Harvest questions beyond identification
Can I align my harvest and tending patterns with community goals and concerns for habitat? Can I gather in a way that honors the current needs and long-term balance of pollinators and wildlife?
Do I know how to gather effectively in shared connection with the plants, to be guided by their needs as well as mine?
Do I understand how and where this species repopulates, and how its population numbers stand locally and broadly?
Do I know which ecosystem and hillside is home to the plants I’m looking for? Have I been watching this patch for awhile? How does my harvest area look from last year? How’s it look over many years? In wet and drought years?
Can I make use of an invasive?
Can I learn enough uses of the most common plants around me to reduce my dependence on purchasing shipped, endangered, and ‘miracle’ herbs?
Do I know where the grandparents are?
Do I know which plant part and when to gather and whether to propagate intentionally, shaking seed or spore or slipping cuttings in? Or is this instead a time to take care to pluck out every last bit of root and rhizome, and protect the seeds from spreading?
Can I leave the area undisturbed with little visible sign of harvest, and ready for regrowth?
What other habitat needs should I be watching for while I’m in that area? Is my usual patch under stress this year?
Do I have a plan, materials and time set aside for processing before I go? Have I figured out about how much I’ll use in a reasonable time for the preparation form I’ve chosen?
Do I understand the legalities and courtesies of exactly where I’m gathering, whether I need a permit or permission to gather, whether it’s only ok for personal use or to sell a little of what I collect and make?
Am I ready to tune myself to the other way to listen?
Flora of Colorado – most complete guidebook for the state
- Cypress spurge. Euphorbia cyparissias.
- Giant reed. Arundo donax.
- Hairy willow-herb. Epilobium hirsutum.
- Knotweeds. Japanese, Giant, and Bohemian.
- Mediterranean sage. Salvia aethiopis.
- Myrtle spurge. Euphorbia myrsinites.
- Orange hawkweed. Hieracium aurantiacum.
- Purple loosestrife. Lythrum salicaria.
Salida Trail Ecological Restoration Project is increasing songbird and pollinator habitat. “Our methods are simple and so far, have proved very successful. Using volunteers, and for the past three seasons, the SCC crews, we hand-pull invasive annual weeds including kochia, tumbleweed and cheatgrass, and grub out or cut down noxious perennial weeds including Canada thistle, yellow and white sweet clover, Siberian elm, and Russian olive. We plant native plants to replace these invasive weeds, either hand-broadcasting seed mix and bark mulch (the city provides the latter, which we really appreciate!), or planting nursery-grown native shrubs and trees in habitat ‘islands.'”
Drier conditions could doom Rocky Mountain fir and spruce trees “Rising temperatures have increased the rate of tree mortality across the American west, including subalpine forests in the Colorado Front Range, making it imperative for spruces and firs to establish successfully and regularly in order to replace fallen cohorts. In subalpine coniferous forests, seedling establishment occurs when large quantities of available seeds coincide with favorable climate conditions. The findings suggest that seedling establishment in Colorado will continue to decline in the coming years, given future climate predictions. Identifying the frequency of establishment events and the required conditions will be essential for land managers as they forecast how climate warming will affect subalpine forests going forward, Andrus said. “The first step is to identify the problem and give land managers a heads up that this is happening,” Andrus said. “We’re even seeing this same phenomenon occurring at lower elevations too in species such as the Ponderosa pine. The goal of our research is to characterize long-term trends in our forests that might not be immediately apparent.””
Arkansas River Report Card: C “The upper Arkansas River valley, famous for trout fishing and whitewater rafting, is home to Browns Canyon National Monument and the longest stretch of gold medal fishing waters in Colorado. Unfortunately, the headwaters of the Arkansas River are tainted by mining pollution. There have been various reclamation and clean-up efforts that have improved the river from its previous state of severe water quality impairment, but the fight is not over, as pollution from these sites continues to impact the river. While much of the upper stretch of river has improved considerably, not enough water is sent downstream past Colorado Springs and Pueblo to farmers who struggle to irrigate their crops. It’s important to continue the progress already being made in the basin to improve quality and meet demand.