Today was our first visit to our prairie study site in a month, and let me assure you that the hot, and now dry, weather has not had an adverse affect on the prairie. So let's start with our first task: finding our research plots. Now just in case you think us amateurs, the plots are quite well marked by 30 inch white pvc posts in one corner. In the tall portion of the prairie a bamboo pole was added raising the height to around 6 feet and orange plastic flagging was tied to the top, and in late May and early June that all seems over the top. But now it's August, some 5 months from when it was burned to the ground, and the change is most amazing. A dense canopy of vegetation is in places chest high, and the emergent grasses block your vision (see image) and forbs tower above my fingertips even when my arm is raised straight above my head. At one point we were within a foot of a plot and still could not see the pvc. Some helpful denizens of the prairie had chewed off most of the plastic flagging for reasons that seem quite unclear other than sheer perversity and at a distance of about 20 feet even my colleague was quite out of sight let alone trying to spot nice beige-colored bamboo poles. Even with our trusty map plots were hard to find, and the physical effort of just pushing through such dense tall vegetation was quite taxing; where are bison when you need some? But this is quite impressive vegetation really, and for people who have never seen such vegetation, and these days that is very few, it's quite a revelation that something so cool has been nearly destroyed by the John Deere legacy.
Bioplastic from weaver's broom
1 day ago in Doc Madhattan