dinsdag 29 juni 2021

Building up Nature.

 While clearing the land of vegetation, which I have written about before, I noticed that not only was the grass clippings there, but also a lot of leaves, and the stones.

Now that I have moved on, and come to look around and compare things, I see that nature is literally preparing to grow plants, in the most wonderful way and in shapes that I had not previously seen. could have imagined.

Firstly, by giving shrubs a leaf that falls off after drying out, covering the ground, and thus making soil life possible. Here in Portugal we have a shrub ''Cistos Ladaníferos'', or flore de estava, and it grows in many places, and I already called that a pioneer, but it is true. It grows in rocky places, where the seed comes from (birds maybe?) is not yet clear to me, but on those rocky places it grows overwhelmingly, drops the leaves, when is not clear to me either, but that will take care of it that a form of litter layer is formed, which can lead to soil life. By shade, against the heat, retaining moisture during the night, taking in moisture that condenses along the trunk of the plant, and drips down, and holds it there during the day, when the heat is there, (35 degrees). The leaves are sticky, perhaps also to retain moisture better, striking green, in May the flowers are white, with a yellow heart in the middle, five or six leaves, with purple dots. This plant is the first to be present on the rock, but also where soil has already formed. Especially on the rock she is the pioneer who penetrates the rock into the crevices, and thus, with her growth habit, prepares the soil layer, which then forms itself for subsequent plants.

I came up here because, next to the hill I had already "cleaned" (read-impaired), I went to take a closer look at an adjacent hill, and saw a lot more bushes and trees there, which actually reminded me to a kind of primeval forest, but not yet as ancient as a primeval forest is.

On this hill everything is still growing together and the ''Cistos Ladaníferas'' have already disappeared and have been replaced by a kind of heather and lichens, which also grow on stones, and trees that provide shade. Other Lichens grow on those trees and these can then grow into a small branching shrub, as if it has leaves. Mosses grow on the ground that are dying, but are also taken over by other mosses, which in turn make use of the first type of moss and grow over it. I now see the place where this all grows with different eyes than before. I have noticed that there are several types of holm oaks. That the leaves of those holm oaks can also differ in shape, are sometimes smoother, sometimes larger and have more or less projections. They are small in shape, but can cling well to the soil, thus helping to create a layer of litter to cover the soil. And some have spines that can sting you quite a bit if you hold them. All this together means that nature always aims to achieve with growth, and everything works together to achieve that. In fact, this is self-protection and a kind of feedback, as if nature knows that it needs the litter layer, to protect roots, so that soil life can arise, to serve everything.

The pioneer shrubs make a layer of litter, under that layer of litter bacteria occurs, not because it has to be, but because it is possible. These break down the litter layer again, creating a rudimentary form of humus, containing carbon. The carbon is an energy form for a subsequent bacterial species, to break down minerals for the construction and maintenance of that bacterial species, and these can then be used for absorption by the plant. So only a layer of litter does not have a bacterial effect, which only occurs when moisture penetrates it, but that bacterial effect only breaks down the litter layer into rudimentary humus. Only in that humus can carbon be formed to initiate soil life, to break down minerals for the plant.

It is also striking that this hill faces north, the southern side has regularly been tried to do something with it, perhaps gardening? But there are mainly the ''Cistos Ladaníferas''. They are doing well, but they are still in the stage of building up a litter layer and there are no trees to provide shade yet. Attempts have also been made to plow strips to allow grass to grow for sheep, but that now looks poor, also because in the summer the grass dies and helps to form a layer of bedding, but when in the In the autumn the grass starts to grow, it is eaten by sheep again, and the natural process cannot take place.

At the bottom of the spot I have now discovered, there are also all kinds of mosses growing over and under small twigs, low shrubbery, and larger branches that have not yet broken off on their way to humus and carbon. Over it again leaves and bushes, and all this is at rest, because it is summer and lack of water in the form of rain. The trees are also locked, as it were, so as not to lose moisture, so no growth, but wait until the rain comes again in the autumn. However, all this can be accelerated by making compost and adding it to the soil if we want to grow vegetables. But vegetables are not a natural form of plant growth. It is culture, and originated because human growth in an environment increased too much. The pressure became too great, so farming had to be practiced. The original plants, which were also forest plants, have grown through selection and care into the crops we normally eat today, but originally grew in the wild and in the primary forests.

The piece of nature that is still present nearby is of a rare value that it must be cherished. This can be done by extracting it from grazing livestock. The litter layer that is then created guarantees that the whole can develop into a piece of nature at its best.


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