Category Archives: ecosystems
Often used by Hollywood, this bizarre looking member of the mostly subtropical agave family provides a striking silhouette standing tall with rigid arms extending in every direction against the orange Mojave Desert sky.
Named by 18th century Mormons after the biblical prophet Joshua, the plant also known as a yucca had special meaning for those wandering across the parched high desert in search of the Promised Lands. Its arms pointing towards heaven, as the story goes, confirmed that they were on course.
The mighty oak is truly a remarkable tree. Oaks have sustained humans for more than six thousand years. Oaks have often been referred to as: generous, hospitable, scholarly, surveyors and long-lived.
From Vancouver to Caracas, from Miami to Dublin, from Lisbon to Jakarta and from Seoul to Tokyo there are about 425 species of oaks. Their lineage dates back some 65 million years. They are genetically rich and an incredibly flexible genus surviving geologic upheavals and many climate changes. Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
Recently, more attention is being focused on anti-aging and I believe that Nature, in particular cliff trees, can show people the way to age more gracefully.
Along the cliffs from Niagara Falls to the islands north of Tobermory there exists some of the world’s oldest cliff-dwelling trees. Some of those trees live within 60 miles of 7 million people in southern Ontario and the megalopolis of Toronto.
Hyperion, a coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), is the tallest tree on Earth at 379.3 feet and growing. General Sherman, a mountain Sequoia (Sequoia gigantum), is 274.9 feet tall with an astounding base of 102.6 feet. Not all ancient trees, however, are tall or big. Methuselah, a bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva), is over 4,700 years old and is the world’s oldest named living single-stemmed tree. He’s not tall or big; he’s weather beaten; he’s gnarly and near immortal.
Costa Rican forests are teaming with biological diversity. There are four exquisite forest types found in Costa Rica: clouds forests, Caribbean rainforests, Pacific rainforests and dry forests.
Costa Rica has an area of over 19,691 square miles (51,000 square kilometers), it is smaller than Nova Scotia. Yet, it contains an awesome diversity of animal and plant life.
King Robert the Bruce I was born at Lochmaben Castle in 1274. He was Knight and Overload of Annandale. In 1306 he was crowned King of Scotland and henceforth tried to free Scotland from the English enemy.
After being defeated at a battle, Bruce escaped and found a hideout in a cave. Hiding in a cave for three months, Bruce was at the lowest point in his life. He thought about leaving the country and never returning.
While waiting, he watched a spider building a web in the cave’s entrance. The spider repeatedly fell down yet finally it succeeded in building its web. So Bruce decided also to retry his fight and told his men: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.”
Spiders are remarkable. They have been on our planet for 400 million years. The story of how 34,000 species of spiders inhabit our Earth is intriguing. Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
Dragonflies and their ancestors have survived on Earth for over 300 million years. Fossils show that ancient dragonflies had wing-spans of over 28 inches (70 centimeters). Today there are more than 80 different species that occur throughout the West.
The name dragonfly comes from the Greek word for tooth, likely because of their very impressive chewing mouthparts. Dragonflies are harmless to humans. They have an unwarranted reputation that has instilled fear into people.
There are about 5,500 different species of dragonflies worldwide. Some are as colorful as birds and butterflies with iridescent, metallic green and crimsons.