Monday, November 22, 2010

More Hitchiti

The Infamous "Wild Ginger"

On our Hitchiti trip we came across "wild ginger".  It had thick almost waxy leaves with white spots all over its surface and it smelled like something in a febreeze or glade bottle :)  As we traveled along the trail while other plants disappeared the "wild ginger" could consistently be found throughout the trail.

Leaf Litter Decomposition

Leaf litter is a major source of nutrients in forest ecosystems. As trees shed their leaves, the leaves are broken down by insect and microbial decomposers.  During this process organically-bound nutrients are released as free ions to the soil solution which are then available for uptake by plants.

Southern Pine Beetle

The Southern Pine Beetle is not much bigger than an eye gnat.  It has been attacking and killing all species of southern yellow pine trees in Georgia including white pine.  The beetles construct winding S-shaped egg galleries underneath the bark which effectively
girdle the tree and destroy the conductive tissues that transport food throughout the tree. Furthermore, the beetles carry bluestaining
fungi on their bodies that clog the water conductive tissues (wood) that transport water within the tree.  Ultimately these things have resulted in the devastation of pine tree species in Georgia forests.

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