Monday, April 08, 2013

Tree-Hugging at Muir

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Up the mountain at Muir Woods. Spectacular place, go early in the day if you want to enjoy it in peace. And go soon, before the giants are all gone.

Prof. Lindenmayer says they were first tipped off to the loss of big old trees while examining Swedish forestry records going back to the 1860s. Then a 30-year study of Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forest in Australia confirmed not only that big old trees were dying en masse in forest fires, but also perishing at ten times the normal rate in non-fire years -- apparently due to drought, high temperatures, logging and other causes.

Looking round the world, the scientists found similar trends at all latitudes, in California's Yosemite National Park, on the African savannahs, in the rainforests of Brazil, the temperate forests of Europe and the boreal forests of the far north. Losses of large trees were also pronounced in agricultural landscapes and even cities, where people make efforts to preserve them.

Climate change brings drought, bugs, fires - and logging and other man-made developments are threatening the world's biggest living organisms with extinction. The hope is awareness will be the salvation, but if we don't act soon...

A visit to Muir Woods will turn you into a tree-hugger in a heartbeat. Now I understand why people camp out in the branches to keep them from being cut down.