I may be projecting my Eastern North American sensibilities onto Finland, but so often here in the East a gravel pit or sand pit is seen as something that needs to be fixed and fixing means scraping it into an acceptable but limited numbers of shapes pumping it full of fertilizers and "good" dirt so that it can support a generic set of trees and grasses that turn the landscape uniformly green. Ecologically, this (to me) is travesty, here is an environment (xeric, droughty soil, in a naturally xeric substrate that traditionally is chronically disturbed by fire and herbivores) that we try to make conform to our picture book notion that Old Growth Forests of the type that are closed canopy, open understory, and towering giant, deciduous trees is the landform that all landscapes seek to become and that all conservation actions should be geared towards ultimate recreation of same. In the East, look at the list of terrestrial endangered, threatened, and declining species and they inhabit transitional, barrens, and ephemeral distrubance environments not large woodlands. Ironically, many big woods species are on the increase. In my opinion the empty gravel pit was the higher good and while I would agree with the earth art aspects of the mountain, I would say the greeness of the results is equivocal depending on how the downstream accounting of the impacts of putting the mountain in or maintaining the gravel pit as a reservoir for species that like those micro-environments even if our aesthetic finds that alternative less tidy and appealing.
posted by Sam Droege
October 13, 2013
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