Magazine article American Forests


Magazine article American Forests


Article excerpt


Editor: Fires are destructive, particularly so when viewed from the standpoint of preserving human lives and property. And we commend AMERICAN FORESTS and its Wildfire ReLeaf program for its replanting efforts to stabilize watersheds and get things growing again. Thanks to your organization and all the volunteers who have donated so much time to speed healing on the land.

However, in your Spring 2005 issue, the article titled "Afterburn" by Ethan Kearns fails to mention-even once in a lengthy article-the life-renewing properties that fire can bestow on a landscape (can you say Yellowstone?). In fact, in reading the article, one would have a difficult time finding anything positive to say about fire.

Granted, the article was more about things happening after the fire was gone, yet. . . we wish American Forests would take pains not to paint fire with such a simple, broad brush. The issue of fire is ecologically and socially complex, to say the least. Our forests absolutely need fire for certain processes to take place. Our communities need protection from devastating wildfires. We'd love to see an article in a future issue that explores these two thoughts, weighs them against one another, and offers some potential management solutions. Or maybe you recently ran such an article and I missed it?

Sandy Shea

High Country Citizens' Alliance

Crested Butte, Colorado

Thanks for your thoughtful note. We have done numerous articles in the past explaining that fire can be beneficial to an ecosystem-and in some cases, such as with longleaf pine, is critical to its survival. This article was meant to encourage people to plant trees to bring back damaged ecosystems, but it probably would have benefited from a note reminding people that fire is not always bad.


Tree Doctor: We recently purchased a home just outside Las Vegas that has a large (fruitless) mulberry out front. Many of the branches have died, and the southwest side of the tree is starting to look pretty bare.

My parents have the same problem with their mulberry and were told at a nursery here that it is due to overexposure to light, as the side of their tree that is suffering the most has a street lamp nearby. Our tree, however, seems to be suffering on the side opposite the nearest street lamp. The previous owner stated she was told it was some sort of fungal infection. Is there anything we can do to bring health back to our tree?

Annette Dinkel

Henderson, Nevada

Howard Burnett responds: Mulberries are subject to a variety of fungal and bacterial infections that may well be the source of your concerns. I rather doubt that exposure to a street light would create a major problem and believe the former owner's concern about a fungal infection is more likely on the right track. Contact a certified arborist in your area who can pinpoint the problem and treat it. To find a certified arborist, go to this website and type in your zip code : findArborist/findarborist.aspx. The International Society of Arborists will provide a list of certified arborists in your area (sometimes they are not well identified in the phone book).


Tree Doctor: Which tree types that would thrive in Atlanta absorb the most carbon monoxide? Where do pine trees fit into the equation?

I ask because I have a few pine trees that are dying and need to be cut down. …

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