Thursday, December 9, 2010

moonscape to landscape

What looks like an ordinary field of grass, flowers and baby trees is actually quite remarkable because, just five years ago, it looked like this:

A group of scientists at the Technical University of Munich wondered how to best restore a natural ecosystem to an open coal pit not far from the city. Rather than haul in tons of soil and carefully place vegetation, what they did was cover the pit in a layer of clay and let an artificial water basin form. Then they left it alone - other than taking samples to check soil enhancement.

They noticed the first cloudburst created furrows where water ran off and washed away the clay. The next rain made the furrows wider and deeper determining the future course of the water flow and where the plants would grow. The first trees weren't expected for at least 20 years but black locust trees germinated and their root's nitrogen fixing bacteria make them an excellent early colonizer of the disturbed area.

Five years later the scientists who have been been able to capture a lot of information about the natural development of a new ecosystem have been astounded by nature's resilience. It certainly goes to show that Mother Nature really is a brilliant designer and doesn't need human interference in her affairs.

After having read Alan Weisman's 'The World Without Us' a few years ago, I'm confident Earth will do okay but it would be nice if we could be here to witness the healing.

♡ - a little good news is always welcome.


Lisa said...

This is a lift. I needed it. Thank you.

Charlene said...

We need those processes in Kentucky. I've seen the moon scapes created from coal extraction; both mountain top removal and open pit mining. The puddles of water are acid green.

marja-leena said...

This makes me think of nature's own remarkable revival on Mount St. Helen's not so many years after it erupted in 1980. I think nature can take care of itself better than we can especially after we wipe ourselves out. Sorry to sound so depressing... this is such a positive article!

Spadoman said...

Absolutely true, if the two legged were to somehow be stricken from the Sacred earth Mother, the world would prosper just fine. But if any of the other creatures, the four legged, winged one, crawlers and swimmers, were to leave, the world would cease to exist. Nature can do it.
I mentioned this in a recent post about Mother Earth, how the open pit mines in Northern Minnesota have reclaimed themselves and have become beautiful places after man stopped scarring them. Then I hear of a new mine project in Michigan's pristine Upper Peninsula and it breaks my heart.
I have been so busy with a Meme that runs through until Sunday. (It's called A Virgin a Day if you don't mind me blog whoring)
I apologize for neglecting my wonderful friends, (of which I consider you among). I'll get back to "normal" after Sunday.

And of course:


Randal Graves said...

What the hell, I don't come here for good news, I come here for dystopian misery and blood and vengeance and lunatic asylums masquerading as governments. Boo! Hiss! Hiss!

Liberality said...

If only we humans would stop trying to dominate over and learn to live with. There would be fewer of us and a beautiful Eden to live in.

La Belette Rouge said...

The earth, I think, is so much smarter than we are. Don't you think? I do agree it would be nice if we could see it do its healing. xoxo

Sean Jeating said...

Hm, not easy add something worthwhile after above's comments.

Would be marvellous were homo insapiens able to understand what life / nature is about.
All it needs is but a bit of sapientia.

susan said...

lisa - After all the nasty stuff we read it's always good to find some relief :-)

charlene - Oh, I know. I can't believe what they've done there and all the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed. It would be better if they didn't have open pit mines at all.

marja-leena - Mt. St. Helen's looked like Mt. Fuji before the eruption and looks nothing like that now but you're right that the scars are healing. At least that was a natural disaster and what humans are doing to the planet is anything but - or is it?

spadoman - I apologize for neglecting all of my usual visits and I have been by to read your wonderful 12 Virgin series. It's really great.

I'm glad you liked this post and I'm sorry to hear about mining the Upper Peninsula. To the 'owners' nothing is sacred. There are many more of us than there are of them and hopefully one day they'll come around.

randal - Sorry to disappoint. It won't happen again :-)

liberality - It's amazing but true that the world population would drop naturally if we started acting wisely. Let's hope we see the beginning of a better way.

belette - Earth must surely be smarter than us because she's certainly much older and wiser. Remember the dinosaurs :-)

sean - It's weird to think our particular race is called Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could live up to even one of the sapiens rather than being frightened greedy saps?

okjimm said...

so... if we take a buncha republicans.... dump them in a pit and let the rain fall on 'em..... we can grow daisies?

Sean Jeating said...

:) As you say, Susan: Full of wonders it would be ...

susan said...

okjimm - It might not be daisies but I'm sure something better would grow even if it was stinkweed.

sean - We live in hope :-)