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It’s ironic – while the focus of so much environmental attention these days relates to how species and ecosystems are going to respond to all the changes we are throwing at them, certain species that thrive on change find themselves living in an artificially stabilized world, with equally problematic results. (more…)

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Like the settlers that fanned across the plains during westward expansion, pioneer riparian trees like cottonwoods and willows are particularly hardy and well suited to the unpredictable life of a changing river.

On this cleared land along both the main channel and the abandoned channels of a river, the new plants that begin to grow are typically good pioneers the early arrivers that have strategies to deal with lots of environmental stresses. (more…)

Pioneer riparian trees like cottonwoods and willows that depend on flood disturbances for regeneration opportunities have been declining. - Prof. Jerry Stones
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It’s ironic – while the focus of so much environmental attention these days relates to how species and ecosystems are going to respond to all the changes we are throwing at them, certain species that thrive on change find themselves living in an artificially stabilized world, with equally problematic results.

Periodically, though, the path of the river shifts dramatically, and a bend of the river channel gets cut off and abandoned by the main flow of water (see time lapse images below). The result of both processes is the creation or renewal of patches of cleared land, upon which new vegetation can germinate and grow. (more…)

http://themeforest.net/user/alfisahr

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Like the settlers that fanned across the plains during westward expansion, pioneer riparian trees like cottonwoods and willows are particularly hardy and well suited to the unpredictable life of a changing river.

Due in part to their fast growth and large size, these pioneer tree species provide important structure and function, for example, in food web dynamics, nutrient cycling, erosion control, and as a habitat for fish (as trees and branches fall into the river) and wildlife. (more…)