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We need to restore our native Mediterranean ecosystem before it’s too late

We need to restore our native Mediterranean ecosystem before it’s too late
A team of UC Santa Barbara researchers hikes through an area of wildland where thick invasive grasses have crowded out native plants. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thanks much to reporter Bettina Boxall for the comprehensive and enlightening article about the long-term damage inflicted upon the native flora because of evermore frequent wildfires and drought.

The Mediterranean ecosystem, enabling chaparral and sage scrub plant communities to thrive, exists in only five small areas of the world. Nature has gifted Southern California as one of these rare areas. The benefits to us are many.

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While hiking the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains, driving the winding roads of the San Gabriels, or using the campsites of the Los Padres, we can view the vast mix of botanical species. For future generations of children and adults alike, we need to step up plant restoration in these areas.

It's time that local, state and federal funding be devoted to fire recovery of our natural ecosystems.

Charles Follette, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Finally, there’s an article on chaparral fires that gets it right.

This should be required reading to all those land managers who believe that our native plants “need to burn.” The notion that a recently burned area is safe from future devastating wildfires has clearly been shown to be false.

As a U.S. Forest Service volunteer who has restored trails in the burn areas mentioned, I have had firsthand experience watching the transformation of healthy chaparral communities into fields of non-native and invasive plants.

Let’s hope that better fire management policies are implemented before we lose more of our natural resources.

Alan Coles, Long Beach

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To the editor: Since the red substance dropped by aircraft is a good fire retardant, why don’t land managers set out across our forests several explosive devices filled with this stuff that would detonate when the temperature reaches a certain level? Fire retardant could be dispersed immediately to help control the severity of a forest fire.

If we have the technology, why don’t we use it?

Linda Bradshaw, Los Angeles

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