This part of the country where I live surrounded by dense national forests didn't have a lot of trees 500 yrs ago and those that were here were different species from what is here now.
They know this to be true from the Lewis and Clark survey, which surveyed this areas natural resources for the government in 1806. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_...ark_Expedition
. These forests weren't here when they came through or what passed for a forest was looked more like the the hair on a dog nothing like what is here now.
This is high desert. It gets very dry in the summer with lightning storms often, sometimes nightly, and little rain from June till October.
We can get a 100 lightening started fires in a single night here, in a dry year, like this. Couple of years ago we got 140.
Once a major fire starts it gets much worse because it rains embers for up to 30 miles and generates it's own weather, which often has a great deal of lightning associated with it.
Most of the forest lands on the northeast side of Washington where I live did burn on the average every 5 yrs before fires were suppressed to create these national forests. This according to the foresters I have talked at length with.
These forest came to be because logging took off in the rain forests on the coast, other side of the Cascades a few hundred miles from here in the 1800's. That area grows trees like weeds. A tree grows to marketable size there in 20yrs there, here it takes 40 years for the same species same size. It rains so much there that the residence are said to have webs between their toes. Hard to build a fire over there most of the time even if you want to.
People and companies who came into that area to support the logging there, soon realized they could create wealth by suppressing the fires over here on the desert side and growing timber on the dry, mostly worthless land, that was priced accordingly here. That is how these forests came to be what they are in this region. There is little about them that is natural. The government partnered with the people and private industry here and the area grew in population and tax base as timber industry and and mining brought jobs to the area. More towns and houses appeared. Anyone who could buy large land not suitable for farming planted trees on it to be harvested later for their kids college or retirement.
In modern history the timber lands here have always been carefully managed because summer lightening fires has always been a problem. 1 tree here can easily be worth $500. Get a forest of these and that's a lot of cash, but only if you can bring it to market before mother nature burns it down.
The taxes on the industries and sales of by the governments of their public owned timber, added billions to the coffers of the state and federal government. It was one of those win, win deals for everyone at the time.
Some years ago, politics brought the eco movement to the national and state forest services, and that has all changed. I'm sure this land will eventually return to it's natural state with no care, which is what it gets now. I doubt it will be what people expect though. Maybe once it all gone they will look at what they have instead of what they expected to have, and decide to do it again. That will work till they forget how that new forest grew there. I suppose then, as now they will think that it was all nature, not man made and the cycle will start again.
We think of it as a crop. Right now that crop is on fire.