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Monday, March 1, 2010

Aspens take a batholith

Here's another post from Interested Party:

Think the Black Hills have too many pine trees and not enough aspen? Light snowpacks, milder winters, and fire suppression concern tree huggers and tree killers alike.

The drive on US 12 from MacDonald Pass into Helena and then I-15 south to Butte is about 90 miles that skirts a chunk of the east slope of the Continental Divide. The mountain range, part of the Boulder batholith, approximates the area of the Black Hills.

The predominant tree species on the Helena side of Boulder Hill is ponderosa pine--100% of which are dead or dying. On the Butte side, lodgepole pine predominates--100% are dead or dying.

This pyrolysis process utilizes dead and dying pine to manufacture the diesel fuel intensive in every logging operation. Carbon-neutral? Probably not. Clearing excess biomass in an ecosystem historically populated by aspen certainly makes sense.

But, if wildfire is the only other alternative, every urban/wildland interface is a killing zone.

1 comment:

larry kurtz said...

Hope sombody sees this update from a state with far more progressive leanings than South Dakota: