Bewteen the 3rd and 4th post, you will come across the tree trunk of a California White Alder. While most alders prefer to be close to a water source such as streams, rivers and marshy wetlands, this type of alder can withstand drier climates. This hardy tree is often used when an area is under reforestation. It stabilizes soil in rainy, wet areas. The wide, leafy canopy makes the alder tree a perfect shade tree for home gardeners.The hardwood of the alder has been used for a wide variety of purposes, from the pilings of the foundation of the floating city of Venice to furniture, cabinets and trim. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has built guitar bodies out of alder wood since the 1950s. Alder bark and wood (like oak and sweet chestnut) contain tannin and are traditionally used to tan leather.