The Intervention

You are walking home from work one day when you see someone moving briskly, a bag dangling loosely by the right side.  Another person you, for some reason, identify as \”dubious,\” is walking a little too close behind them.  You look intently as the questionable individual removes a hand from their pocket and reaches out.. and then puts the same hand up to their ear as they accept a phone call and briskly walk past everyone.

\”I\’m almost there!  See you in a sec!\” they say as they hurry off.

You were at the edge of your seat in a react or ignore decision-making process.  We want to be most informed so we can make the best decisions about when to observe, when to ignore and when to intervene.

Intervention is the most difficult proposition.  Remember that when you make the decision to intervene, the burden of the situation is shifted to you.  In exchange for the opportunity you may provide, you also receive a portion of responsibility for it\’s outcome.  You then also assume the risks associated with your intervention.

Observation is always the first step.  The question becomes \”For how long do we observe before making a decision.  When is it too late?

An old Chinese proverb states \”The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.\”  So, I\’ve been planting trees with some degree of haste but not without some observation, some planning, and some vision.  I observe and wait to intervene in a land that clearly needs LOTS of useful co-beneficial perennial flora for several reasons.

  1. A location mistake could mean the loss of a tree or the need to relocate the tree and further stress it.
  2. I should research each species and understand it\’s needs and pair that with the emergent water, shade, and nutrient properties of the forest. This will maximize the tree\’s opportunity to thrive.
  3. I should ask myself a second time if this ecosystem wants this tree? Will it be a partner in the community or a sore thumb, susceptible to disease, or a threat to other plants?
  4. Remind myself that even the planting of a tree is a disturbance and think of what it effects.
  5. Is this the right time to plant? Will my effort be nullified by extreme heat or drought or a seasonal pass that will weaken or kill the tree?
  6. What is the future path or use of the land, will animals domestic or wild walk through this area?

There are many other questions one could ask and some questions can be answered within a heartbeat, other require well-timed or longer-term observations such as that of observing rainwater or shade as the season progresses.

In terms of general tending of the forest, I find myself a little more reactionary but not without a plan.  If I am vigilant and dependable about removing unwanted plants that are harmful to humans, animals or other plant-life at the moment I have the opportunity, I am automatically creating the opportunity for more desirable species.  But even this can be futile.  I need to research an analog that can fill the niche these less desirable plants are filling.


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