I recently watched the documentary Ring of Fire, about the “ring” created by all the volcanoes surrounding the Pacific Basin. One of the volcanoes featured was Mt St Helens, site of the largest eruption in North America in modern times. The segment showed the acres and acres of old growth forest that were leveled by Helens lava wrath…and how far along those forests have come in regenerating since then.
Now trying to research how fast forests regrow after natural disasters like volcanoes has been slightly difficult, since in Mt St Helens case, there has been a 25-year long effort by conservationists to replant those trees by hand. While I appreciate humans stepping in (especially considering how much forest is gone thanks to the unnatural disaster of us), I’m a little torn on messing with the natural progression of things. This wasn’t an old growth forest plowed down by loggers to make toilet paper, but nature itself “choosing” what survived and what didn’t. This kind of cycle has been happening since the dawn of time, and usually with good, evolutionary reason.
Just like how we can’t save every baby bird from being eaten by predators, we can’t presume to be able to decide which forests should stand and which shouldn’t. That would be a little like playing God/Great Spirit/etc, don’t you think?
Photo of Mt St Helens from Wikipedia Commons