By Wendy Langhans
Have you ever watched a wound heal? Bleeding, followed by a scab, which falls off revealing pinkish skin that eventually changes back to skin color. Healing is a process, involving a series of changes over time.
Ecologists also study changes over time; they refer to this process as succession: “a process of ecological change in which a series of natural communities are established and then replaced over time.” Primary succession begins with the creation of new land, empty of life. (eg. land created by a lava flow). Secondary succession is like healing a wound, it begins with land where life once existed but has been destroyed (eg. after a wildfire).
Last June, a small area in the Santa Clara riverbed was burned in a wildfire. Here’s a photo taken during that fire.
One year later, you could see new signs of life, including this Toyon in bloom.
Toyon is considered a pioneer plant, a plants that first colonizes an area that previously supported life. After a fire, the underground toyon roots resprout, sending up new shoots that quickly grow into a small shrub. The new shoots provide food for deer. The mature plant provides cover and nesting sites for birds and small mammals, as well as seeds for quail and other birds.
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When I saw the masses of white blossoms last month, it reminded me of the q-tips I use to swab a scrape or cut with anticeptic. Not a bad analogy, since both are involve healing wounds.
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Saturday, July 24, 7:00-8:00 PM. Twilight walk. Placerita Canyon. A twilight walk through Placerita Canyon Natural Area for the whole family. This hour-long, free, easy hike has multiple stops to learn about nocturnal creatures. Bring water and wear closed-toed shoes; long pants recommended. 1 hrs. For map, click here.
Saturday, August 7, 6:30-8:30 AM. Morning stroll. Pico Canyon. Get out in the park before the heat of the day. Beginners are welcome. Bring water and wear closed-toed shoes. Meet in the parking lot at Mentryville. 2 hrs. For map, click here.
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, July 1, 14, 21 & 28.
Saturday mornings, July 10 & 24.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The Hike Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, visit www.LAMountains.com.