Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Catching Up

After early January, when I had already written the guest post Whispers From the Ghosting Trees so kindly published today by Greg Laden, several intriguing new studies have since emerged in just these past few weeks.  For any new readers who might stray by from Greg's blog, I thought I would do a quick recap, with links back to the posts that go into more detail on each.
This view is looking out my kitchen window just after sunset, at the steep hill that looms above Wit's End.  When I moved here just about a dozen years ago, the woods were impenetrable.  You could barely walk through without a machete, and you couldn't see through to the sky, even in winter, from the ground up to the tops of the trees.  Since then, so much of the understory has died, and so many trees have fallen, that it has become comparatively barren.  The trees that remain standing have ceased growing and are rotting.  This is absolutely typical of forests everywhere.
Today I went out and grabbed a few pictures to illustrate this post.  The leaf is from a Chinese honeysuckle.  It has some early buds and blossoms, but the leaves exhibit classic stippled damage to stomates from ozone pollution.  Before I knew that pollution is killing trees, I planted over two hundred, about eight years ago.  Most were just little twigs to start, but I splurged in front of the barn and bought three bigger saplings.  This is the red maple as it looks today.
Of the many symptoms of decline, one of the more astonishing is the corrosion of bark.  Everywhere it is splitting and cracking, and on warm days in the winter, like today, it often oozes sap.  All those little round spots are liquid drops.
 This branch is higher up, and it is seeping as well.
The sheen on the left is from wetness; there is a drop on the right.  Lichen is growing and the bark is breaking off, particularly at the joints where branches protrude from the trunk.
 It's not just the maple - below is the willow oak, also oozing and cracking.
 The lower trunk is a fungal disaster.
 Daffodils are starting to emerge from under the katsura tree, even though it's still January.
The way the bark is popping off is not normal, at all.  It's easily stripped, and feels spongey and squishy.
But, on to our links!  The first very interesting paper reveals the discovery that people living in neighborhoods where trees had been removed had significantly more cancers and respiratory disease than people living among trees.  The implications of this important study are discussed in A Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham.
New research has determined that wildflowers in the UK are dying due to low levels of air pollution, which leads to some obvious inferences about trees and other vegetation, posted in Trashed.  Our government released a draft for public review of the National Climate Change Assessment; my commentary on the Forests chapter can be found at The Withering of All Woods is Drawing Near.
And finally, Naomi Oreskes collaborated on an essay that speculates from the perspective of the future as to why scientists, in the face of overwhelming statistical corrolation, declined to make the link between violent, extreme, unprecedented weather, and climate change from fuel emissions.  The parallels between that and the failure of foresters to make the direct link between ozone and tree death is explored at More Research is Needed...Not.


  1. Thanks in particular for the link to the Oreskes/ Conway 'Collapse' essay: yet another thing I don't think I can bear to read, just now... there has been far too much bad news crossing my screen of late, such as here for instance.

    And still, almost none of it makes any appearance in the 'expert' mass 'information' 'news' media. It's totally astonishing.

    (I'd visit -- and comment -- more, but blogger's insistence on me 'proving I'm not a robot' drives me nuts. Bloody machines.)

  2. That link doesn't work - I think this is what you wanted: http://transitionvoice.com/2013/01/roundup-of-distressing-climate-news/

    The climate news is really overwhelming. Here's a good one for you: http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/105/biggest-wake-call-history.html

    Excerpt: "Among high-profile eco warriors, as Jorgen Randers and Paul Gilding describe, two conversations often take place simultaneously. The public position is: 'we face serious risks, potentially catastrophic, if we don’t act urgently and strongly.' In private, often late at night, as they wonder if the battle is lost, they discuss 'geopolitical breakdown, mass starvation and what Earth would be like with a few hundred million people.'”

    You may be glad to know that even though I don't think it will do any good at all, I'm going to the climate protest in DC in February.

  3. When A defends B, attack A.

    The media are defending the deniers and the destroyers.

    The MSM has become that which must be attacked.

    Good luck, on that. But if you could get 100 million people to stop paying their cable TV bills at the same time...

    Thanks for all you do.

  4. I found this website and thought you might like it. It's old vacation photos from the 50s/60s/70s and 80s. Really high quality stuff and you can find lots of pictures of what trees used to look like in many of the albums where the people are visiting national parks and such.



Blog Archive

My Blog List

Search This Blog