Sunday, May 17, 2015

That was then...

Mount St. Helens shortly after its eruption on Sunday, May 18, 1980.

This is now (according to the Tacoma News Tribune);
“We’re still adding species 35 years out,” noted Charlie Crisafulli, a monument ecologist whose face lights up like a little boy’s when he plunges into one of the more than 100 wetland ponds in search of amphibians. The ponds along the Hummocks Trail are ecological oases that in some places resemble lowland wetland ponds found throughout Western Washington, homes to frogs, cattails, red-winged blackbirds, beavers and insect-gobbling swallows.
The red alder, willow and cottonwoods are thick like weeds, growing in narrow, secluded valleys above a moist understory of sword ferns and native and non-native grasses. “The sword fern just started moving in about five years ago,” said Crisafulli, 57, who arrived at Mount St. Helens shortly after the eruption to begin a lifetime of research. “These alder glens are game-changers.”

Good advice to keep in mind next time you encounter an environmentalist;
“We have a large, slowly evolving landscape of highly palatable plants,” he said. “And we have the three ‘P’s’ — pathogens, predators and parasites — which creates these boom-bust populations.”
Crisafulli calls Mount St. Helens a testimony to resiliency. “Just leave a natural system alone, and amazing things happen,” he said.

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