Interview with SustainableWorld’s Channel

17 02 2010

SustainableWorld’s Channel did a recent interview with me at La Casa de Maria (Santa Barbara, CA) about oak health, native people, and fire mimicry and has posted a portion of the interview on YouTube. Here is the video:

What is fire mimicry?

8 02 2010

People often ask me why the oaks and other trees in California need to be tended. Oaks have been growing in California for many thousands of years, so why would they need our help now?

The answer is clear. The great oak woodlands and savannas of California are not the result of mother nature doing what she does best. The iconic oaks are largely the product of thousands of years of tending by Native Americans. It is well documented that the native people here managed the oaks with fire, keeping the ecosystem in an early successional state that is optimal for oaks. Acorns from the oaks were a primary food source for the native people of California.

Tending the land with fire in Big Sur (photo by Lee Klinger)

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Acid rain in Big Sur – Jan. 2010 update

8 02 2010

Acid rainbow in Big Sur (photo by Lee Klinger)

Big Sur rainfall and pH data have been tabulated for January 2010 and the numbers are as follows:

Rainfall amounts and pH in Big Sur

I’m noticing that when the storms are particularly windy the rainfall pH seems to be higher (less acidic) than other rainstorms with less wind. I don’t have any data to verify this, but it’s something I plan to pay more attention to in the future. Could this be due to all the particles blown off the surrounding trees? Or from sea spray? Dunno.

Still, the majority of the rainfall events here in Big Sur are acidic as they have been for several years (see here, here, and here) and folks should be wondering why . . .

Gaia theory and climate change

2 02 2010

Last evening I presented a seminar at the University of California at Santa Barbara titled “Gaia theory and climate change“, which seemed to be very well received by students and faculty. In the talk I gave a synopsis of Gaia, the theory that the earth is a living system and discussed the implications of a living earth view in issues of climate change. Much of the talk was dedicated to a critical examination of global warming models and data. The powerpoint presentation of the talk can be downloaded here (18.4 Mb).

Thanks to Dr. Lisa Stratton and Dr. Mark Holmgren for helping with arrangements for this seminar.

Palo Alto oaks responding to fire mimicry

2 02 2010

Last week I checked up on several coast live oaks in Palo Alto that were treated with fire mimicry two years ago. Check out the results below.

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Treated vs. untreated oaks

2 02 2010

Today I was examining some coast live oaks that were treated last year with fire mimicry in Toro Canyon near Santa Barbara. I came across the example below where there were both treated and untreated oaks growing next to each other. The photo I believe is self-explanatory. As you can see there is no reason why we can’t have healthier oaks here in California.

To see images of the oaks before they were treated check out my earlier post Toro Canyon oaks.

Coast live oaks in Toro Canyon (photo by Lee Klinger)