Morgan Garner's Posts (11)

Fighting Fire with Fire

If you have ever visited a national park, you have benefitted from the important work of the United States Forest Service. This vital agency has been protecting and preserving our nations beloved landscapes for over 100 years. Forest fragmentation, anthropogenic disturbances, and industrialization have altered US’s forests and rangelands, although it may seem like the area of land they protect has begun to dwindle- that has not made the job any easier. Over the past decade the USFS, like our changing landscapes, has adapted strategies for maintaining the fires that are necessary to a healthy ecosystem. These brave men and women are equipped with advanced manpower and technology possible to protect the forests with increased vulnerability. The evolution of fires has called for an increase in man (or woman) power in this agency. That is where the USFS steps in to do the job the landscape desperately needs. In 1995 wildfire cost consumed 16% of USFS budget, while today this budget has risen to 67% of USFS total funding. However, recent behavior an increase in the duration of fire season, fire size, fire behavior demands the USFS be at the top of their game. Fires do not adhere to state lines or jurisdictions so this agency invites local and federal partners to help protect threatened landscapes.

These forces of nature are as mighty as the men and women that fight them. USFS tells us “wildfires can be friend or foe”. This chaotic behavior may seem angrier than your mom after coming home to a sink full of dirty dishes you were supposed to clean. We know of several benefits of these natural occurrences such as clearing brush and pests to provide new healthy environments full of nutrients and space to grow.

Enjoy 3 minutes of this heart wrenching film, accurately titled Fighting Fire with Fire,  that provides a small glimpse into the vital and dangerous roles taken on by the USFS.

 

 

In addition to this video there are a multitude of other resources offered by the department of USFS such as interactive Esri mapping, and even beta apps that will notify you when there is a fire nearby visit their website to see all their resources here

This video was created by Filson to honor the noble fire fighters on screen and behind the scenes who fight every day to preserve out national landscapes.

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Check this Off

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As a busy student and web administrator, I find the easiest way to keep track of all my important tasks is to continuously make an updated to-do list, finding absolute pleasuring knowing I can check off completed items. Sometimes I feel like my most productive days are mirrored in nature. Under the impression, I had near overdosed on to-do lists, I began noticing trees that resembled check marks. 


After reading An Animated Guide to Nature’s Best Wayfinding Secrets by Sommer Mathis I had a little more confidence in my sanity. Finding a tree that has an uneven growth pattern can be explained by phototropism. The idea of phototropism was observed by Charles Darwin in 1880 through experiments that demonstrated the shoots (or branches/leaves) grew towards the strongest direction of sunlight. This process allows the leaves, undergoing photosynthesis, to optimize the daily amount of food (aka sunlight) received. These chlorophylls filled organisms were sometimes noticed growing more abundantly in a nonlinear pattern. Branches of trees grow directly towards the sun when the beams are the strongest and branches not in a direct line of sunlight will tend to curve to receive ample nutrients. Tristan Gooley, a nature expert, points our attention to the stronger direction of canopy growth.


"On the south side, they can take a fairly direct route. So, they curve toward the sun, which creates a slightly more horizontal branch. On the north side, they’re still trying to grow toward the light, but they can’t take a direct route because the trunk and the rest of the tree are in the way. So, they end up growing towards the sky." Tristan Gooley contributes the “check effect” present in all green organism but more noticeable in trees. 


Interestingly enough, (negative) phototropism can also describe the growth pattern of roots in which this system will burrow deepest in the direction opposite of sunlight. In honor of the upcoming eclipse please share any photos of tree growth influenced by our favorite star!


Enjoy Sommer Mathis entire article (here) on Tristan Gooley's top 5 prudent tips on navigating nature accompanying by 4 more breathtaking animations from the super talented Chelsea Beck.

 

Animation by: Chelsea Beck

 

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Stressed with Shrubs

This morning I was lucky enough to be able to join my grandfather, a healthy and energetic 84, on his morning routine. He walks approx, 2 miles around his neighborhood to breathe fresh air and admire another beautiful day on this earth. During our stroll, he told me stories of his younger days, learning he had spent a few years employed by the lumber industry. Intrigued by the history of one of my role models, I am always engrossed by the stories of his early adulthood. I find it funny to picture my grandfather at my age, a full head of hair with all his original teeth. We laughed together as we tried to name all the different types of maples when we came to the end of the cul-de-sac. As we began our U-turn I stopped at an unusual tree. Pictured below.

 

 

Describing the photo above, a thin young maple with a collection of branches at the top. However, these branches were completely bare, an odd growth pattern for mid-August. Only a small cluster at the base of the trunk had leaves. I had seen this shrub like presence in trees before but never as distinct as this instance. It appeared that the bottom clump of leaves had stolen from the rest of the tree, impeding the ‘blood flow’ of nutrients throughout this cypress. With the combined tree knowledge between my grandfather and me, neither could identify the circumstance. With the help of Heather Rhoades from Gardening Know How we learned that these low shrub limbs have been dubbed ‘suckers’ for their vampire like tendencies. 

Suckers can be common in trees that have undergone a stressful planting, transplant, or an inadequate environment. However, a low-stress environment, perfect water portions, and maintenance can prevent this in your community forest.

Although if a tree has already begun to grow suckers it is best to remove them as soon as possible. Heather Rhoades notes “Tree sucker removal is easy to do. Tree sucker removal is done in the same way pruning is performed. Using a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears, cleanly cut the plant sucker as close to the tree as possible, but leave the collar (where the tree sucker meets the tree) to help speed the wound recovery."

Whenever I saw a tree sucker I had thought it was an innocent commencalism relationship between tree and shrub. Now with new knowledge gained from Gardening Know How I now view these trees as a little more human knowing these giants get acne too. 

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Fruit Tree Grafting

The year is 2017 and the battle has begun in the produce section, organic and GMO. From a young age, I was told 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', I think about this a lot when doing a weekly refill of apples. I pride myself on the fact that I truly do eat an apple a day, however over the years I can't help but notice the sheer size of these fruits. I held a granny smith apple in my hand that was larger than a nearby navel orange. 

So I began to think about how technology has influenced produce throughout the years, more specifically grafting. Grafting is the process of inserting a small branch (or scion) into the trunk of another tree to manipulate the species. MotherEarthNews has posted an insightful article illustrating benefits of grafting, such as: increasing tree height, cloning trees, and saving existing trees after a devastating pruning incident. 

Learn from Lee Reich's experiences as he supplies comprehensive details (and photos) regarding the process of fruit tree grafting!

Read the full article here

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Although it has been around since 2011, I have just discovered a free app called 'Leafsnap'! This mobile application can identify trees just from a picture of leaves or flowers. This app currently only includes trees found in the Northeastern US, but will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States. 

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Death of the tallest known Ponderosa Pine

This post is in memory of one of the world’s tallest known pines. Big Pine campground became a designated spot for hikers, 20 miles southwest of Grant’s Pass. The big pine that dominated the landscape enjoyed many years of worldwide travelers looking to sneak a peak at its glorious countenance. Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest’s giant pine measured to an astounding 250 feet before it met its untimely demise, another victim of the ruthless pine beetle.

This prominent tree made the 1989 heritage tree list commemorating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution. This tree, among only 60 other trees nationwide, was a designated Living Witness Tree for the U. S. Constitution Bicentennial. The bark of these pines can be traced to a time where they were crafted into a canoe to assist Lewis and Clark as they crossed the Columbian river. These prehistoric trees are a testimony to the history of our nation, describing the vitality of America’s canopy as far back as the signing of the constitution.

The health of our forests is important to our future, as they have played a huge role in the history that has shaped our nation. The ecological importance of America’s old growth is boundless, present during a time in which no living humans remain. Local ecosystems persist around them and thrive because of them. Historic trees preserve national secrets as well as demonstrate the resilience of our nation. We hope the legacy of the Ponderosa Pine of Grant Pass in the form of its bronzed plaque can be preserved in the Smithsonian Museum of American History for future generations to admire.

Despite its passing, this tree still stands. Nearby campgrounds have been closed for the safety of travelers.

Michael Oxman, an ISA arborist committed to getting the marker to the Smithsonian, brought the passing of this pine to our attention.

Background information regarding Ponderosa Pines graciously provided by NPR. The article titled Ponderosa Pines: Rugged Trees With A Sweet Smell composed by Daniel Kraker can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2009/08/17/111803772/ponderosa-pines-rugged-trees-with-a-sweet-smell

As well as information provided by Terry Richard who composed World's tallest ponderosa pine climbed, measured at 268 feet outside Grants Pass. This article can be found here: http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2011/12/worlds_tallest_ponderosa_pine.html#comments

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Impacting your local Urban Forest

As a college student yearning to make a difference in my local community sometimes I feel.. well helpless. I sit in class daydreaming of a greener campus, a greener city but never taking action. I found myself constantly questioning if one person can really makes a difference.

Can one broke college student impact a community?

I soon learned the answer is yes.

This Saturday morning instead of sleeping in I decided to wake up early, lace up my boots, and get involved. By volunteering with Trees Atlanta was able to help plant a total of 30 Crape Myrtles and Bald Cypresses along the streets of downtown Atlanta, all while having a goofy grin on my face. This volunteer experience gave me the ability to connect with like-minded people who also want to make a difference in their community by adding trees that help clean the ambient air here in downtown Atlanta. I spent my morning not only enjoying the beautiful autumn weather but also contributing to and improving my local green-space via the reduction of carbon monoxide in the local neighborhoods where the plantings took place. I look forward to watching these native Georgian trees expand their canopy to provide shade for those walking along this street and ultimately improve the health status of those around me.

If you've been waiting to get involved in your local community TODAY is the day. Search our site for local organizations in need of volunteers to green your community - check here for nearby service projects. I gained insight that revealed I DO have the ability to impact my local urban forest and also inspire my friends to join me on future green endeavors.

So I want to hear your stories of volunteer experiences you have, the trees you've planted/maintained, the people you’ve met..  I want to hear how you impacted your urban forest and how it has impacted YOU.

Share your #plantyourlegacy stories below. 

 

 

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