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Re: E-M:/ Conservation leaders form political action committee

Enviro-Mich message from JBull51264@aol.com

In a message dated 4/25/06 4:30:47 PM, rokuhlman@yahoo.com writes:

<< The Jackpine forests are fire-designed and

fire-adapted ecosystems. They did not come into

existence by clearcutting. If you think about it,

clearcutting can not never have the same impact on

nutrient recyclying, bacterial, micro-organism  and

insect populations in the soil microhabitats of these

forests among many other things. To say we have a good

handle on knowing fully how Jackpine ecosystems work

and that we can manipulate them to our own ends

without negative impacts is a faulty, unexamined

assumption. Such high level knowledge does not exist

today. Heck we don't even have a full biological

inventory of all the species found in Jackpine forest

ecosystems and their many inter-relationships and


Clearcutting is an artificial and selective

manipulation of the environment. Maybe it is good for

the Kirtland's Warbler and a few other animals in the

short run in the few selected places where it is

implemented. >>

Yes, Jackpine ecosystems are fire designed and were created that way.  No 
argument here on that.   You fault me for making assumptions.  To say that we 
don't have a "good handle on how the Jackpine ecosystem works" is a huge 
assumption that shows you have no familiarity with the extensive research that has 
been done on the Jackpine ecosystem.  Certainly we don't know everything.  We 
don't know "everything" about global warming either, and I for one support taking 
action on what we do know.

You responded to very little of the substance of my comments.  The 
alternative is not letting wildfires take their course or clearcutting as part of 
Jackpine ecosystem management.  It isn't even prescribed fire (control burns) vs. 
clearcutting.  It is clearcutting (as part of comprehensive ecosystem 
management) or lose the vast expanses of jackpine early successional ecosystem.

If you think that you are going to convince all humans to move out of the 
northern 1/3rd of the Lower Peninsula so we can let fires run wild and thus have 
a "naturally" created jackpine ecosystem, more power to you.   Or if you can't 
convince folks to just leave are you going to buy all that land, or do you 
think that the state or feds already talking about selling lands they have are 
going to be able to buy all that land.  And before you get too judgmental, it 
is not just folks who live in the jackpines that are put at risk by wild fires. 
 There are hardwoods that can burn too that are adjacent to jackpine areas.   
I do not believe that folks who build in floodplains should get flood 
insurance, and those who build in jackpines probably should not be able to get fire 
insurance.  But it would be a stretch to say that we should or even could move 
all folks out of Grayling, Tawas City, Oscoda, Mio, Roscommon , etc., because 
those folks, even though not living in jackpine, would be at risk from the 
kind of large wild fires that used to rage across the northern Lower Peninsula.  
And fires do add particulate matter to the air, that is not healthy to 
breathe.  I would suggest a bit more of a real world perspective.   Have you read any 
accounts of the fires that burned large portions of the North country in the 

By the way, I am not sure what you consider natural, but if all human caused 
events are unnatural, that is also a problem, because it is well documented 
that Native Americans regularly set fires in the jackpine to encourage 
blueberries and game species (wildlife management on a major scale).  The Jackpine 
ecosystem became extensive in part due to those fire management regimes.   Later, 
the early successional jackpine ecosystem was extended again, in the aftermath 
of the fires that happened after the clearcutting of White Pine, Red Pine and 
older Jackpine when the northern Lower Peninsula was essentially denuded of 
trees.  Is that the natural fire you would suggest bringing back?

Again, before wildlife biologists and foresters learned how to mimic (not 
exactly duplicate but closely approximate) wild fires by clearcutting and 
planting, the jackpine ecosystem was disappearing. That's why the KIrtland's Warbler 
numbers got so precariously low.  It might be more accurate to say that 
Jackpine is a human-dependent species than a fire dependent species, since humans 
have so been so critical to perpetuating that ecosystem first thought causing 
the fires directly or indirectly, and now by clearcutting and planting.

Finally, your statement, "Maybe it is good for the Kirtland's Warbler and a 
few other animals in the short run in the few selected places where it is 
implemented," also shows that you know little about the research that has been done 
on the jackpine ecosystem or about the huge complement of species that 
benefit from that management.  It is not just a few.   And it is not just animals, 
but also a long list of plants, many endangered or threatened themselves.   
Some 190,000 plus acres are managed as jackpine ecosystem suitable for Kirtland's 
Warbler--I'd say that is more than "just a few selected areas."  I'd say that 
is a commitment to perpetuate the Jackpine ecosystem over a large area of its 
former range in Michigan!  I think it deserves a salute not condemnation, or 
misguided second-guessing.  It is working, that is the bottom line.

Jim Bull 

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