I will add the “Name of associated plant” field if I know what the plant is
People in america dont even always like pine plantations. There’s areas of the country where clear cut forests were reseeded with pine seeds instead of the trees that were originally there, and then left to grow so densly that they choke out any other vegetation, including themselves, since they get to a point where they can’t get enough light to grow further, but since all the trees are the same age, theres no canopy variation. So its just a dense forest of struggling pines and nothing else living.
Three layers of sad, and a nightmare for fires.
That said, there is something magical about an old growth white pine / eastern hemlock forest, at least the few that are left and weren’t clear cut
Our old growth forest has a miniscule footprint, tucked deep in the mountain kloofs along streams, where it is safe from runaway wildfires. And then doesn’t burn easily.
But planted pines, eucalyptus and palms! And then the mass of acacia saplings after fire!!
They basically all have miniscule footprints, at least in the east/midwest of the US.
the one I’m thinking of was only saved from logging because it was private land of some wealthier individuals.
Originally mountain catchment areas to supply water to the city of Cape Town.
Now those are national parks and wilderness areas.
Bottom line - that statement is a sweeping generalization.
There are many plants which depend on a particular species of plant and visa versa.
It’s amazing there’s still ANY old growth left in the east, but there are sporadic pockets of it. Here’s one close to me:
About 5 minutes from my house there is a small surviving grove of eastern hemlock that was spared due to the location being a steep rugged hill strewn with large boulders. It’s protected water company property now, with a picturesque series of waterfalls.
It’s amazing how some species, such as red pine, are incredible, beautiful trees in their native habitat, but in a plantation just a half mile away, are half dead scraggly twigs that look like they were beaten half to death with an ugly stick. Same species, but doesn’t look very similar at all. Plantations are just pretty awful in general, even plantations of native species.
Apparantly CNN just did a small video on this restoration project https://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2023/08/22/ohio-golf-course-rewilding-c2e-spc-intl.cnn?fbclid=IwAR3UktMGOZvNokpbX6JMonJFVSxgHkPIT9X3_NN9zRo1HqdPtS6U3H63Q3E
I wish restorationists like me were better at defining what victory would ultimately look like.
The irony is that there will be no way to quantify our success. Some will always say that the species that were preserved would have been preserved anyway without our effort. And we have to accept this and instead simply say that it’s enough that we’ve done no harm. Whatever insects might be eating the honeysuckle in Southwest Ohio will have plenty to eat no matter how much I remove.
Success should be defined as transcendence into a new epoch without the associated species loss. The geologic record will show the existence of the anthropocene… with all sorts of new plants in new places, but without the species loss of prior transitions.
Second the Rose of Sharon being invasive in Ohio. I’ve been pulling seedlings for 15 years after removing the parent that I inherited when I bought the place. It’s all down the Little Miami and Ohio River Valleys. Not as bad as honeysuckle but very, very aggressive.
Here are some of the projects dedicated to tracking insect-plant interactions:
these are traditional projects so users need to manually add observations, there are likely many other valid observations. You can use the various fields to look for those of interest.
You are right.
I was coming at things from a residential neighborhood perspective. Believe me when I tell you that some will take the time to try and understand metrics, others will not. For those who aren’t inclined to listen, you are better off just saying… “Well, I’m not doing any harm. Something in the environment probably depends on the plants that have always been here. Those are the plants I’m trying to encourage.”
I don’t personally get too caught up in metrics because I’m already sure that what I’m doing has meaning. Most of those who would consider the metrics also already know that what I’m doing has meaning. It’s the other group that’s harder to reach.
Since several people have brought up the subject of restoration, it might be worth pointing out that one of the authors of the Garden Rant post, Mary McAllister, writes a blog called “Conservation Sense and Nonsense” and its byline is “We use scientific studies and observation to explain why native plant “restorations” in California are rarely successful.” https://milliontrees.me/
If you haven’t already, check out some of the work the Old Growth Forest Network is doing-- Old-Growth Forest Network (oldgrowthforest.net)
We’re heading into a time where we can have more old growth forest again-- by leaving some of the forests alone that have sprung up after land was abandoned for agricultural purposes 100+ years ago. I’ve visited Cathedral Pines twice and was in awe of what little is left there. There are also some very old trees along the Henry Buck trail in Peoples State Forest that I saw on a hike last year, using Tom Wessels’ book Roadside Ecology of New England.
Don’t mean to go off on old growth but it’s a topic that fascinates me and the little we have deserves much more protection and recognition than it currently gets.
yeah this is (in my opinion) a completely unscientific website that posts a lot of misinformation, because they didn’t want a specific eucalyptus grove removed. Years ago i responded to one of their posts asking why don’t they document the biodiversity on inauralist in both a eucalyptus grove and a native plant area, and a restoration site, to document any findings. They declined.
I’m a huge fan of the old giants myself. There’s a certain spiritual quality to them that is hard to put into words, but when you’re standing underneath one you just get it. With proper stewardship and a lot more public awareness we’re on track to having more old growth forests here in North America. I haven’t seen the Cathedral Pines yet but plan on visiting once it gets cooler out. I’ve been meaning to buy Tom Wessels’ books at some point too, as it was his videos on YouTube through the New England Forests channel that really had a profound impact on me personally. Anyway, thanks for the link; I hadn’t seen that before.
Ah… it seems like the people I described here are part of the same small but vocal group as the “gardenrant” author who spurred the original post. It’s disappointing that they’re so vocal with their antiscientific misinformation. But making that connection is also strangely comforting, because it indicates that this viewpoint may have a lot less traction than I feared. Thanks @charlie for connecting the dots.