The 2008 Edition of Blogger BioBlitz took place the previous week, from september 20th to the 28th. I was not sure as to how I would be able to blitz myself this year (I did it last year at Pittsburgh, and in Northern Pennsylvania), but I eventually had the opportunity for a couple of hours of quick blitzing, the 26th, ca. between 13h00 and 15h00, in a small wood area about 35 km southwest of Paris (map here).
The place was a full grown forest until 1998 when it was completely ravaged by a storm, and only the edges stood up the winds. Today, the forest is back and a lot of young trees are making up a rather dense bush web. These trees are either spontaneous seedlings or were planted by students after the storm, but almost all the species are native of the area and it is difficult to say apart wild growns from the lot. The place is called Bois de la Grille Noire, which translates roughly into “woods of the black gate”, presumably because they were part of a private domain in the past, with a black gate of course (I may look into the history of the name, I hadn’t time yet and can’t remember exactly what I was told about it the first time -hey, this was twenty years ago!).
Parts of the original forest have been preserved, though. These were unfortunately not the most diverse parts of these woods, and they offer today quite a contrast with the remaining damaged site, since the regrowing areas are now filled with many colonizing species, both those that benefited the newly created gap but are typical of this forest (though mostly growing in another place before the storm), and those that are just ecologically opportunistic invaders sudden access to light and water, playing the game before the land turns back into a woody place.
Disturbed area are thus much more species diverse than the previous strands, which were mostly constituted by the fern Pteridium aquilinum (on the bottom right on the picture), or huge carpets of common bluebell and bramble in understorey, and chestnut (upper left in the picture) and pedunculate oak and sessile oak (and their hybrids). So even if many current species actually did grow in the area, most are new to the disturbed strand, and the newly growing forest will probably differ a lot from the previous one, even when reaching its ‘successional’ maturity.
The place also became much wetter in the following years, and many semi-aquatic species are now to be found here and there (especially Mentha_aquatica, the water mint, but also Typha latifolia, the common cattail, and even Tussilago though at this time of the year, it mainly consist of leaves).