But he didn't see a problem with tree harvests as long as trees can grow back to replace them and there is a sustained yield. Although he didn't always see eye to eye with his colleague, forester Gifford Pinchot, I think Pinchot had a good influence on Muir. Today's Sierra Club has hijacked the club John Muir founded, advocating policies such as zero cut.

The cycle of cutting trees and regrowth not only helps keep the forest healthy and helps prevent monster wildfires, it brings more oxygen to the air. A growing tree produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than does a mature tree. To cut or not to cut is not the question. It's how, what, and when. This is the science of silviculture.
 
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