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On the Altered Landscapes of the Wildfire West

The heightened intensity of wildfires in the Western United States, along with other human factors, are short-circuiting the natural processes of rebirth.
September 21, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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John Schwartz provides a dispatch from Cochiti Canyon in New Mexico, which evidences a new, tree-less landscape in the wake of a series of brutal fires in recent years. According to Schwartz, "If historical patterns had held, the remaining pines would by now be preparing seeds to drop and start the cycle of regrowth." Instead, "the mother pines are nowhere in sight. Nature’s script has been disrupted by a series of unusually intense, unusually large fires — a product of many factors that include government firefighting policies, climate change and bad luck."

The long read article goes into a lot more detail about each of these influences on the natural cycle of fire and regrowth—and also describes more about the new, tree-less landscape of the West.

Full Story:
Published on Monday, September 21, 2015 in The New York Times
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