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Ecology

Reflections

For many years I operated a specialist plant propagation nursery in Queensland, Australia, growing native and exotic plants. On one occasion we exported a rare species, which opens on just one night in the year, to a major nursery in the Netherlands.  When the first bud developed the Dutch importers assembled to see it open - and it did, but just for a few seconds, then (much to the their chagrin) it closed and withered.

 

Sensing their connections with other life forms and the environment is something that species, like that little plant, do automatically. Ironically man tends to see himself as independent of the ecosystem rather than an interdependent part of it.

Confident that we can manage a system we don’t fully understand, we separate and control individual elements, without regard for the invisible connections we may be destroying  – hence mono-cultural farming, over-fishing, destruction of forest habitats – the list goes on, as do the problems that arise from these actions.

It occurred to me that perhaps one way of highlighting these critical  issues from a fresh angle would be to take a single major ecosystem element, in this case trees, and explore their evolution, ecosystem dependencies and links with man.

For details of my recent book on this topic: Tall, Green & Well-Connected click the image of the book cover on the right…

Famous American ecologist Aldo Leopold once said:

“If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

As a species we have tended to ignore Aldo Leopold’s advice- resulting in a massive loss of biodiversity. Let's hope 21st century ecological tinkerers pay more attention to keeping all the pieces.

Click here for a link to my book on inter-dependencies between trees and other forms of life in the global ecosystem

Tall, Green and Well-Connected: Trees in the Ecosystem

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