Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!
HOME
EDITOR'S BLOG
FEATURE ARTICLES
GET STARTED

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit http://www.lorman.com/training/CaliforniaGreenSolutions for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > Natural Resources > Disaster Resources

Pre-Seeding the Fires to Prevent Ecological and Property Damage

I'm suggesting that after fires, that an investment be made by the local homeowners, to purchase and sow the proper local native species of native perennial grasses

Find green business solutions
grass native species Craig Dremann surveyed the fire damage to Southern California, and he offers four observations to consider regarding the Santa Ana driven fires in the region:

  1. Missing perennial native grasses, that regrow after fires. I was able to find in coastal scrub habitats (Artemisia-Salvia-buckwheat) that had been unmolested by cows, as much as a 20% native perennial grass understory, like the water tower hill of Oak Park, that is near Thousand Oaks.

    Pre-seed Burned Properties with Native Perennial Grasses

    I'm suggesting that after fires, that an investment be made by the local homeowners, to purchase and sow the proper local native species of native perennial grasses.

    The County governments could create special Districts out of the canyon areas, where an annual fee is added to everyone's property tax bill, to pay for the seeding. The minimum cost of "preseeding" for fires is $5,000 (five thousand) per acre, especially in steep canyons.

    "Pre-seeding the fires".

  2. When I taught my classes to the Forest Service, the plan for fires, was always an "after the fact" process. What I have been suggesting, is to "Pre-seed the Fires", by sowing back the proper local native perennials into a fire and mudslide prone area, so when a fire does occur, there will be perennial native grasses to slow down the fire and hold the soil after the fire.

  3. Look more closely at the annual exotics, and what is the lowest threshold that can carry fire? I drove out to the Mojave, and looked at an area along Hwy 14 and Agua Calaente road that burned sometime this summer. What I found was a totally toasted ecosystem, with only about 50% of the Mojave yuccas left standing, even burning the riparian forest trees to the ground. What carried that fire from shrub to shrub was a very thin understory of annual weed grasses, like red brome and Schimus grass.

    The fact of weed grasses carrying fire isn't new, but was surprising is how little did so much damage. If you weigh one square foot of the unburned grasses, it only weighs 0.1 oz., or only 250 pounds of biomass per acre.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Barstow is in the process of renewing all the cattle and sheep grazing allotments this year. Their plan for management, isn't to monitor the native species and their health, but just measure all edible biomass. That could mean good health in the desert is a thick stand of red brome and schimus, which if caught fire, could cook all the native desert species that live out there.

  4. If we don't reseed with local natives after fires, are we just leaving spaces for the exotics to come in? Especially in coastal southern California, fires seem to favor some of the weeds to colonize where natives formerly grew, like the annual weed grasses, the weed mustards, and especially the evil fountain grass.

Plant Recovery in the Weeks Following the Fire

If you go out and look in the next month in the burn areas, you will see the native perennial grasses, with a high percentage probably surviving---maybe 80-90% of the stands---whereas the shrubs may resprout at a very low 1-5% survival rate, helping cause the mudslides, if there is rain this winter.

The other good quality that the local native perennial grasses provide--if a fire goes through, it burns significantly cooler than a pure-shrub fire.

Perennial native grasses sprouting in Southern California after wildfires

Perennial native grasses sprouting in Southern California after wildfires

Finding Help After a Fire

Within a month or two after any fire that occurrs in a wildlands situation, local home owners should hire a professional botanist or ecologist, who can do a survey of the burn area and make a list of the plants that were fire resistant in the area.

Estimating the proper density of the fire-resistant plants is useful information to gather, also. Those plants could be replanted as fire-breaks, for example.

Having a list of these native plants that have proven fire-resistant provides homeowners with practical options to increase the density of those specific plants around their homes and in the canyons to resist future fire damage. Sometimes as few as a couple hundred widely-spaced, fire-resistant plant per acre, can lower the overall impact of wildland fire, and retain survivors that are still growing in the ground to hold the fire-ravaged area against mud slides.

After these many decades of fires in the Southern California coastal shrub areas, have professional botanists or ecologists ever gone out after any of those fires to conduct a botanical survey of the surviving and still-thriving native species?

The usual after-fire routine is that shrubs in the native ecosystem, lacking an adequate density of native perennial grass understory, burns to the roots, rain comes, bare soil is saturated, and without any living roots to hold the soil, causes the mud to slide with massive amounts of mud ending up covering roads such as the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Malibu.

Thinking ahead is an important part of fire management. Pre-seeding with locally native perennial grasses is one strategy available to both homeowners and public land managers.

SOURCE:
Redwood City Seed Company
Craig's seed company does not sell any native seeds for this purpose, but what they have been working on, mostly with the US Forest Service, is inventing and teaching planting methods to get the native plants successfully established, like through the workshops listed at www.ecoseeds.com/classes.html
P.O. Box 361, Redwood City, CA 94064
(650) 325-7333
Craig@astreet.com



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
Submit
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| disaster | firescaping | fire |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
BONUS DOWNLOAD (PDF)
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

SUBSCRIBE HERE
Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center

INSTANT GREEN POLL

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe
RECENT ARTICLES
SITE NAVIGATION
ABOUT US

Related Articles

Wildfire Smoke Regulates Seed Germination

Public Health Nursing Project Enhances Solutions at Hospitals

We need to go far, quickly. Al Gore 2009 Update

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Governance
Management
Manufacturing
Operations
Facilities
Transportation
Finance
Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here

ABOUT CALIFORNIA GREEN SOLUTIONS

We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |