Also, while slash pines can withstand some burning, they are not nearly so well adapted as were longleaf (which Florida now is restoring wherever possible).
And so, inconvenience is avoided -- for a time -- and then the bills come due, and whole counties are evacuated.
We have much to learn about the nature of disasters, which are not just quick and fiery.
When same-size rainstorms in Maryland's metropolitan counties cause "worst-ever" floods each decade, the key may lie in all the paving we have allowed upstream, with still-inadequate storm-water detention measures.
A sea-level rise around the Chesapeake is hardly as attention-getting as a forest fire, but it is happening, even as we continue to allow waterfront development. In many of our lifetimes, we will have to deal expensively with the consequences.
Co-existing peaceably with nature may be possible; but only if we do a better job of understanding how the natural landscape worked and let enough open space remain to buffer the effects of fire and storm and flood.
Pub Date: 7/10/98