Friday, February 23, 2007
The environment in which I live is dying.
Usually this is a slow process, but on occasion it can happen very fast.
Here are pictures of the process happening quickly, the destruction by fire of the riparian cottonwood forest that lines the Rio Grande, known locally as the "bosque."
This fire burns as I type. High winds are blowing it in my direction. I don't think I have any reason to be alarmed, but if I don't post for a few days, don't be surprised.
This process began in the 1940s, when dams were built on the river to control flooding. Unfortunately cottonwood seedlings only take root during a flood, so no cottonwood saplings grew from that time on.
The last batch of cottonwood to take root, in the 1940s, are now past their maturity, and are slowing dying. They are being replaced by non-native vegetation such as Russian olive and salt cedar (tamarix), which are unsuitable for the wildlife that call the bosque home.
This process is only enhanced by wildfires--- although since most of them are deliberate arson, I hesitate to call them "wild." When this fire burns itself out, fire investigators will most likely find that it has been deliberately set. The arsonists never seem to get caught.
This is an odd thing for a person living in a flood plain to say, but we really need more flooding hereabouts.