Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Fire Thoughts

Thoughts on Fire-Mediated Serotiny
Jack Pine
Jack Pine has Been Through the Fire but the Kids are All Right

Most pine cones open up and release their seeds on a yearly basis.  Some do not.  Some cones, like those of the Jack Pine, often don't release their seeds until they've been through a fire.  This is called fire-mediated serotiny (seed release.)

Life can be tough for a seedling.  Finding enough soil to take root in among all that ground cover can be difficult.  And sometimes a dense forest means much competition for sunlight on the forest floor.

But sometimes something miraculous happens in the taller trees that are not consumed by a fire.  The heat from the fire will actually cause the cones to open.  The serotiny of some trees is so well choreographed that they will open in the heat of the fire, but not actually drop the seeds until after a rain.  This way the seeds are not burned, but land on rich, moist earth.

This is my prayer for Living Waters.  That since our fire, more growth will happen; that the seeds will we scatter will fall on fertile, receptive soil.  And I pray for substantial growth.  We don't want to be planting clover or Dandelions, but trees, big trees; something strong that is going to stand for decades.

Interestingly enough, and perhaps not coincidentally, one of the trees with serotinous cones is the world's largest; the Giant Sequoia.  The cones of the Sequoia can stay closed for twenty years, sometimes waiting for a fire.  The fire that consumed our office happened as we were celebrating our 20th anniversary.

Join me in praying that this will be the year of new growth.
Giant Sequoia, this one is known as The General Grant tree in Kings Canyon National Park

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