Ailing oaks in Big Sur respond to fire mimicry

5 02 2020

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Two years ago I began fire mimicry treatments on a grove of sick coast live oaks in Big Sur, CA. Most of the oaks have responded well, including several that underwent surgical removal of bleeding stem cankers (probably Sudden Oak Death). Here are the before-and-after photos of the treated oaks. Note the photos are the same date, time of day, and light conditions as original photos.

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A Decade of Fire Mimicry

30 12 2019
Oak dieback

Dead an dying coast live oak trees in Big Sur, CA

The past decade has been a tough one on California oaks. Tens of thousands of oaks have died and many more are in distress, simply because they are no longer being tended. For millennia the Indigenous People of California used, and still use, fire to improve the health of the native trees and forests.

Also over the past decade I and others have been tasked with restoring to health many of these oaks. During this time we have tended well over 1,000 oaks and other trees, with mostly positive, if not remarkable, results. Due to the severely overgrown nature of fire-suppressed forests, applying fire is not an immediate option. Therefore, we have been developing tending practices that mimic fire in ways that benefit the oaks.

Below are a selection of oaks, one per year of this past decade, that have inspired me to stay committed to tending our oaks. Many of these are legacies of the indigenous past and will, with our help, continue to be legacies in our future.

A decade of healing oaks . . .

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Hearst Castle oak – 2010

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Fairfax oak – 2011

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Oaks treated with fire mimicry fully recover from heavy wind damage in <1 yr

15 11 2019

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In late February of this year a severe wind storm hit the coast of Big Sur and damaged many trees, including a large grove of coast live oaks I began treating with fire mimicry last year. I re-photographed many of the oaks at the time and could clearly see the loss of leaves in the oak canopies, compared to last fall. The photo sets above show how heavily some of the oaks were damaged.

The photos below show how these and many other oaks that sustained damage in the February storm recovered in just 8 months! Most are looking even healthier than they appeared last fall. It may well be that fire mimicry treatments have aided in the recovery of these oaks.

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Lovelock Centenary talk by Lee Klinger recorded on July 31, 2019

7 09 2019

Here is my presentation “Indigenous-based forest management: Looking to the past for a way forward” at the recent Lovelock Centenary conference at the University of Exeter, UK

My talk begins at 59:38 and ends at 117:00. Enjoy!

 





Esalen oaks respond to fire mimicry

26 04 2019

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On April 20, 2012 I gave an Earth Day workshop on at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, where I initiated fire mimicry treatments on several coast live oaks. Since then I have been tending these oaks on a regular basis. Today I inspected the oaks and treated them again. The photos (above and below) show the response after 7 years . . .

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Update on stem canker surgical procedures

26 02 2019

Several year ago I began treating a coast live oak in Big Sur, CA with fire mimicry, which included surgical procedures on two stem cankers, presumably Sudden Oak Death infections. A few days ago I checked on the progress of this tree. Below are photos showing that the surgical wounds have healed nicely and there is no sign of further infection.

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I also reported, last year, on the methods involved in the surgical procedure for stem canker infections like Sudden Oak Death. Below are photos showing two canker surgeries on the same oak. Close examination of the surgical wounds after one year show no sign of lingering infection (though this is not easily visible in the photos).

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Fire mimicry results after 5 and 12 years of treatments in Big Sur, CA

22 02 2019

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Results after 5 and 12 years of fire mimicry treatments here in Big Sur, California.

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