Discussions on the importance of landscapes, species diversity, water
vapor, clouds, paleoclimatology, and the oceans are provided below. Pat
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003
Subject: Restoration of landscapes
In listening to Minnesota Public Radio this morning, I learned that the
number of acres of land being changed from agricultural to prairie/oak
savanna is on the increase. In wet areas, drainage tile are being
removed to reduce surface runoff, increasing the water storage of the
watersheds during moderately wet periods. The deeper rooted native
plants also have the effect of reducing surface runoff during moderately
wet periods, and of slowing soil erosion.
It was estimated that currently 3 % of the agricultural land in Minnesota
has been converted to restored prairie. People that own the restored
areas are being paid a small amount of money per year to keep the land in
good condition, requiring occasional removal of exotics/weedy species.
I don't know how much, if any, good quality agricultural land has been
Here are some other posts/e-mail related to the subject.
From: Marcie (Minnesota, mn-natpl@...
"Thanks to everyone who sent me information about restoring oak
woodland. I've read most of the web sites, and all the advice. I think
the most useful idea is to work on getting rid of the exotics, and let
native seeds and plants have a chance.
I just read an article in the Wisconsin Prairie Enthusiasts newsletter
about the "Bradley Method" for controlling exotic plants and encouraging
the growth of natives. The Bradleys were Australian sisters who
a strategy for long-term control of invasive plants, based on carefully
weeding out exotics, and giving natives a chance to recolonize. Here's a
place to read about it: http://www.edgehill.net/bradley.htm.
like a good method for situations like mine, where there are large areas
work on, and many less disturbed areas with good native plant
Marcie (Minnesota, mn-natpl@...
From Salvador (Mexico, Climate Concern Group (CCG) yahoo egroup
" We need understanding of Nature. The problem is OUR way of use, not
ecology. It is we that are wrong in trying to use economy over ecology.
is time to see the other way. Adjust economy to natural possibilities.
Earth is limited. So should be economy. Since populations is already
we should be planning how to reduce population in a harmless way, and
efficient uses of Nature. Of course, forests will never be back to
original conditions, but at least should be restored to a LONG TERM way
uses, which would be the more sustainable way..
Some of the ideas from Ed and others lack consistency, because they are
mixing the "engineering" view with some vague conservation ideas, but in
the inefficient direction. The rules of ecology are Natural, while ours
(economics, legal) are artificial and conventional; hence, if we can not
change the rules of Nature (only use them), change the human rules. Use
best without putting resources to extinction."
Salvador - (Mexico, CCG)
From: EDER (Amazon South America, CCG)
indeed this is going deeper and deeper, and as much as
I look at it, the more I think the direction we are
taking is the right one.
Off course there are many places within the forests
that have to be preserved as they are, not for
ecological reasons i might say, but for spiritual
ones, this happened on the past and must be preserved
on the future, in this particular, forest sites can be
compared with churches in the middle of the cities.
But, once again, to preserve as much biodiversity as
we can and to provide the "NECESSARY" economical
viability of the native forest, we have to organize it.
This is the idea behind the project we are working
with in the Amazon, we search for already destroyed
forests, planted with coffee or whatever, and we plant
native tree species, we look for breeding and seed
selection and we drive the management plan into a
landscape scenario, by doing so we intend to put all
biodiversity in modules, producing, instead of a
confusing mixture of trees, a mosaic of timber and
non-timber producing forest.
EDER (Amazon S. America, CCG)
From: Nick (US, CCG)
> Anyone who has spent any reasonable amount of time
> around reasonably
> undisturbed forests is familiar with their being
> marvels of diversity
> and stability.
> The diversity assures that every conceivable niche
> is "profitably"
> occupied. There is no square inch of unused
> potential photosynthetic
> area. When a tree falls, the light patch is
> promptly filled with
> interlopers that occupy the new photosynthetic zone.
> Dead things
> disappear overnight, their contents recycled
> instantly into live things.
> When disease hits one species of tree, another is
> waiting in the wings
> to take over in seamless transition. When fire
> devastates the whole,
> those species whose seeds are triggered by heat are
> instantly ready to grow, providing abundant food for
> animal populations
> and preventing soil erosion. The forest has been
> there for millennia,
> and it is equipped to deal with virtually any
> seeming catastrophe
> because someone is always waiting in the wings.
> If you have a cabin in the woods, you "need" to
> remove mice. Put a dead
> mouse out on the ground and watch what happens. It
> will be found in
> minutes by several species of insects, each
> particularly equipped to
> take advantage of a different portion of the "dead
> mouse niche," and
> will be gone in hours, recycled into the web of
> life. That same mouse
> put outside a suburban house or even dropped in an
> artificial monocrop
> "forest" (as a eucalyptus standin California or a
> pine "tree farm" in
> the East) will lie stinking for weeks or
> months until someone in despair of its ever being
> naturally recycled,
> puts it in the trash to go to the landfill, thus
> illustrating the
> countless devices for efficiency the forest has
> Can we ever create anything so efficient and
> internally stable? Very
> unlikely, especially if we destroy it before we
> understand it. And we
> absolutely cannot create a forest with a DNA "oral
> history" that assures
> it will have the know-how to cope with situations no
> human was around to
> I have tried to get an answer to a "simple"
> qualitative question about
> the watershed in which I live - whether if we
> encourage the present
> natural trend of Douglas fir to replace the
> mixed-oak woodland and
> chaparral in the watershed, that will increase or
> decrease summer
> streamflow. This is important because Steelhead
> spawn along the creeks
> but their fingerlings are almost all lost as the
> creeks dry up in the
> summer. NO ONE can answer that simple question, and
> because we are
> Caucasian interlopers, we lack the historical data to
> help. And Lance, as you know, has been asking
> whether clearcutting in
> the Northwest can be proven to cause downwind
> drought, and the answers
> are less than definitive.. If we cannot answer such
> simple questions,
> how can we stably manage forests over decades, let
> alone over
> geologically significant times?
> If we create a forest, it may be able "efficiently"
> to temporarily serve
> a narrow and transient human need (e.g. latex or
> paper pulp), but it
> will not be a forest. It will not be efficient, it
> will not be stable,
> and more than likely, like our monocrop agricultural
> structures, will
> self-destruct within decades unless "managed" with
> the input of immense
> quantities of labor, toxic materials, and energy.
> When it is said that
> we can create a forest that is more efficient even
> for our narrow needs
> than a true forest, we have to take
> those inputs into account, inputs which will be at
> best prohibitively
> expensive and at worst impossible to provide, with
> the end of the
> fossil-fuel era.
> It is time that we understand our ignorance, lest
> our knowledge destroy us.
> Nick (US, CCG)
My Jan 14 post to ClimateChangeDebate (CCD)
Water vapor is invisible to the naked ice, clouds and rain are water
droplets. Warming and more humidity in the middle & upper levels of
the troposphere would mean less atmospheric instability when that warming
is greater than the warming near the surface...thus less cloudiness.
The height of the tropopause is increasing, which signals that the entire
tropopause is heating up. Warm & humid weather may not indicate
increased rainfall...as was the situation for the Upper Midwest during
the 1987-1988 mini drought. Brief intense rainfall is possible when the
atmosphere becomes temporarily unstable (cold air above very warm air).
Heavy rain is impossible when inversions are present.
As water vapor (the most potent greenhouse gas (GHG) increases, GHG
Low stratus clouds reduce heat escape during the short daylight periods
in winter, especially in high latitudes. High clouds let much of the
solar radiation in during the longer days in summer when the sun is more
intense for longer periods of time, especially in high latitudes.
Cloudy-stormy weather is often in the darker hours in summer, following
high intensity heating with mostly sunny days. The discussion provided
above explains, at least partly, the fact that the northern hemisphere
higher latitudes land areas are warming more rapidly than the lower
latitude land areas.
Feb 8 my post to CCG
> the role played by water vapor.
I have some comments to give on this topic.
Public comments on the Administration's Strategic Plan for the Climate
Change Science Program Draft: Chapter 2:
1. "Regarding the statement that was made in the draft as follows:"
"radiative balance and cloud structure
from increased upper tropospheric water
vapor is potentially quite large and could
be positive or negative."
" This statement is incorrect. The feedback from increased tropospheric
water vapor is invariably positive."
RAYMOND PIERREHUMBERT, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
2. "This is a misleading statement at best, especially if the intent is
to divert attention from CO2 as the main driver of anthropogenic climate
change. Unlike CO2, water has a short atmospheric lifetime, can coexist
in three phases, and has a highly variable atmospheric distribution.
While water vapor provides baseline greenhouse heating, CO2 and other
GHGs supply the perturbation driving climate change."
DAVID L. WAGGER, PH.D., SELF
3. "There is really very little basis for thinking that the upper
troposphere water feedback process could be negative, despite what Litzen
suggests. Were it negative, it would be very hard to have had an ice age
(as it would have induced a warming influence to prevent it), we never
could have had an ice ball Earth (as there would be to much water aloft),
we could never have had Cretaceous warmth as the cooling effect would
have countered that, plus the amount of water vapor in the upper
troposphere increase from pole to equator (so from cold to warm
conditions). The IPCC has reviewed studies of this and there is just very
little reason to indicate it is possible, and it may well create
important inconsistencies with past climates. Phrasing this as if there
is an equal chance or positive versus negative is irresponsible.
MICHAEL MACCRAKEN, LLNL (RETIRED)
I think that there is a high level of certainty that: "While water
vapor provides baseline greenhouse heating, CO2 and other GHGs supply the
perturbation driving climate change." (DAVID L. WAGGER, PH.D., SELF)
The ocean on Earth are large, indeed.
However, one must consider the differences between the present and the
past in the prediction of the future.
1) Billions of people exist on Earth now, that did not exist on Earth
in the past, but many will be here in the future... continuing to
produce enormous quantities of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
2) The present power of the sun is greater now than existed in archaic
times...and will continue to be greater in power than the past, into the
3) The post Paleocene (from 55 million years ago (Ma) to present) was a
period of reduced volcanism and tectonic activity (Earth movements -
including Basalt Flows) - in comparison to the period from the Permian
(290 Ma) to the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) that occurred 55
Mya. The long period of reduced activity from the PETM to present
allowed GHGs to settle out of the atmosphere, which led to the colder
climates of the Pleistocene and Holocene.
Even though the GHG warm climate episodes eventually cooled the past
(there were no human GHG emissions from billions of people, the sun is
believed to have been less powerful then versus now), tremendous species
extinctions resulted from the rapid temperature increases during those
Due to the Earth's large oceans, the positive feedback mechanism of water
vapor may operate only when GHG concentrations are reinforced from time
to time, as happened from the Permian to end of the Paleocene and
beginning of the Eocene (at the PETM of 55 Ma).
Perhaps a continuation of GHG emissions from volcanic/tectonic activity
during and subsequent to the PETM would have continued the rapidly
warming climate to an even higher degree. Perhaps a slightly more
powerful sun during that period would have continued the warming beyond
the threshold level for life.
Human activity is said to be responsible for emitting GHGs at a rate
comparable to the rate of GHG emissions that led to the PETM. It is
unlikely that there will be a large reduction in GHG emission for many
centuries to come, if human behavior does not change. The sun is
probably more powerful now than it was during the Paleocene. As rapid
world climate warming continues, with the positive water vapor feedbacks
in force, it is unlikely that GHG emissions from the total produced by
volcanism/tectonic activity and human activity will abate, as they had
in the past. It is unlikely that the sun will become weaker.
Therefore it is possible that this episode of rapid warming will reach a
higher level than the PETM, and cause even greater extinctions than
happened in Earth's past.. unless human's have successful in reducing GHG
emissions and in other yet unknown ways of fighting this otherwise
certain calamity for Earth.
From the book called: The Oceans by Ellen J. Prager with Sylvia A.
Earle, McGraw-Hill books, Copyright 2000, page 23, Chapter: called:
The Paleozoic Era (approx. 250-550 Ma)
"Rocks and fossils suggest that ocean temperatures
range from 20 to 40 degrees C (68 to 104 degrees F),
its chemistry and salt content are fairly similar to the
modern sea, " ... (Prager E.J., 2000)
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