[permaculture] Prairies and Forests

Mark mpludwig at facstaff.wisc.edu
Mon Jul 8 17:37:14 EDT 2002

my two cents back...

>With all due respect...why then do some of the worst fires I've read
>about seem to be "controlled" burns that got out of control?  The big
>New Mexico fire of a year or two back comes to mind...

I'm talking about grass fires here.  These run out of fuel very rapidly 
which makes their control fairly simple if you know what you're 
doing.  Burning overloaded woodlands is a whole different matter.  How they 
are going to sort out the western forest lands that have become overgrown 
is far beyond my expertise.  It may be that much of it needs to be logged 
pretty soundly to thin it out, low grade it if you will, to get the junk 
out.  This overgrowth is of course the result of bad logging and more 
significantly fire suppression for 100 years.

>I'd be willing to bet that each of you has good points and
>methodologies that will work under some circumstances.  The danger, as
>always, lies in assuming that what works in situation A will work
>everywhere, or that what appears to work in the first few months or
>years after an event is right for the system in the longer term.  So
>maybe you're both right? :)

10,000 years of native American management with fire?  Works for me.

>There are definitely ecologies that are structured around occasional
>fires.  We have a number of those in California, and the debate still
>rages as to whether manmade burns and/or premature suppression of
>wildfires help or hurt the overall ecology.

The chaperal areas are tricky devils too.  Very flammable vegetation, steep 
slopes with gravity winds and gol dang houses right in the middle of 
it.  One word friends: GOATS!

>Build soil,

Mark P. Ludwig
Poultry Research Lab
University of Wisconsin -Madison
608-262-1730 WK
608-846-7125 HM

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