January tree planting

I planted more than 400 tree today: 50+ bald cypress & 350 longleaf pine. I understand the professionals are much faster, but it is a lot of me. I also planted in smaller batches and with more thought. For example, I plant the bald cypress in sunny but wet places, not just in straight lines, and I am planting the longleaf in patches.

It was a nice day, sunny & around 50 degrees. It is nice to be out and doing something. I like to imagine what the trees will look like when they candle this spring and maybe decades from now.

I was listening to relevant audio programs. I finished one on evolution and one on dynamism in nature, which is some of the same thing.

The audio book was called “Inheritors of the Earth.” I actually listened to it about a year ago, but I wanted to revisit. The theme is that nature is dynamic. The author talks about deep time. When you look at it this way, being native doesn’t matter. Very few things are where they developed.

Longleaf have their own “native” story. It is likely that something like the longleaf ecology has been around for tens of thousands of years, however it was not where it is now. Longleaf ecosystems, or maybe proto-longleaf ecosystems, likely developed on the coastal plain of Norht America, but at a time of much lower sea levels. So the longleaf coastal plain is now underwater, the continental shelf.

I like to think that we are restoring longleaf in Virginia, but what does that mean? They were “native” to our state in 1607, but so what? We often take first European settlement as the base-line for “natural” America, but is was no more natural then than it is now. We really are not restoring as building an ecosystem with the natural principle of the longleaf ecology.

Anyway, I have confidence that it is good.

My picture is the end of the day. I just barely got the last trees in the ground before dark. Days are short this time of year.

Spent the day planting bald cypress in some wet spots on the farm. I listened to the Great Courses while at it. It seemed appropriate to hear about evolution when in nature.

Evolution explains lots of things, but it I can see why some folks don’t like it. Of course, the reason often given is religion, but I don’t think that is a real issue. You can still have faith in transcendence even if you recognize the mechanism of evolution. I think the greater reason why people dislike the idea is that they dislike the idea of emergence. Emergence takes away not only the idea of a plan that we can figure out, but it also removes heroes and villains, and people like to have heroes and villains.

The audio program is what Darwin didn’t know, as you see in the attached. Mostly they are talking about advances in genetics. Darwin postulated the idea of evolution, but he had no idea of the mechanism. Mendel and genetics were still in the future.

What Darwin actually got wrong is that he thought that evolution always went very slowly and that everything was gradual. In fact, evolution sometimes moves very quickly.
Nature is resilient. I say that often. And nature is resilient because of the process of evolution. Everything changes and adapts to changing circumstances.