Stuff I helped create elsewhere: “Is fire good? Is fire bad”?

Big package in the Sunday newspaper and on line triggered by a visit to the Jemez Mountains by Journal multimedia guy Pat Vasquez-Cunningham and myself to spend time with Tom Swetnam: The son of the National Forest Service’s Jemez district ranger, Swetnam grew up with a hand-cranked phone in the front bedroom, hardwired to the …

Continue reading ‘Stuff I helped create elsewhere: “Is fire good? Is fire bad”?’ »

the global shit trade

Supplying European farmers with guano would involve transporting large quantities of excrement across the Atlantic, a project that understandably failed to enthuse shipping companies. Charles Mann, in his fascinating 1491, on the slow uptake in Europe of the South American innovation of mining for fertilizer from Peru’s 147 guano islands. Poop jokes notwithstanding, the 19th …

Continue reading ‘the global shit trade’ »

The arrival of the elk – another “what is nature?” story

My Journal colleague Charles Brunt had a fascinating tale in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal about the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge’s struggle with elk. Located on the Rio Grande in central New Mexico, the Bosque is famous among birders, a winter home to a flock of some 10,000 sandhill cranes. It’s always been my personal …

Continue reading ‘The arrival of the elk – another “what is nature?” story’ »

The risks of risk communication

[A]n informed and properly motivated risk communicator would proceed deliberately and cautiously. In particular, because efforts to quiet public fears about vaccines will predictably create some level of exactly that fear, such a communicator will not engage in a high-profile, sustained campaign to “reassure” the general public that vaccines are safe without reason to believe …

Continue reading ‘The risks of risk communication’ »

In the eastern Mediterranean, tree rings tell of a shift toward stand-replacing fire?

In a Greek forest, tree rings telling a familiar story – a history of surface fire, but a trend toward much more destructive blazes: the size of the area burned as well as the type of fire seem to have changed, with the 2007 event being the most extended crown fire encountered so far. Our …

Continue reading ‘In the eastern Mediterranean, tree rings tell of a shift toward stand-replacing fire?’ »

Anthropocene diaries: a fish story I wrote elsewhere

A forest burns down. Humans rescue fish, keep ‘em alive in an Albuquerque warehouse. Maybe 80 years before the drainage that feeds their forest creek recovers. Maybe 200. This is life in the anthropocene: Angela James’ fish tanks don’t look much like Whiskey Creek. But for 68 imperiled Gila trout, the tanks in a northeast …

Continue reading ‘Anthropocene diaries: a fish story I wrote elsewhere’ »