Today, I took a hike in Buckhorn Island State Park. It was a beautiful early spring day.
On my way to the park, I noticed that the forsythia is blooming, as well as the daffodils. It’s so encouraging to see all of that yellow. The forsythia blooming occurs in early spring. When that happens, you know that it is the right time of year to prune your rose bushes to encourage spring growth, to reduce the size of your bush (especially if it is a bit overgrown), and to encourage your plant to be bushier, which is very desirable.
The sight of all of that new growth is very exciting. On the bike path and in the park, I saw other signs of early spring and new growth. I saw tiny leaves on shrubs and very small ground plants. I saw a relatively large vernal pool near the bike path. It was beautiful, and the trees looked like they were okay with having wet roots for a short time each year. Vernal pools are temporary wetlands, which appear early in the spring. They later dry up because they are ephemeral. In the vernal pools, you might spot salamanders, frogs, toads, and turtles. I didn’t see any critters in the vernal pool along the bike path.
But in the park, I found a narrow section of Woods Creek that seemed to be filled with very shy life. They hid every time I moved so I was unable to photograph them. But I did see a turtle and I heard at least one bullfrog.
|The marks on this tree trunk were made by the emerald ash borer, as it ate its way through the tree’s nutritional system (the xylem and the phloem).|
The demise of the ash trees, due to the infestation of the emerald ash borer, has had a negative effect on Buckhorn Island State Park. There are many logs in the park, the direct result of the dead trees having been cut down over the winter. When I took a closer look at the logs, I could see the characteristic marks of the emerald ash borer in its larval stage, as it ate its way to adulthood. In the process, the trees were destroyed.
Dead trees aren’t especially gorgeous but they are an essential part of the life of the forest. Decomposers, such as ants and worms, break down the trees, and they enrich the soil. It is a type of recycling.
Fungi grow on the dead trees, which also helps to break down the tree and to make the forest more alive. The decomposition of dead trees is part of the life cycle of the forest. The forest will continue to live and thrive as the tree materials are recycled. New trees will grow in the place of the old. It is truly a wonder.