Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Interdependent Web of Life

Before moving here to Lincoln Hills I never gave thought to the interdependent web of life.  As I walked our open space trails, observing the change of seasons I became aware of cycles.  The first thing I noticed was the flowers.  Of course in spring there were many blooms but as Spring changed to Summer and Summer to Fall I noticed that there was always something in bloom, something to feed the pollinators.  The pollinators depended on the succession of bloom and the plants depended on the pollinators to reproduce. When I heard about the problems caused by monoculture, the growing of a single crop on large tracts of land, I understood.  Once that tree or crop has bloomed it is a desert for the native pollinators.
Recently I noticed another instance of the interdependence of nature.  
Before the grass grew high we often saw egrets hunting in the grassland.  As the grass grew high the egrets disappeared, we wondered why
Then the homeowners association had sheep brought in to eat and trample the grass as a fire control measure.
Then the egrets were back.  With the grass beaten down they could more easily find the voles.
Voles they needed to feed their chicks.
Voles, rabbits and mice eat the grass and multiply.  In nature deer would come, eat and tramp down the grass (probably not as efficiently as the sheep) making it easier for birds of prey and coyotes to find a meal. 
Nature has a balance, a balance that we too often disturb.  The use of sheep to graze the grass helps to restore that balance.  The sheep are moved every couple of days, leaving plenty of grass for habitat but reducing the fuel for fires.
Find more views of our world at Our World Tuesday


Fun60 said...

It is so good to see nature at its best with minimum interference from us.

Lady Fi said...

Gorgeous shots.

NatureFootstep said...

that´s wonderful. Thanks for sharing and for great shots :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Yes -- this is good to think about Martha. Your area/city/county (?) seems to have it together environmentally. It did also put me in mind of the current position about forest burns/fires. For years Smoky had us convinced that all fires were bad -- but it turns out that some fire is needed for the balance of nature and now the Forest Service does prescribed burns. I find that very interesting.