Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Botanical Encounters


This year, on 30 November, it was time for the bi-annual Rencontres Botaniques ('botanical encounters'), a botany conference organised by several of the local botanical societies and held on the Pharmacy Faculty of the University François Rabelais at Grandmont in Tours.

I went along and felt like a dinosaur. A good many of the presenters were young persons talking about how they were using drones, Lidar, analytical software and data mining to survey and monitor sites, and create standards that will inform biodiversity policy, forestry management and the control of invasive species. Young persons doing whizzy things with technology and making people their parents' age feel inadequate is exactly how it should be.

The Pharmacy Faculty at the University François Rabelais, Grandmont, Tours.
Pharmacy Faculty, University Francois Rabelais, Grandmont, Tours.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

My friend Marie-Claude did a poster presentation on lichens.
Poster presentation on lichens at the Rencontres Botaniques, University Francois Rabelais.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

New species recorded for Indre et Loire this year.
Slide from a presentation at the Rencontres Botaniques, Tours.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The slide says: There remains much to do...but the future is ours...sometimes skepticism (top left)...sometimes despair (centre right)...but never discouragement (bottom left).
Slide from a presentation at the Rencontres Botaniques, Tours.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
This was my favourite slide. I totally related to it.

Reduce the number of species of herbivores, and you reduce the number of plant species.
This is why biodiversity matters. The diagram is in English because it comes from an earlier relevant study published in English. No attempt was made to translate it in the presentation. It was clearly assumed that everyone present read English, and in any case, had followed the explanation of the processes being researched in French. One of the techniques in the French study involved sedating Roe Deer and combing their pelt to see how many seeds they were transporting. The previous slide had included some blatant Franglais, being headed 'Pool des Plantes'.

Looking at the display about the historic herbarium.
Botanists at a conference looking at a display about a historic herbarium, Tours.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Early career botanists presenting their work.
Early career botanists presenting at a conference in Tours.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
These two described how they had used analytical software to data mine species lists for some islets in the Loire to automatically generate species assemblage information ie species which you can expect to find growing together. These islets are being very closely monitored for invasive species and natural regeneration as a means of establishing a standard for managing other similar islands and islets in the river. Several of the presentations were about various aspects of this project.

************************************************

For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos. 

3 comments:

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Lovely blogpost, Susan....

"young persons talking about how they were using drones, Lidar, analytical software and data mining"
Drone pictures and LIDAR seem to be so informative...

"The slide says: There remains much to do...but the future is ours...sometimes skepticism (top left)...sometimes despair (centre right)...but never discouragement (bottom left)."
Tell me about it!! I also identify with that!!!
Especially when you read advice that effectively says...
"don't do any land maintenance from October until the Spring"
[Tern - NWT... arrived yesterday]
In the Spring, you can't do any land maintenance in case you disturb nesting birds... so when can I trash some of the areas that need trashing!!
Especially the Blackthorn spp., suckers of which have started to appear the other side of my mown paths! There is also only so much Sloe Gin that can be made!
Then there is Brambles and the tussocky grass areas and...........

"Reduce the number of species of herbivores, and you reduce the number of plant species."
Perhaps Pauline ought to buy her alpacas! It might get her outside more, too....

"One of the techniques in the French study involved sedating Roe Deer and combing their pelt to see how many seeds they were transporting."
You should see what the cats bring in!! Goosegrass/Cleavers isn't as predominant as you'd expect... grasses [especially stiff haumed varieties], agrimony and burdock are easily as common...

Sounds like a fun event.

Susan said...

The LIDAR stuff is particularly informative. Quite amazing.

And agrimony! Bane of my life.

Le Pré de la Forge said...

Goosegrass is my nightmare.... especially when it is growing with Columbine/Convolvulus/Greater Bindweed [Calystegia sp.]... the two form dense, intertwining mats. Cut them with Betsy... that is fine... then you've got to try and rake them up.... impossible! What I need is Betsy's toothed blade set vertically... then I could cut the mile-long rows into rakeable lengths!

Post a comment