Station Fire 2009 … but not without a controversy. The LA Times ran a story this morning about an effort that’s already been planned and in operation for some time now – the re-seeding of the Angeles National Forest, and is trying to stir up a bit of debate about the efforts while they’re at it.

In the article, the Times covers the Forest Service’s plan to plant 3 million trees in the Angeles National Forest over the next five years, in an effort to restore the landscape after the Station Fire – the worst fire in the forest’s recorded history. But due to seedling shortages, some of the burned areas will be replanted with Coulter pines instead of the Douglas firs that used to dominate in those areas … which has some people upset.

The article quotes representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Chaparral Institute, who are both highly critical of the decision to use Coulters which, while native to Southern California, were not found that prevalently in the San Gabriels. Forest officials counter that the project will be ongoing for 5 years, and they will be planting a more accurate pre-fire mix of trees in most of the burn area.

I’m no botanist (and I know some of you are, so feel free to help explain either side here), but the TreePeople have used Coulters in the San Bernardinos because of their successful growth rate in areas with steep slope and arid climates. We all know that forest is never going to be exactly the same way it was before the fire, but getting some roots in the ground has got to be a step in the right direction – if only to help prevent mudslides in the next rainy season.

Image by Carodean Road Designs. Thanks to reader Matt Hopp for the heads-up on the Times story!

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