Wisely Managing Idaho and America’s Forests

Fire season is officially here. Poor land and forest management lead to a heavy fuel load for wildfires and forest fires. Last summer we literally breathed in burning forests casting more Carbon into our air than all the automobiles combined. It doesn’t have to be this way. Well managed forest contain light burns. We know this from hundreds of years of tree rings showing prior burns. Today’s fires leave no tree rings as they burn the trees to the ground leaving scorched earth and sterile soil.  When our neighbors to the west burn we all suffer.

Before western explorers arrived, large animals moved in great herds across the land grazing and clearing fuel loads and pruning lower branches of trees. Beavers dug mini canals and build multiple mini ponds slowing the rivers, distributing water, and filling the valleys with life. When lightning struck, the fuel loads were low, the fire kissed the trees and moved along rather than torching each tree to the ground. We can replicate nature through regenerative and restorative agriculture, silvopasture, water restoration, and agroforestry.

Clearly, we must clear up beetle and moth damaged forests, or watch them burn.

There are zillions of tiny microorganisms living in our soils. They break down the micro aggregates into 43 known bioavailable minerals for the plants to absorb. Modern agriculture methods follow the tradition of complete destruction of all organisms through tillage and chemicals, then replace the lost minerals with only three, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The old fires that tore through wilderness areas had little fuel as megafauna grazed up the fuel. The fires would run along and merely kiss the trees, singeing them. Today fires have too much fuel built up year after year. These fires destroy all life, sterilizing the soil and killing all microorganisms to great depths. There is nothing natural about the fires of our era.