Flock Defense and Joint Ventures

 

On the edge of the East Woods today the junco, the chickadee, and the titmouse are flitting about, displaying a wonderfully collaborative relationship – each benefits from the other while also aiding their fellow feathered friend. This is an ideal joint venture where each partner knows its responsibilities, communicates freely, and enjoys the value created. The chickadee and the titmouse knock seeds to the ground for the junco, the junco is very sensitive to oncoming threats, and together they employ ...

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Fruiting Bodies and New Business

 

The unmistakable bright yellow fly agaric mushroom stood right in my path as I stepped out for a breath of fresh air in the East Woods last weekend. I had to stop and admire the fantastic color, texture, and symmetry of this fruiting body. Though we usually consider this visible part of the mushroom as the whole plant, in fact it is just the result of a long and arduous process of colonizing the ground with mycelium fibers. Only when ...

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USDA Quarantines and Markets

 

The East Woods are under quarantine and the USDA is busily searching for the dreaded Asian long horned beetle. This invasive pest is wiping out ash, maple, and birch trees and could cause havoc in the environment as well as the dependent industries. Thus, we have 5 forest inspectors out back looking at every single tree in the woods for signs of this dreaded pest. The good news is that the boundary of the bugs’ excursions is well defined, ...

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Big Oaks and Life Science Platforms

 

As I watched the twitchy red squirrel gather the few remaining acorns on the ground, I realized that a large portion of the living and dying in the East Woods is dependent on a few keystone species, namely oak, maple and pine trees. These platforms provide food, shelter, environment, and nutrition for dozens of plants, fungi, birds, rodents, and even people (my firewood and maple syrup).

Similarly in the life sciences arena, there are a few significant companies that provide technology ...

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Deer Snorts, Bubbles and M&A

 

While peacefully enjoying a book the other night, I was jolted out of my seat by a bizarre sound in the woods. After peering into the darkness for a few minutes, I realized it was a deer snorting. I had no idea that deer made any sounds and this one is very strange (click to listen). Having my quietude disrupted by this ungulate made me think about how this current marketplace for all-things-technological is going gangbusters (aka a bubble). ...

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Timber Harvest Strategy

 

Driving by a state-owned forest the other day, I saw the telltale sign of a pending timber harvest – the 20 ton skidder parked on the edge of the woods. I was somewhat curious since this land is part of the watershed for the reservoir that quenches the thirsts of a couple million Bostonians, and I did not think that harvesting timber led to pure clean water.

So to satisfy my curiosity, I looked up the timber harvest plan to ...

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Ptyxis and Planning

 

Walking by a black birch tree the other day, I noticed that the tips of the branches all held long, prominent, pointed buds that seemed ready to burst into a spring flush of leaves. These plump buds are compact little packages whose embryonic leaves are folded in an intricate “ptyxis” and packed tightly together, awaiting their call to arms in 5 months’ time. Somehow these trees have the ability to prepare for next season to insure that they have a ...

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