It’s a blossoming time for native planting here at EEC Forest Stewardship. We’re watching lambs grow on green pastures and rooting more wonderful flowers like bird’s foot and shooting star. These wonderful plants are helping to diversify our understory variety and encouraging native pollinators across the landscape. Some of these plants are eager for sunlight, while others, like trillium and maidenhair fern prefer the shady wetlands of our creek. It was particularly exciting to plant the first trillium back on the land here. Slowly, over the next decade, these rare flowering gems will take root and spreed, but it does take time. It is often said that planting sooner is better, but learning the land and where to plant for success takes time and patience. Even with 10 years of observing and mapping the land here at EEC, climate change throws a wrench in every year. Many of these cool weather plants are going to fail in the long run. Our damp forest floors are drying up. Right now, May 2023, Alberta and British Colombia Canada are on fire to our north. Down in California, flooding continues after the state received most of our winter rain events- known as atmospheric rivers. Without that water, our temperate rainforests are hurting as we begin the warmer months in earnest.
The weather cannot hinder our replanting efforts, we’ll keep rooting into the soil here with as much divers adaptation possible. Nature finds a way, and our support in offering species that are at home here is on the right track, but we’re also mixing in some more drought resistant species like oak and lomatium. As the next few decades unfold, EEC will keep on planting and protecting, with extremes in mind. This week temperatures are in the 40s at night and 70s during the day, but in just a few days, we’ll be experiencing our first real heat wave, jumping into the 90s. The newly planted natives will experience quite a shock, and those not in a place of irrigation will be watched closely, as new plantings are very vulnerable to extreme temperature changes while still struggling to establish their new roots. This kind of heat spike is not typical, but compelling changes in our climate of once temperate rainforest. These hot flashes, combined with a missing 4 inches of rain this winter, will put a strain on already stressed ecology in our region.
It’s always better to do most planting in the fall, as temperatures are cooling, not heating up, but new growth happens in warmer months, so these new natives will get a chance to hit the ground running and we’ll be out with water buckets hauling to help make sure this important investment in restoration survives abnormally dry spring conditions. There have been some morels out though, so not all is dry all the time. I’m still hoping for a cooler spring, like 2022, but I think we’re in for another scorcher. It’s hard to see the future, of course, but the days of cool morning mists and fern filled forest floors is slowly retreating. Below is my tattoo of our temperate rainforest floor, with trillium, bracket fungus on a log, and sword fern reaching up from the mossy ground. These images of a wet, wild place with Jurassic evergreen growth are symbols of abundance. Cultivating the waters ensures survival. Planting the foundational forest structure now will help protect soil dampness and the environment necessary in hosting the beautiful flora represented in this body art; hopefully not destine to one day be an historical record, rather than a reflection of what continues to thrive.