PRIMEVAL FOREST

 

River Edge

Primeval Forest on our planet is perhaps not existing anymore as we humans have touched every bit of forest.
Yet, new primeval forest starts to appear there where humans leave nature alone.
A wonderful example is Broadbalk Field by Rothamsted Experimental Station, South England.
In 1882 the farmer left a winter wheat field, not even harvested the wheat, alone. The field had to look after itself without any help from humans. Four years later the wheat plants, except for 4, made room for other plants, 40 different plants had moved in, 21 years later 57 ‘wild’ plants were counted.
This experiment shows us how nature moves into an area which is just 0.2 hectare. The field had been farmed since 1664 and perhaps even longer and all around are agricultural fields.

regenerate

In 1915 a grove had developed on the land with mainly Oaks, Hazels and Brambles, slowly but certainly the land converted to forest. It became an example for many other areas. Close to where i live, there is a small new primeval river forest. The area has been left alone, meaning has not been managed, people walk and talk here all the time. It is right along the shores of one of the most busy rivers called ‘De Lek’ one of the main routes from the big harbours from Rotterdam to Germany.
The forest takes no notice of all the passing boats and just moves in while writing this.

rooting in

It is a damp place to be and all trees need to deal with wet feet, they grow amidst Reed and other water-edge plants.
The young trees are all self-seeded and some fall over or are eaten to feed the rest of the trees who still stand.
Only a very few trees are old trees all the rest moved in on their own, it is not an ancient forest. Most old forest was gone by 1300 in the Netherlands only a few bits were spared, mainly along the rivers or places harder to make into farmland.

dead feeding the living

Now at many places we turn back time as we move towards an other future by leaving areas to defend for themselves.

It  shows how nature can recover even after a long time of cultivation. Most of the rivers here were almost dead rivers due to pollution coming not only from own ground but also flowing down stream from Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland and further afield.
The environmentalists made a great difference and the rivers are recovering from the pollution for centuries. There are now strict environmental laws in place preventing pollution as much as it can.

making ways

We can give back to nature what we once took away.
We can speed up the time it takes to recover by playing wind and bird by spreading seeds and planting sticks.
All it takes is time and patience.

oeps what is this

It is wonderful to experience them little surprises.

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Centenary Tree

 

Centenary Pine Tree of Mazagon

Centenary Pine Tree of Mazagon

When you want to create an edible landscape you start with an edible kern, which you seed instead of eat.
During this festive season we eat plenty of edible nuts inclusief the Pine-nut.
In Europe and the middle east the most used pine nuts come from the Stone Pine also called Umbrella Pine. Some of the old tribes used to plant these trees for their edible nuts.

Stone pine

Crown

The above two photos are from the same tree found in Donana National Park in South West of Spain.
It shows you how a little pine nut can grow. One of the most spectacle trees around in this park,  yet the trunk is only 50 centimetres tall but the crown is 23 metres in diameter. The way this beauty grows prove some courage worth celebrating.
Sadly this beautiful area had a heatwave fuelling a big fire, consuming many edible seeds. The trees are known to have adapted for fire by creating a thick bark protecting the living centre of the trunk.
The fire might create a new spurge of life in this area, time will tell.

ice in the sunset

icicle

The time seems right to think about them trees we took inside to celebrate, what to do with them. A cut tree can only provide a short moment of pleasure, the best option than is to put it in a wood chipper to be used as ground cover.
Them trees in pots can be planted but many of them will not survive due to the wrong procedure.
They need to be harden of to get used to the cold outdoor again before we plant them.

xmas tree planting

hardening of

Just put them outdoors during the day and indoors in a cool room during the night. You can also put them on a balcony or even in an open window.
Next to this you need to keep them moist with a plant-sprayer filled with soft water.
After a few days you can repot it in a larger pot which you put outside or dig in partly in your garden, this way you don’t need to water it.
Next year you can dig it out again to celebrate again, after few years you should plant the tree in soil and let it grow big and strong.
When you replant it carefully loosen the roots all around so they can grow again. A very pot grown tree can’t be repotted but should be planted direct in the soil.

After this order some seeds of the Stone Pine so the next generation of Centenary Trees can start, year after year again.
Many seeds will create a forest.
Here you find some tips how to grow them.
Next year, i will visit this Centenary Tree in the hope it survived the fire and with me come some baby trees to be planted.

tear dream

deal

 

 

PLANTBLINDNESS

 

the bigger drop

projection

Non orientable surface concept closely related to projection is the casting of shadows.
If the wire frame from a cube is lit from above the resulting shadow is a square within a square, with the corresponding corners connected.

shadows

Black reflection of a forest

it is a tree

Our vision is limited, we only see a small area of our vision, what we can’t see is there.
Our focusing ability is limited, however our brains fill in what we don’t see.
When you observe physical entities with your observation, they are changing their character.

there are shadows

tree in water or the sky

focus

Our reality could be a simulation off ……….  It helps us to deal with our own incapacity to see what is before the beginning and what is behind the end.
The Greeks called it Horror Vacui; fear for empty, nothing exist, there is no driver.
Progress in our intelligence to do so, development of our technologie to do so.

hidden for our eyes

hidden

fear

Representing inner reality, feeling combined with thinking, silent memories, silent moment.
Simulation done by others is easy to believe and to explain as it doesn’t focus on our inability to see certain things.
We detect movement more than stillness, contrasting colours.

leaf in mid air leaving

leaving

contrast

As our minds fill in, who fills in our minds, the camera, the microscope, the movie or the person behind, a book or the writer, the newspaper or the journalist, the frame or the picture.

being in a bubble

the forest

FOREST

Thanks to a book i realise why we don’t always want to see what there is to see. It put our own vision in a question with several answers.
We don’t see the plants in the details, we can see them, they form a green blur in the passing. We focus on animals, humans, we focus on the centre, contrast.

Plants are all around us under our feet, above our head, left, right, middle, small, big.
Plants fill our air, our water, our soil. Plants live on plants in plants under plants.

Making art with plants you need to learn to see them.

 

tree flag

Tree Flag

While thinking about the Land Art Forests i have not forgotten about the exhibition and how to show feelings within thinking.
While doing so, the path is filled with new perspectives even in the new sciences of plants. A new way to see nature a way to create nature a way to give nature.

 

Bies Forest

You can find the beginning of the ‘Land Art Forest’ in the ‘BiesBosch’, which means the forest of Bies (common club-rush).
This area stands central for the land art, first as an example how we can give back and how we can recover nature. Second as this is the breeding ground for a lot of my thinking.

How it used to be

The changing of this area over the years has been to say the least, dramatic. The area was created by St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1421. Due to war and the rush for profits the dykes were neglected therefor on 18 November 1421 the water broke through and the area became an inland sea/delta.
Nature used the rivers to create land again with silt, bit by bit water became sandbank, sandbank became silt plate, silt plate became swamp with reed and rush and finally meadow.

The BiesBosch became an important fishing area, in 1910 thousands of salmon were caught in a year, yet 23 years later the salmon fishery was finished due to overfishing. The same goes for the ‘Steur’ (sea Sturgeon) a big fish which was used for the caviar. In 1900 438 Steur were caught in the BiesBosch and in 1925 just 3.
The land was used for hunting, there were several Duck decoys used to shoot Ducks in large numbers. This came also to an end and the income of the landowners came from the harvest of Willows and Rush, and cattle from the meadows.

Willows are used to make clogs

Even it was cultivated land it was rich in wildlife due to the swampy character and the dangers due to the tidal difference of 2 metres. A knowledge about the area was needed to wander around.
The best way to visit was by canoe all them small creeks with growth all over it due to neglect as the market for Willow and Rush had dropped thanks to the cheap plastic, which is still today cheaper than Willow.
It looked like a jungle in my childhood memories with lots of birds and filled with adventures.

water reservoir

no comment

All this came to an abrupt end when the Haringvliet was closed to protect Holland from the sea and to stop flooding from happening again.
A flood once created the BiesBosch now flood-prevention killed the BiesBosch.
There was only 20 centimetre difference between low and high water, the water became still and dead. Botulism moved in and many birds and fish died and several people were infected.
Straight after the dam came the reservoirs for water, 3 big concrete basins to store water. Not that we didn’t have enough rain but because the rivers became too polluted to give safe drinking water for the big city of Rotterdam.
A nature area of a total of 693 hectares (1712 acres) of land came under concrete basins filled with water in 1973.
3 Years later biologist from the TU Delft gave a public speech about how it should be different this was for me the turning point perhaps better a starting point that we can and should do it different.

Nature and culture can go together, you don’t need to make a choice. While i spread my wings to discover the world and study, the fight for the BiesBosch went on.
The result is fantastic. In the seventies a big turning point was created by them environmentalist which many of us have forgotten. GreenPeace and the Friends of the Earth made a big impact on decisions and companies had to stop pumping their poison into the rivers. Slowly the rivers became cleaner, we still have a long way to go but progress is made.
Clean rivers bring better water quality to the BiesBosch and better land management created new nature.

BiesBosch back to life

life back into the BiesBosch

It didn’t stop there, people started to care more and more, so the politics started to change according very slowly, as politics always do moves slowly.
The people at the BieBosch however didn’t sit still and waited, they worked hard to create changes to reintroduce wildlife back into the area.
The BiesBosch became a National Park in 1994 many land parcels were given back to nature. It is back to a delta were rivers can overflow preventing floods elsewhere, showing how nature can help.
Climate change brings more and heavier rain to our land, don’t forget around two/thirds of the land in the Netherlands is under sea level.
Once they wanted to get rid of the Willows now they are a respected part of the landscape.

Land Art in the BiesBosch

Land Art is a part of this nature regeneration where culture meets nature and shakes hands. The Moon Spiral  made by land artist Paul de Kort, a brilliant piece to walk and enter nature, proves this.
There are more plans to give land back to nature to change agriculture land into nature. It doesn’t even stop there, the dam at the Haringvliet will be opened permanently to let the fish back in. It took politics 14 years to finally realise that this is a good idea. In the meantime the Sea Sturgeon has been reintroduced into the rivers after more than 65 years  they swim perhaps back into the BiesBosch.

It just shows so clearly, that we can make a difference and that a long fight do give results, we can give back to nature and enjoying it. When we help nature we help ourselves.
On the moment the Land Art Forest is just in her baby shoes, not much more than a creative idea.
It will be a hard battle to see how a group of people can own it and how we can prevent it from being sold ever.

For now I am looking for people who like to be involved and who want to help. In the next series of blocks you can read about the lessons learned from other Land Art projects i did. The Land Art Forest will benefit from all them lessons.
The blog will be written in English next to this a book will be written in Dutch. The idea is that people can use this to create their own Land Art Forest where ever they are in the world.
For now the focus is on a Land Art Forest in Portugal and in Holland. Both forests will have to deal with extreme weathers and both will be used to regenerate nature by people themselves.

In the end the blog will share lots of information about products that will help, together with which trees can be planted best.

trees feed

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