We are from forest. I do not think that our souls from there. They are from beautiful Garden of Eden. There are people without soul they lose it or they did not have it never the less has the novel it. Telling about folks and forest where is a soul, we wanderers could understand Gods power nature which is under danger of human destruction. It is written in Revelations that second anger will be sent in the time as fire.
The truth is that I am writing more correct will be typing these words from Yerevan, the capital name translating to English ‘Visible’ City from mountain Ararat. First anger of God was sent as fluid and Noah found dry earth in this valley. There is town of valley where is Edjmiatzin translating to English Jesus coming place is the Cathedral of Armenian church and Armenian State which accepted Christianity in 301. Our Lord had been seen by St. Gregory illuminator or he had vision of Christ and it became National Religion.
Fact is we are losing faith in Jesus and great sense of love given by God to us. We are in need of new vision to keep it for next generations. Another fact is worrying we are losing contact with the nature, woods. That has a smell, a taste, a feeling it is what’s left in our memory of being in the woods.
Tradition is key point of culture. But what is key point of Nature? Creation, don’t destroy it. Thank You.
Chapter I Old times
- About forest and folks in general
- The word ‘forest’ comes from the Latin ‘foris,’ which means outdoors or away from civilization.
- Nowadays the word ‘forest’ is usually taken to mean a large, densely wooded area. Forests were not necessarily wooded, and many comprised large areas of heath and moorland. A Forest was a place of deer, not of trees (Rackham O., 1986).
Many definitions of forest
Today, there are more than 250 definitions of the term “forest.” These definitions differ based on the emphases or concerns of different people.
A legal definition is different from an ecological definition. The perspective of the economist differs from that of a geographer. All definitions stress the importance of trees in the system and include places where tree cover ranges from 5% to as high as 100%.Forest is complex ecosystem in which trees are the dominant life-form. Tree-dominated forests can occur wherever the temperatures rise above 50 °F (10 °C) in the warmest months and the annual precipitation is more than 8 in. (200 mm). They can develop under various conditions within these limits, and the kind of soil, plant, and animal life differs according to the extremes of environmental influences. In cool, high-latitude sub polar regions, taiga (boreal) forests are dominated by hardy conifers. In more temperate high-latitude climates, mixed forests of both conifers and broad-leaved deciduous trees predominate. Broad-leaved deciduous forests develop in mid latitude climates. In humid equatorial climates, tropical rainforests develop. There heavy rainfall supports evergreens that have broad leaves instead of the needle leaves of cooler evergreen forests. Having extensive vertical layering, forests are among the most complex ecosystems. Conifer forests have the simplest structure: a tree layer, a shrub layer that is spotty or even absent, and a ground layer covered with lichens, mosses, and liverworts. Deciduous forests are more complex (the tree canopy is divided into an upper and lower story), and rainforest canopies are divided into at least three layers. Forest animals have highly developed hearing, and many are adapted for vertical movement through the environment. Because food other than ground plants is scarce, many ground-dwelling animals use forests only for shelter. The forest is nature’s most efficient ecosystem, with a high rate of photosynthesis affecting both plant and animal systems in complex organic relationships. Copyright © 1994-2008 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Forest is an area with a high density of trees. There are many definitions of a forest, based on various criteria. These plant communities cover approximately 9.4% of the Earth’s surface (or 30% of total land area) and function as habitats for organisms, hydrologic flow modulators, and soil conservers, constituting one of the most important aspects of the Earth’s biosphere. Historically, “forest” meant an uncultivated area legally set aside for hunting by feudal nobility, and these hunting forests were not necessarily wooded much if at all. However, as hunting forests did often include considerable areas of woodland, the word forest eventually came to mean wooded land more generally. Woodland is ecologically distinct from a forest.
- A forest is best defined as an ecosystem or assemblage of ecosystems dominated by trees and other woody vegetation.
Parts of a forest
The living parts of a forest include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants, mosses, algae, fungi, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and microorganisms living on the plants and animals and in the soil.
These interact with one another and with the non-living part of the environment – including the soil, water, and minerals, to make up what we know as a forest. How many trees make a forest? Forests (according to the U.S. National Vegetation Classification system) consist of trees with overlapping crowns forming 60% to 100% cover. Woodlands are more open, with 25% to 60% cover.
Forested Area Today
In early times the only non forested areas of the earth were those where the land was either excessively dry (e.g., the plains and deserts) or excessively wet (e.g., the swamps). Where the environment was favorable, forests extended from the equator to the timber line, i.e., as far as those regions in the extreme north or at high altitudes where generally there is perpetual snow. Climatic conditions favor the continued expansion of the forests as the ice cap continues to recede and the timber line to withdraw, since the forests, with their mammal and bird inhabitants, move into formerly glaciated regions. However, the favorable natural conditions are more than countered by forest clearing by humans and through fire. About 30% of the world is forested today, but the ratio between forest and population varies immensely. More than one half of the world’s softwood timber (the major forest product) comes from North America and Europe—an area with only a fourth of the world’s population. Yet the Mediterranean countries have been cleared of most of their forests for centuries, and the forested area of the United States has shrunk in 300 years from about one half to one third of the total land acreage. The United States and Canada share 16% of the world’s forests; the former Soviet Union contains 21%, Africa has 20%, and Latin American has 24%.FolksNative Americans influenced the relationship of forest and prairie ecosystems long before the arrival of European settlers. Native Americans used the forest as a source of food, medicines, and materials.
- Native Spirituality O Great Spirit… help us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Native Americans Prayer
- As Chief Seattle said, the Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth, and both are precious to God. Therefore, do not harm the Earth or you heap contempt on its creator. Simply love the Earth, care for it, and learn from it.
- Birch Tree: Indigenous People of North America have a long tradition of making their homes and canoes from birch bark. They devised a sustainable system that allowed harvesting the bark without killing the tree. Birches are the first trees to grow back after natural disasters such as fire, earthquakes, and even nuclear contamination. Though its wood is hard, the tree is considered a symbol for gentleness and peace, and a grove of birches is an ideal place to meditate.
- May all I say and all I think be in harmony with thee, God within me, God beyond me, Maker of the trees. Chinook Psalter
Early explorers and settlers kept diaries and notebooks and made the first maps of North America. First-hand accounts describe the land, water, forest environment, and events such as a bison hunt.
Surveyors measured the land of Illinois, including the forests, so they could make maps and establish boundaries for settlers buying land. Surveyors’ notebooks are a rich source for the location of types of trees and other features of Northern forests.
Later settlers used the forests as a resource for building materials, fuel, food, medicines, and wood for home furnishings. They also prevented the frequent prairie fires, which had lasting effects on the composition of the forests. They cleared many forested acres for farming. As more settlers arrived, a timber industry grew and the people harvested a great portion of the country trees during the 1800s.
- From Holy Bible
- Old Testament
- 9 God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear,” and it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good. 11 God said, “Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth,” and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. Genesis 1
- 26 …In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it…Genesis 1
And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 The Fig Tree: It is unlikely that Adam and Eve ate from an apple tree in the Garden of Eden, as apple trees are not native to the Middle East. More likely, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was a fig. A native of southwest Asia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, the fig is one of humanity’s oldest cultivated foods and healing medicines, as it was also the fig leaf that Adam and Eve reached for to first cloth themselves.
- Heb. ya’ar, meaning a dense wood, from its luxuriance. Thus all the great primeval forests of Syria (Eccl. 2:6; Isa. 44:14; Jer. 5:6; Micah 5:8). The most extensive was the trans-Jordanian forest of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:6, 8; Josh. 17:15, 18), which is probably the same as the wood of Ephratah (Ps. 132:6), some part of the great forest of Gilead. It was in this forest that Absalom was slain by Joab. David withdrew to the forest of Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul (1 Sam. 22:5). We read also of the forest of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23, 24), and of that which the Israelis passed in their pursuit of the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:25), and of the forest of the cedars of Lebanon (1 Kings 4:33; 2 Kings 19:23; Hos. 14:5, 6).
- “The house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2 Chr. 9:16) was probably Solomon’s armory, and was so called because the wood of its many pillars came from Lebanon, and they had the appearance of a forest.
- Heb. horesh, denoting a thicket of trees, underwood, jungle, bushes, or trees entangled, and therefore affording a safe hiding-place. place. This word is rendered “forest” only in 2 Chr. 27:4. It is also rendered “wood”, the “wood” in the “wilderness of Ziph,” in which David concealed himself (1 Sam. 23:15), which lay south-east of Hebron. In Isa. 17:19 this word is in Authorized Version rendered incorrectly “bough.”
- Heb. pardes, meaning an enclosed garden or plantation. Asaph is (Neh. 2:8) called the “keeper of the king’s forest.” The same Hebrew word is used Eccl. 2:5, where it is rendered in the plural “orchards” (R.V., “parks”), and Cant. 4: 13, rendered “orchard” (R.V. marg., “a paradise”).
- “The forest of the vintage” (Zech. 11:2, “inaccessible forest,” or R.V. “strong forest”) is probably a figurative allusion to Jerusalem, or the verse may simply point to the devastation of the region referred to.
- 4 One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises. 6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north. It turns around continually as it goes, and the wind returns again to its courses. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. Ecclesiastes 1
- 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit. 6 I made myself pools of water, to water from it the forest where trees were reared. Ecclesiastes 2
All the earth is at rest and is quiet: they are bursting into song. Even the trees of the wood are glad over you, the trees of Lebanon, saying, From the time of your fall no wood-cutter has come up against us with an axe. Isaiah 14:7-8
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed. Isaiah 55:12-13
- 12 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What have you to do with me, that you are come to me to fight against my land? 13 The king of the children of Ammon answered to the messengers of Jephthah, Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan: now therefore restore those lands again peaceably. Judges 11
At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. Job 14:7-9
New Testament Christianity
4 …and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds*1 came and devoured it. 5 Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. 6 When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.” Mark 4
What is the kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed it in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches. Luke 13:18
1 After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree. 2 I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Don’t harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!” Revelation 7
Spiritually, trees play a unique role in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, from the Garden of Eden to the Cross of Christ. Biologically, in great forest communities, they help sustain life on our planet, giving off oxygen, anchoring soil, keeping stream and rivers clear, and providing habitation for thousands of species. How can religious persons not care about the widespread destruction of these creatures of God? We need to love them as our very selves, as neighbors in earth’s community of life. Jesus uses parables to teach simple lessons to his followers that also point to deeper, and often unexpected, meanings. The simple lesson of the mustard seed points to the magnificence of God’s creation. A tiny seed produces a large tree that in turn feeds and houses many. God’s gift of creation is wondrous and generous. At another level, Jesus may have been suggesting that we should expect the unexpected with God. In fact, a mustard seed grows only into a mustard bush, not a tree. What is simple — God’s love and justice — comes to us in different, surprising, and challenging ways that could never be imagined from a simple seed. The records are never quite substantiated with incontrovertible proof, but the creature has cropped up over many centuries randomly around the earth. How times have changed. Now truly should be a political legacy protecting forest ecosystems, they worth it. But then ecology was hijacked by the language of economics and struggles to describe something that smells like altruism in Nature. Don’t get me wrong. Think of the carbon sequestered and the tens of thousands of species, which also call forest their home, forest would be sanctuary. Think of the poets, artists and writers who would draw inspiration. But let think firstly of the millions of ordinary folks who could take delight and recreate themselves in these country forests.
Light made the darkness bright
Sun made the life long
- Sunrise was in the spring morning. Warm and interesting day made you lazy to move and go somewhere. The birds were singing melodically, snow was melting and water was flowing on streets everywhere in downtown.
- The window was open though was impression that all community kept silence. Colonel came into the room and kid knew yet the time to go walking into the woods but for child of his age it was a hike in forest. It was first time after winter and kid was glad to go with his grand father.
- The way was calm, houses of area made it longer to reach edge of deserved hill. They went up. There was a lodge on hill side. The dogs began barking. Grand approached to one of the dogs was growling. The bearded man appeared men say hello one another. He took them away opening path into the wood. Their way was through thick of bushes, several birds flew over…
- Couple weeks passed the great mountain Ararat was visible. Old town was full of sunshine blossom of apricot trees was in the valley orchards. The folks were preparing for the Easter.
- That day the grandfather and child went to bakery for fresh bred. The folks in a hurry were trying to jump a queue. The colonel couldn’t tolerate it and called people to order with his twenty five years of military service. They saw mother and daughter on the back way. The colonel phrased her appearance and woman smiled. He did it tactfully and beautiful women accepted his words most of their husbands were busy and life was grey and uninteresting what for him the time of war impacted man to desire female, peace was valued.
Lake is in the middle
Mountains are around
- The summer came early, sun was burring and air was getting staffer in city day by day. The grand decided to take vocation and go with grand kids to the country where he had been from.
- The road to the village was passing scenic areas. They were hour on the road when saw the mountain lake. Another hour and car stopped near the village house. The colonel sister and her family were waiting them.
- By old tradition traveler of this place should be invited to the dinner and after take a rest. The house was old. It had potato farm and hen-coop.
- The first night was very dark in the village. The kids from the city used to the lights at night. Next day village folks came to visit them. Old men said chairs at party. It was interesting to listen them their speech was different from town talks. The day after bunch of kids went to river where they swam on the way back it was all mint grass which they picked up.
- The rural days are slow there is no rush as in the city. It was a day when they went to the lake a pass was through pine wood where salty source was and people liked to drink from it. They came to the lake it was calm. Many folks were on a beach swimmers had a fun. Small boy saw the fry in lagoon.
Chapter II Forest Memos
- USA, Idaho
- Some history
- The exact origin of the name remains a mystery.In the early 1860s, when the United States Congress was considering organizing a new territory in the Rocky Mountains, eccentric lobbyist George M. Willing suggested the name “Idaho,” which he claimed was derived from a Shoshone language term meaning “the sun comes from the mountains”
An excerpt from an Idaho History Textbook:
- “Idaho” is a Shoshoni Indian exclamation. The word consists of three parts. The first is “Ee”, which in English conveys the idea of “coming down”. The second is “dah” which is the Shoshoni stem or root for both “sun” and “mountain”. The third syllable, “how”, denotes the exclamation and stands for the same thing in Shoshoni that the exclamation mark (!) does in the English language. The Shoshoni word is “Ee-dah-how”, and the Indian thought thus conveyed when translated into English means, “Behold! the sun coming down the mountain”.
- The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for “Let it be forever”).
When Lightning StrikesIn the chiefly coniferous Rocky Mountain forest belt, the Ponderosa and the white pines are the most common. Each summer, major blazes char Idaho. Western forests of Douglas fir, Lodge pole pine and ponderosa pine are fire-dependent. For thousands of years, western forests relied on natural fire cycles to regenerate.
There’s a thunderstorm brewing – I can feel it.Anticipation builds on a sultry, early summer afternoon. The air is thick but an approaching cold front promises relief from oppressive heat and humidity.By late-afternoon, thunderheads with an audible rush of wind in the trees, the storm arrives.The mighty pine is smoked!White pines are usually the tallest trees in the forest. They make excellent hunting perches for hawks and owls and are used by turkeys for night roosts. They’re also natural lightning rods. You do not want to stand beneath one during a thunderstorm!
Heat-killed trees create a special feature in a forest. Like trees scorched in a fast-moving ground fire, an electrocuted pine will eventually shed its bark in large plates to reveal cooked sapwood beneath. The seared pine pitch seals the heartwood, like varnish, against moisture and the beetles that specialize in boring tunnels in dead pine. Unlike pine logs that fall and rot in the dense shade of the forest floor due to insects and moisture, standing dead “snag trees” that were heat-killed by a fire or lightning strike may remain standing for decades.After insects eventually penetrate the veneer of cooked sap and woodpeckers chop larger holes in the stem, lightning killed snags provide a durable wooden apartment complex for a variety of cavity-dwelling birds and small mammals. Cavities inside the smooth, bark-free gray ghosts are used by woodpeckers, flycatchers, and owls for nesting and by bats as nursery colonies and day roosts. Squirrels, raccoons, porcupines and fishers use lightning killed snags for dens.But for prominent trees on exposed hills, ridges and growing along the edges of fields, lakes and roads, these severe summer thunderstorms can be fatal.People instinctively seek cover when lightning threatens. No such luck for trees. It’s not easy being green… and tall… and deeply-rooted.Even in death, lightning killed-trees live on.Lightning snags furnish homes for new generations of wildlife. In the woods, every ending is a new beginning. Large old dead and dying trees are considered to be a “biological legacy,” an integral part of a healthy forest.Just because a tree is dead, doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. To learn more of the important role of the forest’s dead wood, there was surprise at just how much fallen timber had been left to decay. It is claimed that this forest has more left untouched than most other wooded areas. The grass that climb over it make a safe nursery bed for seedlings, allowing young trees to become established before deer and other browsers can get at them. The timber itself is host to many lichens, mosses and fungi, and home to a rich variety of insects. These all benefit from it and all help it on its way. This interaction is crucial to the life of healthy woodland.
- Trail Crew
- People have different places to go and different ways of getting there, so there is a secret world of abandoned places and neglected tracks to be discovered. Year by year, as fewer walk these tracks, the vegetation reclaims them. Some are kept open only by badgers, deer and the occasional wanderer who stumbles on a lost way by intuition or happenstance. Newer, well-maintained footpaths attract walkers into parts of this landscape for recreation. This is at least a clear motivation and intention for being somewhere.
Evidence that the forest is a working landscape is all around. Perhaps we find woods like this claustrophobic because they resist us linguistically as much as they bar us physically. They are so complex in terms of texture, color and form that we feel entangled in mind as well as body. There is just so much that is unspoken about woods. We clear them to access their underlying fertility, but perhaps it is also a way of freeing ourselves from their unconscious demands. Around this network are open stretches dominated by three shades. There is the intense yellow-green of moss that plates entanglement of sallow branches which, in turn, pipe this color everywhere. Now the path is entangled by dark nettles.
Crew departs from base camp and spends the work week at a primitive backcountry tent camp near the project location. Generally, amenities such as showers, bathroom facilities, and running water are not available during the crew week. Participants might have to backpack into the site, and the hike can be very strenuous, possibly up to eight miles up a mountain. In addition to personal gear, crew members carry all the food, tools, and group gear needed for the week in the woods. For some projects the equipment the horse packers will carry in and out for you will be as follows: tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pad, and the group’s food. Crews also might drive to a campsite near the project and hike to the work site each day. Either way, crew members should expect a primitive backcountry life for the duration of their week. All crew members are expected to participate equally in routine tasks, including cooking, cleaning, and tool care, both at base camp and the project site.Trail work is hard, physical labor. Trail construction involves working with hand tools, and getting dirty is guaranteed. The crews work eight-hour days, rain or shine, hot or cold, regardless of black flies, mosquitoes, and other insects. During the course of the crew season, the weather can vary from sweaty, summertime heat to freezing, winter-like cold.The work can be hard at times depending on the specific project, but with a group tackling the project in coordinated fashion, no person is “working their fingers to the bone” or working to exhaustion. A typical day starts at 7:00 am. Breakfast is usually done by 7:45am, and folks are assembled for final instructions. Depending on the group size, attendees are assigned to a crew which will have a crew leader who has been briefed on the work needed to be done and will assign individual responsibilities. All crews usually leave camp at around 8am. Projects are worked until lunch, which consists of peanut butter-and-jelly and/or tuna-salad/chicken-salad sandwiches and fruit. Afternoons, you will continue work until it is completed until 5:30pm.
It’s amazing how quickly the job can be completed when a group of people combine their efforts to achieve a result. And then there is the camaraderie that results among the work crews. There are times when you are done. Laughing, telling stories, verbal rambling occurs on the hike back…
This meal is easy to cook with short cooking time, perfect for a day when we are setting up a new camp. Dinner is served at around 6pm, and there’s some variation of all-you-can-eat tri-tip and veggies on the propane we use for all cooking.Late dinner usually consists of pasta; Pasta is a dish that can stay fresh longer and is easy to prepare. We can keep the pasta and sauce longer and have it ready to eat when someone arrives late. We will keep out pasta, sauce (with and without meat), bread, and anything else that makes sense people might want.Then, after dinner, folks socialize around the campfire; uproarious laughter, lively group conversations, serious one-on-ones. Great entertainment it was too! Or, you may prefer to find a spot with solitude and simply stare at the stars and look for meteors.We were conducting routine trail maintenance (brush removal, cleaning and renovating) and removal of fallen timber blocking the project trail. Next day is a repeat until the last day.That is trail crew work…
The sound of rain sizzles over the forest as a shower’s trailing edge passes through but for now the rain is a gentle stroking between days smacked by hot humid weather. We have wilted; now it’s cooler and freshened up with rain, we feel alive to summer again. Not as alive as the trees though. The blast of warm weather brought the leave blossom out at the same time. Each tower of blossom is honey scented and intoxicating, the grass in woods, meadows in parks, but the most extraordinary thing about them is their song: each tree sings with thousands of insects. The flowers attract masses of bees, flies and insects, and the collective sound of all those creatures becomes the sound of the trees.
It is a lovely thing on these summer mornings to wake up. I can’t remember the last time that we had started out so early to avoid midday heat. The sun was still low on the horizon, as we climbed up through the woodland, where yesterday’s heat had withered the last of the bluebells.The steep of high above ‘Forest Wall’ stopped us. It was a welcome excuse for a break to get our breath back after the climb. At the top, we slumped down on the grass between the gorse bushes to admire the view. Down below, the valley bottom, another working day was under way. Up here, silence, except for the hum of bees in gorse blossom that was already wobbling in a heat-haze, and the agitated call of a curlew. Across the fields, we could see old meadow grasses turned gold.Here, under a blue sky and racing clouds, surrounded by grass stems bending in a blustery breeze. Spiders are escorted from the premises in a handkerchief, and wasps who visit an outdoor meal remain unsquashed. But three things are liable for a good swatting: mosquitoes, horseflies and midges. Mosquitoes at least have the courtesy to whine a warning and midges to travel in a crowd, but the horsefly is a stealthy, underhand creature. Silent in habit and dowdy of dress, often the first sign of its presence is an apparent jab from a red hot needle. Adult horseflies feed on nectar, but the females, requiring a blood meal for reproduction, will use their mandibles to scissor through skin. Though you may curse and slap at the offender, by the time it tumbles groundwards it is already too late and you are in for an uncomfortable couple of days. It’s a test of willpower not to rub at the hot and painful sites.
I heard the story of Ed Pulaski. The tale of how Pulaski, an assistant ranger, saved the majority of his 45 crew members by leading them into an abandoned mine shaft near Wallace is one of the enduring stories of the fire, which also includes narratives of crews hunkered down in creek bottoms while hurricane-force winds howled overhead. The fire scorched 3 million across the Northern Rockies, razed frontier towns and took the lives of 78 firefighters in 1910. Its influence on the Forest Service can’t be overestimated. The fire rallied public support for the newly minted Forest Service, which was under attack from timber and mining interests. Tales of courage and sacrifice from the fire inspired generations of agency officials, perpetuating firefighting as a key Forest Service mission.Pulaski is widely credited for the invention of the Pulaski in 1911, a hand tool commonly used in wildland firefighting. A combination hand tool with a mattock for digging or grubbing on one side and an axe for chopping on the other, it is often called a “Pulaski tool”.There were no signs of fire only sweltering we tried to imagine the parched wider spaces covered in snow in winter. From a lookout just below the dramatic topmost rock forms, we peered down on to a face of the mountain, directly below, that owes its character to the effects of recurrent wildfires. In a hollow where tall mountain pines had been killed by extreme heat there was a dead forest of bare, black tree-trunks. But there was live vegetation too, where snow-gums had survived by virtue of the large underground roots (lignotubers) with which nature equips them to sustain life through even the fiercest fires. Part of the plan will be to encourage natural regeneration. The concern is that the tree is very slow growing and in many areas there is no regeneration taking place. In our strath there are a number of scattered pines and having looked at some recently I could not find any young plants.We climbed a steep bridle path towards the lost trail. We found a footpath, climbed a stone stile, and crossed a grass field to where we located preserved remains of the lost trail.
The forester and I went that day to the Lightning Creek to make some cleanup and bring all garbage. Bees are only out for themselves. But that is the joy of them. Get among them this summer and let these wonderful creatures completely ignore you. They’ll make you feel a whole lot better about life it seems but bees are bees and one bit the forester leg. Did she take out the sting or not? I don’t remember. Walking back through the forest, I waited for a party of hikers who was chattering. I had a delightful talk with them. I met them coming into the forest. They were smiling. I asked if they were enjoying themselves. One answered: “I have had the most astounding and happy experience. I ended with three wonders, the trails, the company and the view.” He inquired if this was a usual experience. I told him that it happened, but was not an everyday occurrence. Hikers departed smiling. We went back to the ranger station.
The rising sun briefly transforms the south-eastern horizon as brilliant colors brighten a wedge of clear sky beyond the far-off silhouette of Challis another mild morning. Our autumn has been glorious, mild, fine and sunny. Perhaps it’s the glorious sunshine and the intoxication of an autumn which ferments inside every breath, but there’s a wild recklessness abroad.
We traced our way upwards on footpaths between the trees and emerged beneath the crag. As for my search, everywhere looked the same and then I saw a different form of vegetation and there was my quarry, a colony of mountain birch trees with tiny, rounded leaves and tiny catkins. I was impressed that it could survive in the harsh conditions prevalent in parts of the year around here. I noticed that branches of young mountain birches were with golden leaves threaded with attempt to mimic the momentary downward glow of a fall. Birch colonies form new woodland where each gust of wind brought another fall like a flurry of yellow every year. Apart from the wind in the canopy, the woods were very quiet. Small birds with heir rapid knots of song tuned by local accents and mantra-like repetition sound like nattering. Further on, spindly mountain birches battle for the light along the margins of the conifer plantations. Stumps of trees long fallen are nature’s sculptures placed alongside the path, with shapes to kindle the imagination. Nothing stirred down in the forest. No bramble leaf bent on a zephyr, no twig snapped underfoot; but the strong summertime sunlight flooded between the trunks and then I was out beyond the trees and partially blinded by the radiance of a view seen through the gin-clear atmosphere of this day. That clarity allowed a remarkable sighting.
GPS and mapping…
A local forest attracts and provides, good habitat for whitetail deer in its slopes, or in old tree stands. The build-up is there with the ancient pines of the forest, home to some of the mountain icons such as chipmunks, whitetail deer. The Ponderosa pines are almost awesome and makes one seem very small both in terms of size and age. The most resistant is a great citadel of greens across the woodland floor. The color context for them is a brittle frame of sedge-colored stems that was last year’s nettle bank, and now flopped over everywhere rather like brushed hair. Through this is a meandering tracery of deer paths where narrow hooves, mingling brown with green, have driven down into the muck fragments of moss and leaves. The backdrop to the deer was a steep hillside with woodland scattered over large but discontinuous areas. To rub in the lack of the camera, just as we left the strath we spotted a deer standing by the side of the road. As the zigzag road starts to climb, gaps in the vegetation reveal great, sloping granite rock faces, streaked grey and cream, and giant, rounded boulders. Over the ages, wind, ice and intense heat have worked on the granite, widening cracks, shaping rocks, and smoothing and marking their surfaces. From here Lookout we took in the view of wooded foothills and fertile valleys.Here, near the bottom of a gully dividing the wooded hills, the roadside wall runs out. Deer have learned to make their way down the twin slopes to this passing place. But their traversing point is on a steep curve and they are blind to traffic racing down the hill until they reach the middle of the road.
- Fish crew…
Iconic fish salmon is major fish for the crew surveys.Salmon need clean gravels for spawning, enough cool water to grow up in, places to hide from predators, places to rest and food to eat. Idaho’s rivers and streams provide places for spawning and rearing. The major rivers are migration corridors as the salmon head to sea. To protect the spawning and rearing areas, foresters can leave trees in streamside zones to provide shade and woody debris, and build roads and harvest timber in ways that minimize the introduction of sediment into streams.
The panoramic view of Redfish Lake, mountainous land was breathtaking. The live landscape is with colors. The undulating sharp skyline of the Sawtooth Mountains is backed in pearly light. The sparkling lake gets ever wider, with stony shoals and occasional canoeists, and old pines along its banks. However, the crucial event is that it increasingly becomes tourist attractions. It holds the thrill of the chase, with a touch of the Wild West thrown in for good measure.The mountain wall above is hypnotic, overpowering, surprisingly colorful, tonal rich. All around the lake the pinewoods, tan buds on the branches as tight-furled as City gents’ umbrellas to tell that altitude holds to its own seasons, give an intimate scale with which the gigantic frame above disputes.The surface of the lake mediates between them – towering crags and silver-trunk trees held in a mirrored and polychromatic harmony. Until some eddying breeze scumbles the surface, draws a nacreous film across the scene, tips balance into a fracturing image of the broken middle. Buttress, cornice and arкte exchange definition for mother-of-pearl shimmer. I look up from the lake and see the same kaleidoscopic silvering as slant shafts of the sun transfigure last year’s winter-blanched leaves under the beeches; look down again and watch as the water returns to unblemished stillness. There is enduring unity of this place from which the people go after summer.
- Then we came to a pine stand carpeted with dry grass. Parts of this forest are managed by Yankee Fork Ranger District. There are many pines growing near to power lines or across trails, they should be cut. The forest is to be maintained, such invasive growth must be kept in check. That explains the large pile of pine logs stacked close to pathways.
The air is full of light, the sharp edge of a breeze and the music of destruction. Like an electric guitar laboring through a couple of chords, the chainsaw goes about its relentless business. At the end of an avenue of pines login fell one tree and was cutting branches. I remember how that feels: the sense of power as the chain bites through white timber; the smell of chain-oil, fuel and flying sawdust; the thrill of working high in the trees where senses are sharpened by danger. And yet the sound of chainsaws represents something dark. What has taken years, sometimes centuries to grow can be reduced to a pile of logs in a matter of minutes. Chainsaws create a soundtrack for human chauvinism in ways that the sound of axes do not. With an axe, each blow rings down the centuries, linking iron with stone and a kind of labor which is thousands of years old. It’s the scale and speed of destruction that chainsaws enable that gives them such power. In woods and forests around the world the chainsaws rev, whine and scream through their savage repertoire, unleashing arboricide. At the very opposite end of this spectrum, but not far away, a spotted woodpecker drums on a branch. With its piebald and red markings, the bird walks along high branches, stopping to throw its high piping call into the clear autumn air, then hammers on the branch to make a drumming sound that carries far into the treetops. Searching for insects along a dead bough that rises skyward, the woodpecker becomes an emblem against the chainsaw and a reason for leaving trees with dead bits alone. But the music of destruction is loud and the world is deaf.
- We saw the duck-pond, which was brimming over, home to a busy crowd of waterfowl.
- Sound of their voices is keeping in memory the sense of place. The logger was showing me the pictures of hunted animals. It reminded me cruelty of hunting. But a minute later showing the last hunted birds he said that never going to do it again.
The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see…. No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, as vital to our lives as water and good bread. It is a bright sunny day. Looking out from the viewing terrace is very emotive as you try to take in the vastness of the area. The river Salmon that swings this way and all the way from its beginning floated through Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. There is no much talk here. The information displays this wilderness in USDA FS Users’ Guide 2001.
- Frank Church was a strong liberal and played a major role in passage of legislation creating the National Wilderness System in 1964, and in the creation of the River of No Return Wilderness in 1980.
- President Reagan signed the legislation in March 1984. In a statement released shortly after, Frank Church said, “In signing the act adding my name to the River of No Return Wilderness, President Reagan does me and my family a great honor. Honored, as I am, the real meaning for me today is to reaffirm our magnificent heritage in preserving some 2.2 million acres of Idaho wilderness for ourselves, and our children, and our children’s children. For this I am eternally grateful…. For the countless thousands who will enter and enjoy the River of No Return Wilderness, it will open their eyes like an Idaho sunrise on a summer morning.”
- Unlike other western mountains, the Salmon River Mountains do not separate into distinct ranges, are not arranged in lines, and have no trend or dominating crest, only a multitude of minor crests running in all directions; the elevation of the crests decline gradually from southeast to northwest. Mountain summits are wide, and the slopes are more gradual in the central portion of the mountains than around the edges.
- While not generally thought of as alpine country, there are 14 groups of high mountain lakes in the Wilderness. One such area is the Bighorn Crags, a high, rugged area with cirque lakes at or above 8,000 feet and peaks topping 10,000 feet. In contrast, the relief of Chamberlain Basin is low and rolling and contains alluvium-filled valleys, marshes, and open meadows.
- The Salmon River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in North America, deeper even than the famous Grand Canyon of the Colorado in Arizona. In fact, only Hells Canyon on the Snake River is deeper.
- Great forests of conifers, broken by scattered meadows and dry mountain slopes, dominate the Wilderness. Douglas fir is the major tree, followed by lodge pole pine. Ponderosa pines grow at low elevations, and Engelmann spruce and sub alpine fir at high elevations. A variety of grasses occupies the opening at all elevations and some alpine plants grow on the highest peaks and ridges. Shrubs, such as sagebrush, ninebark, and bearberry, are common at mid and lower elevations.
- This place has the magnificent wildlife. Two hundred and fifty-eight (258) wildlife species are in the area: 72 mammal, 173 bird, 23 fish, 7 reptiles and 6 amphibians. The Wilderness, with its abundant and varied habitats, provides homes for a broad diversity of fish and wildlife. Rainbow, steelhead and cutthroat trout, Chinook salmon, otters, coyotes, blue grouse, golden-mantled ground squirrels, marmots, Canadian geese, and black-capped chickadees are just a few for example. The fish and wildlife resource provides people with an opportunity for fishing, hunting, bird watching, photography, and much more.
- The sea-run or anadromous salmon and trout, born in the streams of this area, spend the first part of their lives there. As juveniles, they migrate downstream to the ocean where they spend most of their adult life growing and maturing. Once mature, they begin their long and difficult journey back upstream.
- True to the name salmon, which means “to leap,” these fish leap their way upstream through rapids and sometimes over small waterfalls enroute to their birthplace. Those that survive the long migration will die once they complete a mating ritual vital to the survival of the species. Through their efforts, a new generation will be born to begin the cycle again.
- Some of the most spectacular animal residents are the big game species such as elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat. Mountain goats, one of the best rock climbers in the animal world, inhabit the most rugged and rocky terrain.
- Wolves once ranged throughout nearly all of Idaho. In the mid-1980’s, researchers estimated that there were less than 15 wolves remaining in central Idaho, and that lead to the classification of the wolves as endangered species.
- Four wolves captured near Hinton, Alberta — two male and two female — were released at Corn Creek on the Main Salmon January 14, 1995. Today the wolf population is encouraging according to the International Wolf publication. “The late 1999 estimates for central Idaho are also encouraging. … 10 packs are believed to inhabit central Idaho, …”
- Caves and rock shelters along the Middle Fork and its tributaries hold artifacts that show Native Americans used this area for 12,000 years. The two Indian groups that ranged this region most recently, the Nez Perce and Shoshone, left only yesterday in terms of archaeological time. Remnants of the Shoshone group, or Sheepeaters as they came to be called by white men, avoided the military roundup of their people in 1879 and remained in isolated parts of this wild country until near the start of this century.
- The written record of white men in the Salmon River country starts with the arrival of the Lewis and Clark expedition near the North Fork of the Salmon River in 1805. After some exploratory probes, and discouraging reports from friendly Indians, they abandoned their plan to travel the Salmon River drainage and detoured north to the Clearwater. In doing so they set a pattern, which for more than 100 years had the mainstream of white pioneers circling north or south to avoid what became know as the River of No Return – now the FC–RONRW.
- Gold was first discovered near Florence, Idaho in 1860. Then came strikes in the Boise Basin and on the Salmon River in 1862. By 1866, gold was found west of the present city of Salmon and some 7,000 miners soon occupied that area. By 1870, a community named Leesburg, west of Salmon, had more than 100 stores, saloons, hotels, and other places of business. On the southern edge of the Wilderness, gold strikes quickly spawned such boomtowns as Bonanza and Custer. The “gold rush” days left a legacy of interesting stories.
- Around 1866, a group of Montana prospectors led by Joel Richardson came to what would become known as the North Fork area searching for placer mining opportunities. When they came to a large tributary of the upper Salmon River, they set up camp and prospected for several weeks, but unfortunately did no find gold. However, before returning to Montana, they named the creek “Yankee Fork,” because everyone in the party was a Yankee.
- Prospectors continued to comb the area and in 1870 gold was found on a tributary of the Yankee Fork near Jordon Creek. Soon after the discovery, the Yankee Fork Mining District was organized. The first significant find was made by William Norton in July, 1875, which produced as much as $20,000 in ore dug by hand by Norton and his partner, John Rohrer.
- After the discovery of the General Custer Mine in August, 1876 by James Baxter, an E. K. Dodge and a Morton McKeim, the area really began to flood with miners.
- The three founding members of the mine; however, realized they didn’t have the resources to develop the mine and soon sold out to an English firm.
Bonanza With prospectors camped out all over the area, the town of Bonanza City was laid out in 1877 by a man named Charles Franklin, some eight miles up the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River. Generally simply called Bonanza, which is Spanish for “prosperity,” lots were first sold which ranged from $40 to $300. In the beginning, machinery and supplies had to be brought in by mule packers along a rugged 84 mile trail from Ketchum.The settlements first buildings were crude log buildings that were gradually improved over time. The miners celebrated when the first saloon was built and soon sawmills were constructed, more miners poured into the area, and plans were made to build a toll road between Challis and Bonanza in 1879. Once it was complete, freight haulers required 5-7 pairs of oxen, mules, or horses to pull their loads on trips that would take four days to cover the 35 mile wagon trail. The following year, a daily stage was running over the toll road which cost passengers $5.00 for the 8-9 hour one-way trip.
- Though Bonanza never had a mine or a mill, it quickly became the hub of the area and by 1881 it boasted some 600 people and numerous businesses including Custer County’s first newspaper, The Yankee Fork Herald; a post office, a school, the Dodge Hotel, a blacksmith, a cafe and dance hall called the Charles Franklin House, a hardware store, grocery and variety stores, a dentist, a watchmaker and several other businesses. The settlement also sported numerous entertainment venues including a croquet field, a baseball field and a small racetrack. Bonanza’s wide main street was lined with trees and several two-story buildings fronted by boardwalks or wooden sidewalks so customers wouldn’t have to walk through the mud or the snow. The town also sported a public well and a water system, which provided water for its residents as well as fire protection.
- In the meantime, Custer City had also sprung up about two miles upstream from Bonanza, though at the time of Bonanza’s peak in 1881, the town outnumbered Custer City two-to-one in population and sported a greater number of businesses.
Bonanza suffered its first setback when fire raged through the town in 1889; however, it continued to survive until a second fire destroyed an entire block in May, 1897, and most of the remaining merchants moved to nearby Custer instead of rebuilding. By this time, the waterworks had fallen into disrepair and firefighters were unable to save the buildings..
- By the turn of the century, Bonanza’s only remaining businesses were a boarding house, saloon, slaughterhouse, a few stables and several cabins, as most all its population had either moved out of the area or moved upstream to nearby Custer.
- Today, Bonanza has only about seven tumbling structures, in various states of decay. A Forest Service Guard Station, built by the Work Progress Administration in the 1930’s, is located on a hill above the old town site, which is responsible for the care and maintenance of all the recreation facilities in the area.
- Traveling westward up the hill and beyond the guard station are two cemeteries, the first of which served both the people of Bonanza and Custer, and the other, a bit further down the road and referred to as Boothill, holds only three marked graves.
- The story of these three unmarked graves remains a bit of a mystery, but what is known is that a couple by the name of Richard and Agnes Elizabeth “Lizzie” King, both natives of London, England, moved into Bonanza from Bodie, California in the summer of 1878.
- The pair soon set up businesses, with Richard selling real estate and Lizzie, who was described as a “golden haired beauty” opening the Arcade Billiard Saloon and the Yankee Fork Dance Hall. The couple became good friends Bonanza’s founder, Charles Franklin, who owned The Franklin House. However, it was Lizzie that tended to spend the most time with Franklin, most often without her husband.
In the meantime, Richard and his real estate partner, by the name of William Dillon, weren’t getting along and dissolved the partnership. A short time later, when Dillon allegedly sold some land that belonged to King, an argument erupted and Dillon shot and killed him on July 14, 1879. Dillon wound up being sent to prison for 10 years, and Lizzie was picking out a burial plot for her husband. Charles Franklin, who, by this time had become infatuated with Lizzie, was right at her side, helping her to pick out a site on the hillside that had been recently been designated as Bonanza’s new cemetery. Richard King was to be it’s first occupant. Franklin, who had hopes of winning Lizzie for himself, also bought two more plots, one for himself, and one for Lizzie. Almost immediately after her husband was buried, Franklin began to openly court Lizzie and rumors abounded that they would soon marry. However, Franklin’s plans were foiled when another man by the name of Robert Hawthorne came to town and went to work for Lizzie as a dealer in her saloon. Evidently, he swept the beautiful blonde off her feet, because the two married on August 11, 1880. Just six days later, Robert Hawthorne and Agnes Elizabeth “Lizzie” King Hawthorne were found dead in their home. Charles Franklin buried the newlyweds next to Richard King, and interestingly, did not include her married name on her marker, and instead of putting the date she died on the marker, put on both her’s and Hawthorne’s grave markers, the date of their marriage. Though suspensions were high that Franklin had killed the pair, he was never arrested. A short time later, Franklin packed up his belongings and moved to a placer claim near Stanley. A few years later, he was found dead in his lonely cabin, clutching Lizzie’s photo in a gold locket. His body was buried next to his cabin, miles away from the tiny cemetery where his love, Lizzie, lay between her two husbands.
Yankee Fork Gold Dredge
- Just about Ѕ mile on down the road from Bonanza is the Yankee Fork Dredge. Once placer mining was exhausted and the major mines ceased operations, the Yankee Fork claims owners knew that there was still “gold in them,” or river and tailings, in this case. In the early 1930’s a number of placer miners who knew that valuable gold still existed on the Yankee Fork, joined together to see if they could find a company who might be interested in dredging the river.
- By 1938, they had interested the Silas Mason Company of Shreveport, Louisiana, whose initial tests indicated that as much as $16,000,000 worth of gold was recoverable.
- They soon formed a subsidiary called the Snake River Mining Company and the following year, the dredge began operations in October, 1939. The 988 ton dredge, which was 112 feet long, 54 feet wide, and 64 feet high went to work recovering the remaining gold. Requiring 11 feet of water to float, the dredge could dig to a depth of 35 feet and included 72 buckets, each of which was eight cubic feet in size to haul up the gravel ore.
- Constantly dredging out rock and recovering the precious mineral by washing and separating the rock and dirt from the gold, the dredge operated continuously until 1942. Operations ceased briefly until 1944, when they were continued once again until the dredge reached a rock dike below Bonanza in 1949.
At that time, the Snake River Mining Company sold the dredge to J.R. Simplot and Mr. Baumhoff, who operated the dredge until 1951. Baumhoff then sold his interest to Simplot, who continued to operate the dredge for another year, at which time, he ran out of mining claims on which to work. In 1952, the dredge ceased production forever. One of the most efficient dredges ever in production, it recovered about $11 in ore over the years.J.R. Simplot, the last owner, donated the dredge to the U.S. Forest Service, but there were no funds to develop it as a museum. However, in 1979, the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge Association was formed by former employees and their families, who worked hard to restore the dredge and today it is open for tours during the summer.
Just two miles north of Bonanza is the more intact ghost town of Custer, which was founded in early 1879 right below the General Custer mill site. The settlement was first founded by a man named Sam Holman, who was a transplanted Harvard Law School graduate who had headed west and worked as a prospector rather than pursuing his law career. Coming to the area of Yankee Fork in 1878, he became to first justice of the peace in Bonanza. He also staked a large claim two miles north of Bonanza, but rather than working the claim, he divided and sold his property as lots, and for the building of a new mill. When the Custer Mill was complete in December, 1880, Custer began to grow in importance. In the 1880’s, both cities flourished, as Custer grew to a population of about 300.
- By the 1890’s the cities had virtually grown together, supported by the operations of the Lucky Boy and Black Mines, and were operated by common authorities. During this decade, Custer grew larger than Bonanza, especially after two fires wiped out some of Bonanza’s buildings and the merchants moved to Custer. The town reached its peak population of 600 in 1896. In its heydays, the town boasted a post office, a general store, a boarding house, several restaurants, the Nevada House Hotel, a school, and the ever popular numerous saloons. However, it never had a church.
- It was also at this time that residents of the town passed a law forbidding any Chinese to live within the town limits, so a small Chinatown developed just southwest of Custer. The immigrants worked as launderers, cooks, and miners on low-grade properties.
- But, by the turn of the century, the end was in site for both communities and in 1904, the Lucky Boy Mine and General Custer Mill closed. A few businesses continued to survive by supplying new mines near Sunbeam and in the Loon Creek district, but the vast majority of people began to leave. By 1910, there were only about 12 families living in Custer and when the Sunbeam Mine closed in April, 1911, it spelled the end of the mining camp and Custer became a ghost town.
- Today; however, the settlement has been restored and preserved by the Yankee Fork Historical Association, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
A walking tour begins at the historic schoolhouse which now serves as the Custer Museum. The tour provides for a peek at over a dozen buildings, including several cabins and homes, the Empire Saloon, the assay office, transportation building, mining equipment, and the sites of several long lost buildings.
- I will never forget that beautiful place and the good people I met on landing in the mountains that summer.
The island of Newfoundland (originally called Terra Nova, from “New Land” in Latin) was discovered and named by the Italian John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), working under contract to England on his expedition from Bristol, England in 1497. This discovery is considered by historians as having laid the initial foundation of the British Empire.
After John Cabot returned from Newfoundland in 1497, King Henry VII rewarded him with a pension of 10 pounds. This was written into the daybook of the King’s payments as “Item to hym that founde the new Isle – x li” [x li = 10 pounds]. After subsequent voyages by other explorers, the royal records referred to the “new isle” as “the new Ilande,” or “the new Ile” until September 1502 when these descriptive names were replaced with the words “the new founde land” and “the newe founde launde.” Thus, the word “Newfoundland” originates directly from the royal daybook of Henry VII.
The oldest known settlement anywhere in The Americas built by Europeans is located at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, founded circa 1000 A.D. by Leif Ericson’s Vikings. John Guy was governor of the first colony, Cuper’s Cove. Newfoundland received a colonial assembly in 1832, which was and still is referred to as the House of Assembly, after a fight led by reformers William Carson, Patrick Morris and John Kent. In 1854, Newfoundland was granted responsible government by the British government.
A referendum on July 22, 1948, which asked Newfoundlanders to choose between confederation and dominion status, was decided by a vote of 52% to 48% for confederation with Canada. Newfoundland joined Canada on March 31, 1949. Not everyone was satisfied with the results, however.
Abundant natural resources, such as fish and sea mammals, have attracted people to the Terra Nova area for at least 5,000 years. Prehistoric peoples and European settlers depended on the rich resources of the sea and land, as do many people in the region today. The significance of the area’s natural and cultural heritage was officially recognized in 1957 when Terra Nova became Newfoundland’s first national park. Today, people continue to be attracted to this land because of the abundant wildlife, exceptional scenery and array of recreational activities. Take time to discover the park’s natural wonders and cultural treasurers. (www.pc.gc.ca)
The natural beauty, dramatic indented coastline and rugged wooded landscape are the most distinctive features of Newfoundland’s first national park, Terra Nova. Moose, black bear and other wildlife move about freely in the forests and marshy bogs. Established in 1957, Canada’s most easterly national park is situated on Bonavista Bay, once inhabited by native Archaic, and Paleo-Eskimo peoples. At the edge of the sea, herds of whales cavort within sight of the shore and many species of birds circle the islands and shores encompassed by the 396 square kilometre park.
Ten thousand years ago, a massive ice cap in southwestern Newfoundland cast off rivers of ice that gouged valleys, deepened rivers and ground down the bedrock, leaving a trail of sand, rocks, gravel and boulders as it retreated. The park’s 200-kilometre coastline is indented with fjords, coves and tidal flats, often patterned with caves, cliffs and rocky stacks. The narrow streams, ponds and bogs were also the work of retreating ice that left depressions and ridges of gravel that reduced drainage. Spring in Newfoundland means ice. ‘Slob’ ice forms in the Labrador Sea in winter and is brought down by the cold waters of the Labrador Current, along with drift ice and icebergs, between March and July. Each year about 400 Arctic icebergs that have broken off the glaciers of Greenland and Baffin Island survive the 2000 kilometre trip and reach the Newfoundland coast – a journey that takes several years – the most dazzling and imposing phenomenon in the entire Atlantic. Massive ice leviathans, ice sculpture on a grand scale, they tower 15 – 20 metres high and are often as long as a football field – just such a monster as claimed the Titanic in 1912 off Newfoundland’s southern coast.
The variety of wild animal life is limited, mainly because the 18 kilometre Straits of Belle Isle, an effective barrier to most species, separate Newfoundland from the mainland. The Newfoundland caribou, a unique sub-species, the largest in North America, once migrated across the island in thousands, but is now seen only occasionally in the vicinity of the park. Conversely, the moose population, introduced in 1878 and again in 1904, has escalated to an estimated 90 000 animals. Populations of snowshoe rabbit and red squirrel have experienced a similar boom, but the wolf is gone. Lynx, it is believed, may exist in the park in sufficient numbers to indicate hope for their survival. Black bear, red fox, beaver and mink thrive in the swampy fens. Terra Nova is one of the few places the pine marten can still be found. With a population of about 300, there is fear that loss of habitat and snaring may have pushed the marten very close to extinction. One of only 14 species native to the island, they have probably resided here since the last glaciation, developing into a sub-species not found anywhere else in the world. The unbearable anticipation of whale watching comes as a consequence of the prospect of seeing a 30 tonne humpback jump right out of the water or a school of pilot whale swim past your boat. In the waters off the park, minke, fin and porpoise can be seen feeding. Farther offshore you may also see killer whales, bay and harp seals, dolphins and squid. From delicate songbirds to resilient seabirds to regal hawks and eagles, ptarmigans, grouse and owls, the park abounds with birdlife. The park protects the breeding and migratory colonies of kittiwakes, puffins, gulls, common murres, razor- billed auks, gannets and Leach’s storm petrels.
The park’s boreal forest supports only the type of tree that can grow in thin soil, at low temperatures, with a very short summer. Dominated by black spruce and balsam fir, the woods display stands of poplar, alder and red maple in more sheltered valleys. Much of the forest was logged before the park was established. In the boreal forest, fire is the most important factor controlling vegetation, since black spruce forests rely on fire for renewal. Fire reduces dead wood to mineral-rich ash, releasing nutrients for new plants and removing thick branches to allow the sun to reach new growth, both of which result in natural plant diversity. The park works to suppress any threatening fires while using a system of controlled fires to create new forests and more open wooded habitats. Bogs thickly matted with wet sphagnum moss spread out in every direction. Shrubs such as bog laurel, leatherleaf, pitcher plants with deep crimson flowers, Labrador tea and sundews sprout from the many varieties of moss that thrive in the humid environment. As the forests and bogs give way to barrens, caribou lichen, low-growing spruce and berry shrubs cling to the inhospitable rock.
Artifacts place the first inhabitants – Maritime Archaic Indians, and Paleo and Dorset Eskimo – in the park area over 5000 years ago. They hunted and fished along the coast in the summer months. Some historians believe that John Cabot first landed here at Cape Bonavista in 1497, but Newfoundland was certainly one of the first areas in North America to be discovered by Europeans. The abundance of cod attracted seasonal fishermen who returned to Europe in winter. Permanent settlement would come later with Bonavista being one of the earliest settlements, opening the first school on the island in 1728. By the 18th century, people living here year round were logging the forested inlets during winter. The use of timber in boat building led to the development of a lumber industry. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the steam engine and advancements in sawmill technology made logging an essential aspect of the economy. Between 1925 and 1936, five schooners were built near the present park’s wharves. The resources of land and sea had provided cod fishing, hunting, trapping for furs, the seal fisheries, lumbering and boat building. In 1957, when the park was established, much of the wood was cut over and the federal government acquired the very few mills still operating.
Music in NewfoundlandNewfoundland folk songs are performed by events, sounds calm and carrying on in the traditional spirit among.
The music of Newfoundland consists almost entirely of folk songs descriptive of the daily life and customs of the people: life on the sea, fishing, sealing, lumbering, and so on. The tunes of some of these folk songs are original, but some are borrowed from the folk music of the British Isles, with the words changed to fit the occasion. At weddings and social functions, songs belonging to the locality are sung by the guests, or by one special guest. Often the words of these songs are extemporary and allude to incidents in the life of that particular out port.
In some out ports the old square dances are still much in favor; these are often of a difficult and intricate pattern, and great agility is necessary if one is to dance them well. In the early days, if there were a violinist in the community, he would play the tunes for these dances, or sets, as they were called; but if no fiddler was available the melody was sung by one of the party, who would often improvise words to fit the tune. This was called “chin music”, and it still exists in the isolated settlements. Often the tune singer accompanies the song by stamping out the time with his feet. At one time the concertina and the accordion, and later the guitar, had to some extent taken the place of the fiddle and the “chin music”, but at present the fiddle seems to be returning to favor.
The more I learn about wildlife the more I realize just how little I know, and such was the case recently. A wildlife expert friend tells me that habitat loss from stock grazing levels, increasing forestry, the effects of climate change and the pollution of some river estuaries where birds feed in winter are possible causes for their present decline in numbers.
The large number of people around the pounds can panic the animals, making them much more difficult to survive. The animals themselves are forest workers, but good stock control is essential. Too many mammals and the landscape is became impoverished. Too little grazing and the animals go hungry. Only by careful management can the balance built up over hundreds of years be sustained. That’s why this forest is always a work in progress.
Terra Nova may well be one of the last main strongholds where pine martens could be in safety of those five in 1996 population increased to 30 in 2004. This project started in Terra Nova National Park, following a period when the pine marten could possibly have been extinct in Newfoundland. Now it is highlighting the cause of the pine marten, its current status and its future. Terra Nova foundation keeps people aware of the very real threat for the pine marten. The park is organizing surveys that of late have included remote areas that have never been searched before. So far this has been successful, but the project will be monitored to see if it is viable and can be used elsewhere.
In the autumn there were plenty of signs that the pine martens had raided the abundant berries, this was an unprecedented bumper crop. There were many droppings left in various places that contained the remains of the berries. The bright snow berries in the woods and others in the fields. I don’t know the extent of their territory but I do feel they are very important signifiers of this place during the winter.
Simply as a wildlife tip that someone might pass on so that I could perhaps keep watch for it during my walks. I learned subsequently that the tradition of seeing black bear is well established in our area.
The outstanding crops of berries in autumn attracted a wide variety of birds.
This was a day to sit and wait for the wildlife to come to us. We saw mother bear yelling and still hungry.
After the drench and gloom of November, a deep in temperature sets the snow-gleam across forest hills. From the Marches, looking north and west. It was showered upon the road by constant rainfall. A long horizontal field had been covered in moss but in which, miraculously, productive life persisted, inviting reflection on time and passing.At this time of the year food for wild animals is scarce. Hare tend to keep below ground and small mammals are more wary. The fox goes hunting in the very early hours but may only secure enough to satisfy immediate demands. He may venture out again for an evening prowl but this will be a short foray, usually within easy distance of his den. Hare– their prey – may lie close to their burrows where weather is damp. When hares are outside, they can be easily captured. Fox is a fox, this is how it lives, and nature is brutal at times.
Brooks, Streams and Ponds
The waters gather from a thousand streams and ditches into brooks. Some flow south and some north into the river. The routes of these brooks, with their sinuous twists and turns, are themselves a kind of dreaming, sleepwalking through a green world.
On roadside banks blackberries have already formed. The fog covered the area… This time there was no one there except ourselves.
From out of turquoise depths a trout comes fining gently, holds my gaze, seems like one of those creatures of medieval story bent on imparting wisdom to humankind. It flicks languidly away, its flanks infused with rainbow sheen, picking up on the opalescence and iridescence, instructing me in the transformational grammars of light.
I could hear the gentle murmuring of the small stream that runs through the wood.
Streams which run through shady woodland have constant cool conditions, and can support a different fauna from those which run through open ground, where water temperatures will fluctuate. Like ponds, it is therefore not necessary to clear away all shading vegetation, but to leave a variety of streamside habitats. Where new woodland is being created in an area which includes a stream or pond, the margins should be left unplanted, so that conditions in the water and along its margins are changed as little as possible by the new woodland.
Woodland ponds, temporary pools and damp ground are important for many invertebrates and amphibians, as well as for bats and other creatures. They may also contain a specialised flora.
Some ponds are very stable, changing little over long periods of time. Other ponds tend to silt up with the accumulation of marginal vegetation, decaying organic matter and soil that washes into the pond. As long as they are not polluted, all ponds in all stages have ecological value, and intervention is not necessary. Each stage, from open water, through silted pond, muddy hollow to dry ground will have wildlife interest. It may be better to create several ponds, at different stages in the succession, than to try to intervene and keep one pond at a particular stage in the succession.
Intervention in the natural development of a pond should only take place if the pond will otherwise be lost, and cannot be replaced by creating a new pond nearby. If intervention is necessary, no more than one quarter of the marginal vegetation, sediment or trees should be removed in a five year period.
Ponds which have not been disturbed for 50 years or more will contain sediments which can give important insights into past vegetation and land management. They may also contain interesting artefacts which have been preserved in the anaerobic conditions. Old sluices, artificial linings and other parts of the pond’s structure are of archaeological interest, and should not be disturbed. Contact the local authority archaeologist for advice before disturbing an old pond. See The Pond Book (1999) for further details on the historical value of ponds.
Branches and other rotting wood in ponds and wet ground are substrates for algae and fungi, and provide egg-laying sites for dragonflies and food for aquatic fly and beetle larvae. Rotting willow exudes tannins into the water which help prevent algal blooms, acting in the same way as barley straw. Tidying-up operations may therefore be misguided.
Muddy pond margins and bare shingle are important habitats for invertebrates, and should not necessarily be vegetated. Bare ground at pond edges can usefully be maintained by trampling of people or animals, although excessive trampling all around the pond may be destructive.
Where ponds fed by ditches tend to rapidly silt up with runoff from nearby fields or roads, then a silt trap is worth constructing to allow easy removal of the silt before it reaches the pond. This will also reduce nutrient enrichment from agricultural run-off, which is damaging to pond habitats.
There is a vantage viewing point for visitors to see Icebergs in the bay which are two miles away the guides will help those who want to visit. There are telescopes at the viewing site for visitors to use. But the view opens up from this point, and we looked over to the impressive great shore.
Like other visitors, we find the sights and scents full of sensation, but for us every path, spruce hedge and great tree has meanings written into our history. Perhaps it’s the joy of summer.
Park’s Wood plot
The Park plot still has canopy enough to allow just a dingy yellow-green light, which emphasizes its air of claustrophobia.
Is It Old Growth? We recently visited this site on park land in an undisclosed location to document old growth forest or find visual evidence to disqualify it. The difficult access and adjacent fragile areas would be negatively impacted by visitors.To determine whether a tract is a mature forest or qualifies as rare old growth, we needed to answer several questions. What is the human history? Which tree species and ages are present? Are the heights, diameters and presence of standing dead and large down rotting logs consistent with old growth?
In the forest, the oldest trees are spruce, yellow birch and beech with an abundance of old trees. The oldest trees exhibit age characteristics including large prominent root structures, deeply furrowed or plated bark, trunks showing a twist that develops with age, long trunks free of lower branches, large thick limbs, flattened crowns with protruding dead limbs and the presence of “super-canopy” trees.
We used an increment borer to take age cores from smaller spruce and the rings were readily counted in the field. A small 12″ spruce is 190 years old. The largest yellow birches of nearly 30″ diameter are too big for the standard 11″ increment borer we brought so no yellow birch cores were taken. The slow-growing hardwood cores must be mounted, sanded and stained for rings to be counted. That awaits another visit.
At least the entanglement of plot tells me that no one has been there since my last visit in the last week. It confers a sense of ownership and in that hour-long illusion of possession I find the wood all the more enchanting. Its highlight comes quietly breezing in. Suddenly a belt of trees is infused with a thin tissue of bird notes.
The tops of the spruces looked black against the sky. A wood packer on a big black spruce framed against a bright blue sky. A drum roll from a redhead woodpecker, hammered out against a dead branch high in the spruce canopy, greeted me as I ducked under the barbed wire and slithered down the muddy bank into the wood. Shining patches of drops lingered in the shadows behind the spruce trunks, but elsewhere in the wood last day’s rain had gone, leaving only a few telltale signs of its passing.
I often heard the drumming of woodpeckers coming across the plot. I heard the unmistakable drumming of a red head woodpecker. How can anything small and dry as this mechanical note be joyous? And yet the simple rap of a beak on dead wood, which is chosen specifically for its powers of amplification, hits the ear with enormous impact.
I have been with a park warden. We left the dark of the wood, park.
It seems an extravagantly generous process of pollination which will result in few if any viable seeds for the trees.
Falling leaves are that expression of the existence of woodland through which they live forever. Leaves, fungi, microorganisms and soil: autumn is not about death, it’s about the cyclical nature of a forested land.
Early morning sun begins to warm the stony banks above the bay. The light strikes against pale limestone bringing out its soft creamy colors which, like the fossils embedded in the stone. The fossils appear as broken pieces of some great reef or strange artefacts from an unfathomable time.
Even though we understand them as the remains of marine creatures we would recognise in today’s oceans, their presence here feels as distant as an ancient language. What seems more important is the stuff the fossils are embedded in. What has preserved them all these millions of years is not only the calcium they extracted from the sea to protect their delicate bodies but the silts and muds which buried them, carrying them through time and space to reach this point.
All these things linking together makes ecological sense, but there’s something else in the play of light on stone: it may be where the dramas of life pass, but it’s so ephemeral that it escapes every attempt to pin it down in words or images yet still belongs to an incomprehensibly geological time beyond our experience.
Lost in woods…
Grey sea, grey sky, and the already muted colors of the landscape. The first storms of the season are beginning of hurricanes from the Atlantic Ocean when there are strong winds at night and soaking rains by day. . There are fiercer storms and flash floods predicted.
I got lost in the forest… Then they are gone and I find myself, as one should in a wood, back at the place where I started. It’s raining. There’s a saturation point where the soil can’t hold any more water and turns to gravy. It past that. There’s a point where boots and jackets that were once waterproof let you know they are no longer able to handle rain water. I found relatively dry spot and waited until the morning when I was lucky rescued by park staff.
I am seized by the need to get to the sea while there is still light in the sky. Along the narrow lane lined by yellow flag and umbellifers, the car’s headlights illuminate a blizzard of moths. In the minutes it takes to arrive at the beach, the light has already lost some of its intensity, but the colors still rise from the horizon, each blending imperceptibly into the next. Dark red anchors sky to sea and lifts the dusky apricot through turquoise and light blue to the darkness overhead. Linear purple clouds overlay the bands of color.
In the stillness it is as if the sea is breathing. Further along the bay, wavelets gently break and run sighing up the beach; seconds later, sighing louder, the nearer pink-lit wavelets do the same. It is a time and place to sit in quiet contentment. Sea no longer wild but still powerful.
Unexpectedly, the morning brightens as, to the south, the cloud thins and – from a sky lovely veiled sun shines weakly, illuminating the haze of saltwater suspended in the air around the margins of the bay and lighting the day to an unreal milky beauty.
Down by the beach, the Burn of the Waters, rushing seaward, is impossible to cross. My step stones have disappeared, the burn is running twice as fast and wide as usual. I detour up to the road, where the water pouring under the bridge just about remains contained by its banks. The beach itself is still being pounded by the breaking waves, flinging spray high into the air, but their ferocity has subsided and old greying foam has left a tidemark along the stones. At the end of the beach, the higher black rocks are covered by a denser whiter mass of foam like discarded fleece. A rainbow stand up over the waves, above the blue waters of the bay. White bold eagles Then they instantly take off, flying intently at a rival.
I remember very clearly of all the people I met during my time in Newfoundland especially my dear friend Ross Collier.
UK, Northern Ireland
Preservation of Woodland told by A.Smith
Ireland is synonymous as the Emerald Isle. But ironically Northern Ireland’s woodlands are lacking in greenery.
If forests are the lungs of the world then Northern Ireland has a serious breathing problem. We have the unlucky distinction of being the second least wooded area in the European Union after Malta.
Only 8.3 per cent of Northern Ireland is covered with trees, compared with the European average of 38.3 per cent. But one environmental charity is on the offensive to redress the balance.
Compared with the rest of the European Union Northern Ireland is the second least wooded area, apart from Malta which has 0.4 per cent of land cover that is wooded.
Northern Ireland’s lack of woodlands is mainly down to historical reasons.
‘Ireland was quite densely populated for a number of years but little protection was afforded to forests and woodlands. In England there was a lot of Royal protection from the Kings and Queens for purposes such as hunting. Consequently, in southern England you still find quite extensive woodlands such as the New Forest.
‘In more recent history, when the English were here in the 1600s it was perceived that the forests were places for Irishmen to hide, so there was eventually large scale deforestation in the struggle between the English and the Irish.’
But it was Ireland’s rapid population growth in the 19th Century which contributed to the final throes of mass deforestation. ‘In more recent years there has been quite a lot of population pressure on the land, especially during the famine when the population reached about eight million.
‘By the start of the 20th century, Ireland was virtually completely deforested so it’s really in the last 100 years that forests have made any kind of comeback.’
Man’s intervention is not solely to blame. Changes in Northern Ireland’s climate have influenced tree cover here. Smith explains, over 4,000 years ago Ireland underwent a change in climate and our weather got warmer and wetter.
The increase in rainfall and the deforestation that had already been carried out dramatically encouraged the growth of bogs and they swallowed up large tracts of woodland, especially in more settled parts of Ireland such as the North and West.
To combat the problem, Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland has launched the Northern Ireland Tree Campaign. Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland is an environmental charity which promotes the support, development, training and practical involvement of individuals in action to improve the environment. Many of these activities help to build awareness of biodiversity among the population of Northern Ireland and to undertake work to retain and enhance biodiversity.
The volunteers will plant about 200,000 new trees each winter as part of the afforestation scheme. This will range from individual trees to new woodlands stretching to several acres or more.
More native trees will help to enhance both the rural and urban landscapes, increase the diversity of habitats and enrich the lives of the whole community. Volunteers will be planting native species, such as birch, ash, rowan, oak and elder, because they are best suited for our wildlife.
The campaign aims to promote better management of existing woodlands and associated habitats and to celebrate our rich, natural heritage.
Conservation Volunteers’ tree nursery and wildflower nursery contribute to the conservation of the native biodiversity.
The history of the boreal forest peoples is one that has seen great changes, and a gradual shift from a subsistence based lifestyle to an industrial one. The struggle of the various Native Peoples to preserve their culture and traditions has been reflected in the many efforts by notable individuals, Elders in particular, who have tried to pass their knowledge and skills onto younger generations.
The Dene were the first people to live in the NWT after the retreat of the great ice sheets. They speak several different languages, all of which are members of the Athapaskan language group.The Dene are a people of the boreal forest and great northern rivers. In the past, they traveled by birch bark or spruce bark canoe. Some built moose skin boats. The Dene still use the rivers as highways, in both winter and summer. They rely on moose, caribou (both woodland and barren ground), black bear, geese, ducks, grouse, ptarmigan, beaver, smaller game and fish.
Traditionally, the Dene were accomplished hunters who traveled as far north as the Arctic coast on snowshoes. They packed everything they needed to survive on their backs and hunted with snares. They even hunted caribou with snares and brush traps. The Dene used dogs as pack animals, but did not use dogsleds until after the coming of the Europeans. They lived in skin tents, constructed of hides over a framework of poles. The Nahanni and Slavey people often built log huts in winter. Some people built semi-subterranean houses of sod and logs.
The Slavey (Deh Gah Got’ine) were a river people. They lived and traveled along the Mackenzie River (called the Dehcho, or “Big River”) to the south and west of Great Slave Lake, from the Slave River area to the Liard, and as far downriver as Fort Norman (Tulit’a). They hunted moose more than caribou. They were in frequent conflict with the Mountain people of the Nahanni area. The Slavey people are a large group today, including people living in communities from Fort Smith to Jean Marie River and Wrigley.The Dene lived in extended family groups, traveling over traditional routes within their hunting land. Groups frequently met at customary sites, brought together by fish spawning or the movements of caribou or gathering of geese or ducks. When they met, the occasion was celebrated by feasting, dancing and drumming. The caribou skin drum has become a symbol of the Dene and is still used in many ceremonies.
Contact with Europeans and the Cree People starting in the 1700s impacted the Dunne in significant ways. Dunne found their populations devastated by diseases like smallpox and influenza as a consequence of their contact with Europeans. Increased settlement and homesteading put extraordinary pressures on local animal populations, and made hunting and trapping for both peoples more difficult.
In the northwest, an early shift in attitude towards the boreal forest occurred in the late 1700s, right around the time that European fur traders and settlers began to arrive in the region to develop a fur trade industry there. With the new European arrivals came a view of the boreal forest that was quite different from that of their Aboriginal counterparts. While the Aboriginal Peoples of the boreal forest saw the forest as a source of life, European traders viewed it as a source of wealth. The boreal forest was vast, and supported a large population of mammals whose fur was prized in Europe. Furs, especially those of the beaver and northern river otter, were harvested at unprecedented levels, disturbing the populations of both species. The decline in the fur trade industry worldwide allowed for slow species recovery, but other industries began to exert large changes to the boreal forest.
Since the late 1800s, human agriculture and ranching, forestry, and oil and gas exploration and production in the northwest boreal forest have carried an increasingly heavy impact on the boreal forest region. Even though the boreal forest has a short growing season, significant amounts of boreal forest land have been cleared to meet the interests of the various industries that have a presence there. Air, water, and land pollution has increased in the region as a side effect of oil and gas exploration and production in the region; and forestry clear cutting and replanting practices have led to disruption of established ecosystems.As modern understanding of the boreal forest region increases, calls for a responsible human relationship with the forest have risen as well. The boreal forest can only provide if its resources are not squandered beyond its ability to replace them.
Today, most Dene live in communities, but many remain close to the land. They may use a Twin Otter aircraft to travel north into the barren lands to hunt caribou, but they still butcher the animal and pack it in traditional ways, neatly wrapped in the precious hides. Many know the old ways and still use many of the plants of the boreal forest for healing.
There is another kind of heritage here, one which exists in parallel with the stories of people and although influenced by us is indifferent to us. In the cracks and shadows are things which have persisted through time as if it meant nothing. Very few features of the priory reflect a world which predates it, but one, my favorite stone, does. This seems to me to be a story speaking to us from a more distant age. It could well conceal something dark and brutal, but there’s a real excitement to it and a defiance of all we have come to know as heritage.
The boreal forest of the northwest is only a small part of a much larger wilderness region that extends across the Canadian landscape from the northwest to the southeast; quite literally, the boreal forest runs from coast to coast. This forest, left untouched, is a remarkable cradle of life, supporting numerous plant and animal species. Though the climate of the northern woodland can be harsh and the terrain difficult, the Aboriginal Peoples who call the forest their home survive because they have learned of the great bounty that exists there. The plants and animals of the boreal forest can provide many things: food, clothing, transportation, and shelter.
For those who draw life from the woodlands from season to season, the boreal forest must seem eternal and unending. Though the forest is never without change, the changes are cyclical. Indeed, the Aboriginal Peoples of the boreal forest have lived by traditions passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.
Approximately three hundred years ago, prior to the introduction of commercial products in western Canada, Aboriginal People relied fully on the resources of the land to sustain living and to develop a lifestyle that included cultural art as a mainstay of their being. All mammals, birds, fish, and vegetation played a part in that process. Aboriginal people fed, clothed, sheltered, and entertained themselves from the products of the land. They maintained a utilitarian and a spiritual relationship with the land. It is through this culture that we can come to understand the inherent value in the human being’s connection with all creation.
-Terry Garvin, from Carving Faces, Carving Lives: People of the Boreal Forest As the boreal forest moved through its cycle of seasons, so too did the traditions and values of northwest Aboriginal Peoples cycle from one generation to the next for hundreds if not thousands of years. The vast knowledge of what could be harvested from the land and the water was practiced and passed on. Life in the boreal forest was the purest expression of such knowledge.
Traditions of hunting and trapping lay at the core of northwest Aboriginal existence. Knowledge of animal behavior, habitat, and seasons of activity was critical to ensure a good hunt. Following from this, traditions of how to use what was caught, how to process hides and cure meat, and craft other tools and implements from animal matter were equally important to survival in the northwest.
Travel in the boreal forest presented unique challenges to the people who lived within its boundaries. Traditions of travel, like how to travel overland in dense brush or deep snow, evolved over time to help Aboriginal Peoples get around in their world, and enabled them to pursue the animals upon which they depended for life.
Creative expression through artwork was another tradition vital to Aboriginal lives. Artwork was a practical reflection of life in the boreal forest, and a beautiful mirror to the ways in which the human spirit can connect to the natural world. To be reminded of this connection was to recognize the place of the human in a much larger network of lives.
The history of northwest Aboriginal tradition is not a static one. Traditional hunting and trapping culture survived in the Aboriginal world by a series of adaptations to changes in their surrounding world, many of these brought on after industrial settlement began to occur in the north. Over time those core values and traditions would remain fixed in essence, yet fluid in practice from one generation to the next.
Life on the Trap line
For many of the Aboriginal Peoples of the northwest, traditional life in the boreal forest was centred on the hunting and gathering grounds and trap lines. Because the world of northern peoples is characterized by a cold climate and a perilously short growing season not conducive to large agricultural activity, survival depends on successful hunting, gathering, and trapping. Meat and fish are the main elements in a northern diet, so much hunting and trapping is done to secure a good supply of food that will last throughout the year. The gathering of berries, fruits, and other parts of plants helps supplement the food supply. Main camps and line cabins are built in strategic locations along trap line trails, with their builders always mindful of the need to get access to the plants, animals, birds, and fish that are needed for survival. Resourcefulness is also key to survival in the north. As much of the animal or plant that can be used will be, because it is the only means of obtaining everything that is needed. Clothing is crafted from the hides and furs of different animals, and various tools can be crafted from the bones of captured creatures, or from the wood of trees.
Over thousands of years, the Aboriginal Peoples living in the northwest boreal forest developed an intimate knowledge for the trees and plants that shared their world. Each plant had its season – and a potential use. The understanding and application of plants in the northern woodlands could vary slightly or greatly among the various Aboriginal Peoples who made use of them. For instance, the buffalo berry plant yielded fruit traditionally used as food by many northern Aboriginal Peoples.
Regardless of the cultural variations in knowledge and usage of boreal forest plant life, it could be argued that it was universally agreed among the peoples of the northwest that the forest provides. Food, medicine, building supplies, tools, and other valuable implements could be crafted or harvested from the many species of trees, flowering and fruit-bearing shrubs, wildflowers, grasses, lichens, mosses, and fungi.
To the Aboriginal Peoples of the northwest, boreal forest trees were critical to survival. Trees provided wood for construction, and sap, bark, and leaves were used for food and medicines. Traditional lifestyles were centred on a detailed knowledge of trees, what materials they could provide, and when in a tree’s life cycle was the right time to harvest.
While trees provided the various peoples of the northwest with construction material, medicines, and emergency food supplies, other plants of the boreal forest also had their uses. Fruit-bearing plants like blueberry and cranberry could provide a rich supplementary food source, while lichen and sphagnum moss could provide everything from a sanitary absorbent for diapers to a means of sealing in gaps in the walls of log cabins. Several types of fungus, while not really classified as plants, were used as such, serving as air fresheners and fire starters.
Some plants, like sweetgrass and the mix of plants used to make traditional tobacco, or kinickinnick, had applications in the spiritual life of many northern Aboriginal Peoples. Smoke from sweetgrass was used in Sweat Ceremonies, while kinnickinnick was used by some peoples as a spiritual offering.
Finding and using the various undergrowth plants of the boreal forest required traditional peoples to know the specific growing seasons of the plants they needed, and knowledge of how each plant matured. The inherent dangers of using plants also had to be studied extensively, as some plants could prove harmful when used, while others were only useful if not used excessively. Such knowledge could literally mean the difference between life and death in the north woods.
Since the arrival of Europeans and the evolution of the fur trade industry in the north, there has been a shift in thinking for Aboriginal Peoples in the northwest. In addition to providing sustenance for themselves, hunting and trapping has also become a means of gathering the income needed to purchase additional supplies. Subsequent introduction of other industries like forestry and petroleum have also led to a further shift in thinking; for younger generations, this shift has often been away from the traditions of their elders. Aboriginal Elders have tried to address this by encouraging youth to adopt a traditional knowledge of the land on which they live. For those descended from generations who have lived and died in an intimate relationship with the land, the challenge is to adopt new technology that can still function in a traditional mode of living. Traditional life has been adapted to meet the demands of a changing north.
Just as the boreal forest has endured physical and environmental changes as a result of heavy industrial and municipal growth in the north, the Aboriginal Peoples of the northwest endured changes in lifestyle and values. The movement of industries like forestry, agriculture, and petroleum into the northwest boreal forest has brought with it changes in the physical environment in certain areas of the forest and disturbances to local animal populations. To traditional hunters and trappers who have lived intimately with the land, such environmental changes are keenly felt.
The same can be said of the growth of northern settlements. The arrival of new industries has created job opportunities that have resulted in a steady increase in northern populations. New arrivals to the north tend to be urban-minded by nature, and settle in towns and cities close to industrial developments. As demand for housing and services increases in northern municipalities, the municipalities themselves grow into lands once occupied by traditional hunting grounds and traplines.
Aboriginal youth hold the key to the Aboriginal future, but what kind of future will they choose? Many present day Aboriginal youth did not grow up in the same bushland circumstances as their ancestors did. The best hope in many cases lies in marrying the old with the new, transmitting ancient ideas in a present day framework. For Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals alike, there is much work to be done in this regard.
Of the total Native population in Canada, only a very few live in the northern bushlands. Aboriginal youth, born into the industrial culture that is transforming the north, are less likely to continue the hunting and trapping subsistence lifestyle that their ancestors knew. Several factors have contributed to this movement among Aboriginal youth. First of all, younger generations observed that the traditional life of their ancestors was based upon linkages to a worldwide fur industry, but such an industry, at least in terms of the trapping and selling of wild furs, is no longer what it once was. Wild furs no longer figure prominently in the overall fur market, and the fur industry as a whole is in decline. For Aboriginal youth raised in a culture that favours economic success, the declining wild fur industry seems an impractical option. A second factor driving Aboriginal youth in the north to take a different path than their ancestors did is the fact that industrial alternatives to the fur industry are readily available. Forestry, petroleum, and any number of support industries have established themselves in the north, and these growing industries present Aboriginal youth with far more incentive to work for them than for a declining fur trade.
It is a conflict of culture between the older and younger generations of northwest Aboriginal People. The older generations were born to a hunting and trapping lifestyle, and learned the ways of the boreal forest so that they could survive in that environment. Their younger descendents have been heavily exposed to and influenced by an urban, southern based, non-Aboriginal culture that presents very different ways of thinking and doing.
As in all aspects of Aboriginal life, the key to cultural survival lies in education. While it is unlikely that younger generations of Aboriginal People will reject the industrial culture they were raised in to fully embrace more traditional Aboriginal values, it would be wrong to say that there is no room in their lives for lessons about the older ways. Many northern Aboriginal communities have stressed the need for Aboriginal youth to have a sense of place, to not only stave off the cultural erosion that can take place with each passing generation, but also to offset the feelings of alienation that some Aboriginal youth experience. Ironically, the very non-Aboriginal culture they have chosen to live in quite often shows little regard or understanding for them or their traditions.
Aboriginal youth are being shown that they have a choice. They can have the best of the old and the new if they open themselves to the values that ensured the survival of northern Aboriginal Peoples against those forces that threatened to tear them apart. The future of northwest Aboriginal culture rests in the hands of a generation educated both in the way things were, and in the way things are.
Pathways through the woods
Mud and damp is everywhere, with an overall greyness to the landscape from land to sky. All those glorious crunchy golden leaves have lost their glow and are rotting by the wayside. Flash of sunlight bursts suddenly through trees. A ray of sun streaks through a break in the cloud but it is short-lived and the cloud wins the day, so.
The first frost of autumn hadn’t been hard enough to turn fallen leaves into a crunchy carpet. The sun rose behind me as I crossed the road.
The great house itself served for many years as a community school. When students returned the principal was waiting for them every morning. They were sent home at 4 o’clock as usual.
In the morning looking into the window, I was surprised to see the first snow of the winter. It was not deep winter snow driven horizontally by a ferocious wind but a gentle cover of tiny flakes as if a passing mist had crystallised. The fall doesn’t last long here.
The day before it snowed really felt like the day before snow. Although the weather forecast had given plenty of warning, the omens were written in the sky. Up on Edge Wood, the wind had swung around so it was cutting in from the north-east. This gave a different orientation and a different mood to the landscape. The path which follows the headland between field and wood is usually in the lee of prevailing winds from the south-west and west. It had now become the leaping-off point for gusts that were planing across the grain of the land from Siberia or wherever, skidding over the hollow in which Trout Lake lies, hitting the dip slope and careering up over the trees of the escarpment towards the hills of the west. With its north-east/south-west axis, the Edge became a ramp, its taller trees snagging the belly of the wind.
The air was cold and full of a wild energy which got the ravens going and the small birds all of a twitter. The sky bore bands of pink, blue and grey blown horizontally across the wind. Then a massive bank of smoky cloud appeared as if a furnace door had opened, and the first flakes fell like cold ash. There were a few sputtering false starts but, as these steadied, the snowflakes grew with a kind of confidence, each one establishing its own little arctic territory on grass or path or car until the ground was white over.
So far this has been the most snow for 19 years, and it’s still falling. Many people have been saying how much this feels like a proper winter.
Snowflakes were falling, I realized this is the time of year when the old poplar trees are covering in white.
Winter frosts will soon scythe down the choking vegetation from between the alder and birch trees, but for now all is still.
Its commanding bark echoes across forest as December magic – all smoke and mirrors – tricks out this landscape in the whistling voice.
Half past three, on a day of snow flurries and fleeting sunshine. As we left the edge of the wood and headed downhill, over grass where small patches of crystalline snow still lingered, the sun was sinking behind a cloud bank massed on the western horizon. On the far side of the valley, in the gathering dusk, lights glowed from windows of farmhouses scattered across the hillside. The afterglow of sunset reduced trees and hedges to silhouettes, bringing a reminder of how much had been hidden behind the foliage of summer.
.At the top of the hill, the delicate tracery of branches of a silver birch were laden with witches’ brooms, dense clusters of twigs that the rational mind might attribute to a fungal infection but once had other more supernatural connotations for vivid imaginations at twilight.
The last hints of color drained from the landscape, and on the horizon wisps of cloud faded from orange to pink and then grey as the sky darkened overhead. Nothing moved except the headlights of a distant tractor trundling along a track between fields and farm, and two blackbirds “chink-chinking” at each other in a territorial confrontation that may well have been the opening exchange in a competition for a mate that will continue until spring.
The day was done, by mid-afternoon. It seemed a shame to head for home so early, but the track down the hillside was slippery, the light was almost gone, the chill of a winter night was closing in and the warmth of home suddenly seemed a very attractive prospect. Only a few more days now until the winter solstice and the turning point of the year. It will be a while yet before lengthening days make their presence felt, but they can’t come soon enough.
It was a white-out – a blast of winter, with blizzards storming, altering the landscape and blurring the eyes. “The north wind doth blow, / And we shall have snow, / And what will poor robin do then? Poor thing. / He’ll sit in a barn, / And keep himself warm, / And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing.” It turned out that the west coast got the brunt of the coldest and snowiest blast of winter from the north. Leaden skies opened up and dumped a load of snow across the landscape. Looking across the fields towards it was only just visible, shrouded in a mist of snow. The road and grass verges had become one, a Christmas card picture, and when the sun eventually broke through the greyness, it sprinkled glitter on the scene.
The wind that blew Christmas away swept in something else, something colder, cleaner, brighter. Out of the longest night came another new year with a north-easterly running through it; not strong but sharp, scything over the land. Jays in the spruces, buzzards in the sky: their clear savage notes carried across clear savage air.
As the day began to drain into dark fields and woods, it didn’t seem to matter what numbers were attached to this year or the last. Whether it’s the natural winter solstice or the cultural new year’s eve, it’s the moments when time seems most fleeting that it has the greatest significance.
Smarter that who knows what he doesn’t know /Socrates/
A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe…. What a terrible future! /Anton Chekhov/
I decided to think where the roads are, it was a good way to thought about. New philosophy of time will bring a new vision into our planet.
When people think of animals that live in forests, creatures such as bears, eagles, wolfs are usually what come to mind. Forest plants, other than trees, are often ignored. And many people are unaware of the fact that organisms such as bacteria and fungi are just as important to the forest as the trees themselves.
Inorganic materials are also crucial to the living organisms. Green plants–everything from trees to the most delicate ferns–form the base of all forest ecosystems. These plants require clean air, soil, water, and sun to grow and support the fragile network of life in a forest.
An enormous variety of creatures inhabit the forest. Some are spectacular, others are hidden somewhere beneath the canopy of countless billions of leaves. The web of interactions between individuals and species is intricate and complex; nothing about a forest is simple, and humans are only just beginning to understand any part of these ecosystems.
Forests are some of the most diverse habitats on the planet. Biodiversity is not simply something that’s “nice” to have. All species, including humans, are dependent on all other species for survival. The extinction of even one organism–a monkey, a flowering plant, a water flea–will have unpredictable and often disastrous consequences.
When a temperate forest is clear-cut, more deer begin to move into the open areas where they find food. Then the number of predators increases–coyotes, cougars, even bears. This affects the amount of food available for birds such as ravens and other scavengers. The soil which is no longer held in place by the trees washes into streams and destroys fish habitat. If the network of plants is changed, the network of animals is also disrupted. There is another animal besides humans which can change the forest landscape in powerful and dramatic ways. This animal is a rodent. Beavers build dams using trees which they cut down. The dams slow the flow of the streams, creating wetlands and ponds. The wetlands and ponds help prevent flooding and collect rich sediment and organic matter. Beavers favor certain types of trees for their dams, and eventually their less preferred types of trees dominate the forest at the edge of the stream.
In many areas, people try not only to change forests, but to create forests for economic reasons–tidy plantations of one tree species, all the same age. Biodiversity suffers.
Forests need trees of all ages for different purposes, and a healthy forest will actually include a lot of dead trees–both those that are still standing, and those that have fallen to the forest floor. When trees die they still play an incredibly important role in the life of the forest. Insect larva work their way into fallen trees, hollowing out tunnels in the spongy wood, which helps the forest floor store moisture.
Trees that are dead but still standing are often referred to as “snags”, or, more appropriately, as “wildlife trees”. These trees are more than a convenient place for woodpeckers to take out their aggressions. When trees die and remain standing, insects such as carpenter ants move in and build nests. Woodpeckers create hollows and cavities in the wood as they search for and eat the insects. These holes are perfect nesting sites for songbirds, which consume pests that are harmful to the forest.
Remove any of these organisms, and the entire ecosystem would collapse. Everything is essential–the snags, the ants, the woodpeckers, the songbirds, even the pests, for without the pests, there would be no snags. Many of the forests of the world are being mowed down… But the rest of the world isn’t going to say, “Okay, we’ll save our forests, but you can keep driving all your cars!” There has to be give and take.
The value of the things is not in themselves autonomously, but that God made them, and thus they deserve to be treated with high respect. The tree in the field is to be treated with respect. When you drive the axe into the tree when you need firewood, you are not cutting down a person; you are cutting down a tree. But while we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize God made it and it deserves respect because He made is as a tree.
When we consider the tree…we may chop it down, so long as we remember it is a tree, with its own value as a tree. It is not a zero. Some of our housing developments demonstrate the practical application of this. Bulldozers have gone in to flatten everything and clear the trees before the houses are begun. The end result is ugliness. It would have cost another thousand dollars to bulldoze around the trees, so they were simply bulldozed down without question. And then we wonder, looking at the result, how people can live there. It is less human in its barrenness and even economically it is poorer as the top soil washes away. So when man breaks God’s truth, in reality he suffers.We have long viewed forests as wasted or even hostile space, valuable only if the trees were cut for timber and the land was tamed for agriculture or settlements. To be sure, there are some early and ongoing examples of sound forest management based on an understanding of forests as vital ecosystems. But destructive practices reflect the more common relationship with forests, one that continues today. In ancient times, the Mediterranean region was moister and more wooded before trees were cut for shipping, fuel, building, and agriculture. The Philippines’ loss of 90 percent of its primary forest during the timber boom of the 1970s provides a more recent example of humankind’s short-sightedness.
Deforestation in the Amazon in 2004 was the second worst ever as more rain forest was cleared for soy farms and cattle ranches, according to new figures released by the Brazilian government. Satellite photos and data showed 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed in the 12 months ending in August 2004, the Brazilian Environmental Ministry said. The destruction was nearly 6 percent more than in the same period the year before. The deforestation hit record numbers in 1995, when the Amazon shrank a record 11,200 square miles, an area roughly the size of Massachusetts.
For years, the government had estimated that Mexico was losing about 1.5 million acres of forest annually to logging, fires and the expansion of farms and ranches. But according to a multi-agency study of satellite images taken between 1993 and 2000, annual forest loss in those years averaged about 2.78 million acres, Environment Secretary Victor Lichtinger said. Over eight years, Mexico lost forest equivalent to the area of Ireland. Scientists estimate that Brazil has the world’s highest deforestation rate, followed by Mexico and Indonesia.
Illegal logging and farming last year destroyed an area of Brazil’s Amazon rain forest bigger than the U.S. state of Hawaii… The annual report on devastation of the world’s largest rain forest also showed that the pace of destruction remained mostly steady despite increased policing of threatened areas… The Brazilian Amazon, which alone is larger than Western Europe, lost 16,926 square kilometers (6,347 square miles) of forest last year, according to satellite imagery. That compares to 17,383 square kilometers the previous year.
Much of the threat facing the remaining intact forests boils down to bad economics, bad management, and corruption… We are rapidly moving towards a world where wilderness forests are confined primarily to islands of parks and reserves, with surrounding areas managed commercially for timber and other resources. The health of the planet’s forests will depend on how well we manage and protect these remaining areas.
The U.S. currently gobbles up some 200 million tons of wood products annually, with consumption increasing by four percent every year. The pulp and paper industry is the biggest culprit. U.S. paper producers alone consume one billion trees—or 12,430 square miles of forests—every year, while producing 735 pounds of paper for every American. The U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, but consumes 30 percent of the world’s paper. Only five percent of America’s virgin forests remain, while 70 percent of the fiber consumed by the pulp and paper industry continues to be generated from virgin wood.
Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It’s very widespread in some parts of the world. We would like to see, from the tree planter point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used.
A new study has cast doubts on an important element of a proposed treaty to fight global warming: the planting of new forests in an effort to sop up carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas. The research concludes that old, wild forests are far better than plantations of young trees at ridding the air of carbon dioxide, which is released when coal, oil and other fossil fuels are burned…In old forests, huge amounts of carbon taken from the air are locked away not only in the tree trunks and branches, but also deep in the soil, where the carbon can stay for many centuries, said Kevin R. Gurney, a research scientist at Colorado State University. When such a forest is cut, he said, almost all of that stored carbon is eventually returned to the air in the form of carbon dioxide. “It took a huge amount of time to get that carbon sequestered in those soils,” he said, “so if you release it, even if you plant again, it’ll take equally long to get it back.”
We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.
As we examined what we thought were still vast, untouched stretches of intact forests in the world, we came to the conclusion that they are fast becoming a myth. Much of the green canopy that is left is, in reality, already crisscrossed by roads, mining and logging concessions.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States once said people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as helpless.
Edge of the forest
Average speed “balding” of land in this century, almost twenty times higher than in the past, scientists say.
The ratio of man to the forest always depended strongly on its geographical position. So he tirelessly fought with lush forest vegetation, gaining his place to live and the economy, then by all means to retain and protect forests, because in their absence, and life is impossible. The theory considers two extremes: the taiga and desert, and in both people do not live. In the taiga human life is possible only in artificially done it “glades”. In the desert the situation is reversed: life is possible only near the oases where the main components are trees (and water, of course). Life on earth would be impossible in the case, if the man could not effectively resist the offence of the forest, and that – if the forest retreated too fast.
In the twentieth century, this balance was disturbed. Cricket rights to the forest have become too efficient technologies of destruction of the forest is not compensated for by appropriate techniques to restore it. The resulting imbalance turned unprecedented in human history, the reduction of green biomass in general and forests in particular. This feature of our time, when it was spotted, put before the Earth science three related but different tasks: to assess the rate at which forests are destroyed, to evaluate the possible effect of their destruction, and to propose scenarios to restore the balance.
The World Resources Institute (World Resources Institute) coordinates the efforts of such national centers, where the efforts of scientists joined in the overall picture and analyzed. According to WRI, by 2005 it was destroyed more than 80% of natural forests that were in densely populated areas of land, for example in the European part of Russia. Most of the forests located in Russia, Brazil, Canada, USA and China. They cover about 30% of the earth’s surface, or about 4 billion hectares. During the second half of the twentieth century the average rate of reduction of forest was 44 hectares per hour, but now it is strongly increased: calculated for the last five years, it is more than a thousand hectares per hour. Only one South America lost because of agricultural and timber felling by 4.3 million hectares annually. U.S. State Department estimated the annual damage done by the forested regions were the territorial dimension is four times the size of Switzerland.
The most “hot” points of forest experts say are two types of forests, which are irreplaceable natural reserves of the Earth and largely determine the living conditions of people, even those who live in their “stone” jungle thousands of miles away: these are taiga and tropical forests. Ironically, they are currently suffering at the most, more than the forest and forest parks around major cities. But more recently the situation was reversed.
So what is singing sea of green under the wing of an airplane?
The taiga, or, as it is called, the boreal forest occupies 10% of the Earth and is the oldest and largest array of virgin forest. The area of the Russian taiga, more than the entire continental United States (and in fact the boreal forest is still in Alaska, Canada, etc.). This is the “lungs of the planet” (no less important than the forest in the Amazon basin), as well as from its state depends on the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the surface layer of the atmosphere. Many people think that the taiga arrays inexhaustible. However, a hundred years ago, industrial exploitation of completely destroying virgin forests of Scandinavia, which caused a “crisis of biological diversity” and led the Scandinavians to the Red Book of more than 1900 species of forest animals and plants. Now it is only secondary forest that has grown on the site of the destroyed virgin forest and their ecosystems are quite different.
Taiga arrays provide up to 60% of the world’s supply of industrial wood products. At the same time scale felling of the taiga in the last decade has grown 10 times: major corporations, with the assistance of criminal networks all means seek access to enormous resources, which gives billions in profits. In 2005, Taiga had lost twenty-two million hectares (half the territory of France). It is easy to calculate that even if in some way to stop the further growth of timber, the taiga is deprived of all their trees in just 50 years. Moreover, this estimate is likely optimistic: the high probability of increasing the speed reduction area occupied by taiga, while maintaining the current level of production forests – because of damage to the topsoil, pollution of various harmful substances, or increase the area of swamps.
Taiga suffers not only from legal and illegal logging, but also from increased fires. Many are accused of premeditated arson loggers, including large multinational corporations, which thus tend to get low-cost and high quality wood: licenses for logging in areas affected by fires, much cheaper and the quality of wood does not suffer. “After the fire wood is just getting better … then come woodcutters felled timber and for very good money selling it in China”, – explained Shuhinin correspondent BBC.
Taiga largely determines the Earth’s ecosystems. Deforestation and fires in the taiga of Siberia turned into “hot spot” of the planet, in the literal and figurative sense. At the end of September 2006 the UK hosted a scientific conference on climate changes in Siberia. According to the staff of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Monkswood (UK), Heiko Baltstera (Heiko Balzter), since 1970 the climate in central Siberia warmed by 2 ° C, which is three times the overall level of global warming. Warm spring contributes to reproduction of forest moth, which feeds on needles of coniferous trees and one summer can destroy entire regions of the forest. Trees die, the vegetation is destroyed, accelerated melting of permafrost, which contains large amounts of greenhouse gases. When it melts the gases are released into the atmosphere, repeatedly reinforcing the greenhouse effect. It also leads to the spread of fires. According to Krasnoyarsk scientists, this option may be to the development in 2090 to transform the taiga in the bare steppe.
Deserts, green and yellow
Tropical forests – the “green desert”, as they are called – are the most developed of ecosystems on Earth. They are exceptional richness and diversity of species that are not comparable to the forests of the temperate zone. Brazil and Colombia have on the 85 000 species each, whereas in the U.S. and Europe together grows only 12-15 thousand species.
For the past five decades in the tropical forests of the world is a tragedy unfolding. Unique ecosystems are destroyed by storm – particularly affecting the coastal zone: they destroyed up to 90% of forests available to the beginning of the twentieth century. The rapid destruction of tropical forests is of enormous importance for all mankind: they regulate water flows and create a natural watershed for the farmers who grow agricultural products for 1 billion people. They regulate the climate and produce oxygen, and also contain untapped genetic resources cost billions of dollars.
Many tropical countries, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Laos, Nigeria, Libya, Guinea, Ghana, already lost most of their arrays. In the Philippines, cut more than 80% of the forest. By 1960, in Central America virgin forests have been reduced by 20%. Now there remains only 40%. Government of Thailand, the Philippines and India declared deforestation a national disaster.
Tropical rainforests cover about 7% of the Earth, where are 90% of native species on our planet, many of whom had not even opened. The destruction of forests is appearing every day for each from 50 to 100 species of animals and plants disappear. Almost half of the drugs used throughout the world, is made from natural products. U.S. National Cancer Institute has provided more than 2000 tropical plants have the potential to combat cancer. Magic pills are hidden in the jungles waiting for their destruction until they are looked for. Scientists estimate that by 2009, will disappear 25% of existing species today. Today, Latin America lost 37% of the rainforest, Asia – 42% Africa – 52% (see article «How to stop the destruction of Amazonia» log «New Scientist» October 15, 2005).
The transformation of desert into green yellow – is just one of the predictions, which makes scientists studying the existing dynamics of the contraction of forests.
Predictions and expectations
Loss of the tropics causes erosion, flooding, and the most severe climate change. For life on earth gases in the atmosphere are in a very delicate balance. Insulating gas such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides, ozone, prevent the loss of heat in open space – why, indeed, are called “greenhouse”. With increasing the content of these gases in the atmosphere is gradually increasing surface temperature. Climate change, even a decade ago is only a hypothesis, is a reality today: the Inuit of Canada are experiencing the disappearance of Arctic ice and permafrost, the inhabitants of Latin America and South Asia are constantly growing deadly hurricanes and flooding, Europeans increasingly difficult to fight forest fires and fatal heat. Greenland ice is becoming thinner and thinner. The response of photosynthesis taking place in the green substance of plants neutralizes two factors simultaneously warming: solar light and atmospheric carbon dioxide. Reduction of forest leads to the fact that more sunlight is transformed into heat, but collects the carbon dioxide does not allow this heat to go back into space.
The main reason for the destruction of tropical forests, especially in Asia, began logging, where leading role to play in Japan: it is practically self-financed the destruction of the great tropical forests south-east Asia, often blowing the precious dense wood on the production of toilet paper.
Another reason for the destruction of tropical forests, on the scale comparable to the logging, are the agricultural and farming activities. Overcrowding in the Third World makes landless peasants deeper into pristine forests in search of food. Poverty does not leave them any other way than crowding out other species and the destruction of the environment. They burn forests to clear the area for plantations under the strawberries, eggplants, peppers, pineapples, bananas, sugar, peanuts, coconuts and cotton to meet growing demand “developed” countries. Millions of hectares of forest destroyed in Central America to provide cheap beef for hamburgers. International fast food chains and major U.S. corporations are in the poorest countries of cheap meat suppliers, encouraging them, so for little cost to burn their national wealth to feed the rich neighbors regular hamburger and deprive their children a decent future. Only in the Amazon, there are 100,000 farmers who did not hesitate to burn and cut down forests to clear new grazing.
At the site of destroyed forests Latin American farmers grow fruits, spices, tobacco, producing sugar, soap, rubber, paper, fabric. Barbados has replaced tropical jungles sugar plantations, and in Malaysia, tropical forests are disappearing at a speed of 255 600 hectares per year, yielding plantation of rubber and oil-bearing trees. Each year, the EU imports millions of tons of high-calorie cassava from Thailand to feed livestock and poultry. Cassava plantation appeared on cleared from the forest areas. Many residents of these countries believe that rich neighbors rescued them from starvation, providing work space and living wages for millions of people.
Destruction of forests is alarming for scientists not the first year. But the remedy which would help to even improve the situation at least a little to slow down its deterioration, nobody has yet offered. For the most part all effective measures are in the area of political decisions: cutting out the announcement of the law, termination of timber export, commodity-dependent countries in the transition economies of production, strong economic support to the poorest countries, and so on. They are all associated with the incredible, one might even say, a fantastic waste of money, and their direct economic impact will likely be negative. In this case, even reforestation will not restore fully the lost ecological balance. Typically, newly planted trees are different from natural, changing soil conditions and chemical composition of groundwater. The impact on the nature of primary and secondary forests is fundamentally different.
In September 2006 there was a meeting of twenty countries in Mexico, behind closed doors providing the most devastating impact on the environment. The initiative to hold dialogue on climate change, clean energy and sustainable development belongs to the UK. One of the goals of this dialogue is to achieve an informal agreement between the industrialized and developing countries to develop long-term strategies. Apparently, no landmark decision was reached at this time. The easiest way to explain situation are irresponsibility and carelessness of the authorities of the world population. Even while agreeing that this is partly true, it should be noted that while there is not even a rough flow chart that provides a solution. During the meeting, Mexican Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett (Margaret Beckett) said: “This is a myth that supposedly effective impact on climate kills growth”. Nevertheless, to date no political or economic theory has no model of a highly technological society, not ruin their habitat, even less, how to implement it.
People began to seriously interfere with nature and to subordinate it.
Warring state of nature, which is observed today, has led many to believe that the very technological revolution is a dangerous departure from the nature of nature. We, the people have launched a process that can not be controlled.
We can never have enough of Nature for us.
Wondering is first step to new philosophy…
Right understanding leads to right actions
Instead of epilogue
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
written by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Picture Window template. Powered by Blogger.