Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Earth's Vanishing Forests

This article is disturbing.

What's Killing the Great Forests of the American West?
A Frightening Phenomenon Happening Across the Globe

By Jim Robbins

March 16, 2010,Yale Environment

For many years, Diana Six, an entomologist at the University
of Montana, planned her field season for the same two to
three weeks in July. That's when her quarry - tiny, black,
mountain pine beetles - hatched from the tree they had just
killed and swarmed to a new one to start their life cycle

It got me to thinking about something, though: Why does nature have an "erase" feature? Because basically that's what those pine beetles are, along with several other things in this article. They are capable of wiping out whole stands of trees at once. How can this possibly be a useful feature?

Then I recalled a basic tenet of organic gardening: bugs are attracted to unhealthy plants.  Okay, that's fairly obvious.  Huge numbers of trees are stressed out, so that basically summons the bugs to ... make the trees go away.

That clears the landscape for something else to grow that will be better suited to the current conditions.  It's a horrifying process to watch, but it works, and there's a reason for it.  Rather than letting an ecosystem limp along, if things get bad enough, there is a reset.  Something healthy has a chance to replace it.

The world is changing so much, right now, that the reset buttons are lighting up all over the board.  That is worrisome.
Tags: nature, news

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