Continuing an Equestrian Legacy Community Bulletin Board General Discussion Greenspace Management — managing weeds, improving habitat Reply To: Greenspace Management — managing weeds, improving habitat

Karla Lauritsen

Our second Wine and Weeds Walk on Saturday, June 19th, featured horses and humans seeking food and food for thought, lead by guest speaker Philippe Cohen. Philippe enchanted us with his stories of biological research stations. The basic research of scientists and students at stations, have had practical applications from statistics to ecological restoration. Rachel Carson did much of her research though biological research station archives, eventually publishing her evidence and argument as Silent Spring.

We also learned that the Colorado Plateau, the source for the Rio Grande River and the Colorado River, is highly impacted by climate change, nearly as much as the Arctic and Antarctic. It’s hotter and drier on the Plateau.

Rocky Mountain aspens have endured drought for centuries, but this current drought is hotter. Aspens, as they transpire in too hot, dry conditions, develop embolisms in their phloem, which damages or kills the trees. Where too hot, dry conditions persist, aspen clonal colonies could disappear within 50 years.

With our local climate changing so rapidly, Philippe recommends that restoration efforts emphasize supporting the amalgam of native and introduced plants that work well together to sustain the important functions of ecosystems.

The fragile cryptogramic soil crusts–primarily composed of lichens, algae, and bacteria– living here play an important role in soil stabilization and making nutrients available to their neighboring rooted plants. So when hiking or riding off trail, Please Don’t Crush the Crusts! Walk on plants and rocks.

You can visit these research stations in NM and worldwide. The people working there are fabulously welcoming and informed about their locale.

Many thanks to our member Alice Griffin, for introducing Philippe to us.