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

Spawn 2.0

Yesterday we saw a sac of frog eggs that Avalus had found in his botanical garden. Today he’s sent us another amphibian egg sac that he found in the same botanical garden. It’s not as far along as the previous sac from which tadpoles were hatching, but here the babies are all shaped like little, adorable commas.

Laich, ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Speaking of babies, make sure to check in tomorrow for the next installment of Full Fish Ahead. Avalus has lots of babies to show us and they couldn’t be any cuter.

What a Mess

Our woods are a nature and water reserve which means that there is no commercial use of the wood. Trees that have fallen or are at risk of killing people are just cleared off the paths and left to rot, which means that you get to see decay in a way you really get to see in our tidy, tended to world.

It’s also wonderful for loot for crafting…

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved
I love you, too

They also offer space for animals, like those ants. I discovered them when I wanted to place my resin stuff on the top to take pics. I decided against it.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Tree Tuesday

 

This week we continue looking at the oldest and biggest tress in the world, but instead of looking up we’re going underground to have a look at a root system. A clonal root system, to be exact. You’ve seen Old Tjikko, the oldest living clonal tree in the world, but old Mr. T is not the oldest living clonal system in the world. That honour belongs to Pando The Trembling Giant, a colony of Quaking Aspen trees in Fishlake National Park in Utah.

Pando is an ancient clonal root system and although the individual trees live for about 130 years the root organism itself is estimated to be 80,000 years old. Pando was alive when early humans were first migrating out of Africa and it would be about 65,000 years before human eyes even reached the Americas to see Pando.

Pando is more than a group of trees that have withstood the test of time. Pando is actually just one tree; all the aspens of Fishlake National Forest are part of the same organism…  Genetic testing has helped confirm that each tree in the forest is the same organism reproduced over and over again with only slight genetic variations.

Instead of spreading seeds, the clonal grove extends its roots in a process called “suckering.” New “trees” shoot up alongside the old ones, looking like new seedlings — but they actually belong to Pando’s extensive root system, which is why the different trees present nearly identical appearances. They’re essentially clones of the existing foliage.

Scientists believe that every tree in the Pando colony shares the same root system. The result is one of the largest and oldest living organisms on earth and a remarkably resilient forest. Pando’s deep, connected roots have allowed it to survive millennia of fires, droughts, climate shifts, and diseases.

Pando is big, too. It covers 107 acres and weighs in at an estimated 6,615 tons which makes it the worlds heaviest living organism. By comparison, a blue Whale is a lightweight at only about 200 tons. Pando is currently threatened by over-grazing of deer and elk, but a conservation project has been implemented and fences seem to be successfully working.

So there you have it. I think we can safely say that Pando is definitely the oldest and the biggest tree in the world.

Check out the full article and a few more photos at All That’s Interesting.

 

 

 

Signs of Autumn

 

The signs of autumn from Nightjar,

These are the four signs that I look for every year before I can safely declare autumn has arrived. Leaf colour, autumn snowflakes, mushrooms and green grass. I was able to check all four boxes by the end of October, which is good!

 

1. Leaves change colour and glow in the sun

[Read more…]

Foxmom

This photo is just a delight. It’s always a wonder when we can catch a glimpse of such a cautious wild creature. It came from Avalus who says,

A foxmother, that lives in an abandoned Garden just next to the house I live in. She has three cubs, but I only have this one image, as I usually meet them only when it is to dark for photos.

She has her eye on you, Avalus. Thanks for sharing.

foxmom, ©Avalus, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

The rolling hills of home, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Autumn is definitely in the air around here. The days are cooler and the nights are crisp and Jack couldn’t be happier. You see, the boy hates warm weather. His fur is thick and because he ocean swims in the summer he doesn’t lose his undercoat. He also has a bit of a fat pad that makes it even harder to stay cool. So when the weather turns and autumn comes Jack gets energized. Even now at 10 years old he is full of piss and vinegar. I don’t mind at all. Go ahead Jack and use that tail to clear the coffee table. Scratch my floors with those talons of yours and bark at every passing car. It was a long hot summer, but it’s finally time to have some fun.

Wot Lives in the Bog

Second in this series from rq are plants growing in a bog. I hope she did not get too wet trying to get these pictures for us. They are beautiful and they do illustrate the biodiversity of an acidic bog nicely. There is even a predator here, hidden bellow the fold.

©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Possibly a plant from the Cyperaceae family

Calluna vulgaris

Calluna vulgaris

Vaccinium vitis-idaea L

Vaccinium vitis-idaea L

[Read more…]

Harakka Island- Chapter 4

We’re on to chapter 4 of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harakka, an Island and today we’re heading toward the water. I’m always drawn to big, open water and these photos show off the sea beautifully. I’ll let Ice Swimmer fill you in on the details.

 

Chapter 4 – West

The western shore of Harakka is visible from Uunisaari and one conversation with Nightjar in the comments of a posting with a picture of Harakka from Uunisaari sparked the idea to go and explore the island.

 

1. Open Sea in the Southwest, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There is a path from near the northwestern corner of the Artists’ Building to the other side of the earthworks behind the building. The path leads to cliffs on the western shore of Harakka. When looking southwest from the path one can see some islands, but also open sea.

[Read more…]

Jack’s Walk

Terracotta Park, Pointe Claire, Quebec ©voyager, all rights reserved

This photo was taken in a place called Terracotta Natural Park and it’s right in the heart of Pointe Claire. It’s a huge park (almost 100 acres) with lots of connecting and well maintained trails. It’s one of Jack’s favorite places to go, but unlike our woods at home I won’t allow my boy off-leash here because of the threat of coyotes. We’ve never seen one ourselves, but there are signs posted at every entrance to the park advising extreme caution and noting that they’ve been spotted in the area. My husband grew up near the park and we’ve been taking our dogs to it for about 15 years and this is the first time we’ve seen such warnings. That probably means there’s an established population of coyotes. And why not? The park is exactly like their natural environment and it’s filled with their natural prey plus it has the added bonus of human leavings. As their environments shrink or die all animals, including large predators, will move ever closer to populated areas just trying to eke out a life and avoid extinction. I think they have as much right to the land as we do. Maybe more. At least they’re not destroying the planet.

Jack’s Walk

Malbaie Salt Marsh

This is part of the Malbaie Salt Marsh which is a federally protected nature conservancy. The marsh is the largest natural lagoon in Quebec and is an important habitat for over 200 species of birds and 25 species of fish. It’s also an important location for migrating birds. This photo was taken at low tide and you can just see the sandbar in the background that separates the marsh from the ocean. At high tide there are gaps in the sandbar which allow the fresh and salt waters to mix.