Another example of the benefits of government can be seen in the forests of the Western United States.
A recent article in a Los Angeles publication “City Watch” reports that burned-out forests here in the States are not re-growing themselves. Why? Manmade global warming is the cause for both the fires and forests’ failure to recover from massive fires in the last three-four decades. (And blames the “biomass industry” for contributing to the death of forests and the planet warming – and concealing the evidence.)
Data is quoted (from various government and NGO sources – meta-government at its best) dating back to 1988. We are told the year 1900 is the genesis of man’s destruction of the forests. Unchecked global warming, it is claimed, will mean the death of ALL the world’s forests. (Except for those destroyed by global sea-levels rising 20 feet, of course.)
Such claims are not new – just about different things. From the claims that going faster than 20 (or 30) mph in dem iron-horse trains or dem horseless carriages would kill you, drive you mad, or whatever. To fears of Nazis goose-stepping down Broadway on Manhattan and Japs driving enslaved American POWs and “comfort women” down Lombard in San Francisco. To a new ice age due to global cooling in the 1970s to Al-gor’s impassioned warnings of a flooded planet in the 1990s. And of course, the collapse of civilization due to the dreaded COVID in the past two years.
Panic porn, at best. To sell news shows and newspapers (that is, advertising) and raise billions in campaign funds (and other bribes) while enabling the fleecing of millions. Government thrives on crisis – so do politicians. “Beat the drums, blow the horns, terrify people” leads to money and votes and power.
The truth? Mankind (and nature) have been burning wood and forests and spewing the evil CO2 into the atmosphere since Creation. And while vast areas of forest (example: the American Midwest and the South) had massive deforestation in the 1800s, OTHER areas actually saw significant growth in forests – like the Black Hills and the river valleys of the Great Plains – and even parts of those same American Midwest States. That massive overgrazing and wars of the (culturally-protected) Islamic states of North Africa and their imperialistic black neighbors to the south created the modern Sahara sand-scape. Even while the forests of the European heartland and even the Taiga of Russia expanded.
But right now I want to talk about the heartland forests of North America.
The problem of forests NOT re-growing themselves has been with us a very long time, and has little if anything to do with global warming or people burning too much firewood. But it has a lot to do with stupid actions by men and their governments. In the late 1800s, alarmed by massive clearing of forests, the Progressives (poster child Teddy Roosevelt) started “preserving” the forests. First by curtailing transferring the land from supposed government ownership (after stealing it from various tribes and others) and then by regulating timber cutting and “preventing forest fires.” It all sounded good, but it was bad science: like the grasslands of the Great Plains, virtually all of the forests of the Rocky Mountains are “fire-climax” ecosystems. Fire (whether natural or man-caused) is essential for the plant and animals species to thrive.
When fire is not allowed to sweep through Ponderosa and Douglas fir and Pinyon-Juniper forests and savannahs for years – decades – an unnatural situation develops. Massive fire loads build up in the form of vegetation (including discarded leaves and needles) on the ground. Standing dead trees become havens for predatory insects, and more fire load. Ditto for fallen trees. Dense thickets of skinny, sickly, runted trees (we call them “doghair”) are not thinned and so provide more bug habitat and fire load. Until one day, a careless camper or driver or a lightning strike starts a fire which canNOT be quickly be suppressed.
And burns thousands, and tens of thousands of acres: land filled with huge fire loads of needles and leaves and fallen trees and doghair which was NOT burned on a regular basis (every couple or three years) in cool, ground-level, and fast fires. And so it burns in crown fires which kill ALL the trees – not just the old and sick and weak. And which sterilizes the soil itself – often a feet deep or more – and burns off the organic constituents of the topsoil. Including the essential microbes and insects and worms which distinguish living soil from dead soil. This is not “fire climax” in which fire clears out the natural trash and lets all sorts of plants (and therefore animals) revive and thrive. This is a killing fire that destroys ecosystems. Courtesy of misguided (or even intentional) government AND private efforts to be faithful followers of Smokey the Bear: “Prevent Forest Fires.”
The same thing happens in plains and prairies: both in open fields of grassland and in the woods along streambanks and valleys: because the grass is no longer allowed to burn, all the brush and trees which spread are allowed to grow into woods and forests, and those woods along streams grow thick and create dangerous conditions which result in increased flood danger and other problems.
Why? Because government policy is often decades – if not a century or more – behind REAL science: not government-sponsored, government-controlled “science” worshipped by politicians and other ignorant people.
In 1959, a massive, killing crown/sterilizing fire destroyed the forest on Mount Theodore Roosevelt, above the mining town of Deadwood in the Black Hills. That forest was reestablished after being clearcut between 1876 and 1900 for mining timbers and firewood. And fires were prevented by government action for almost 60 years. Then came the killing fire. Today, 62 years later, there are very few trees and undergrowth on that mountain, because rebuilding soil can take centuries.
NONE of that had anything to do with manmade global warming – but EVERYthing to do with government stupidity.
When I worked for the Dept of Interior, in the 70’s, in California, we did control burns and that reduced fires by 60%, the Reagan EPA put in rules that were impossible to follow and the control burn program was stopped and wild fires went out of control.