Border Collies Work to Reseed a Forest Burned by Wildfires in Chile
By Dan Nosowitz
In January of 2017, the worst wildfires in Chile's history rampaged through over a million acres of land, destroying homes and leaving at least 11 dead. One of the many recovery solutions, as reported by Mother Nature News, is unexpected—and very cute.
Enter dog trainer Francisca Torres and three border collies, who took to the scorched forest after the fires were extinguished. Each dog wore a specially designed pouch filled with native seeds; as the dogs happily sprint through the forest, the seeds scatter from the pouches.
Border collies are work dogs. They're by far the most popular choice for herders, as their work ethic, herding instinct and intellect—they're routinely listed as the most intelligent breed of dog—make them ideal for farm work. These dogs can cover up to 18 miles each day, far more than a human could, and what could be more fun for a dog than being rewarded for sprinting through a gigantic forest?
Seeding after a fire, interestingly, is a widespread practice that is not without controversy. Fires are an essential part of the life cycle of many forests, with an established pattern of recovery: A certain type of fire might encourage a certain type of seedling, which could be eaten by a certain animal, which could attract other animals, and the entire system comes back online.
And yet, millions of dollars is spent on post-fire seeding each year, with the goal being to encourage rapid growth, box out invasive or non-native plants, and reduce the chances of erosion while the forest gets back on its feet. But recent research indicates that post-fire seeding is not necessarily all that effective: a review from the U.S. Forest Service says, "According to the literature review and monitoring data, seeding is not a reliably effective post-fire treatment for short-term soil protection." (To note: some of the studies reviewed in that paper included non-native seed, which obviously is a bad idea.)
In any case, post-fire seeding with exclusively native plants is not widely controversial. You know what else isn't controversial? Very good dogs running freely around a forest.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
By John Rennie Short
As cities strive to improve the quality of life for their residents, many are working to promote walking and biking. Such policies make sense, since they can, in the long run, lead to less traffic, cleaner air and healthier people. But the results aren't all positive, especially in the short to medium term.
By Pete Stauffer
For those of us who love the coast, the negative impacts of offshore oil drilling are obvious. Offshore drilling has a proven track record of polluting the ocean, damaging coastal economies and threatening a way of life enjoyed by millions of people. Yet, the oil and gas industry—and the elected officials who prioritize them over the public interest—would like you to believe that offshore drilling is somehow a safe and necessary practice.
An indigenous environmental activist was killed in Morelos, Mexico Wednesday, three days before a referendum on the construction of a gas pipeline and two thermoelectric plants that he had organized to oppose, the Associated Press reported.
Samir Flores Soberanes had challenged the words of government representatives at a forum about the so-called Morelos Comprehensive Project a day before his murder, The Peoples in Defense of Land and Water Front (FPDTA), the group Soberanes organized with, said in a statement.
The White House is assembling a climate change panel to be headed by a known climate denier who once took money from a coal company to testify at a hearing and who has compared criticism of carbon dioxide to Hitler's demonization of the Jews.
William Happer, a Princeton physicist who has never trained as a climate scientist, joined the Trump administration in September 2018 as senior director for emerging technologies at the National Security Council (NSC).