Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tree Ferns and Wild Hogs



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What do these pictures have in common? Hawaiian tree ferns are very slow growing but after 75 years or so may attain a height and breadth of 15 feet. They are understory in Hawaiian rainforests. They are also a threatened species. World wide tree ferns are been losing ground (literally) as they are exploited for use in orchid media and landscape use. In Hawaii they are threatened by land clearing and development. The middle picture broadens the story. Feral hogs are a threat to native environments everywhere, but especially in Hawaii. They root over the tree ferns, which causes the ferns to catch and hold water. Mosquitoes breed in the standing water.Mosquitoes were unknown on the island till 1826, but when they came they brought with them avian diseases which have added a new threat to the islands' habitat. These diseases are a particular threat to the endemic bird population. This is another example of how everything in the natural world is connected, and we should not not forget that we are a part of the natural world.
The first picture shows landscape use of free ferns. Look natural in that parking lot, right? The second photo was taken at a flea market along the road to Volcanoes National Park. Just as here hunters ride trophy deer around to show them off, this hunter was pleased to display his feral hog trophy. The flea market was typical of most, except they had foods like spam sushi and persimmon cookies.There were used kitchen appliances mixed in with hand made jewelry and threadbare purses. Quite interesting.

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