Rachel Lee Hall- a citizen advocate for Forest Under Stress (FUS) during the month of April took a series Mega Drought Southern Oregon 2020 of photos of various mountain lakes and reservoirs in surrounding communities within the borders of Jackson County, Oregon, located in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
The slideshow is part of a presentation she provided (via Zoom) to the Medford Rotary Club on Forest Floor Health and the Mega Drought Southern Oregon 2020.
The current conditions shown in these photos represent a Call to Action (for citizen awareness) illustrating the grave risks to these drought-stressed forests and nearby communities in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). The danger level in the WUI is extreme for harm to human life this year. The immediate threat this fire season poses to the nearby communities in the WUI demands action to save lives. The necessity for active forest management with “hands on the ground” hazardous fuel reduction to mitigate these dangerously overcrowded environments is now!
Mega Drought Southern Oregon 2020 is the results of 25-30 years disturbance in the natural fire cycle when vegetative mass finally exceeded the annual moisture causing the forest to decline into stress and lose resiliency as maximum sequestration was minimized: moisture in the forest floor declined along with photosynthesis. The forest succumbed to insect infestation, disease, and brownout as it slowly weakened into a state of starvation for moisture and nutrients to supply the terrestrial story. This same terrestrial vegetative competition in turn caused a major disruption in the hydrological cycles below ground in the soil profiles where rootlets were in a “duel for life” to support the burgeoning terrestrial story with limited moisture and nutrient’s in this competitive crowded root environment. The forest floor dehydration becomes more extreme in drought as the niche in nature below ground became jeopardize when the exchange of nutrients, moisture, and carbohydrates takes place between mycelia and tree rootlets to supply the terrestrial story; however, due to massive vegetative demands it cannot adequately meet demands.
For more information on Forest Under Stress, visit the FUS web site here.