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Swamp Magic

Bayou-Diversity (23 August 2020) Just after daybreak on this unseasonably cool, late August morning we walked to the Wreck, a hike that traversed two ecosystems, and witnessed a bit of magic. From our house on the edge of the Pleistocene terrace where the historical forest was a mix of upland hardwoods and pines, we descended into the bottomland hardwood forest of the Bayou D’Arbonne floodplain. The descent was only thirty feet, but for the biota it was as drastic as 3,000 feet on a Colorado mountain. Two months earlier our path in the swamp was ten feet beneath the natural backwaters of overflow wetlands. There were no signs of the flood today as the forest floor was powder dry, belyi

Bad Ideas

Bayou-Diversity (16 August 2020) When it comes to the natural world, we don't know what we don't know. Trouble jumps up about the time we think we've got it all figured out. There are plenty of examples of well-intentioned human actions that have caused environmental chaos. One pertains to recent attitudes concerning wild fires. For a century fires on natural landscapes were thought to be unmitigated disasters. Tremendous efforts went into fire prevention and suppression across the country. Smoky Bear taught generations of children that fire is bad. This ill-informed position, by failing to recognize that fire is a natural part of many ecosystems, has led to very unnatural conditions i


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