This paper by the eponymously named James Woodman, "Pollution-Induced in North American Forests: Facts and Suspicions" reviews research indicating that ozone injures trees and then summarizes, incredibly, that:
"There is no rigorous proof that regional pollution has changed the average growth rates or development of any North American forest."
intriguing post on ConservationBytes blog announces the publication of a paper which
"...demonstrates how separate drivers of extinction (e.g., habitat loss, over-exploitation [hunting, fishing, etc.], climate change, invasive species, etc.) tend to work together to heighten the extinction probability of the species they affect more than the simple sum of the individual effects alone."
|This is a large old maple.|
"In what we termed ‘synergies’, the review compiles evidence from observational, experimental and meta-analytic research demonstrating the positive and self-reinforcing actions of multiple drivers of population decline and eventual extinction. Examples include experimental evidence that wild radishes experiencing inbreeding depression have lower fitness than expected from simple population reduction (Elam et al. 2007), inter-tidal polychaetes succumb to pollution effects much more so at low densities than when populations are abundant (Hollows et al. 2007), and habitat fragmentation, harvest and simulated climate warming increase rotifer extinction risk up to 50 times more than expected from the additive effects of the threatening processes (Mora et al. 2007)."
"We argued that conservation actions only targeting single drivers will more than likely be inadequate because of the cascading effects caused by unmanaged synergies. Climate change will also interact with and accelerate ongoing threats to biodiversity, so the importance of accounting for these interactions cannot be understated."
...the limiting factor is the integration of the science spanning multiple disciplines is another way of saying that scientists need to get out of their specialized labs and collaborate or we will never completely understand, let alone address, what is happening in the real world.
"There is a significant need to conduct chamberless field studies to determine the effects of ambient levels of O3 on plant growth, productivity, and species fitness, in the context of biological diversity. The emphasis has been on univariate studies (O3 only as the cause of an effect), but there is a need to address the O3 issue in the context of the presence of other air pollutants (47) and the incidence of pathogens (28,47) and insect pests (11,47). The resulting joint effects can be additive, more than additive, or less than additive (47). Because of its complexity, no studies have directly addressed this overall question. The subject becomes much more complex when we try to integrate O3 and climate change (increasing CO2 concentrations, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, etc.). This holistic research is a prime target for plant disease epidemiologists. In all of these cases, the limiting factor is the integration of the science spanning multiple disciplines."
There is an astonishing chronicle of former EPA Head Christie Whitman's fight with Cheney in this Washington Post article, which led to her resignation. Of course I never believed the "spend more time with family" excuse and according to the reporter, she admitted it was over a policy dispute. I wish she had made a stink instead of just slinking away, leaving Cheney to destroy the ecosystem unencumbered by dissenting colleagues.
The silhouette of these young oaks is indicative of ozone damage. The branches are tufted, with more weight on the tips.
This is because the first foliage to emerge experienced the longest and highest levels of exposure, and shriveled up. The newer, outer leaves are damaged as well. It is impossible to imagine trees receiving this toxic dose every season year after year without sustaining cumulative damage that is ultimately lethal.
What follows below are pictures of trees taken over the past few days, interspersed with an article by Amanda Marcotte - "America's Dish Detergent Wars" - an hysterically funny vivisection of a certain, and unfortunately significant, segment of the American electorate:
I want to thank Highschooler, who has been assiduously collecting excellent links relating to the impacts of ozone on plants. I'm adding them to the Basic Premise page, and highly recommend browsing through them. I'll be reading them myself in the coming days and posting excepts. Just for a tantalizing example, here's a link to NASA's satellite page titled:
"Satellite Measurements Help Reveal Ozone Damage to Important Crops
The U.S. soybean crop is suffering nearly $2 billion in damage a year due to rising surface ozone concentrations harming plants and reducing the crop’s yield potential, a NASA-led study has concluded....
"In the 19th and early 20th century, background surface ozone concentrations were relatively low so that an increase of 25 percent, (5 to 10 parts per billion), didn’t affect living organisms," said Jack Fishman, a research scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center. "But now, we’ve crossed the line where you can expect to see modest increases in surface ozone result in crop growth being stunted."
"The first benefit of having the information, Ainsworth said, is simply pointing out the problem. Soybeans – along with wheat and rice – are among the more sensitive crops to ozone. Observing ozone levels and extrapolating their yield impact could eventually play in role in the development of new, more tolerant cultivars, Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth pointed out that while the problem will likely get worse, its effects are being felt today.
"Yields across the country are lower than they otherwise would be," she said. "We are losing a very significant chunk of the potential yield.""Observing ozone levels and extrapolating their yield impact could eventually play in role in the development of new, more tolerant cultivars, Ainsworth said." OMFG, Don't you love it! Develop new, more tolerant cultivars!! THAT's their answer to ozone pollution destroying crops? What about the trees? Are we going to reforest the world with new more tolerant trees?? AAAUUUGHHH. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
These young beeches recently planted in a park have the classic symptoms of ozone exposure.
Their leaves are stippled and bronzed...compare them to this photo from another of Highschooler's links, to the Alabama Cooperative Extension...look familiar??
At the end of the hunt, a hound hustles to catch up with the pack.
First daughter headed back the short way to the Life Camp for the tea. Check out that gleam on her hand!
A few days ago I uploaded a picture of a parasol mushroom. They are now only a fraction of the size they should be. The last two days, edible puffballs have been plentiful. They used to be as big as grapefruits. 'Nuf said. I collected them anyway, to cook.
When middle daughter read this post and found out I was making soup for youngest daughter's freezer, she demanded the same - so this week consists of a soup-making marathon every night before she comes to visit this weekend. Here is the beginning mirepoix for the lobster bisque...
the ingredients assembled for chili...
And the finished clam chowder, which I had to sample...
Next, cream of mushroom with the puffballs, cauliflower cheddar, and minestrone...