With the increasing frequency and severity of forest fires, lots of scientists and environmentalists are scrambling to find a solution. However, some ideas seem to be counterproductive when it comes to protecting the forests. A new study done in part by Chris Stockdale at the University of Alberta claims that cutting back forests in the southern Rockies could actually decrease forest fires. Shocking, I know.
The study found that Bob Creek Wildland lost about 50 per cent of its area to trees just in the last hundred years. While removing this new growth would only prevent just over one per cent of any kind of fire, it would decrease the probability of high-intensity wildfires by over 44 per cent.
The science in this is solid, but the premise is hilarious. It sounds almost like a bad infomercial. Do you hate forest fires? Well fear no more, we have the solution: cut down all trees! In one fell swoop, there will be no more trees for the fire to burn!
We should solve all of our problems this way. We can take care of that swirling plastic ecological disaster in the middle of the ocean right now; we just need to drain the sea. Mass-extinction level event on the near horizon? It’ll be fine, just kill all the species that were going to die before they can go extinct. Ice caps melting rapidly with the rise of global climate? You already know I’m out here with a blowtorch helping things along.
It seems like the idea of cutting down forests to save them fits in well with these examples, but the study revealed that it’ll actually work in this case. Apparently, coniferous trees have gotten a little feisty in the past hundred years, attempting a very slow coup on the southern Rockies. Seed by seed they took over those mountains, and now we’re going to take it all away from them.
We have to be able to joke, because the situation is so dire. Forest fires are getting worse every year, and we need to find a solution. Without laughter, the seriousness would consume us. While it’s ironic that getting rid of trees could be the thing that saves them, any plan is better than nothing, and at least this is a plan we can laugh about. Any means we need to use to dull this global crisis are worth looking at. Stockdale’s ideas may seem radical, but they might just be the ones to solve our problems.