Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pioneers in Space


Part of the challenge in habitat restoration that entails clearing mechanically or with herbicide is just what will take advantage of all that new growing space. Often it is not the species you desire. Case in point; the ubiquitous Caesar weed (Urena lobata). This aggressive pioneer species has taken advantage of the recent cleaning and clearing around the outdoor stage complex.


A vast carpet of paired cotyledons glow green from a thick compost of sand live oak leaf litter. I am amazed at the density of seedlings in this area. It makes me ponder dozens and dozens of children attentive to some program on the stage. Mindlessly they pluck away at the sticky burs caught in their clothing on their trip through the woods and drop them to fertile earth at their feet. There they lie in thick litter beneath a dense canopy, made denser by invasive vines, suppressed from growth. Then noble intentioned conservators armed with sharpened metal and the fruits of chemical ingenuity release vital elements of life, growing space. Then did mother nature let forth the final ingredient, a deluge of rain. It rained, they were sown, they conquered….time to break out the Round-Up.

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