The fire ecology story: Severely burned conifer forests are magical places
Some species have evolved traits that tie them to severely burned forest conditions
The problem is that most people don't even know how special blackened forests are because public messaging campaigns are designed to demonize rather than celebrate severe fire; just scroll through the three examples below...
Why are we so hell bent on demonizing fire?"
(1) Safety--most of us believe that forest fires are bad because they threaten human communities.
(2) Special interest groups--these include those who wish to paint forest fires in a bad light because their livelihoods depend on keeping forests green (e.g., timber companies, public agencies that are largely structured around timber harvesting on public lands, and an enormous fire-fighting industrial complex).
So, is there any way to address these concerns while also allowing conifer forests to occasionally burn severely, as most have for millennia?
Absolutely! Below, I outline steps toward achieving a land management philosophy that promotes safety and multiple use while sustaining the ecological integrity of a disturbance-based, conifer forest system...
Step 1. Accept that ECOLOGY is central to public land management
Step 2. Use ecology to understand that all conifer forests are disturbance dependent and that the most important agent of disturbance in conifer forest systems is fire, which varies in average severity among forest types.