Within the last several days, we planted the site pictured below back to native prairie and wetland. By the looks of the land while zipping up and down long North and South lines, pulling a native seed-loaded drop spreader behind an ATV, it had been far beyond abused, often neglected, and done so with blatant indifference to the consequences – the typical fashion of ignorant land management. This place was much like the Dust Bowl Continue reading
Oftentimes in the realm of ecological restoration, you will hear some people talk about restoring an ecosystem to its “pre-settlement conditions.” This is somewhat of a narrow-minded approach, as those conditions represent only a moment in time, specifically, the conditions as seen by the settlers. In the case of prairie restorations, as Chris Helzer wrote, “we can plant the most diverse mixture of native prairie seeds we can, and let the new prairie establish in a way that conforms to today’s soils and climate.” Continue reading
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Tagged corn, ecological restoration, exotic species, Michael Forsberg, Monsanto, oak savanna, Ogallala Aquifer, prairie, pre-settlement conditions, Smooth Brome, terrestrial ecosystem, The Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild, The Nature Conservancy
And also the least protected and least understood, more so than the Tropical Rainforests, is the North American Tallgrass Prairie, of which, less than 1% remains (not sure why the video shows the figure as 4%).
Without fire, the prairie and all of its associated processes, scenery, seasonal beauty, wildlife (including insects), would not exist as we know them today. In order for this unique ecosystem to remain and for us and future generations to enjoy it, our Smokey Bear-hindered fire culture must change. Continue reading
The longer and colder than normal spring has extended our burn season by several weeks. Currently, we are projected to be burning into mid to late May, and according to the tentative prescribed burn list, we still have 6 burns scheduled. If the weather pattern changes soon and in favor of our prescriptions, then our windows of opportunity could increase, allowing us to complete the burns as prioritized on that list before collecting season begins. Those of you familiar with me, know that I am a strong proponent of prescribed burning, in both ecological restoration, maintenance of natural ecosystems, and removal of aggressive, non-native species. Continue reading
I wish more schools had programs like the one shown below, because you just can’t beat that kind of experience early on. It would create an increase in a postive fire culture, helping people to realize that fire is a good thing in terrestrial ecosystems, and could help decrease the prescribed burning backlog that many human-managed ecosystems are still suffering from. A lot of the negativity and the many misconceptions the public has towards fire is simply due to a lack of education in fire ecology. You can go to almost any Facebook page that gives active updates on fires and read the emotionally based and scientifically blind responses people write in the comments under many of the photos. A few basic classes in that subject in grade school through high school would help out quite a bit and show people that fire is a natural and necessary part of land-based ecosystems. Without fire, we wouldn’t have many of the plants and wildlife we have today. Continue reading
It’s that time of year when the transition from cool to warm season acclimatization becomes the next big issue for outdoor workers and athletes.
The video below was produced after some heavy thinking in the aftermath of wildland firefighter Caleb Hamm‘s death on the CR 337 Fire in Palo Pinto County, TX in July of 2011. While his death is tragic, it also serves as a simple reminder to snack throughout the day and make sure Gatorade or Powerade comprises 1/3 to 1/2 of your daily fluid intake during physical exertion in hot weather, because drinking too much water causes hyponatremia. Continue reading
This site is still in the early stages of restoration proposal, so I took the time while on a visit home to check out what this place has in terms of Spring prairie plants. From what I saw that day, this place has excellent restoration potential to become an educational prairie and restored Cross Timbers natural area. I hope work can begin in late fall, along with the other projects I have in the proposal stage. Continue reading
Many seed catalogs, especially the ones from conventional seed companies (read: non-local ecotype seed, or junk to most ecologists), recommend planting in spring; especially for grasses. Wildflowers (forbs) are sometimes recommended for spring or fall plantings, or there’s no mention at all. Continue reading