Saturday, October 31, 2015

What are we salvaging?

 Up on Mt. Hough cutting firewood last week, we came across this beautiful dead Black Oak.  Beautiful, you ask?  It's dead!  However, it is and has been a home to many creatures, not the least of which are woodpeckers.  A nest hole is apparent in the second and third photos.
 Then there are the lichens.  Soil makers.  And moss.  Beetles.  Oak Treehoppers (although they only live on the oaks when they are alive.  With the aid of lenses, one could probably identify a hundred or more species of organisms that depend on this oak at all stages throughout its life until it becomes soil again.
 There is considerable controversy over so-called salvage logging - taking out of the forest all salable wood after a fire.  I'm siding with the critters.  I think the damned federal government knows what it's doing in this case,  The people of the United States own this forest, not just the people of Plumas County who own wood stoves, of which I am one.

 AS the bark begins to separate from the wood, the resulting cracks are great hiding places for lizards, beetles, spiders, and all manner of other invertebrates.  A great situation for kids to learn about ecosystems, and not just about board feet or cords of wood.  We should be thinking about salvaging
whole ecosystems, not just marketable wood.

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