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Tree Environmental News & Comment

     Not surprisingly, Superstorm Sandy destroyed or damaged thousands of trees.  

     Treetop hotels are getting cheaper, but are they a good idea?

     You may oppose genetically engineering crops, but would you oppose a genetically engineered chestnut tree, if it could resist blight?  

     In Singapore, you can visit supertrees.

     Not sure I like the idea of painting trees blue, even if is for a good cause.

     Our planting zone map has been updated to reflect a hotter 21st century.  

     If you happen to be in Northern Sweden, then you might want to check out the Treehotel. 

     Have you come across a sticker on a paper towel dispenser noting "these come from trees" - really like this idea - check out the source.  Reportedly the stickers have raised awareness resulting in less paper usage which in turn saves money and trees - a win for all!

     Did you know that there are tree climbing competitions?

     The U.S. Forest Service is using bug pheromones to try and save trees. 

     How do you feel about biofuels?  Two universities in the state of Washington have been awarded $80 million dollars to try to turn trees into biofuels.

     A tree has fallen in Brooklyn, not to mention other parts of the east coast.

     The City of Seattle is again giving out free trees!  Perhaps you can suggest that your city adopt a similar program.

     Don't know what to make of this; the debate over slacklining.

     In the town of Cheran, in Mexico civilians have armed to protect their trees.

     The effort to save Whitebark pine trees is ongoing.  

     In Argentina, a giant guitar has been created out of the planting of some 7,000 trees, as a memorial.

     Locally, in Issaquah, Washington, winners of the Ruth Kees Award (for environmental sustainability) were honored, by the planting of trees.  Nice idea.

     The Texas fires just keep on burning, well over a million acres.

     You may have heard that wind killed the National Christmas Tree.  Apparently the National Park Service has identified a replacement tree.  A thought occurred to me this past Christmas, wouldn't it be nice if the Obamas elected to have a living Christmas tree, as their official Christmas tree - what a good example.

     Another Christmas, another vandalism of a Christmas tree.

     This is disturbing even if it is preliminary news, please read, about urban trees being sick and wi-fi.

     To provide an update on the forests of Borneo, promoting sustainable-development projects is the new plan.

     Looking for a tree friendly place to visit or perhaps climb, then try the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute in the Eugene, Oregon area.

     In case you missed it, October 10th (10/10/10) was a global day of environmental action.  In Seattle, trees were planted.

     The Seattle City Council voted to create an opt-out registry for yellow pages phone books.  In an internet age, some people don't need or want paper phone books; and this may save some trees.

     We read about planting trees in the Amazon and Africa, you should be aware that other parts of the world also have some major tree planting programs going on, like the Armenia Tree Project.

     The City of Seattle offered Seattle residents free trees this past fall via the Office of Sustainability and Environmental's Trees for Neighborhoods.  Might want to see what your local city or county might be similarly doing.

     I recently checked Keepers of the Trees: A Guide to Re-Greening North America out of the local library and found it to be a great source of information and inspiration on efforts to plant trees.  I think this might be a nice book to give as a gift to someone that loves trees.  For you own reading you might want to save resources and try your local library.

     Got to like this - Follain (an Irish company making fruit preserves, etc.) is offering a free tree or a tree donated to an Irish reforestation program, for four tokens from their products.

     A plan to help save Indonesia's forests has run into problems.

     You know that trees in urban areas are a good thing.  But how much should be spent or done to try to save one urban tree?  In Seattle a sequoia that was planted in 1973 and that has been the center of Christmas celebrations has health problems.  The problem appears to be a lack of good soil.

     Have you heard of the United Nations program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries.  Seems like a really good idea/program.

     Suggest you read this link for a good "status" report on the health of the world's forests.  Hint, it is not good.

     Please consider whether single-crop tree plantations are "forests?"  Some people are complaining that their varied plant native forests are being logged and replaced with forests (or perhaps nonforests) with single-crop fast-growing trees.

     Good for the attorneys - The American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources has launched a One Million Trees Project, calling for attorneys to plant one million trees in the next five years.

     Nature is taking back the land in Detroit.  Abandoned homes and factories have allowed some return of native plants and trees.

     Here in the Northwest, we just had our first direct carbon credits purchase, via the nonharvesting of trees.  The linked story has a nice explanation of how the carbon credit process works.

     Here in the Seattle area, someone cut down a tree (Keteleeria Evelyniana) at the Washington Park Arboretum.  (Best guess is that someone wanted a "free" Christmas tree.)  This tree is native to Southwest China and due to its rareity is valued at $10,000.

     It turns out that trees can generate electricity.

     Doing some reading.  For many reasons, I recommend the book Sastun by Rosita Arvigo.  Check your local library or possibly inter-library loan.

     Not so surprising when you think about it, but Bristlecone Pines have significantly increased their rate of growth and the believed cause is climate change.

     Now it is the Aspen trees that are dying.  Scientists really don't know why.

     As you may know, Ireland (like many places) has lost most of its forests.  As part of the People's Millennium Forests Project over 1.2 million native trees are being replanted in sixteen forest locations.  A tree is being planted on behalf of each household in Ireland.  Great program and nice website.  I recommend a book mentioned on the website - Native Trees and Forests of Ireland by David Hickie - note the book is hard to find in the US - I obtained the book via interlibrary loan (nice photos with some history of native trees in Ireland).

     A new species of tree has been identified in Ethiopia. What really surprises me about this "discovery" is that the tree is found on over three thousand square miles.

     Hopefully you are familiar with the work of 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai.  Professor Maathai is one of the founders of the Green Belt Movement, that has planted more than thirty million trees in Africa. 

     A report in the journal Ecohydrology maintains that the extermination of wolves in the Olympic National Park, in the early 1900's allowed large animals to proliferate and in turn set off changes to forest vegetation and stream dynamics.  I wonder what the response of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will be.  The RMEF does fundraising to preserve native habitat, that often includes elk habitat.  For fans of the Twilight series, like my niece, I guess this means that the Cullens haven't really hurt the local wildlife population.   

     While I try and focus on "tree" environmental news, the reality is that trees do not exist in the abstract.  In Mexico, federal police and army solders moved to stop illegal logging in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.  The butterflies need the trees for their winter roosting. 

     So what would you do - Wildwood, New Jersey is a beach town that needed to repair part of its boardwalk.  You could use a very durable wood from the Brazilian ipe tree, but then there is that pesky rainforest issue, or you could use a less durable domestic wood, that probably would have to be replaced sooner.

     The mountain pine beetle is chewing its way through millions of pine trees across the West.  Scientists place the blame on forest management practices. 

      Seattle has limited the cutting of trees by most homeowners to three a year.  Seattle is fairly active on the tree front.  I'm providing a link to Seattle's "tree" page, that includes a "Download the 'LOST' tree poster."  Seattle has a heritage tree program, with a nice selection of trees.  What is your city doing (what are you doing) to preserve trees?

      Something to think about, where do we draw the line between sentient beings and all else?  Researchers have found that at least one type of tree can signal nearby trees of impending drought or other environmental stress. 

     What if any right(s) do plants have?  Switzerland has modified its constitution to require their plant geneticists planning plant modification (genetic modification) to consider how they won't "disturb the vital functions or lifestyle" of the plants. 

    Authorities in China planted hundreds of millions of trees to try and decrease air pollution in time for the Olympics. 

      Swedish scientists have discovered a 9,950 year old spruce, this makes it the oldest living tree on the planet. 

      An estimated 320 million trees were damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, making for the largest single foresty disaster on record in the United States.  This loss of trees will add significantly to global greenhouse gases. 

       I was watching the movie Elizabethtown and learned of the Survivor Tree.  Of the tree, Kirsten Dunst's character (Claire Colburn) comments: "It's my favorite tree in the world.  And I like trees." 

      The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members have agreed that "the world needs slow, stop and then reverse the growth of global greenhouse gas emissions."  The declaration called for increasing forest cover in the region by at least 50 million acres by 2020.  Yes, those trees are important. 

      The loss of trees in cities has very real consequences.  On the positive side of things, cities like Los Angeles and Seattle have plans to plant more trees. 

     I just have to mention the story about the 2000-year-old date seed in Israel, that was resuscitated with care, germinated and is now a date sapling (named Methuselah).  This is the oldest seed ever to germinate.  This may mark the return of a species of date that has been long lost to the area. 

     Richard Branson has a deal for you - demonstrate a commercially viable design that results in the removal of significant amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases - win twenty five million dollars.  Check out www.virginearth.com.  Maybe I should submit my idea of planting a whole bunch of trees!

      That old Christmas favorite gift - Frankincense (of gold, frankincense & myrrh) is an incense that is made from the sap of the frankincense tree which grows in the area of the Horn of Africa.  It seems that demand for the sap has resulted in too much sap being drained from the trees such that the remaining trees cannot reproduce.  (Could myrrh be far behind?) 

      The island of Sumatra has had problems with illegal logging and land clearing for rubber plantations, this loss of animal habitat has resulted in conflicts between animals and people including an attack upon a man by a Sumatran tiger and a raid upon a village by a group of elephants. 

      Bad news for Seattle - a new city report finds that since 1972 Seattle has "lost" more than half of all trees standing then; nearly 1.7 million trees.  Development, disease, pests, neglect, are all to blame.  To combat this loss, Seattle has developed a plan to add 650,000 more trees over the next thirty years.   

    The online version of the journal Science reports that American forests in the West have burned bigger and more frequently since 1987, and the big reason for the change is global warming.  The study found that global warming creates longer drier seasons and "better" conditions for catastrophic fires. 

       If you are looking for a vacation/break that helps the earth, then you may want to consider doing some volunteer work for Global Volunteers or the Sierra Club.  For those able to make a longer commitment, you may want to consider the Student Conservation Association

    

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