Protecting Trees Protects the Future
A multi-national climate change tree test was begun last month to determine which tree species are likely to survive the changing conditions brought about by climate change. Thousand of trees were planted on 37 field site locations in 12 different nations. Scientists hope to observe and document the trees’ growth in different environments, using the information as base level data for future comparison. Knowing which trees survived and thrived despite effects of climate change (and those that did not) will make a difference to planning environmental policies and guiding forestry officials in the future.
Scientists are also looking out for potential tree species that could supplant those that did not survive. This is important in preserving a country’s productive forests.
This latest large scale project demonstrates yet again the critical need to safeguard our planet’s future by paying attention and taking action for trees’ welfare and survival. According to statistics, the world loses four plant species everyday. Different factors contribute to this appalling trend of fast paced extinction. Changing planet conditions, pollution, disease, and of course deforestation are some of the culprits. Already major steps have been taken across the world to protect our forests, but protection status and reforestation alone will not complete the solution. Further steps need to be taken to ensure trees’ survival against the damaging effects of pollution and disease, climate change, and even invasive species.
In Britain, environmental teams worked to identify a foreign beetle species that is killing native trees. Britain’s Forestry Commission stated that the beetle species, thought to have been originally from China, is a threat to its many tree species. TheAsia longhorn beetle drills into the inner wood of trees like beeches, sycamores, and fruit trees and eats the inside of the tree. In order to treat and prevent further outbreak, many mature trees hosting the beetle may have to be destroyed. Cases like these severely affect local tree populations, and if the affected tree species is endemic, the consequences may be tragic.
Different approaches are taken to guard against such fatalities. The Millennium Seed Bank, one of the largest international conservation projects, seeks to collect and preserve seeds from all over the world. The project recently achieved an impressive milestone of having completed the collection of a total one-tenth of the world’s wild plant species.
Another approach is to study how to help trees to combat diseases. In a study published by e360, scientists announced they have successfully reproduced clones from survivors of Dutch elm disease. The disease hinders water transport and obstructs nutrient flow in the trees. Trees across eastern Canada and US have succumbed to the disease. Researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada produced genetic copies of the survivors via in vitro technology. Desired traits from the genetic clones are hoped to be used to produce stronger trees which will be able to overcome the disease. The scientists think the procedure will be beneficial to other tree species, especially endangered ones.
Conservation efforts like these differ in approaches and methods, and take a long time to prove their worth. Most of the hardworking people in these conservation projects will never fully see the fruits of their efforts. But the reason behind their goal is clear. Protecting trees and forests today will preserve and protect the future of tomorrow.
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