Current Issue: Vol.35, Num. 1 August 2021
IN SITU, Information Bulletin, 35:1 highlights ecological studies of rural areas by Dr. Alisa W. Coffin and her collaborating scientists, including three study examples, found in the new report of Issues in EcologyIssues in Ecology, “The Ecology of Rural Roads: Effects, Management & Research,” Report No.23, Summer 2021, published by The Ecological Society of America (esa) . [E]sa is an association which promotes the study and causes of environmental pollution, its effect, and possible ways of preventing damages. The new report and all previous issues of the journal are available electronically for free at:
As we read esa’s website, we understand the importance and the impact of roads in the rural land-scape. In the summary of Dr. Alisa W. Coffin’s paper, “The Ecology of Rural Roads” the major ecolog-ical effects of roads in rural landscapes discussed include:
The paper grew out of an organized session at the 2010 annual meeting of the Ecological So-ciety of America entitled “Road Networks and Environmental Change” where the presenters agreed to develop a manuscript for Issues in Ecology focused on the ecology of rural roads.
The report also includes three case studies as examples of the effects mentioned which justify the constant attention required to protect our environment. The case studies are:
The extensive area of Doñana, about 200 acres, is an estuary which encompasses delta lands of the Guadalquivir River flowing into the Atlantic. It is the seasonal home to migratory birds flying from Afri-ca in the summer months and for birds from northern Europe flying south to avoid the Arctic winter. It is also a great attraction for lovers of nature. Description of the area can easily be found on Wikipedia. To maintain the pristine natural condition of this area and at the same time have access to it is not a small task for the public agencies in charge of conducting the research projects that evaluate the un-paved roads and vehicle trails in the area.
As scientific studies reveal to us the complexities of the natural world and the interrelationships of life forms, we marvel at the way human aesthetic feelings are shaped and the cultural values which they represent become part of our lives. El Bosque in Béjar, Spain is a good example.
Consecutive owners developed a garden for pleasure as well as a vegetable garden to have fresh produce. Its historic value was described in previous issues (See In Situ 19:4, April 2001, and 32:3, March 2018) Here we appeal to the sensitivity of the aesthetic experience that it can awake to its visitors.
A place as peaceful and harmoniously enchanting as the garden and the vegetable garden of the property known as El Bosque, (also called The Bosk), is not often encountered. Its charm derives from the simple fact that it is not artificial, but rather the result of human actions embracing the sur-roundings. This property, where time and events have slipped by, barely leaving a human print, maintains itself with little care, and without destroying itself. Let us hope that it can be improved without mistreating what already exists. The Bosk of Béjar reveals itself to its visitors when they walk cautiously along its lonesome paths.
The Bosk backs away from crowds like a snail hiding in its shell. If you want to know The Bosk gar-den, be quiet. It will tell you what to do, not what urgencies seem to dictate. Visitors can take advantage of the vitality of the site to solicit love for the plants from all, and let the light filtering through its greenery and waters tell what should be conserved, or redone for the coming generations. Don’t let the thread that joins the soul of man to nature get away.
The garden is located at the border of Béjar, which was once a city of dextrous weavers. Their skills, learned long ago, provide the wisdom and quality of attention that can be used today in the garden to provide the care needed to sustain it. The Bosk is like a family jewel, in need of protection from misuse, damage, and exploitation.
Beatriz de Winthuysen Coffin
June 5, 2021
Pocas veces se encuentra un lugar tan apacible y repleto de armoniosos encantos naturales como el jardín y la huerta de la propiedad conocida como El Bosque de Béjar. Su encanto deriva en el simple hecho de que no es artificial, sino mas bien el resultado de acciones humanas abrazando el con-torno. Esta propiedad, por donde el tiempo y sus vicisitudes se han deslizado sin casi dejar huella ajena al sitio, se mantiene así misma con poco cuidado, sin destruirse. Esperemos que se pueda mejorar sin maltratar lo que ya existe.
El Bosque de Béjar se descubre a sus visitantes cuando andan cautelosamente por sus paseos soli-tarios. El Bosque se retrae de muchedumbres como el caracol en su concha, escondiéndose en si mismo. Si alguien quiere conocer el jardín de El Bosque, quedo. El dirá lo que deben hacer, no lo que las prisas dicten. -
Visitantes, aprovechen la vitalidad del sitio para solicitar de todos amor por las plantas, y que la luz tamizada a través de su verdura y aguas diga lo que se debe conservar, o rehacer para las genera-ciones venideras. No dejen escapar el hilo que une el alma del hombre a la naturaleza. Situado al borde de Béjar, que fue durante gran tiempo ciudad de diestros tejedores, sus habilidades de antaño se pueden usar hoy día para reconocer la jardinería como una labor que requiere el es-mero necesario para mantener el lugar. El Bosque es sin duda como una joya de familia que hay que resguardar, no explotar.
Beatriz de Winthuysen Coffin
5 de Junio, 2021