Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another week, another CFN story in the news: orchids near trails

It's great to see Canadian Field-Naturalist articles in the news.  Two weeks ago we published volume 125 issue 2, and right away Tom Spears of the Ottawa Citizen published a news item on one of our articles: evidence that cougars live in Ontario.  The front-page story was picked up by news outlets across Canada.  It has even inspired readers to bring forward their own videos of suspected cougars.  Rick Rosatte, the author of the cougar study, deserves the attention his study has received.

Last week another news story featured a CFN article.  Once again it was published in the Ottawa Citizen by Tom Spears (it's great to see scientific journalism that is both accurate and interesting - good work Tom). The featured article is on orchids, and how hiking trails might benefit them.  Authors Paul Catling (an associate editor of CFN - one of those naturalists who knows everything about everything: dragonflies, ferns, butterflies, etc.) and Brenda Kostiuk describe the numbers and diversity of orchids found right next to trails versus farther away from trails.  They did this research at several parks across Canada.  Orchid numbers and diversity tended to be higher right next to trails than farther away from the perils of passing people.  Keeping nature pristine actually isn't all that natural - things like trampling, browsing, fires, etc. are natural events and many plants benefit from such disturbances.  I remember a Czech butterfly researcher at a conference two years ago presenting research about how the decline of military sites in his country were reducing butterfly numbers - tanks and bombs are very effective methods of creating habitat disturbance!  Way to go Paul & Brenda (and excellent coverage Tom)!

Ottawa Citizen article: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/When+lady+slipper+meets+hiking+boot/6355824/story.html.
The orchid CFN article: http://www.canadianfieldnaturalist.ca/index.php/cfn/article/view/1193

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