Although scientists do not classify ironwood as endangered or threatened, its population has shrunk rapidly, has not recovered, and is rapidly shrinking. Its ecological importance stems largely from the role it plays as a source of food for many animals and plants that are crucial to their survival. The study is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It provides information on the health of many animal and plant species, many of which are crucial for the survival of their ecosystems.
The ironwood tree is a hardy legume tree and the only place in the world where you can find that the wood even sinks in the water. The ironwood is characterized by a thick, thick bark with a deep, dark brown color and is only one species of the genus Olneya.
The tree is estimated to be over 800 years old and likely to live longer, but dating the family tree rings and the iron wood is difficult because scientists believe it is an old – growing tree in the desert.
Unlike other desert trees, ironwood rarely sheds its leaves and its canopy provides shade and protection from frost and extreme heat – around the clock. Iron forests bloom in spring and their flowers give the landscape a purple hue. At a time when Arizona’s highlands produce little fruit, pea fruits ripen in the period before the start of spring and summer, and the end of winter.
Ironwood as a Keystone Species and Nurse Plant
The iron in wood acts as a catalyst for habitat changes for species that strongly influence the distribution and frequency of associated species and the growth of new species.
The iron in the wood creates a chain of influences on the associated undergrowth plants, which influence their growth, distribution and growth of new species. This ecological dynamic, which scientists call “nurse plant ecology,” results from the interaction of iron with other elements in wood.
The Palo Verde Meskite also plays a role, but the iron in the wood is present in a much greater number of plants and animals than the other elements in the wood.
Iron in the forest provides nurseries for plants, but also serves as a refuge for prey and provides a breeding ground for herbivores who prey on endangered plant seedlings. Finally, the soil composition for other legume crowns is changed and the soils are enriched with minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium carbonate and iron oxide.
This attracts birds and other seed spreaders who breed in iron wood and produce downright rain, from seeds to whole fruits. The number of bird species in desert crumbs can increase by 63% and the number of other species by 60%.
The iron-wood canopy, which provides shade and protection against frost, also improves plant health, survival and growth. Thorny, low-standing, spreading branches keep herbivores away and promote plant growth, which in turn attracts a greater variety of birds, both brooding and migratory. Plants grown in nurseries with iron wood grow better than plants without, due to improved soil conditions. The germination rates are Higher and higher survival rates of seedlings are better due to improved soil conditions and plant survival.
The relationship between juicy cacti and iron wood is particularly well documented and the subject of a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Botany.
Iron wood plays a similar role in the uptake of seedlings and young plants that are sensitive to extreme heat radiation. The canopy minimizes shade for plants, especially on frosty nights when temperatures can reach 32 degrees Celsius, making a significant difference for sensitive seedlings. A recent study showed that without a canopy, the seeds of young cacti and their young would retreat into the shade of the canopy.
If the protective cover of iron wood were removed, the cacti would suffer sunburn and die in the sun, and suffer extreme heat radiation.
The spiny nurse plants can drastically reduce the number of predators in their nursery seedlings. In some places, this effect is reduced by nesting, burying, or sheltering animals in the iron forest. Iron wood not only serves as protection against predators, but also as a buffer against the biotic load of plant breeders, especially herbivores.
Ironwood as a Cultural Resource
Iron wood has long been valued for its cultural and environmental resources, and traditional products and uses for iron wood include wood for furniture, woodworking, building materials, ceramics, textiles and other industrial purposes. However, since most of these applications use renewable raw materials, the environmental impact of iron wood on the environment and human health and well-being will be negligible in the coming years, at least for the foreseeable future.
Seri began carving elegant, abstract representations of native animals from iron wood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as part of his work as a sculptor and artist.
The successful form of his carving was quickly copied by the surrounding Mexican communities, but he always used dried, already dead iron. He carved with a machine, exhausting the local hardwood supply, and he always used dried – already dead – iron wood for his sculptures.
This makes ironwood an important resource for communities in northern Mexico, where this type of firewood is in short supply. Attempts to protect the iron forests in the region have so far been unsuccessful, but there are attempts to preserve the timber.
Iron wood is grown in mixed stocks with mesquite and is often felled in tuna nets that kill dolphins and other species, although harvesting is usually deliberate and not random.
At the request of Seri and others, the Mexican government now requires a permit to cut down iron wood, but the law is difficult to enforce, and permits are only issued for those who collect wood within a day. The cost of felling dense, heavy iron woods is high, and poor loggers have to pay according to the weight of the wood they collect. Iron wood is cut for charcoal production, and the price of cutting is higher, with up to $1,000 or $2,500 paid for each day it is collected.
Threats to Ironwood
Demand for timber has sent Mexicans across the U.S. border to harvest ironwood in protected areas, but other impacts threaten the ironwood habitat on both sides of the border. In the study, logging alone reduced the total number of iron forests in the Rio Grande Valley in California and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Mexico by an average of 17%.
A is highly invasive and poses a serious threat to the hardwood, according to a recent study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Among other things, the population explosion in the Sonoran desert has led to an increased impairment of the habitat of ironwood. Hot, burning wildfires destroy iron forests and other trees and cacti to fuel buffalo grasses. The study shows that this has reduced biodiversity and the diversity of native plant communities and increased the incidence of fires.
Ironwood Tree, Olneya tesota
One of the largest and oldest plants is the ironwood tree, which grows only in the Sonoran Desert in the southwest. It grows up to 40 metres high, has withstood the desert heat for over 1200 years and is one of only a handful of ironwoods that exist.
As a member of the pea family, iron forests feed hundreds of species and are vital to their survival. Many species of Sonoran wildlife depend on them for survival, such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds and reptiles.
Studies have shown that the presence of iron forests can increase the number of bird species in the habitat by 63 percent. The heavy crown of an iron forest can feed more than 150 bird species and provide them with a variety of food sources such as grasses, berries, nuts, seeds and other plant material.
For this reason, the physical environment of iron wood has low temperatures and high water availability, resulting in a high carbon dioxide (CO2) content.
Among other things, there are more than 60 reptiles and 64 mammals that use iron wood as food, shelter and as a place to give birth to their young. Insects gather in the trees to feed birds and reptiles, and cacti growing in iron woods are great housing for the birds. More than 230 plant species grow as care plants in iron wood.
Pigeons, quails, coyotes and small rodents eat the seeds of these plants, which taste similar to peanuts. In some areas of Tucson, more than 1,000 bird species, reptiles and mammals, as well as a variety of insects, are supported by iron wood.
One of the heaviest woods in the world, a cubic foot of ironwood can weigh up to 66 pounds, about one-third the weight of a human hair. The name “ironwood” comes from the fact that a piece of ironwood that is dropped into the water sinks to the bottom and cannot rise.
The small, bluish-green leaves grow in pairs or pairs like thorns and the leaves remain on the tree until they bloom in May or June. It is not considered an evergreen tree, since the leaves of the iron wood only live one year.
The iron forest is filled with flowers that vary in color from pink, purple and white. When the flowers wither, new leaves grow and slide over the old ones, but the iron wood is never really without leaves.
These brown, cone-shaped seed pods grow from 1 – 4 shiny brown seeds, each containing about 0.5 grams of protein. The seeds provide protein – a rich food for many desert dwellers, but also for humans. Many Indian tribes roast and grind the seeds to make a rich flour porridge that tastes suspiciously like peanut butter.
The inner bark is used as a emetic and vomiting agent, and other parts of the complex have been used for centuries for various purposes. Indians grind the root into a paste to cure gum infections, and tea is made from crushed leaves to relieve asthma.
The hard wood is also used to make tool handles, jewelry and arrowheads, and is used as a fence post, charcoal and firewood, as well as as as a building material.
The iron timber trees grow up to 2,500 feet in dry locations and are most commonly found near dry laundry, but also in wet places, such as the desert.