For my 3rd blog entry in the Travis County Almanac, I decided to bring my adventure close to my own home. Behind where I live is the Mount Bonnell Green Belt, situated along Mount Bonnell Shores and Lake Austin. The temperature today was quite warm, around 90 degrees with a very high humidity index around 2pm when I ventured down there. It was slightly cloudy above, with the wind at a near standstill leaving the feeling of comfort in a miserable state.
Heading into the greenbelt, the crunching of leaves beneath my feet was a grim reminder of the drought we are currently in. Brown and tan leaves scattered the floor along with the occasional fine green twig reaching for signs of life. The immediate plant that caught my eye was the Texas Oak and Post Oak trees. Additionally, the bark of cedar trees scalped the cedar trunks and found its way to the floor as well.
The area I was in gave a perfect example of the devastating effects of invasive species, just in time for what we were focusing in class on. Chinese Ligustrum plants and trees mounted in the dozens. The area I was in was currently in the process of an invasive species removal project. Stumps of these invasive plants that had grown for many years were present as well as the sawed up branches and dying limbs of these trees. Many of the close by oak trees had signs of death and decay where the invasive species were taking up their living space and shade. Many Chinese Ligustrum trees were still not cut down with bright orange markers indicating their presence.
As I wandered down closer to where a creek was, the sights of the recent storm was present. Flood marks and clustered up branches and twigs speckled the creek sides and ripped up trees dangled from the tops of the tree line. The types of trees differed as well. With Texas Ash present, I felt as if I had almost walked into a totally different ecosystem. Additionally, spider webs lined the small holes underneath tree roots and large black beetles crawled the ground in search for any kind of food available. Mosquitos were also flourishing with the recent rainfall and humidity.
“In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain members and citizens of it. It implies respect for his fellow-member, and also respect for the community as such.” (page 204) This quote follows the ethics in relation to the green belt of Mount Bonnell because the members of this community love the wooded area near their homes and value the ecosystem of where they live. It is important to remove the invasive species to allow the natural habitat to continue to grow. It is also of best interest to the community to remove these species as it will increase the value of their property. If oaks continue to get over-run and begin dying then property value may go down and the surrounding beauty of the area will decline.