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World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

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World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby oneh2obabe » Dec 8th, 2012, 4:57 am

CBC News
Posted: Dec 7, 2012 12:03 PM ET
Last Updated: Dec 7, 2012 1:36 PM ET

The world's biggest and oldest trees are dying at an alarming rate, according to a report by three leading ecologists.

Death rates among trees 100 to 300 years old, living organisms that also sustain birds and other wildlife, are accelerating in many parts of the world including savannahs, woodlands, forests, farming areas and even cities.

"Large old trees are critical in many natural and human-dominated environments. Studies of ecosystems around the world suggest populations of these trees are declining rapidly," said the study’s lead author, David Lindenmayer of Australian National University, who wrote the report — published in the journal Science — with colleagues Bill Laurance of James Cook University in Australia, and Jerry Franklin of Washington University in the U.S.

The three ecologists are considered to be the top experts in their field.

"Research is urgently needed to identify the causes of rapid losses of large old trees and strategies for improved management. Without … policy changes, large old trees will diminish or disappear in many ecosystems, leading to losses of their associated biota and ecosystem functions."

The scientists say they were first tipped off about the trend after analyzing forestry records from Sweden dating back to the 1860s. They compared the data to a 30-year study of mountain ash forest in Australia, which suggested the trees were dying at 10 times the normal rate in years that didn’t have fires. The Australian trees were perishing due to several causes including logging, drought and extreme temperatures.

'Very, very disturbing trend'

The ecologists decided to look at other regions of the world – examining tree populations on African savannahs, Brazilian rainforests, California’s Yosemite National Park, European forests, the boreal forests of the North, and those in cities.

“It is a very, very disturbing trend,” said Laurance, referring to the discovery that old trees everywhere are dying at a rapid rate – more than the previous norm.

“Big trees supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar. Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals … and their loss could mean extinction for such creatures.”

The scientists say the decline appears to be caused by a combination of factors including land clearing, logging, insect attacks, changes in how fires are fought, severe wildfires and extreme weather brought on by climate change.

They liken the loss of large trees to that of the road to extinction of some of the world’s animals, such as rhinos, whales and elephants.

The ecologists are urging immediate action to assess the extent of the loss of big trees and identify areas in the world they might have a chance to survive and thrive.

“Just as large-bodied animals such as elephants, tigers … have declined drastically in many parts of the world, a growing body of evidence suggests that large old trees could be equally imperilled," they warn in their report.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story ... dying.html
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby Glacier » Dec 9th, 2012, 11:59 pm

Since when are 300 year old trees among the oldest and biggest trees? It would be like all the 11 year olds dying, and then stating that the biggest and oldest humans are dying.
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby Corneliousrooster » Dec 10th, 2012, 8:34 am

Glacier wrote:It would be like all the 11 year olds dying,


Would this not be cause for concern? Way to get hung up on a headline and miss the substance of the story.....
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby Glacier » Dec 10th, 2012, 10:46 am

Well, if the headline is a joke, chances are the rest of the article is as well.
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby Corneliousrooster » Dec 10th, 2012, 11:02 am

It didn't say the absolute biggest nor the absolute oldest. You read far too much into a headline. Read the journal report in Science rather than drawing a conclusion from a CBC headline....
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby 5VP » Dec 10th, 2012, 11:05 am

I've played the grand ol' logging game and done my part on the war against trees.

Some take a lot of work and don't die fast or easy but eventually they went down. None I ever saw died alarmingly fast although some made a hell of a moaning scream before hitting the ground so hard it sounded like an artillery shell exploding...

With a Stihl 084 I could fall a buttressed 10-12 foot rotten old cedar tree within about a half hour (if I was lucky, on a good day). Smaller trees (about 4-6 feet through) took no more than 5-10 minutes each including slashing and wedging.

Some bastards could be particularly tangled and nasty; but with good reasoning skills, a good set of wits, a sharp saw and some luck a guy could make it through a season of ridding the world of these evil creatures.

Anything smaller went down at about the same rate as grass getting mowed...

Here's my CV on dat...
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby Glacier » Dec 10th, 2012, 11:57 pm

Corneliousrooster wrote:It didn't say the absolute biggest nor the absolute oldest. You read far too much into a headline. Read the journal report in Science rather than drawing a conclusion from a CBC headline....


The science is a bit shaky here. There might be a problem, but then again it might just be more alarmist rhetoric. It's hard to tell with the few details the give.

The study says old trees are dying due to several factors, such as logging, fires and extreme weather caused by climate change.


Why do they do so many prescribed burns if trees are dying because of fires? What is left after the trees die? Do they ever come back? These are the important questions they forgot to answer.
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby 5VP » Dec 11th, 2012, 11:32 am

Glacier wrote: Why do they do so many prescribed burns if trees are dying because of fires? What is left after the trees die? Do they ever come back? These are the important questions they forgot to answer.


I'm sure you know this already but...

Prescribed fires are used after an area is logged, partly to to return carbon back into the soil and to allow many fire dependent plant species to reseed the undergrowth. It simulates and speeds up what would have happened naturally before we developed fire fighting techniques.

Usually areas of old growth/wildlife "leave patches" are left standing among clearcut areas for natural reseeding which can be more effective than treeplanting.

Considering the age of the planet and how long mankind has been using the forests it's easy to see that there will have been countless generations of "old growth" (200-2000 yrs old trees not including Bristlecone pines) on this planet's forests that have grown and died naturally long before mankind started wholesale logging practices.

The value of old growth besides the intrinsic beauty is in the seed stock which I believe should be collected, and propogated for the future forests.

Today though, we humans are an overpopulated entity that has an unstoppable voraciousness for destroying trees to make room for parking lots and that is what mother nature cannot keep up with.

We humans are a viruses with chainsaws on the forest landscape.

I plead Guilty!! to contributing to this destruction in exchange for a pay cheque, but the forests will grow back given a chance and I know that there are many humans that have homes because of my work...
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby HoboJo » Dec 12th, 2012, 1:31 pm

. None I ever saw died alarmingly fast although some made a hell of a moaning scream before hitting the ground so hard it sounded like an artillery shell exploding...


:-) What can I say. Too good.
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Re: World's biggest trees dying 'alarmingly' fast

Postby hobbyguy » Dec 13th, 2012, 5:33 pm

Well it made me check google maps to see if my favorite stand of "big boys" is still there from when I worked in logging. They are still there, lining the Mamin River Canyon. 6-700 yr old (rough guess) spruces. Give 'ur 084 a heart attack, 090's were the standard there and struggled with these big boys. Kind of ironic that that stand is only a couple of miles from Juskatla - which used to be a huge logging camp.
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