Tree Tuesday

©voyager, all rights reserved

The effects of human-caused increased greenhouse gases were predicted as early as the turn of the 20th Century and according to the Ivan Semeniuk of the Canadian Globe and Mail a NASA study of tree rings from the last 120 years is helping to prove out this theory.

In 1896, Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius made a prescient calculation that showed the vast quantities of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by burning coal and other fossil fuels would eventually cause the planet to get warmer.

Little did he realize that the effect he described was already under way and being dutifully recorded by a ready-made monitoring system distributed around the globe in the form of trees.

The growth record of trees is recorded in their rings and this growth is highly sensitive to changes in moisture.

Tree rings are among the most direct ways of measuring past climate because trees are sensitive to soil moisture. In drier years, trees grow more slowly and the annual rings that are recorded in their trunks become narrower. By comparing overlapping tree-ring patterns in wood that grew at different times on different continents, scientists have gradually built up “drought atlases” that show changes in moisture distribution dating back to the year 1400 or, in some areas, even earlier.

Drought atlases are nothing new, but using trees to measure the effects of drought across time and region is new science and it’s showing some startling trends.

The scientists found that after centuries of normal variations during which some places alternately became wetter or drier relative to each other, an additional effect on moisture emerged around 1900 that is consistent with climate change. Over all, the data show that much of North America, Australia and the Mediterranean have been getting drier over the past 120 years while parts of Asia, including India and western China, have been getting wetter.

The effect was especially pronounced during the first half of the 20th century, but became more subdued between 1950 and 1975. Since then, it has accelerated. The scientists posit that a huge increase in the release of sulphates and other airborne chemicals in the postwar era served to temporarily counteract the effect of greenhouse gases by deflecting sunlight and promoting cloud formation. This countertrend later subsided after air-quality regulations went into effect in North America and Europe.

The results of this study help confirm that human activity is directly related to global climate change, although trees in the southern hemisphere were not included because their growth patterns are not as seasonally visible.

So it seems that trees are helping to relate the story of climate change in new ways. I’m not surprised. Trees have proven to be one of mankind’s best natural resources and now they’re talking to us in ways we can understand. Whether people will listen is another matter.

 

Via: The Globe and Mail, May 2/19, Ivan Semeniuk

Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 7

Here is Nightjar with the next chapter in her series.

Chapter 7 – West Hill: Going Up

We are now at the southern base of the West Hill and the entrance looks inviting. We are in a totally different environment, the soils here are obviously more fertile and can sustain denser vegetation. Let’s go up.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Mushroom Hunting – Part 2

Yesterday we saw Part 1 of Nightjar’s quest to find mushrooms as a Tree Tuesday post. Today, the mushrooms have been found and Nightjar’s photos of them are so wonderfully evocative that I can almost smell that earthy forest scent.

... and here are the mushrooms! The yellow Tricholoma equestre were the ones we were searching for, and we did find enough for a meal. And then there were some pretty ones of unknown edibility (to us). There were more, but the mosquitoes make photography a very difficult task.

Thanks for braving the mosquitoes to get these photos, Nightjar, and thanks for sharing.

 

1. A mushroom-promising sight. © Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Tree Tuesday

Sent in by Nightjar, our trees this week tell a cautionary tale about the effects of climate change.

Mushroom Hunting Part 1...We went mushroom hunting last weekend and I decided to share some photos. I split them in two parts. The first doesn’t show mushrooms but rather our journey to find them. I knew that the wildfires last year had affected this area, but wasn’t sure if our favourite spot had burned or not. It did. I say green isn’t always hope because that green in the third photo is mostly acacias (Acacia longifolia) taking over the place. The future of these historical pine forests doesn’t look bright. We turned around and drove a bit south until we found a patch of forest that escaped the fires and didn’t look as dry and sterile. That’s when the mosquitoes attacked me, but there was also a lovely damselfly to make up for it.

Mushroom Hunting Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and it’s chock full of interesting photos of fungi found in the forest. Be sure to check it out. Thanks, Nightjar.

1. The road that no longer leads to mushrooms, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

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Tree Tuesday

This week we have a story tree from Nightjar and it’s a wonderful story of hope.

I was driving through an area that was badly affected by wildfires last year and stopped the car to quickly take this shot, because it shows the concept of “fire-adapted species” so well. Everything still looks horribly devastated. In the foreground there is a completely destroyed orchard, in the background a completely destroyed pine plantation. Trees are still standing, but they are dead. Except… there is a survivor! The cork oak tree is resprouting all over and will regenerate soon! That’s what cork is for, to insulate the trunk from high temperatures protecting its core during a fire. It’s one thing to know this in theory, but to see the advantage of this strategy so clearly was quite enlightening.

Cork tree, ©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Thanks so much for sharing, Nightjar. I think it’s amazing that any living thing can survive a forest fire. Nature is so endlessly fascinating.

Ruheforst Mushrooms – part 5

Today we have the last of Avalus’ photos from the natural burial forest, ending fittingly with a view of the forest itself. These burial forests are not only natural, but also safe and life sustaining. They’re one of nature’s best ways of recycling and there’s a growing demand for this type of burial option. One of the other big benefits of natural burial is that it is much more cost effective than the traditional care offered by the funeral industry of today.

My thanks to Avalus for his wonderful tour. I’ve enjoyed walking through the forest with him and seeing the myriad of fungi that grow here.

A “Hexen-Röhrling” (lit: witches-boletes), probably a Rubroboletus rubrosanguineus. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

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Ruheforst Mushrooms – part 3

It’s another interesting mix of fungi photographed by Avalus in a natural burial cemetery.

It’s hard work pushing up. A still deadly false death cap pushing up. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

It’s the real Sluglife! Note the dry, dead mosses. They were like that in all the forest.

Proudly presented!©Avalus, all rights reserved

Iggi Pilz, a pun on Igelpilz (hedgehog shroom) and Iggy Pop. Don’t know why. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

You have a good eye, Avalus. So many different types of mushrooms! I’ll be sure to check back tomorrow to see what else you found.

 

Ruheforst Mushrooms, part 2

A few more of the mushroom specimens snapped by Avalus at the natural burial forest.

Everything was totally dry and this one excreted water. I was (and still am) very puzzled. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Tiny guys squeezing between the bark and the wood. I was fascinated. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Just a group of sulfurshrooms with a green sheen. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Thanks Avalus. I really like the different perspectives that you’ve used. Each one seems perfectly suited to its subject. Check back tomorrow for the next installment of ‘shrooms.

Ruheforst Mushrooms

From Avalus, information about a growing trend and a warning about climate change.

Maybe a bit macabre, so a foreword.

 Graveyards, Mushrooms and climate change, perhaps.

 In Germany there is a growing trend to be buried in a “Ruheforst”, (resting or still forest) instead of a usual graveyard. There your cremated remains get buried in a bio-degradable urn next to a tree of your choosing. There are no graves, no large markerstones, just an open, tended-to forest with many small paths and plaques on some trees. Some persons I know rest in such a place in the palatinate forest near the town Bad Dürkheim, so our family visits them every so often. Now to the bit macabre bit: It’s also a prime mushroom hunting place with usually plenty of different bolete species and other edibles. One of my grandmothers is sure, the ‘shrooms are nourished by the dead and refuses to eat any. I think they are so plentiful because by opening the forest, the trees left standing are getting more light and nutrients and so can give more of these nutrients to their mushroom-symbionts.

This year however, there were hardly any mushrooms of any kind there. The ground was very dry and most of the threes had small leaves. Instead, signs warning of forest fires were a common sight.

I did not pick up any of the edible ‘shrooms I found, but only took photos.

I have no idea, but I admired its roundness. ©Avalus, all rights reserved

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