… maybe they aren’t quite that black-and-white about it, but … trying to plant our way out of global warming is going to have some so-far-underappreciated side effects.
Planting trees to absorb carbon and reduce the threat of climate change could cause a range of new environmental problems.
… tree plantations can dramatically reduce water availability, remove nutrients from soil and increase its salinity. … better planning is needed to assess the environmental costs and benefits of planting trees to mitigate climate change.
… it is important to think carefully about where and what people plant, particularly where water resources are scarce.
Nos forêts souffrent des premiers effets du changement climatique et doivent affronter de multiples aléas dont la fréquence et l’intensité augmentent : incendies, sécheresses, ravageurs, gelées tardives, tempêtes ou encore épisodes de grêle. La question cardinale qui devrait guider nos choix est celle de la stratégie à mettre en place pour renforcer la résistance et la résilience de nos forêts.
Or, le nombre d’arbres plantés est un très mauvais indicateur pour évaluer la réussite d’une telle stratégie. Une leçon majeure qui se dégage, après plusieurs années avec des températures record, c’est qu’il faut arrêter de planter en plein soleil sur de grandes surfaces. Le taux de mortalité par déshydratation des jeunes plants explose. C’est pourtant ce type de plantation qui est le plus fréquent.
Afin de limiter cette mortalité, une solution consiste à planter à l’ombre, dans de petites trouées où les jeunes plants seront mieux protégés des coups de chaud par l’ambiance forestière. Pour un même nombre d’arbres plantés, ces petites plantations permettraient ainsi de restaurer de façon durable une surface de forêt trois ou quatre fois plus importante.
Contrairement aux grandes coupes rases, ce type de plantation permet, en plus, de maintenir le stock de carbone et l’ensemble des services écosystémiques fournis par la forêt. Une stratégie plus complexe mais plus efficace qui est adoptée par un nombre croissant de forestiers.
A humpback whale breaching in waters off French Polynesia. Whales in Australia were found to be passing their songs to others in French Polynesia, which in turn gave songs to whales in Ecuador.
(Photo: Ellen Garland)
Humpback whale songs from the central to the eastern South Pacific
(Audio via Royal Society Open Science)
Bäume kommunizieren über Duftstoffe und über chemische sowie elektrische Signal-übertragungen miteinander. Werden beispielsweise die Blätter eines Baumes von Raupen angefressen, so teilt der befallene Baum dies seiner Nachbarschaft über Duftsignale mit. Sowohl der befallene Baum wie auch die benachbarten verändern daraufhin die chemische Zusammensetzung des Pflanzensafts in ihren Blättern – was von Bitterstoffen bis hin zu insektenspezifischen Giftstoffen reicht. Darüber hinaus verfügen Bäume auch über besondere Rettungslockdüfte, um natürliche Freßfeinde der angreifenden Insekten herbeizurufen.
Auch unterirdisch wird lebhaft kommuniziert. Ein Teelöffel Waldboden enthält mehrere Kiometer Pilzhypen. Der Vergleich dieser Pilzfäden mit der Glasfaservernetzung des Internets liegt nahe. Tatsächlich spricht man inzwischen schon vom „woodwideweb“.
A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement.
It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
Water demands a place to go. That means making room for streams and wetlands, beaches and salt marshes. It means solving human-caused problems with nature-based solutions. These include removing urban impediments to let streams flow once again, a process known as daylighting; restoring wetlands and planting trees. It also means using the collective power of our community — expressed through tax dollars — to help people move to safer places.
Nature herself in times of great poverty or bad climatic conditions, as well as poor harvest, intervenes to restrict the increase of population of certain countries or races; this, to be sure, by a method as wise as it is ruthless. She diminishes, not the power of procreation as such, but the conservation of the procreated, by exposing them to hard trials and deprivations with the result that all those who are less strong and less healthy are forced back into the womb of the eternak ubknown, Those whom she permits to survive the inclemency of existence are a thousandfold tested, hardened, and well adapted to procreate in turn, in order that the process of thoroughgoing selection may begin again from the beginning. By thus brutally proceeding against the individual and immediately calling him back to herself as soon as he shows himself unequal to the storm of life, she keeps the race and species strong, in fact, raises them to the highest accomplishments. At the same time the diminution of number strengthens the individual and thus in the last analysis fortifies the species.
By Dreaming we mean the belief that long ago these creatures started human society, they made all natural things and put them in a special place.
These Dreaming creatures were connected to special places and special roads or tracks or paths. In many places the great creatures changed themselves into sites where their spirits stayed. Aboriginals have a special connection with everything that is natural. Aboriginals see themselves as part of nature … All things on earth we see as part human. It is true that people who belong to a particular area are really part of that area and if that area is destroyed they are also destroyed.
Within five or six years, ‘a burned forest will be looking pretty good’, Kirkpatrick says. ‘And a large proportion of Tasmania’s flora fits into this fire ecology. Pea plants, wattles — their germination is stimulated by heat and smoke. Fire is really, really important in Tasmania.’
At the centre of it all, though, is the eucalypt. Because these trees do not just resist fire, they actively encourage it. ‘They withstand fire, they need fire; to some extent, they create fire,’ Bowman says. ‘The leaves, the bark, don’t decompose. They’re highly, highly flammable. And on a hot day, you can smell their oils.’
The bark and leaves of eucalyptsseem almost made to promote fire. Some are known as stringyor candle-barks: long, easily lit strips hang loosely off their trunks and, once alight, whirl blazing up into the flammable canopy above, or are carried by the wind many kilometres ahead of a fire to speed its advance.
Nature exists for man, not man for Nature ; but if she exists for him, it is to teach him to transcend her, to make him ever more of a man, raising each generation above its predecessor. To do this she must awaken the energy and forethought that are in him, compel him to study that he may know, to imitate that he may prevail. And for this reason Nature, in order that she may be beneficent, must be inexorable in her laws.
What a privilege it is, to be able to try to reduce harm towards animals and the planet.
I was having this thought just today when a bird shat on my head through the mosquito netting. I didn’t take it as a sign, or at least not a negative one. I just laughed and immediately washed my hair, watching the rainstorm that night clean the hammock for me. The symbolism I assign to events, I keep learning, is my choice.
Each time I sit down to eat, I try to remember that, too. What a privilege it is, to be able to try to reduce harm towards animals and the planet. How impossible it seems, as one of the big ones, not to hurt in ways big and small every day. What a beautiful dance, deciding to try anyway, imperfectly but with intention.
The scientists looked for evidence of this ghastly activity among four million recorded deaths in more than a thousand different mammals, from shrews to primates. On top of that, they compiled a history of human slayings.
One pattern stood out pretty clearly: Lethal violence increased over the course of mammal evolution. While only about 0.3 percent of all mammals die in conflict with members of their own species, that rate is sixfold higher, or about 2 percent, for primates. Early humans likewise should have about a 2 percent rate—and that lines up with evidence of violence in Paleolithic human remains.
The medieval period was a particular killer, with human-on-human violence responsible for 12 percent of recorded deaths. But for the last century, we’ve been relatively peaceable, killing one another off at a rate of just 1.33 percent worldwide. And in the least violent parts of the world today, we enjoy homicide rates as low as 0.01 percent.
Sprache ist laut Duden die Fähigkeit des Menschen, sich auszudrücken. So gesehen können nur wir sprechen, weil der Begriff auf unsere Spezies beschränkt ist. Doch wäre es nicht interessant zu wissen, ob auch Bäume sich ausdrücken können? Aber wie? Zu hören ist jedenfalls nichts, denn sie sind definitiv leise. Das Knarren von scheuernden Ästen im Wind, das Rascheln des Laubs geschehen ja passiv und werden von den Bäumen nicht beeinflusst. Sie machen sich jedoch anders bemerkbar: durch Duftstoffe. Duftstoffe als Ausdrucksmittel? Auch uns Menschen ist das nicht unbekannt: Wozu sonst werden Deos und Parfüms benutzt? Und selbst ohne deren Verwendung spricht unser eigener Geruch gleichermaßen das Bewusstsein und Unterbewusstsein anderer Menschen an. Einige Personen kann man einfach nicht riechen, andere hingegen ziehen einen durch ihren Duft stark an. Nach Ansicht der Wissenschaft sind die im Schweiß enthaltenen Pheromone sogar ausschlaggebend dafür, welchen Partner wir auswählen, mit wem wir also Nachkommen zeugen wollen. Wir besitzen demnach eine geheime Duftsprache, und zumindest das können Bäume auch vorweisen.
As evidenced in both ancient legend and the historical record, human activities, institutions, and technologies have always been prey to the extremes of weather—to droughts and floods, ice storms and blizzards, hurricanes and tornados. Around the middle of the 19th century, however, society in the developed parts of the world became vulnerable to a different kind of extreme weather as well—to severe disturbances of the upper atmosphere and the near-Earth space environment driven by the magnetic activity of the Sun. Although the nature of the solarterrestrial connection was not understood at the time, such disturbances were quickly recognized as the culprit behind the widespread disruptions that periodically plagued the newly established and rapidly expanding telegraph networks. During the following century and a half, with the growth of the electric power industry, the development of telephone and radio communications, and a growing dependence on space-based communications and navigation systems, the vulnerability of modern society and its technological infrastructure to “space weather” has increased dramatically.
The adverse effects of extreme space weather on modern technology—power grid outages, high-frequency communication blackouts, interference with Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation signals, spacecraft anomalies—are well known and well documented. The physical processes underlying space weather are also generally well understood, although our ability to forecast extreme events remains in its infancy. Less well documented and understood, however, are the potential economic and societal impacts of the disruption of critical technological systems by severe space weather.
Nevertheless, I do believe you need not be left without answers, if you will cling to things resembling those that are now rejuvenating me. If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable. If you will love what seems to be insignificant, and will in an unassuming manner, as a servant, seek to win the confidence of what seems poor, then everything will become easier, more harmonious, and somehow more conciliatory, not for your intellect — that will most likely remain behind, astonished — but for your innermost consciousness, your awakeness, and your inner knowing.
Just as men have always sought after precious stones, so they have always prized curious ones, those that catch the attention through some anomaly of form, some suggestive oddity of color or pattern. This fascination almost always derives from a surprising resemblance that is at once improbable and natural. Stones possess a kind of gravitas, something ultimate and unchanging, something that will never perish or else has already done so. They attract through intrinsic, infallible, immediate beauty, answerable or no one, necessarily perfect yet excluding the idea of perfection in order to exclude approximation, error, and excess. This spontaneous beauty thus precedes and goes beyond the actual notion of beauty, of which it is at once the promise and the foundation.