Chasing Light: Forest reefs?
Sometimes when I’m way in the woods, lost deep in a search for wild mushrooms I get the distinct feeling that I’m underwater, in a good way — especially when I find one of those decomposing logs or stumps completely covered by moss, lichen, seedlings and, in late summer, fungi.
This morning’s walk in the dense spruce and fir forests on the west side of the Tenmile Range near Frisco started under a drizzle, which is actually a great time to spot mushrooms because the moisture heightens the color of the caps. In full sun, the smaller fungi are hard to pick out in the bright spots on the forest floor. Even before I started walking, I noticed an old curled log in the road embankment with several species of mushrooms sprouting. When I got closer, I saw the delicate purple coral fungi, one of my all-time favorites because, well, they are just so darn freaky looking.
I spent about 20 minutes taking photos of different varieties of fungi growing on and near the stump, and realized that, in some ways, decomposing trees are the coral reefs of the forest, providing food and micro-habitats for many other species. It’s pretty clear, after taking a close look, that all these different species are interconnected and dependent on each other in ways we are only beginning to understand. But it’s a good ecology lesson to realize that the larger global ecosystem we humans are part of works the same way. And when you tear even a tiny part asunder, it affects the whole thing.
Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.
News Literacy Project event: Concerned about online misinformation? The lack of news literacy? You can make a difference by participating in this free workshop! After […]Read More
The Home Front: Trump administration would allow drilling in Colorado ‘next to some of the nation’s most pristine wilderness and headwaters’
“From a small plane circling over secluded grassy meadows and Sangre de Cristo Mountain spires, politicians and conservationists on Friday will see the stakes as […]Read More