dinsdag 31 januari 2012

The forest has no climax, the cryptoforest is a meeting-place

Rotterdam cryptoforest hut spotted by Petr.

You and me have been taught at school that the forest is the stable and inevitable end result of biological succession. This turns out to be a now discarded approximation of an earlier age.  Biologists today speak about the high forest but not about pristine forests. The forest keeps changing after it has reached maturity. Here is how Andrew Revkin puts in The Burning Season (a book about Chico Mendez):
When a Tree Falls it can create in microcosm the same kind of disruption caused by a strong storm. Such tree falls may be a crucial element in shaping the mix of species in the forest. A tropical forestry scientist named Gary Hartshorn studied tree-fall rates around the tropics and found that in many areas, the time it takes for a section of forest to be completely replaced can be as little as eighty years. The overall effect is that the forest is perpetually off kilter, in a continual state of recovery but never quite returning to some inanimate state—a condition that opens up opportunities and lets no organism settle too comfortably into a static niche.
The climax state is really 'late successional'. Here is the byline: disturbance creates diversity, diversity happens when the Teutonic stranger gets a chance to shine. The cryptoforest reminds the city that it won't last forever.

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