The problem of illegal marijuana farms on national forests is, pardon the pun, growing. In spite of the fact that “pot” is now legal in California and other parts of the U.S. for medicinal and recreational use, illegal marijuana growing is still a billion dollar industry with international tentacles. In fact, the number of illegal grow sites increased dramatically following California’s Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana.
In January 1971, Astronaut and former Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa travelled to the moon aboard Apollo 14, carrying in his flight suit 400-500 tree seeds as part of a Forest Service experiment he helped conceive. After his safe return to Earth, the Forest Service germinated the seeds and successfully planted “moon trees” throughout the 50 states along with one on the White House grounds.
For decades, bats have defied scientists’ best ideas for keeping track of individuals, which is crucial to wildlife research. Banding (either legs or forearms) can result in injury, and banded bats are seldom recaptured anyway. Tattoos take too long. Holes punched in their wings are only visible for 5 months. Electronic tags have to be close to a reading device to work.
Tree canopy cover is a vital but impermanent urban asset. “Urban tree canopy” is the extent of the outer layers of leaves (or canopy) of a tree or group of trees. Tree canopy can increase dramatically in a year with excellent growing conditions, and just as dramatically it may disappear in a single season in the face of insect infestations or drought or a change in land use.
If you are old enough and grew up far enough away from Ohio, where Dutch elm disease was identified in the 1930s, you may remember a canopy of mature American elm arching above your street. Today that image exists only in photographs; Dutch elm disease long ago eliminated mature American elm from the city streets and northeastern forests of their native range.
Before a single drip torch is lit or blade of grass ignited, fire management staff must consult with state or local air quality control officials to negotiate a fine balance between using fire as a restorative tool on the landscape with concerns about smoke and its impacts on public health.
Forest Service soil scientist Jim Archuleta first learned of biochar’s promise a few years ago when one of his colleagues mentioned it while they carpooled to and from work.