The lodgepole pine is the poster child of Yellowstone’s plant recovery

By Brett French
If there’s a plant-based poster child for wildland fire in the subalpine forests of Yellowstone National Park, it would be the cone of the lodgepole pine tree.

“All of these forests evolved with fire after the last glacial retreat,” said Roy Renkin, a vegetation specialist for Yellowstone National Park. “Different species have evolved different mechanisms to deal with fire.”

The Douglas fir has thick bark meant to resist low-intensity fires. Fireweed spends a lot of time spreading its roots out so it can sprout after fires remove competition. And the lodgepole pine’s specially devised cones will open to release seeds only when heated to 104 to 122 degrees.

“This green forest over here looked like that black forest many times,” he explained.

Surprises
Renkin is one of the few people still on staff at Yellowstone who was around when the 1988 fires swept across roughly one-third of the park, charring more than 793,000 acres. Since then, he’s been witness to the rebirth of the park’s vegetation following what many at the time thought would be a legacy of scorched earth and a slow rebound.

“You guys will be lucky to have a meadow there in 100 years,” let alone a forest, he remembers one group of “ologists” concluding after visiting a heavily burn site. Thirty years later some of the trees that repopulated the area are 25 feet tall. Elk sedge that took root has grown “as big as basketballs.”

Source: The lodgepole pine is the poster child of Yellowstone’s plant recovery – The Missoulian, 2018-08-28

Are Trees Sentient Beings? Certainly, Says German Forester

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees, discusses how trees are sophisticated organisms that live in families, support their sick neighbors, and have the capacity to make decisions and fight off predators. He has been criticized for anthropomorphizing trees, but Wohlleben, 52, maintains that to succeed in preserving our forests in a rapidly warming world, we must start to look at trees in an entirely different light.

Source: Are Trees Sentient Beings? Certainly, Says German Forester – Yale Environment 360