Anyway, it is probably better to upload them one by one as opposed to displaying 20 photos of me being taller than everyone else all at once.
This particular photo was taken when I first got to site. I went out with some guys from the provincial government office of the environment to put a post delineating the buffer zone of the nearby reserve. In the photo you can clearly see some trees. Yes, there are many trees. Actually, I believe those are alders, known as aliso in these parts. Alders, though not techinically legumes, fix nitrogen into the soil through a symbiosis with some microbes. This is a very useful adaptation, and I believe it explains their niche in early succession. They are common around recent landslides. Although the lack to topsoil in these areas is an obstacle for other species, the alders can apparently handle it, probably due to their microbial buddies.
When these observations are put in a less naturalistic and more practical perspective, we can see why alders are such a good hedgerow plant around fields. Agricultural fields are a prime example of secondary succession, succession in which the topsoil remains but the vegetation is largely disturbed. Nitrogen is often a limiting factor for crops, and the alders can provide it as they drop their leaves. Furthermore, it comes with organic matter, which helps keep the nitrogen around, as opposed to chemical fertilizers, much of which is often washed away.
Another common characteristic of pioneer species such as the alder is rapid growth, and this has obvious benefits for the farmer looking to take advantage of a crop of quality wood.
So thats all very nice. Stuart the forester, my childhood friend and neighbor, if you are still reading this blog, please correct me if I´m wrong on the above.
Really, I should be blogging once or twice a week. I feel like maybe at one point I had built up a nice little readership base which I have now largely lost due to neglect. Now that I have internet so close to home, I have no excuse. Except maybe that I am working more. And thats true, the comment about facebook is almost entirely facetious. I´m working with several schools to build little nurseries to produce plants (such as the native alder) for the farmers. And stuff like that.
Ok, so maybe i´ll get back to this sooner rather than later. I´ll try to keep posting nice pictures.