Pines in wet climates

The pine forest on the left grows in the Pskov region of European Russia, not far from Pushkin’s ancestral estate. The climate there is moderately cold and rather wet, with more than 700 mm of precipitation per year. 

Winters are snowy there, as one would expect from a place less than 400 miles northwest of Moscow, but peak precipitation occurs in July and August. Summers are rainy, in other words.  However, the sandy soils in those forests seem to drain well and fast. The area is also hilly so the slopes are often moist but never too wet.

The image on right comes from the island of São Miguel, the largest of the Azores. Whether these pines are native to the island or planted imports, I don’t know although I suspect the latter – the trees look too regularly spaced and too straight. The location is not far from the volcanic crater lake Lagoa do Fogo, if I’m not mistaken.

The trough with clean water reflecting the trees is called a levada in Portuguese, a narrow channel built to deliver rainwater from high-rainfall spots to relatively drier locations. Although annual precipitation varies across the island, São Miguel is on average a rainy place – as you would expect from an patch of land in the middle of the Atlantic.

Those Azorean forests are a marvel. Sometimes they smell like Russian forests – there’s even a whiff of a mushroom scent – but the lush undergrowth looks tropical.

In my mental world, pines are associated with sandy soil but in reality – if I understand correctly – they would take root in almost any kind of soil as long as it drains well. If this condition is met, pines can thrive in wet climates.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading