Sunday, January 15, 2006

Where's Winter?















Click on photo to enlarge

The second storm of the winter hit yesterday with forcasts of heavy snowfall, but only resulted in this dusting, bringing our total snow for the season to about 2 1/2 inches!

Last winter by this time we already had about 8 feet. We could sure use a real storm here sometime soon!

But the forecast did get us busy splitting some more of the pine logs piling up around here anyway (see post below).

There is so much tree cutting going on in the Big Bear area because of the bark-beetle infestation that local pine firewood is very cheap, or even free much of the time, if you're willing to do the hauling and splitting. We've accumulated (and are still collecting) several cords just from our own neighborhood, which we haul home in wheelbarrows.

Last year's heavy winter and wet summer were a welcome relief from the 7 year drought that triggered the bark-beetle infestation.

Global warming contributes too, and the poor forestry practiced during the past century, where we haven't allowed fire to naturally thin our forests, or eliminate underbrush & overpopulations of insects, while adding nutrients to the soil.

Instead we subsidize the building of logging roads and the clear-cutting of older large trees, which puts whole ecosytems out of balance, ruins watersheds, causing landslides & flooding, results in dense forests of smaller similar aged trees, increasing the fire danger, while creating unhealthy forests of reduced diversity.

Above you'll see part of my contribution to logging & deforestation, in our deck and picnic table.

But, in my defense, if all the trees I've planted in my lifetime were to reach maturity, I will have been responsible for the growth of far more wood than I'll ever consume.

I've planted hundreds of trees between here and the Santa Monica mountains in the past 40 years, many of which are still growing, and producing oxygen and wood, at this very moment.

Trees---so beautiful and beneficial, their wood so useful to us in countless ways---are a very renewable resource if we would only harvest them sustainably, and then limit our numbers so we don't keep over-running the planet like so many bark-beetles.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous k.(kara) said...

jim, have you ever seen the documentary *butterfly* about julia "butterfly" hill? if not, i think you might enjoy it.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

k.

I haven't seen the documentary, but we really admire Julia and closely followed her 2 year tree sit in Luna. Our daughter wrote to Julia during the mid-part of her incredible 'action' and we still have Julia's thoughtful reply, thanking Jamie for her support, and written from the top of an old-growth redwood on a re-used piece of scrap paper. Quite a young woman that Julia 'Butterfly' Hill!

8:11 PM  
Blogger clairesgarden said...

there are large areas of Scotish hillside planted with evergreen pines wich are not native, they are clear-felled leaving areas looking like post nuclear war. farmers are subsidised to plant trees but they get away with the smallest area possible for the largest sum of money.

11:32 PM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

Even waaaay up here, we're asking "where's winter?". So little snow, and significantly warmer than average.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous kara said...

see, this is why i like you guys ! :) she explains why she re-uses pieces from a "food box" for writing and drawing in the film.
it was also interesting to see some of the earth first members react to the attention "she" was geting for the sit, but now i'm rambling..

9:53 AM  
Blogger Norene said...

Jim, your post brings to mind one of the books I am currently reading, The Future of Ice by Gretel Ehrlich. It's a poetic look at cold, interspersed with notes about natural warming and cooling cycles and anthropogenic climate change.

Nuthatch over at bootstrap analysis had a post yesterday pointing to an article predicting a 25% loss of land organisms due to climate by 2050.

It seems like this year in particular, the "average person" is really getting for the first time that the weather isn't right, and it isn't a temporary thing, and that we're a big part of the cause. At least, that's how it seems to me based on conversations I've been having that OTHER people have started.

11:37 AM  

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