A Fiery Focus

For the past few weeks, the botany team and I have focused most of our efforts on fire rehab monitoring. Every wildfire that burns on BLM land in the Carson City District has to be monitored for 3 years to assess the recovery and health of the land. At the same site every year we take detailed measurements about the soil stability, plant density, noxious weed presence, and other parameters. This has grown into quite a daunting task as the number and severity of wildfires increases. The most frustrating and fascinating protocol is the nested frequency and perennial plant density measurement. To collect this data we carefully scrutinize a single square meter, identifying every single plant and plant-remain contained within it. Then we do it again. And again. 150 times. This kind of work takes a type of attention that is not often called upon in my day to day life. But it also allows me to get down and dirty with the plants we spend so much time talking about. While taking these measurements, I always encounter new wonders. A tiny Salsola tragus seedling, an antlion in wait, an obsidian shard. Even in the most scorched plain, there are new plants and new discoveries to be found. We just have to take the time to get down on our knees and look.


Carson City, NV

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