Trees in crisis

The current crises affecting trees seldom have a sudden onset and are no longer somewhat predictable such as forest fires: they threaten to destabilize entire communities and beyond.  Everyone needs trees, even if they don’t think they do, such as those who may not eat nuts, apples, or citrus. 

Yet all trees, just as with all plants, are not created equal.  I have learned that it is possible to drive for an hour along the (new) roads through the rainforests without seeing anything but oil palm plantations.  The almond industry is imperiled due mainly to Colony Collapse Disorder of honeybees.  The invasive vine kudzu, in growing a foot a week, can pull down buildings and trees.  Genetically modified pollen has already escaped the supposedly secure corn plots and crossed with non-genetically engineered (GE) corn; there is no reason to think it can’t happen with GE trees as well.

However, the problems confronting trees are so varied, so vast, that – absent a catalyst on the order of John F. Kennedy’s speech which asked “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” and which galvanized a generation – between the problems above, voracious clearcutting and soil erosion, forest fragmentation and habitat destruction, global heating and climate change, the future seems doomed to be “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” (title of one resource). 

Are there any processes, well-defined or otherwise, upon which to formulate a plan?  It is not possible to restore a forest to its perfect, pre-human encounter self.  But are there actions humans could take which might mitigate our myriad abuses?


About majaramirez

former assistant instructor in tai chi chu'an; current TreeKeeper (#467); former Master Gardener; member of American Bird Conservancy, Audubon, Fraternal Order of Police, and Mensa; recently retired career cop; wife and mom.
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