The Ideal Baby Saguaro Cacti Tree Nursery
|Image - Kathleen Ferris - City of Phoenix, Arizona|
|John & Heidi @ StatusGo|
|Image - Mine (June 2016)|
|Image - Mine (June 2016)|
|Image - Margarethe Brummermann (June 2014)|
The obvious result would be years later a few of the Saguaros seedlings would be successful enough to make it on their own, eventually to outlive the mother tree Blue Palo Verde which may only live 50 or 60 years. Easy for a 150+ year old Saguaro to outlast.
|Image - Saguaro National Park|
|Image - James Brooks|
|Animation by KanyonKris|
Facilitation or Competition - Which ?
|Image - Gila Bend Shell Station|
|Image - World Heritage Commitee - NordEnergiThe 37th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee made the decision to make the El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in Mexico the latest site to achieve World Heritage Status.|
|Image - Feargus Cooney|
|Photo by Leonora Torres|
Saguaros in Lava fields of the Gila-Pinacate Biosphere Reserve
|Image - Taly Drezner|
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge - Yuma county, Arizona
Saguaro cacti are the tallest things standing at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, near Yuma, Arizona. The cultural icon is a keystone species of the Sonoran Desert, serving as perch, nesting site, shelter, thermal refuge, and food for the birds and other animals in the desert ecosystem. So how do they establish themselves beyond the germination period ?
|Image by Geologist Dan Lynch|
Tecolote Volcano - Pinacate Volcanic Field
How Saguaro seed germination and establishment take place in areas where very little Nurse Trees & Shrubs are found and in a landscape that is basically volcanic fields with Desert Varnish. Remember, they start out life as an Iceplant mimic!
US Fish & Wildlife Serivce - Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Here is a paragraph from the research done by Taly Drezner about the perfect location for the study of Saguaro seed germination and establishment within the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. It was the perfect place to study Saguaro survival under extreme conditions.
"To investigate her hunch, Drezner went to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, Arizona, where limited water pushes the physiological limits of the saguaro, to sample the age structure of the local cacti. Rainfall at Kofa is a third of other locations in the Sonoran. Cacti do not have rings, like trees, that make age simple to gauge. Drezner estimated the ages of 250 cacti based on meticulous calculations of local growth rates using a model she pioneered. She added data from 30 locations in the Northern Sonoran Desert and compared the generational cohorts of the cacti to climate datasets for the region and the annual Weighted Historical Dust Veil Index, an indicator of volcanism."So the idea here is that volcanic events, like the eruption of the Mexican volcano, El Chichón in 1982, have a major impact on global climate cooling. Hences delicate Saguaro seedling survival in hotter areas without nurse plants or trees like western Arizona's Kofa Wildlife Refuge require something uniquely different as far as climatic circumstances.
Now think in terms of large historical Volcanic eruption events ?
"In the year after Krakatoa, summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere fell 1.2⁰C below average. The eruption violently disgorged tons of ash and sulfur dioxide gas into the stratosphere. Dust particles and sulfuric acid droplets rode winds through the upper atmosphere, conspiring in a haze that reflected sunshine and lowered global temperatures. Though not as disruptive as the “year without a summer” that followed the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, Krakatoa’s influence was seen and felt around the globe in vivid sunsets and stormy weather. Southern California experienced a “water year” of record rainfall. Sulfate aerosols in particular can hang out in the atmosphere for years, and Krakatoa released an unusual abundance of sulfur. Typical temperature and weather patterns did not recover for years. For the saguaro, the perturbations appear to have amounted to a collection of “just right” conditions for new growth."
"I started noticing that these saguaro age cohorts followed notable volcanic eruptions,” said Drezner. “I knew that volcanoes drive milder summers and winters, and typically more rainfall for an extended period—two to three years after the event, which is a perfect window of time for the saguaro to get established and have a chance to survive."
My own personal concluding comments
|Image - Mine (2011)|
|Image - Mine (2012)|
|Animated Illustration - Rockland Saguaros|
|Image - Saguaro National Monument|
Interesting Reading References:
Perhaps something else could have factored in the changes in the Southwest - maybe local Volcanism around the year 1000 C.E. - give or take a few hundred years or so either way ??? Okay, that's another post.
Time out for some Saguaro Cactus Humor!
|Photo - Saguaro National Monument|
Prickly Pear Cactus emerges from the top of a Saguaro Cactus
Anyone remember the comedy Sci-Fi film, "Men in Black" ? There was a scene in the Cafe where an alien contact was killed by this enemy Cockroach Alien and his body mistakenly went to the City Morgue before the MIB guys could clean up the incident. Field agent 'J' (Will Smith) and Forensics Lab Laurel (Linda Fiorentino) watch as the dead corpse's head opens to reveals a tiny alien creature with a dire warning, and 'K' (Tommy Lee Jones) has to erase Laurel's memory. Remeber "Orion's Belt" ??? This is the first thing I thought of when I saw this over at the Saguaro National Monument pages. Clearly this is another bird pooping incident out there in the wild somewhere, only this time Prickly Pear tunas.