Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Shape of Things to Come

On the cusp of CPOP's meeting with the Zoo, I think it's worth mentioning another example of the Zoo's destructive relationship with the Old Forest. It's by no means as bad as the Teton Clearcut, but as it came 6 months before, perhaps we can see in it an inkling of the Zoo's disrespect of the Forest.

Last year the Zoo bulldozed out the understory of the Forest along the edges of the 17-acre fenced area between Rainbow Lake and Lick Creek. Although they kept the mature trees, they removed the texture and diversity of the Forest.

This is what it looked like along Lick Creek in September, afterwards.

Where Forest understory was removed

If you can ignore the autofocus problem, look at the dirt patches where they removed the undergrowth.

And here's the triangle of Forest shaped by the old roads winding past Rainbow Lake, also from September after the undergrowth was cleared. On the right side of my crappy picture, you can still see the stacked pile of excised undergrowth, reminiscent of this.

Where Forest understory was removed

Then in early April I noticed some new additions to the triangle. Notice the new bushes in the center.

Triangle of Missing Understory, Overton Park

I'm pretty sure they're new, because I see little nursery tags on their branches.

Nursery Plants  that Replaced Mowed Down Understory

So, the Zoo has removed wild, natural undergrowth and planted nursery plants in their place.

Why would they plant anything after spending the time destroying it?

Is it a show of remorse for the original removal? If so, why not let the brother branches of the Forest help these parts naturally regenerate, perhaps with a once-in-a-while manual removal of invasive species?

Or is it that you plan to keep mowing and cutting, don't want it to regenerate, don't like it?

Something to remember about this part of the Zoo's forest enclosure: it has old asphalt roads running through it (you can see them in several of my pictures), wrapping all the way around to the south side of Rainbow Lake. The roads provided great utility for the Zoo without their having to remove anything. They in fact had a large compost pile on the side of the road next to the understory for awhile. No one, as far as I know, has ever asked the Zoo to remove those roads. The necessary utility would have been there no matter what.

But they still removed the understory.

1 comments:

H.D. Thoreau said...

"Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?"