I spent a few hours hiking the North Country Trail as it passed through the Allegheny National Forest to show some of the area’s plants. During that foray, I noticed many relatively thinly forested areas where ferns
were growing, not thinking too much about them. Later, while reading one of the Forest Service brochures, there was a discussion about ferns. The ferns are the result of an over population of deer. Deer eat just about any kind of plant, including seedling trees. However, they do not like ferns. Old trees die over time and with few seedling trees to replace those, ferns begin to proliferate. Ferns then
shade the ground, thus blocking the growth of other plants, including seedling trees. To offset this negative process, the Forest Service has installed fencing in critical areas to keep deer out, as well as managing the deer population with hunting. You can see one of these thinly forested areas in my impressionist photo of the forest, above.
Although my purpose on this day was to photograph plants, I made a rare
fauna sighting–Tigger (that’s T-I-double grr; I didn’t put him there,
honest). I utilized slices of sunlight coming through the canopy, along with fill-in flash to darken backgrounds and light only the plants so they would better stand out.
You might wonder why I included a dead stump. I had discussed in an earlier post how dead trees and other plants
return carbon from the atmosphere to the earth and so are an important part of the ecological cycle. Sometimes deadwood also produces some interesting photos. Here, I liked the way the light bounced off this one.
Even though every map and brochure produced by the National Park and Forest
Services mention specific steps to protect the
environment, including “pack in and pack out”, I still found traces of humanity, as shown in the photo on the left.
My final post of the Allegheny will show a number of waterscapes.