|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 155 January 31, email@example.com Victoria, B.C.|
A novel botanical gathering occurs annually over the border in Canada. Novel, indeed, in the waning years of this century, when botanists now most often gather to share their findings and techniques from laboratories equipped to probe the mysteries of DNA molecules and proteins. Rather, Botany BC harks back to the days when field botany (read, Natural History!) was a common and respected pursuit. Especially in the study and appreciation of regional floras is the "gel jock" botanist supplanting the field botanist. Yet Botany BC is hardly an anachronism; it thrives each year on the premise that total immersion in one's regional flora can be fun and an unforgettable learning experience.
From my attendance this summer at a 3-4 day excursion in north central British Columbia with about thirty women and men of Botany BC, I learned that its diverse clientele all leave their appointed tasks in land management, recreation, forestry and rehabilitation ecology to renew their contact with the real world of BC's biodiversity. Most attendees work for the BC government: Ministries of Forestry, Environment, the Endangered Species program and the like; academics are in the minority. The annual gathering of self-motivated BC naturalists is hardly a conference; much more it is: "Botany BC, a very informal group whose sole purpose is to put together an interesting, informative, fun-filled trip each year. It brings together interested botanists from throughout BC and adjacent areas from many different fields (forestry, mine reclamation, etc.)" [Craig DeLong, the 1996 convener]. Besides fascinating habitats visited during the day, evenings combine an informal botanical talk with social activities.
This year Botany BC focused on unusual habitats within the Prince George area. We visited a serpentine outcrop (Murray Ridge) and a limestone habitat (Pope Mountain), both located near Fort St James and the scenic Stuart Lake. With the aid of botanists familiar with the local flora, we put together creditable check lists for these two, and other, edaphic sites. I had given a talk the night before on Pacific Northwest serpentine ecology, so all were primed to encounter a unique vegetation. And it was! On Murray Ridge we witnessed the serpentine form of maidenhair fern (Adiantum aleuticum) in a subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) forest. Then at the summit a sparsely vegetated serpentine outcrop with a number of exceptional herbs and shrubs. The uniqueness of the flora was repeated on the limestone of Pope Mountain. No endemics, but a peculiar mix of wide-ranging species. Then back to Prince George for a fine catered dinner, followed by an evening talk on forest mycorrhizae (Hugues Massicotte). And the night before, it was Canadian folk singing by Andy McKinnon around the campfire at Lake Stuart.
The next day again focused on unique habitats: wetlands, dunes, and the like, in the Rocky Mountain Trench east of Prince George. I saw my first tamarack (Larix laricina) in a bog setting; it was the dominant tree, mostly dwarfed by the bog habitat.
In yet another bog, we saw a rich wetland flora: club mosses, ericaceous shrubs and sedges. After bog-slogging in the morning, we entered a remarkable habitat that could have been on the west side of the Olympic Peninsula: the West Twin Creek old-growth cedar-hemlock forest, and here we were, almost to the Rocky Mountains! Notable absentee in this mesic western hemlock - western red cedar forest was vine maple. At this stop we had Trevor Goward, lichenologist, regale us with a novel notion that lichens serve as indicators of stages in forest succession. Goward claims that some lichens are only found in very old growth forests, what he calls "antique forests". The last stop of the day was just west of Valemont, where the highway, BC Route 16, borders a thinly forested duneland along the upper Fraser River. Scattered lodgepole pine grows here with kinnikinnik and Juniperus communis in the pine understory, as well as herbs (including a rare sedge and locoweed - Astragalus sp.).
So the three days of rich botanical fare in the field and in the informal lecture- discussion sessions came to an end; it was an exciting experience for me to be with Canadian companions who, freed from their appointed daily chores, reveled in the devotion to fun with botany. An added thrill for me was an all-day BC Rail trip from North Vancouver to Prince George. It gave a kaleidoscopic view of BC vegetation and scenery from wet coastal forest up into the dry interior (ponderosa pine and sagebrush at Lillooet), then on east to the Cariboo Plateau for a taste of the subboreal spruce forest. There is "method" in my relating this delightful event. I believe it can be matched below the border. Washington state has the flora, the requisite amenities for hostelry, and above all a potential clientele. We could pull it off here, just as well as the Canadians do it! Our potential clientele: botanists, ecologists, and wildlife specialists with the federal and state agencies (USFS, BLM, NPS, DNR, etc.), as well as junior college and high school botany/biology teachers, graduate students - yes, and even academics from the four-year colleges and universities.
Botany BC's organization is simple, especially as it is divorced from any government agency. One host convener per year at a given meeting area; their own bank account, and modest registration fees to cover housing, meals and transport. I could envision our version of Botany BC holding annual outings in the Columbia Gorge, the Hanford Reach, the Columbia Plateau country, the Okanogan Highlands, the North Cascades, and the Olympic Peninsula, and elsewhere, well into the future. So let us initiate a "Botany Washington" field tour some time before the century plays out. We have the botanists and the botany to make it work! I am willing to be the "point - person" to get it started.
Art Kruckeberg, University of Washington, Botany, Box 351330, Seattle, WA 98195. Phone: (206) 543-1976. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Forests cover 34.4% or 4 626 million hectares of the former Czechoslovakia, with 33.4 and 39.9%, respectively, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Development of these forests has been influenced by human activity.
The health of forests in the Czech Republic forests is declining quickly, mainly due to air pollution. For example, 54.5% of the forests in 1986 were affected by air pollution while only 6 years later about 58.3% were affected (Domes, 1992). Air pollution results in the acidification of soils and depositions of harmful substances including compounds of sulphur, nitrogen, fluoride, chlorine, and heavy metals.
The damage is most severe in Northern Bohemia. For example in the Ore Mountains (Krusne hory Mountains) and Orlicke hory Mountains, soil pH can be as low as 2.2 ( Materna, 1978). Norway spruce, the predominant tree species in these areas, is quite susceptible to air pollution.
To alleviate the problem in forests in the Czech Republic forests, it is necessary to reduce the effects of air pollution and then to regenerate forest stands using tree species which are genetically and economically suitable for the sites. Good tending of young stands, especially on an ecological-sound basis, is also very important for re-establishing productive forests in the regions affected by air pollution. Our results with larch inter-specific hybrids progenies in the Ore Mountains region indicate that they are good candidates for regenerating the forest stands in air pollution damaged areas.
For more than 50 years, intensive provenance testing of European larch (Larix decidua Mill.) and Japanese larch (L. leptolepis Gord.) has provided basic information on the natural variability of these species (Paques, 1992). In the Ore Mountains, two research plots with larch inter-specific hybrids were established in 1970 as a part of a program to determine the feasibility of using such trees for reforestation in areas which have been heavily damaged by air pollution.
Observation made on 18-year old trees show that growth was slow on sites heavily affected by air pollution, but that the trees were otherwise healthy. Our results indicate the possibility that using inter-specific hybrids of larch for reforestating disaster areas will be successful in the Ore Mountains. Compared to European larch progenies, hybrids grow more quickly, avoiding the detrimental effect of ground frosts, competition from weeds, and animal damage. We propose the establishment of larch hybrid seed orchards to provide seed for reforesting these areas.
At The School for Field Studies' Center for Coastal Studies located in Bamfield British Columbia.
Experienced in: Cost benefit analysis, Sustainable development, Extensive experience developing survey tools, Experience with First Nations peoples, Knowledge of local politics in a social and cultural context, Assessment and evaluation methodology, The Social Science of natural resources, The human dimensions of wildlife and conservation biology. All faculty positions are residential and require faculty to live on site with students. Programs are offered to 32 college students for semester and summer programs. Faculty will teach the equivalent of one and one half courses per semester, oversee students directed research projects and participate in all daily living at the center. Room and board are provided by SFS. Salary is $25,000 American, and health insurance is provided.
Requirements: Ph.D or Masters degree with at least 4 years of applied experience. Relevant work/living experience in British Columbia or similar ecosystem. At least 2 years at the undergraduate level with full course responsibility (writing and grading exams, lecturing, etc.), a demonstrated commitment to conservation and experience working with applied conservation and management issues.
To apply: Send cv and a detailed letter explaining skills and experience to:
Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: email@example.com.
BEN is archived on gopher freenet.victoria.bc.ca. The URL is:
gopher://freenet.victoria.bc.ca:70/11/environment/Botany/ben. Also archived at http://www.ou.edu/cas/botany-micro/ben/