The locavore and livable cites movements have found common cause in Seattle, according to TakePart:
Seattle’s vision of an urban food oasis is going forward. A seven-acre plot of land in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood will be planted with hundreds of different kinds of edibles: walnut and chestnut trees; blueberry and raspberry bushes; fruit trees, including apples and pears; exotics like pineapple, yuzu citrus, guava, persimmons, honeyberries, and lingonberries; herbs; and more. All will be available for public plucking to anyone who wanders into the city’s first food forest.
“This is totally innovative, and has never been done before in a public park,” Margarett Harrison, lead landscape architect for the Beacon Food Forest project, tells TakePart. Harrison is working on construction and permit drawings now and expects to break ground this summer.
I was delighted to discover that one of my favorite travel bloggers, Maciej Cegłowski of Idle Words blog, has just written about the famed Białowieża forest on the border of Poland and Belarus — famed because it is the largest remnant of primeval forest in all of Europe.
Instead my first impression is of extreme clutter. It looks exactly like any other Polish forest, except no one has cleared all the dead branches and trees that lean in every direction or just lie rotting on the ground. Some trees have died in place and their bare trunks rise out of the undergrowth like ghostly masts. I fully expect to see the rusted skeleton of an Ursus tractor in between the brambles. The place looks like it could use some pruning and a judicious series of fires. I shoot Romek a wounded glance, but he has already disappeared into the trees.
As we walk deeper into the woods I begin to notice that the trees are very tall. In fact, I’ve never seen broadleaf trees this big before. If they were growing anywhere else there would be a chain around them, a little brass plaque, and a place to park the tour bus, but here they are just average. If you’ve ever been in a redwood forest you will know the feeling. The immensity isn’t immediately obvious because everything is on the same huge scale, but all you have to do is walk up to a trunk to realize that you are now a smurf. What looked like saplings from a distance are perfectly respectable beech or ash or linden that are just completely out of their class here.
Do read the rest.
For those of us in northern climes, winter can be a good time to look at moss, lichen, and the woodier shelf fungi. British blogger Lucy Corrander finds and photographs February fungi on old, felled and fallen wood of yew and sycamore. (If you know your U.K. polypores, stop by and help her out with the i.d.s.)
Eric Jaffe, writing in the online news magazine The Atlantic Cities (a spin-off of what used to be called The Atlantic Monthly), reports on the findings of a new study in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.
Using aerial photographs to compare changes over time in 20 major U.S. cities, researchers David Nowak and Eric Greenfield of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service found that tree coverage is on the decline, while impervious cover — roads, buildings, sidewalks, and the like — is on the rise:
Tree cover in 17 of the 20 analyzed cities had statistically significant declines in tree cover, while 16 cities had statistically significant increases in impervious cover. … City tree cover was reduced, on average, by about 0.27 percent/yr, while impervious surfaces increased at an average rate of about 0.31 percent/yr.
Nowak and Greenfield collected recent digital aerial images for at least 1,000 random points in 20 large American cities, and coupled them with images at the same points from roughly 5 years earlier. Trained photo interpreters then classified the various types of coverage at each point: tree coverage, grass coverage, building coverage, and so on.
Their subsequent analysis showed clear trends away from tree coverage and toward impervious coverage. All but three of the cities had a statistically significant loss in tree coverage, with two others showing a non-significant loss (essentially no change). Houston (3 percent) and Albuquerque (2.7 percent) suffered some of the biggest loses. Only Syracuse showed a gain in tree coverage — and that of 1 percent.
Evidently in pre-digital days, landscape architects would use rubber stamps to add trees to blueprints. Tom Turner at Gardenvisit.com shares “a scan of a very high-class set of tree stamps” which, as one commenter aptly put it, looks like a box of tree chocolates. It’s almost too cool for words.
Gillian Ware shares a photo gallery of rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) at her Tree A. Ware blog.
Apart from being a magic tree, it has two magic common names: Rainbow Eucalyptus and Painted Bark Eucalyptus, both descriptive of its multicoloured bark. Like other Eucalyptus’ it sheds its bark— but in this case the lower layer is a vivid green. As different layers mature, they change colour— to orange, purples and blues, dark maroon being the final colour— resulting in fantastic paint brushstroke-like streaks.
At Safari Ecology blog, Colin has followed up a fascinating post on why so many trees and shrubs in the African savanna are so thorny with one on a particularly useful thorny tree, myrrh (Commiphora). A bunch of recent studies have borne out the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of its sap, which has been used to treat infections at least since the ancient Sumerians. Myrrh trees also make good habitat, their berries are an important food source for a number of species, and — well, just read Colin’s post.
Ashley Peace at treeblog visited the Hermitage, Dunkeld (in the Scottish Highlands), to see Britain’s 3rd tallest tree, and came back with some fine black-and-white photos of the tree and the surrounding area.
Pip at European Trees paints a compelling picture of the slow eastward drift of traditionally managed woodlands in France.
If we had access to satellite imagery from the last two centuries would we be able to create time lapse aerial photos of a woodland canopy showing the Mother trees as a front, semi circular waves marching eastwards similar to the pattern seen at the front of lapping waves on a shallow beach?
Read the rest of the post to learn just what the heck he’s talking about here.
Just because she’s started following a new tree this year, Lucy at Loose and Leafy has found that she can’t abandon last year’s sycamore. She shares some new photos of the tree and its forb companions, and concludes the post with a list of links to other tree-followers. (Add your blog to the list by finding a tree of your own to follow this year.)