Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

A forum to discuss the concepts realted to the autopoietic forest. Moderated by Gary Beluzo.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

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Gary Beluzo
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Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by Gary Beluzo » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:39 am

I am hoping to transfer our discussion about the Autopoietic Forest and related ideas to this area of the ENTS bulletin board.
Maybe to get start I will throw out the question:

What is a Natural Forest?
"..powered in ecological space and evolutionary time.."

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by Larry Tucei » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:16 pm

Gary, To me a natural Forest would be one that has not been influenced by humans. Only natural events would alter such a Forest. Do places like that exist maybe a few. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by dbhguru » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:48 pm

Gary,

A natural forest is one that is shaped and maintained by natural processes. Intentional human design and control is excluded.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

TN_Tree_Man
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Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:14 am

Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by TN_Tree_Man » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:00 am

Gary,

I think that Bob has summed it up pretty well. Perhaps the only thing that I would add is the actual stand size is irrelevant. The key is that the stand was not artificially generated as a plantation.

Steve Springer
"One can always identify a dogwood tree by it's bark."

Joe

Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by Joe » Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:54 am

Gary Beluzo wrote:I am hoping to transfer our discussion about the Autopoietic Forest and related ideas to this area of the ENTS bulletin board.
Maybe to get start I will throw out the question:

What is a Natural Forest?
We need a way to establish a gradient between a "natural forest" and one that isn't.

But, I have a problem with the question- it doesn't seem to me to be a scientific question. Perhaps the question needs to be rephrased. As it is, it's more of a question asking for a definition of the term which isn't a scientific question. Perhaps Gary needs to define the term- then ask questions based on that definition to get to some essential principles that he is trying to develop.

Joe

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Don
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by Don » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:10 am

ENTS Administrator (Ed)-
Initially, I'd really like to see this dialogue to be extended to WNTS (West and Canada), because of the 'universality' of the subject.
Gary-
I know that not everybody's world is impacted by finals and spring breaks as your's is...that said, I'm eager to read of your future inputs (perhaps starting with entering these subject titles into the cool new Glossary) on natural systems, autopoietic forests and preservation. For my own benefit, and perhaps a number of others, I'd be really interested in how these subjects interrelate with ecosystems found in our nation's wildernesses, particularly those in the West, Northwest, Alaska and Canada. With much less history of human disturbance than found in much of the East, I will be interested in how a more comprehensive understandings of natural systems, autopoietic forests and preservation might better serve our country's designated wilderness areas. And how these subjects may relate to some of the primary tenets of Conservation Biology.
-Don Bertolette
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

Joe

Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by Joe » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:54 pm

Trying to keep this alive--- and continuing with my frequent consideration of an important element - though I think I understand Gary's concept of a Natural Forest as auotpoietic, I like to suggest that it's not an either or situation. If an auopoietic forest has had only minimal influence by humans, at what point is it no longer autopoietic? So, if my suggestion that there is some grey area here- there needs to be methods to measure the auopoieticness of a forest.

Now, let's say there is such a variable and let's say a forest has a low value for that variable- how can that forest get a higher value? Just by leaving it alone? By applying brilliant work by a forest practitioner who has an advanced understanding of ecological forces and who understands and appreciates autopoieticness? After all, if the practioner can sense the dynamics of the forces- all those vectors interacting- and simply nudges certain ones in certain ways perhaps for human advantage- though the forest clearly can't be called autopoietic, I should think it will never lose it's ability to revert to autopoietic condition if allowed- thus never loseing it's "soul".

Joe



Joe wrote:
Gary Beluzo wrote:I am hoping to transfer our discussion about the Autopoietic Forest and related ideas to this area of the ENTS bulletin board.
Maybe to get start I will throw out the question:

What is a Natural Forest?
We need a way to establish a gradient between a "natural forest" and one that isn't.

But, I have a problem with the question- it doesn't seem to me to be a scientific question. Perhaps the question needs to be rephrased. As it is, it's more of a question asking for a definition of the term which isn't a scientific question. Perhaps Gary needs to define the term- then ask questions based on that definition to get to some essential principles that he is trying to develop.

Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:55 am

Joe, Gary, et al.,

The naturalness concept set me to thinking. What about assembling the current buzzwords and phrases that we constantly hear from forest managers and naturalists and do an evaluation of them. Which ones have fallen from original, well-intended uses? Which ones are too nebulous to ever mean much? What is needed in the way of a fresh vocabulary to express the ideas that are floating around. Gary, you've been concerned about the adulteration of the common vocabulary that stems from multiple disciplines (forestry, forest ecology, wildlife, biology, etc. ), but has been hopeless compromised by the factions that seek to derive economic benefit from exploiting natural resources. Which terms have been compromised the most?

We usually discuss this topic coming from a direction of frustration and anger from a particular situation, e.g. DCR's follies. If we were to think about the subject unemotionally, what might we produce in the way of an analysis of the forest manager-naturalist join vocabulary?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by edfrank » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:32 pm

Bob,

The idea is a good one. I posted a glossary forum where the results of this debate might be organized if we reach a general consensus on these questions. There seem to me to be three broad groups of terms

1) One group includes terms like old-growth. These are terms that are in the general vocabulary of the public, and they have a reasonable idea of what they mean. These terms are being hijacked and their meaning distorted by various interest groups to promote their own agendas. But overall I think they still have value and should be rescued from the mire.

2) A second group contains more scientific sounding terminology, like biodiversity. The general public may have a vague idea on these terms, but is not really sure what they mean. These are the most abused terms, because they are not really well understood they are more easily subject to manipulation and distortion by reasonably sounding efforts at disinformation. These terms are the buzzwords that poses the greatest threat to good management and real understanding of the policy and science involved.

3) The third set of terms are those like autopoietic which attempts to create a new terminology to replace the corrupted words in usage. Gary Beluzo finds this a good approach, but I am less enthusiastic. When hearing a new scientific sounding term I think people tend to just tune them out and not hear them at all, let aloe think about their meaning and implications.

The goal I think should be to explain these terms in words and explanations the average person can understand. If people understand what these terms actually mean and the how the process and systems they describe work, then they can not be manipulated as easily. On the professional and academic levels, those people who are distorting the terms know they are lying, and those opposed to these practices know the opposition is lying, so it doesn't really matter. These groups are not the ones that need to be reached or informed. It is the general public that needs to become informed on these matters.

Ed Frank

..
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: Natural Systems, Autopoietic Forests, and Preservation

Post by dbhguru » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:48 pm

Ed,

To move the topic along, I propose that we tackle three common buzzword terms, namely forest health, biodiversity, and sustainability and explore the range of meanings assigned to each and what we think to be the mindsets of the users of these vague terms. We should explore the contrast between meanings assigned by naturalists at one end of the spectrum and resource managers at the other. A good place to begin is with biodiversity.

To me biodiversity is a general term meant simply to refer to the full range of plants and animals living in a designated area. Certainly, it could be made more restrictive, but then biological diversity would not be appropriate. We might speak of the diversity of flora or fauna, or even a subset of one of those. So biodiversity should be inclusive.

There is no good number or target I know of needing to be realized to make a place exceptional diverse or impoverished. However, a premise of conservation biology is that a great diversity of species creates a resilient ecosystem- one able to bounce back from catastrophic life reducing events. In general, the more species the better. If this is the case, how would we view the boreal forests relative to the tropical rain forests? We need to say that diversity should be great for the environmental conditions to meet the complexity criteria - I'd think.

I recently checked the progress of DLIA in their canvassing the GSMNP to record all biological life forms above the microbial level. The following is the summarized list of species found within the park above the microbial level. The implications are enormous.
Picture 1.png
Picture 2.png
Picture 3.png
Picture 3.png (7.97 KiB) Viewed 3017 times
How could any resource manager expect to manage for all the above species? I don't think they can even remotely know what or how to mange for species numbering in the thousands. So biodiversity of the magnitude that exists in the Smokies suggests a problem in both perception and priorities when resource managers become involved to "improve biodiversity" for reasons I'll elaborate more on in coming emails.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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