12/15/2012

Mossy Maples

Moss covered Bigleaf Maples, Sooke River

Every season is a good one to be out in the forest. Right now, for example, with winter solstice just days away, the temperate rain forest is moss-puffy perfection.

With Bigleaf maple tree's branches leafless and visible, the green glowing moss is available for inspection. Of the thousands of different life forms in the forest, only a few have ever been seen and recorded.

Scientists inspecting in the canopy of the old growth forest of Carmanah Valley have found invertebrates, mosses, lichens, fungi, algae, protozoa, and soil bacteria previously undiscovered. 

Many of the species discovered only thrive in forests over a hundred years old.


Winter is a good time for a hike in the temperate rain forest of Vancouver Island

Under the moss on the branches of the maple lies a layer of soil that provides a rich environment for a variety of living things. It is estimated that there are 4 times more species of bacteria in one handful of soil than the number of species of higher plants in all of British Columbia.

Bigleaf maple branches send roots from the top of the branches into this soil and moss layer. The moss and soil give nutrients to these roots in return for the favour of the tree's scaffolding. Both benefit.

With winter rains and no deciduous leaves (except underfoot), now is a great time to take a hike in the forest and enjoy major moss at the peak season for growth and viewing.

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