Burn after seeding and other Black Spruce stuff

I spent a couple of delicious hours yesterday at my library, soaking up the ambiance as well as a cranberry scone and black coffee, perusing the newspaper and a copy of Canadian Geographic, and came across this article:

From Canadian Geographic

I did not succeed in taking a ‘readable photo, but the article says that the Black Spruce is not regenerating post fire as is should.

My interest in was piqued because of a book I read a few years ago called Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. It really wasn’t it a story about the tree, though, it was a life changing book for me, in many ways, I remember telling people it was the best book I’ve ever read, though no one else found it quite as ground shaking as I.

I had heard before somewhere that nature replenishes forests naturally through fire but I was intrigue that the Black spruce can hold up to something like six years of seeds to be released post fire. I think. I have to go back and read more carefully.

I know my youngest son told me years ago that all the beautiful trees in our Algonquin forests are relatively young due to fire regeneration, and ’controlled burns’ have been part of our history for hundreds of years.

So if you are up to a bit of reading there is some information below.

Full article here. Black spruce (Picea mariana Mill.) hold aerial seed banks in the form of semi-serotinous cones, enabling them to respond quickly to disturbances. Mature trees can hold up to 6 years of closed cones allowing for a large potential seed source [5]. Although the majority of seed fall occurs in the first year post-fire, small amounts of seed rain can continue several years post fire, helping to ensure establishment during favorable years [6]. In the first 1–5 years post fire, black spruce seedlings can be found in densities of up to 80,000 stems ha−1 [7,8].
Forests 2020, 11, 333; doi:10.3390/f11030333 http://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests

News Release

*This News Release is from toronto.ca

March 24, 2022

The City of Toronto will conduct a prescribed (controlled) burn in High Park in April, as part of a long-term management plan to protect and sustain Toronto’s rare black oak savannahs.

A prescribed burn is a deliberately set and carefully controlled fire that burns low to the ground and consumes dried leaves, small twigs and grass stems, but does not harm larger trees. City staff are monitoring weather conditions and will schedule the burn to take place when optimal conditions are expected. As this activity is weather dependent, the City will announce the exact date and time 24 to 48 hours prior to the burn ignition.

Notices will be placed at park entrances and in the surrounding community to advise the public of when the burn will take place. High Park will be closed at the time of the burn and people and vehicles will be restricted from entering burn areas. Detailed information about the prescribed burn and restrictions is available at Toronto.ca/Trees.

Prior to European settlement, controlled burns were used by Indigenous people to manage and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems including the black oak savannahs in High Park. The City, in recognition of that history and in coordination with its Indigenous Affairs Office, is engaged in conversations with the Indigenous community about incorporating Indigenous knowledge and practices in High Park.

Under ideal weather conditions, the smoke from the prescribed burns would lift and not affect surrounding neighbourhoods. It is possible, however, that some smoke will reach residential areas near the parks. People with asthma and those highly sensitive to poison ivy should limit their exposure to the smoke by staying inside and keeping windows closed. Some people may choose to leave the general area of the park on the day of the burn if concerned about the smoke.

Prescribed burns are part of the City’s long-term management plan to protect and sustain Toronto’s rare black oak woodlands and savannahs in High Park, Lambton Park and South Humber Park. These rare vegetation communities are at risk of extinction, not only in Toronto but throughout North America.

Please do enjoy it along with North of 43!

Chris G April 13th ’22

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One is about 43 degrees latitude N. and longitude 80 W, The other almost equidistant south latitude and longitude 174 E. Two women, two minds, different personalities and experiences, choosing a life of meaning, continual growth and learning, at the same time negating ageist opinions of exactly what ‘an old lady’ should be.

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