The Good Earth: Run-off, Erosion, and Recovery in the Post-fire Chaparral Steeplands of Southern California

The Good Earth: Run-off, Erosion, and Recovery in the Post-fire Chaparral Steeplands of Southern California

Dirt. It’s what we’re made of. So says a creation story of the Oneida Indian nation. Their Good Spirit used it to fashion humanity. So did the ancient Chinese goddess Nuwa. And the creator in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths. A compelling force in the psyche of humankind keeps producing this archetype. In the English language, the name for our planet is synonymous with soil, and land, rather than with water, though water covers the majority of its surface. Out of earth are we. While the primacy of soil is buried in our consciousness, often we know too little about it. What happens to earth—dirt—land when it is hit with a major disturbance such as fire? What changes do the characteristics of soil undergo after burning? What happens as water passes through, or over it? And what of the plants that grow in that post-fire medium?
 

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