If you had to choose, how do you prefer your telephone poles? And isn’t it interesting that we still refer to these as telephone poles despite the fact that no one uses telephone landlines anymore.
Now I just need the photo of a telephone pole that has fallen over and is decomposing under a pile of vegetation…
This telephone pole used to be covered in ivy like this telephone pole.
Here’s a novel approach to creating green energy…
This telephone pole is definitely much more aesthetically pleasing covered in ivy (Hedera helix), maybe someday the ivy will even succeed in knocking the thing down all together… If we must have telephone poles, using them as giant trellises makes sense.
Over the past year or so I’ve seen more and more research and findings concerning the topic of plant communication. Here are some previous articles I’ve posted on the subject of plant communication. And below, a brief article on the subject, regarding companion planting, how and why it can help or inhibit germination and growth:
Plants ‘Talk’ to Plants to Help Them Grow
May 7, 2013 — Having a neighborly chat improves seed germination, finds research in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Ecology. Even when other known means of communication, such as contact, chemical and light-mediated signals, are blocked, chilli seeds grow better when grown with basil plants. This suggests that plants are talking via nanomechanical vibrationsMonica Gagliano and Michael Renton from the University of Western Australia attempted to grow chilli seeds (Capsicum annuum) in the presence or absence of other chilli plants, or basil (Ocimum basilicum). In the absence of a neighboring plant, germination rates were very low, but when the plants were able to openly communicate with the seeds more seedlings grew.
However when the seeds were separated from the basil plants with black plastic, so that they could not be influenced by either light or chemical signals, they germinated as though they could still communicate with the basil. A partial response was seen for fully grown chilli plants blocked from known communication with the seeds.
Dr Gagliano explained, “Our results show that plants are able to positively influence growth of seeds by some as yet unknown mechanism. Bad neighbors, such as fennel, prevent chilli seed germination in the same way. We believe that the answer may involve acoustic signals generated using nanomechanical oscillations from inside the cell which allow rapid communication between nearby plants.”
- Monica Gagliano and Michael Renton. Love thy neighbour: facilitation through an alternative signalling modality in plants. BMC Ecology, 2013 DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-13-19
Almost exactly a month ago I put up these photos and some background info on Chiranthrodendron pentadactylon, also known as the Devil’s Hand Tree (due to the spectacular flowers). This is a great fantastic tree, a member of the Malvaceae / Bombacaceae / Sterculiaceae family. native to temperate cloud forests of Guatemala and S. Mexico.
I collected seeds from a large specimen in the UC Berkeley Botanic Garden and put them in the ground to germinate. Then I left for Europe for five weeks, got back (to Berkeley, CA) a week ago and found that they’ve all germinated. So now I have way more seedlings then I’ll ever know what to do with. I guess I’ll be guerrilla planting them around town.
I took the photo below the day I got back… by now most of the seedlings have pushed out their first set of true leaves.
I have never grown this species before, but reportedly they are fast growing. I’ll post follow-up photos in a few weeks.
Below I have posted a portion of a recent article from Scientific American, which briefly explores some of the history of human-induced transformation of the earth. The article, titled “3,000 Years of Abusing the Earth on a Global Scale”, is interesting and offers an overview of current research related to the long history of environmental impact humans have had on the globe however the focus seems to be steeped in the history of “abusive human impact” and does not give mention to any examples potentially non-abusive land management methods employed by humans in pre-Colombian times.
The domestication of landscapes through traditional swidden-fallow forest farming has long been a subject of great interest to me. Here is a link to an article I wrote on Complex agroforestry and the anthropogenic forests / landscapes of pre-Colombian S. America. And if you’re interested, two more related articles on Chinampa: Raised-Bed Hydrological Agriculture and The Domesticated Landscapes of Los Llanos de Moxos, Bolivia.
And below, a portion of the article from Scientific American followed by a link to the full article…
3,000 Years of Abusing the Earth on a Global Scale
A new perspective emanating from archaeology and ecology suggests that humanity has spent thousands of years making widespread and profound changes to the “natural” world
By David Biello
“Wherever you go on this blue, green and white globe of ours, odds are some person has been there before you—and left a mark. That’s because the hunting, farming or burning practices of our most distant ancestors have shaped most land areas on the planet, argues an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and ecologists in Proceedings of the National Academyof Sciences. If we are indeed living in the Anthropocene—a new geologic epoch brought on by the outsized environmental effects of the human species—then this new interval isn’t just a few hundred years old, it is older than the industrial revolution.
The researchers set out to investigate just how long human being have been profoundly changing the environment on land. “This is a super important question for the identity of humanity,” argues ecologist Erle Ellis of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a co-author. “Are we the people who transformed the planet for hundreds of generations, or the people who just recently started destroying things?”
To answer that outstanding question the researchers started with a vast spread of archaeological and ecological data from around the world, particularly micro charcoal records from sediment cores. The charcoal delivers a long-term record of human burning, whether intentional or accidental, that coincides with the arrival of modern humans in a particular area. That arrival also often coincides with the extinction of large predators and large animals, generally.
But how exactly do humans impact a new environment? Scientists have used computer models that aim to estimate how quickly and how profoundly Homo sapiens change the landscape. One option estimates land use simply based on the number of humans around, assuming a minimum acreage required to support a person. The other model has humans relatively quickly sprawl through an entire area, but then contract to intensify land use in support of a larger but denser population. This might be dubbed the laziness principle—humans invest the least amount of work, technology or any other resource as possible to survive and even thrive, these researchers argue. “People are doing the easiest thing, knocking out top predators early on,” Ellis explains. “There’s a pretty big impact per person to make a living, [because people are] burning big swathes of forest just to make it easier to get some game.”"
Below you will find a collection of photos I took of people taking photos in Venice, Italy. It is important to understand that the photos below weren’t taken over any considerable amount of time, they were all taken on the same day, within the same ten minute Sunday stroll around San Marco Square where many (if not all) visitors to Venice migrate to, for at least an afternoon.
Click individual photos to enlarge (recommended).
Photo quality varies due to the spontaneous, last-minute nature of taking photos of people taking photos.
After perusing the gallery below, please click this link to view previous photos in the Venice series.