|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 283 March 8, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
The Alaska Rare Plant Forum will hold its 2002 annual meeting April 11th and 12th in Fairbanks at the Bureau of Land Management, Northern District Office, 1150 University Avenue.
Anyone interested in rare plants of northern regions is invited to attend or to give a presentation. We are soliciting speakers and agenda items. Topics could include the results of recent botanical work, descriptions of field trips, proposals for 2002 field work and presentations describing ongoing botanical work or research.
If you wish to give a presentation, please send your name, a brief description of your presentation and the presentation's approximate length to Mary Stensvold, Alaska Region, USDA Forest Service, 204 Siginaka Way, Sitka, Alaska 99835. E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: 907-747-6671.
Two objects of interest to ecologists are organisms and ecosystems, the second the houses or homes (Gr. oikos) that give eco/logy its name. The most complete ecosystem is Earth or Ecosphere, the evolutionary source and support of all animated things, and therefore an apt metaphor for "life."
Most of us with deep interests in wild creatures and their survival begin as biologists -- as botanists or zoologists hooked on the marvelously fascinating plants and animals that abound on Earth. The thought of them under attack, either directly or by habitat destruction, is repellent. We want to see them preserved, and our reasons are not the crass ones of utility. The so-called "Environmental Movement" too is prompted in large part by Nature's beauty perceived as under threat. An innate aesthetic sense encourages both care for organisms other than our own species and a willingness to take action on their behalf. The outcome of this wonder and appreciation is something relatively new: moral concern expressed as ethical actions that extend beyond the human race.
The first thought is the need for endangered-species legislation, expressing a "bio-ethic" focused on plants and animals. But common sense and ecology show that organisms are not self-sufficient. Without the vital support of Earth's inorganic/organic matrix they simply would not be. In itself the slogan "Save Biodiversity" is unrealistic; something more is needed. Aldo Leopold took the next step by proposing a "land ethic," to protect organisms by making moral objects of the landscapes that support and shelter them. A still more inclusive step is to an "ecosystem ethic" that places highest value on three-dimensional sectors of Earth, on geographic places with all their contents: the matrix elements of land, water, and atmosphere, as well as their contained communities of organisms. These are the fundamental "living units" on the face of the Earth. Paraphrasing Tansley, the British ecologist who introduced the ecosystem concept in 1935, when we think fundamentally we cannot separate organisms from their Earth-ecosystem contexts.
Improperly trained, we have been taught to perceive ourselves and other organisms as "alive" within a "dead" matrix of air, water, soil, and sediments. Today, aided by satellite photography, we can more truly view the whole Earth and its sectoral geographic ecosystems as the locus of "life." This god's-eye-view, seeing the wholes of which organisms are parts, is to my mind ecology's chief contribution to modern thought. It illuminates the most effective direction for conservation and preservation efforts.
Further, it gives perspective within regional ecosystems to our own living and dying. Of the latter, as happy a thought as is perhaps possible: Media morte in vita sumus -- "In the midst of death we are surrounded by life!"
Purple loosestrife is an invasive plant from Europe threatening plants and wildlife in native wetlands of North America. Traditional methods of managing the plant do not work and thus, a biological control project has been initiated in 1992. In biological control a specific natural enemy is imported from the pest's country of origin and reunited with the pest in the hopes to control it. While the natural enemies cannot eradicate the pest, they can potentially control it to the extent that the invader is not a threat any more. In British Columbia, a little brown leaf-beetle with the name Galerucella calmariensis L. (Chrysomelidae), which is highly specific to purple loosestrife, had been released at several infested sites. These beetles have been tested extensively before their introduction into Canada to make sure they are safe. The same beetles have also been released in many US states and several Canadian provinces. Because the beetles are highly specific to purple loosestrife, this biological control program has proven to be safe and environmentally friendly. Considering the sensitivity of the invaded habitats, biological control is the most suitable method for managing purple loosestrife.
Iona Beach Park (next to the Vancouver international airport) consists of two neighboring artificial ponds that have been created some 10 years ago. The disturbances associated with the creation of the ponds have allowed purple loosestrife to invade the area. Now both ponds are surrounded by dense rings of mature loosestrife plants. In 1997, 300 natural enemies of purple loosestrife have been released. The beetles at Iona Beach Park have been monitored closely over the next years by Madlen Denoth and Judy Myers from UBC. A beetle "outbreak" has been observed at the North pond resulting in a small patch of purple loosestrife being completely defoliated. The size of this "outbreak area" has increased and purple loosestrife has been defoliated in one half of the pond. However, because of purple loosestrife's underground storage, it will take several years of severe attack before the plants eventually die.
Up to now, fewer than 50 releases have been made in British Columbia, and these beetle populations are isolated from each other. Thus, the success of this biological control program is dependent on establishing a network of "beetle bases" in an area so that the beetles are self-sustainable and can find and attack loosestrife infestations themselves. The rearing and releasing of the beetles is easy and does not require a lot of equipment. Two Naturalist groups have shown interest, the most active being the Langley Field Naturalists Society who have been rearing loosestrife beetles for two years now. Hopefully, other groups will show interest in the project so that beetle networks can be established in different regions. If you have any questions or if you are member of a group interested in participating in the project e-mail Madlen Denoth: email@example.com.
Americans, in particular, are obsessed with "the best," "the biggest," "the smallest," "the oldest," and other superlatives. A Briton I was traveling with in spring 1973 pointed this out to me as he marveled how even a single town could have two or more cases of "the best burgers in the world." Since then the regrettable McDonald's-ization of the world has spread the disease of superlatives. There are, however, some genuinely worthwhile accounts of superlatives, and Van Pelt's Forest giants of the Pacific Coast is one of them. California has a number of arborescent superlatives, including: the Adventure Tree, Sequoia sempervirens, at 101.8 m being the tallest; the Boole Tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum, at 8.98 m and 28.2 m having, respectively, the largest DBH and circumference; the General Sherman Tree of the same species at 1489 m3 having the greatest volume. These two species plus Thuja plicata, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Picea sitchensis "are the five largest species of trees in the world" other than the antipodal Agathis australis, "the only proven exception" (p. xxiv). "For most of the species the largest trees are as yet undiscovered. The chance of finding a new record for giant sequoia is nearly zip, likewise for coast redwood" (p. x).
Van Pelt, a forester who also did Champion trees of Washington state, 4th ed. (see Taxon 46: 417), is "equipped with a camera, a sketchpad, and a survey laser" and has amassed "a database of over 5,000 individual trees" (back-cover blurb). Forest giants discusses the 20 largest conifer species of western North America, describing each species in two pages, including color photos and a newly produced distribution map in color. Following each species account are detailed descriptions (one or two pages) of tree giants, that is, "those with the greatest wood volume" (back-cover blurb), 117 giants in all, 46 from California, 38 from Washington, 15 from British Columbia, 14 from Oregon, and 2 each from Idaho and Montana, all illustrated with B&W "'architecturally correct'" (p. xix) profile diagrams and superb color photos taken with a perspective-control lens. A 12-page introduction is essential reading for methodology and an overview of forest types. In all, this is an interesting book with lots of fascinating information about arborescent giants.
Due to a change in servers I have a new address for the page. The address is http://home.byu.net/~tbb/tball/index2.html Sorry for the confusion. Hope this is helpful. Terry
Both BEN and Scott Russell received a number of messages (one even from Greece) that the Ultimate Palindromic Moment will occur at least once more, on December 21, at 21:12 in the year 2112 (21:12 21/12 2112). It also looks to me (if I am not wrong again) that there could also be two palindromic moments in one year, at 7:02 p.m., one in January and the other in October of the year 2091 (19:02 01/10 2091).
I don't get similar comments to any botanical articles and notes posted in BEN, and we interpret this wrong posting as a modified Capture-Recapture Experiment with the following results:
Apologies to all our readers, especially to that irate mathematician who advised BEN to stay away from mathematics. Special apologies to Andy MacKinnon, who once proclaimed: "I believe everything what is posted in BEN." Yours truly, BEN