Some wildflower love from Austria spanning the last couple of months, from first sprouts emerging through the remnant muck of winter, to forest orchids. Check out the Summit Voice photo archives for more wildflower shots from around the world, and visit our online gallery to purchase fine art nature and landscape prints.
Many wildflower species are under the gun from climate change, especially in the mountains, where they will be pushed out of their habitat. Other studies have documented how global warming will affect native plant diversity in California. The changes to plant communities will ripple through ecosystems, affecting insect and birds, as many studies have shown.
Tutti Frutti …
Cherry pie …
Here comes the sun!
Seems like just yesterday it was snowing, and now you can eat ripe cherries off the trees, pluck strawberries in the fields and enjoy summer flowers in the fields. This weekend we spent a little time in the wine and forest country north of Danube and here’s what we found. Check out more Summit Voice travel photography in the Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, or head over to our online gallery at FineArt America for a full selection of nature and landscape photography.
Fresh air …
Cornflowers scattered in a grain field in the Mühlviertel region of Upper Austria.
The verdant blush of spring in the orchard country of Lower Austria.
Wild mountain strawberries.
Linz, sprawled along the Danube, with the crest of the Alps just visible on the far horizon on the right.
Out of the city and into the countryside the past few days, enjoying windswept grain fields, swimming holes, wild berries and ripening fruit trees in mountain orchards. A few scenes from Upper and Lower Austria in this early summer set. Visit the Summit Voice Sunday Set archive for more travel pics, or head over to our online gallery at FineArt America for a full selection of nature and landscape photography.
Moss on lava south of Reykjavik.
Looking south, near Grindavik.
Near Bjarnahöfn,Snæfellsnes peninsula.
West Fjords, sky and sea.
Iceland is the kind of place where you could lose myself for a lifetime between the sea, sky and mountains, not to mention the soft, high-latitude light that sparks nature’s inner light, lending a glow to every scene. A few more galleries here.
While most people picture majestic, glacier-clad crags when they think of the Alps, the great European mountain range has a softer side at its far eastern edge, where the mountains gradually taper off toward the Danube Valley, just west of Vienna. The temperate climate in these foothills is perfect for apple and pear trees, growing so prolifically that there’s and entire district dedicated to the production of tasty cider. And in the famed Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), thick silver-barked beech trees dominate the forests. Just a bit farther south and west, the first high peaks of the Alps rise up to the summit of the Ötscher, a landmark peak surrounded by deeply carved valleys where crystal-clear aquamarine streams flow through protected landscapes like the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park
. In the last few weeks, the soft greens of spring burst forth in abundance in these landscapes near Austria’s first city, and we’re looking forward to more explorations this summer.
Two pollinators climbing around on this lily in the Alps of Austria.
Alpine tundra blossoms plus pollinator in Colorado.
Along came a spider …
Nature’s diversity is astounding at any level, but when you get down to a bug’s-eye view, it can really blow your mind. When I took the lily photo (with the upside-down bee or wasp) I didn’t notice the second bug until I looked at the image on a larger screen at home. Curious, I started searching around a little bit and it didn’t take me long to learn that it’s a lily beetle, which is considered a pest in gardens, but is part of the natural environment in the Alps. In any case, plants and insects are completely interdependent, just as all living things are woven together in the global fabric of biodiversity. Respect nature, don’t abuse it.
Trees are our friends
Winter dawn along a forest road in Colroado.
Twilight in the aspens.
The Vienna Woods are the lungs and air conditioning for this city 1.74 million people.
Last week the UN celebrated the International Day of Forests as a way to acknowledge how important forests are to the world. To cynics, it may seem trite lip service by faceless bureaucrats. But in reality, it’s critical that everyone understands how important forests are for the planet. They cover about a third of the Earth’s land mass and provide livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter for about 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80 percent of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They may also be one of our last, best hopes for slowing climate change. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at the rate of about 32 million acres per year, equivalent to 10-20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. Check out my article and photo essay for Pacific Standard to learn more about forests, especially for ways you can get involved in helping to protect and restore them.