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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Old Growth Forrest

Succession is the progressive growth of plants on soil and bare rock. It moves in predictable stages. The types of plants present determines the types of animals that will live there. If there is no food source or clean water, an animal will not survive.

There are some islands in the Pacific that only has species of birds which have flown there. Mammals and reptiles could not make the journey over water. On Oahu, Hawaii, we saw a mammal and we knew it was a mongoose. The mongoose was introduced to control rats.

The island of Kauai was spared the mongoose. The story is that a mongoose bit the man who was supposed to release them on the island. He threw them into the ocean to drown. There are feral rabbits, donkeys, cattle, sheep and pigs on the Hawaiian islands. However only the hoary bat is a native to Hawaii.

The island of Surtsey off the coast of Iceland is studied to observe succession. This island rose from an underwater volcano from eruptions between November 14, 1963 and June 5, 1967.

The first plants to colonize bare rock are lichens and mosses.

In time a soil will be created and quick growing annuals will grow. This will subsequently be replaced by grasses. Excessively cold temperatures like in the tundra may only progress to a heavy growth of lichens and moss.

A lack of moisture will reduce the growing season to a short quick one for annuals. Deserts are all known for the prolific blooms of flowers after short heavy rains.

Grasslands will slowly progress to a pine forest in Georgia,because there is enough rainfall to support trees. Old fields will revert to pine forests. Pine trees live for about 50 to 70 years. An understory of hardwoods will eventually replace the pine forest.

What is unique about old growth forests is the increased amount of diversity in it's many stories. The pressure for lumber and more cattle grazing land increases the amount of demand on Old Forests. Less than 3 percent of the old forests in Europe remain today.

Northern Asia still has 19 percent of it's forest, and they are the largest Boreal forests in the world. North America retains 28 percent of it's old growth forests. These are located primarily in the western states, Alaska.

South America has 35 percent with most located in Brazil. Brazil clears more land every year until it will drop considerably in the next ten to twenty years.

Old growth forests in Africa hoovers around 8 percent. South Asia retains about 7 percent of it's natural forests and the western and northern portions of provinces in Canada.

In the Southeastern United States, tree farms are planted for the harvest of timber which takes stress off deforestation.
Forest in Alaska South of Anchorage

Grassland with grazing wild Buffalo in North Dakota

Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii

Understory of Oaky Woods, Georgia, USA

Canopy of old forest - Oaky Woods, Georgia USA

Canopy of Oaky Woods, Georgia, USA
Oaky Woods is in danger of development.

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