Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trees: The Issue of Climate Change

I am a collector of trees, lots of trees. I collected dozens of Ginkgo seeds some twenty plus years ago from the New York Botanical Garden, ahead of an onslaught of Chinese nut pickers, and have planted and grown dozens of Ginkgo trees. I also have dozens of metasequoias. You see they are remnants of trees which have been around some hundred million years or more. No weak oak are these, they have seen massive climate changes and have more than prospered.

So when I read the op-ed today in the NY Times I was a bit surprised. They say:

Humans have cut down the biggest and best trees and left the runts behind. What does that mean for the genetic fitness of our forests? No one knows for sure, for trees and forests are poorly understood on almost all levels. “It’s embarrassing how little we know,” one eminent redwood researcher told me. 

 But what doe we have covering New York City streets? Ginkgoes. Why, they thrive on human pollution. They eat up CO2, the absorb all sorts of junk, they manage to thrive of the dogs and other mammals relieving themselves on their trunks. That have done this for hundreds of millions of years. The female shed seeds which smell putrid, although they roast to savory nuts. They are true survivors. And the Metasequoia, well it was down to its last legs in a valley in China when in the late 1940s someone brought out a few seed. Now it grows everywhere, humans have taken it to their heart and the things grows like a weed. Hundreds of feet tall, 3 feet or more per year!

So the problem with trees is the same as I guess Darwinism, there are the fittest which survive, survive independent of the human and survive with the help of the human. Redwoods are fragile, they will not grow anywhere. Ginkgoes will grow anywhere, literally. They will endure any extreme we throw at them. So what not reinforce that cycle, do away with wimpy trees, support the uber tree.