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Author Topic: What is "A Pocket Full Of Acorns" ?  (Read 74648 times)

Offline OldDragon

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Projects like this are always an inspiration, and sharing ideas and information all helps to inspire others.

This link might prove of interest to others, and it is a simple idea that can be replicated in any area where there are a few people who share a common interest in the environment and preserving that for the benefit of future generations and the native flora and fauna.

TRPD - Llys Trerobert Woodland & Wildlife Project
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Just learned of this tree planting project in the Sub Sahara scrub / semi desert areas and think you will find this amazing.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/06/2357361.htm
Revegetation project greens Sahara
By Bronwyn Herbert

Posted Sat Sep 6, 2008 7:23pm AEST
Updated Sat Sep 6, 2008 8:03pm AEST

 
Hundreds of millions of new trees have taken root in the Sahara over the last couple of decades (Reuters: Zohra Bensemra)
While climate change scientists warn of the increased desert in Africa in the future, researchers working with communities near the Sahara have managed to turn parts of the massive desert green.

Australians are part of the project which has seen hundreds of millions of new trees take root over the last couple of decades.

Project managers say it is no surprise that the West African region is capable of being revegetated, but even they are surprised by the scale of their success.

On the arid margins of the Sahara there has been a dramatic transformation under way - a greening of the desert.

Australian aid worker Tony Rinaldo has been there from the start, working with farmers in Niger since 1980.

"It's the difference between night and day because it was a barren wind-swept plain, and it was a very unpleasant landscape because it is extremely hot; there's no shade," he said.

"Even though I was involved in that process over 17 years I can't believe what I see, because as you travel through the countryside there's trees everywhere."

The project has been so successful that 5 million hectares of once marginal desert country is now productive land.

"I had to convince farmers that if you protected and pruned a certain number of these trees that are there then your crop yields would increase," said Mr Rinaldo.

"And that was a big battle.

"It probably took 10 years to have a significant mass, a critical mass of people that were practising that and made it safe, if you like; safe for others to practice without being ridiculed or feel out of place because they were doing something different."

Chris Ray from the University of Amsterdam has been studying land use in Africa for 30 years. He says it is no surprise that deserts' periphery could be revegetated, but he is shocked by the scale of success.

"We were surprised about the scale at which this is happening," he said.

"Five million hectares is not something small, it is bigger than the size of the Netherlands that I'm coming from."

He says the trees have significantly improved the land's productivity, and this has had flow-on effects.

"If you introduce more trees in the system you not only get soil fertility, you also get more fodder for your livestock," he said.

"And 20, 30 years ago all the manure was used as a source of energy in the kitchen, because there was little else.

"And now all the manure that is being produced by the livestock goes back to the fuel."

Australia's connection with the project continues. World Vision's Tony Rinaldo says they are now planting edible seeded acacias in the Sahara.

"These are traditional foods of the Australian Aborigines," he said.

"They act as an added wind-break; they fix nitrogen, and then in addition to that the seeds have 40 per cent carbohydrate."

They hope another 2 million hectares of desert land will be protected over the next decade.
« Last Edit: 17/09/2008 19:39:07 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline dentstudent

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Hi Andrew - I also have a vested interest in trees (I have just completed my PhD at the Institute of Forest Growth in Freiburg) and I just want to point out that of course, in general, trees are a good thing, but they do have disadvantages too. For example, non-site adapted species can be detrimental to timber production and local ecology, and can also be very susceptible to pathogens and storm damage - for example the use of spruce in many central European countries. The use of the incorrect species can have a massive effect on the local hydrological cycle. For example the use of eucalypts in Spain and Portugal which can notably reduce the local water table. Also, in the generation of HEP (Hydro-Electric Power), for example in Wales where the removal of forests can improve the production of HEP since there is less water being removed from the system by the trees' evapotranspiration.

The decisions about how, where and how many trees to plant has profound consequences on the environment, and is not a decision that should be made lightly. I am in full support of improving the environment, but it needs to be a well considered approach, and one that does not jeopardise the future health and vitality of the associated ecosystems.
« Last Edit: 27/11/2008 09:39:43 by dentstudent »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

While I agree that some species of trees are detrimental to the environment, Rhododendron for example in the UK are very invasive and poison the soil with their foliage along with completely blocking the sun from the soil. Trees are very good at recovering water from the atmosphere causing it to rain. One only has to look at areas where trees have been removed to confirm this. The Chipco Movement in India for example was formed because rivers and streams failed to flow in the mountains once the are had been clear felled. For many years they noticed failing rains and when the rains did fall the ground was unable to soak up the water so huge mud slides were common place. The valuable top soils began to move down to the rivers and coloured them.
Eventually the women strapped themselves to the huge trucks and drove spikes into the trees to make the chainsaws dangerous to use. Eventually they won and the clear felling stopped.

The women then went about planting hundreds of thousands of trees which are now established and the streams and rivers now flow again with clean water.

Remove the forest from the coastline and we see a huge reduction in rainfall. A small island, covered in mangrove forest off the coast of India was clear felled and other species, was stripped of the timber for fuel. Cattle were moved in to graze and in 7 years they turned an island that had ample rainfall and fertile soils into a desert that has no rainfall. The cattle bones are there as a reminder to people of the folly of degrading the land and soil by removing the forests. In fact this can be seen in many countries, including our own little islands. East Anglia is now experiencing poor soil management and rainfall is getting less and less each year.

What science fails to take into account is that trees transpiring moisture seed rain-clouds and cause it to rain by removing the thermal barrier we see evident on parched dry lands. A thermal barrier along the desert coastline prevents moisture laden clouds from crossing onto the land. This causes inland forest to become parched and fires destroy it. Replace the forest along the coastline using waste water and rain will once again fall!

So for now removing trees to accelerate water run off from the surrounding areas will undoubtedly improve the rapid flow of soil water to the reservoir via the rivers for hydroelectric power production. But the silt from the degraded soils will render hydroelectric power redundant in a very short timescale as the sediment stacks up behind the damís. Just as it has in many hydroelectric schemes around the globe!

The problem is as always the use of un-sustainable monoculture cash crops. Eucalyptus is very flammable, producing volatile oils that ignite and spread wildfires with ease. The sensible approach is to bring in diversity and include species that do not burn readily and provide fire breaks to stop the devastation now seen around the globe as fires spread rapidly due to lack of thought when planting them. Nature does not like monoculture cash crops and we should all learn from nature. Pathogens abound in the once massive tropical rainforests and did not appear to upset the balance. In fact they provide a mechanism for letting more sunlight into the forest floor to stimulate new growth. Again monoculture cash crops do not survive pathogen invasion well. Why do you think this is?

Jeopardising the full health and echo systems is something mankind is very good at. We in Britain have removed a massive amount of forest in the name of progress. The baron moors we revel in were once great forests teaming with wildlife. Now they are teaming with ticks and used to farm horseflesh. Could this be the type of management you are referring to?

What about the Sahara Desert? Once the bread basket of the world, now a wasteland 2.5 times the size of Australia. What about Australia? Managed by Aborigines who used fire to turn the whole place into deserts? What about the sheep farmers whose habitual destruction prevents and chance of nature recovering?
The deserts are expanding at a frightening rate. So if the rain once fell on these massive lands and breathed life into them but now does not fall any more. Where does all this extra rain fall? Yup youíve got it. It falls where trees remain and wet weather is commonplace causing floods and mudslides, with devastating effects.

Mankindís stupidity never ceases to amaze me. We will not rest until we have a blank canvas to bear our own epitaphs. Andrew K Fletcher
 


Hi Andrew - I also have a vested interest in trees (I have just completed my PhD at the Institute of Forest Growth in Freiburg) and I just want to point out that of course, in general, trees are a good thing, but they do have disadvantages too. For example, non-site adapted species can be detrimental to timber production and local ecology, and can also be very susceptible to pathogens and storm damage - for example the use of spruce in many central European countries. The use of the incorrect species can have a massive effect on the local hydrological cycle. For example the use of eucalypts in Spain and Portugal which can notably reduce the local water table. Also, in the generation of HEP (Hydro-Electric Power), for example in Wales where the removal of forests can improve the production of HEP since there is less water being removed from the system by the trees' evapotranspiration.

The decisions about how, where and how many trees to plant has profound consequences on the environment, and is not a decision that should be made lightly. I am in full support of improving the environment, but it needs to be a well considered approach, and one that does not jeopardise the future health and vitality of the associated ecosystems.
« Last Edit: 27/11/2008 13:05:09 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline dentstudent

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Trees are very good at recovering water from the atmosphere causing it to rain.

Andrew - Trees donít cause rain. Please can you explain this further with scientific references from peer reviewed journals, and not cases that are just anecdotal? With respectful thanks!
« Last Edit: 27/11/2008 12:46:29 by dentstudent »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Yes they do cause it to rain! Lets take a look at plastic trees, huge nets stretched out to harvests airborn moisture, they were designed to immitate the same observations of moisture dripping from natural leaf foliage.

The desert island created by man was not anecdotal! A video of the whole process was shown on BBC television. The connection with removing the trees and the soil degradation was noted in the documentary.

Many coastal forests milk moisture from the ocean. It is common here in Paignton for the temperature in the woodland to be several dgrees lower than the environment clear of trees. We walk the dogs frequently through these woods when temperatures soar and on accasions we see the trees dripping with water as mist shrouds the trees yet does not shroud the surrounding coastal area and clouds appear to roll around the coast rather than crossing on to the land.

Plastic trees were used to great effect to immitate the real trees by providing a way to milk the atmosphere of airborn moisture. Introduction http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-26965-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

The frugal use of expensive water trucked in from distant wells was a way of life in the parched desert village of Chungungo, Chile ó located in one of the driest parts of the world. In addition to being costly, the water was often contaminated, contributing to poor sanitation, ill health, and low food production.

Today, a simple technology collects water from fog, supplying villagers with two or three times more water than they once used and at a lower cost. What makes this possible is the persistent, extensive cloud cover (camanchacas) along the coast of Chile, which creates continual fog as the prevailing winds move inland across the mountains.

With IDRC funding, Chilean and Canadian scientists fashioned an inexpensive, sustainable water supply system by stretching polypropylene mesh between two posts -- like an oversized volleyball net. Precious water droplets form on the mesh as the fog passes through it. The droplets then run down into gutters that feed a reservoir and network of pipes in Chungungo.

Eighty collectors now supply Chungungo, providing an average of 10 000 litres of water per day. Meanwhile, a new prototype collector that is easy to build and maintain has been developed and tested. Twenty collectors based on the new design were installed on a new site in 1992.

The success in Chungungo has spurred interest in the technology elsewhere. Fogcatchers have been installed in Islay province and in the Manchay hills on the coast of Peru, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture's Instituto Nacional de Investigacion agraria y Agro-Industrial and Asociacion TECNIDES respectively. In Ecuador, systems are operating at Pululahua and Pachamama Grande. Sites in Namibia and South Africa are also being tested for their suitability. 
 

Offline dentstudent

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Thanks for that Andrew. It appears to me that what you are calling "rain" is the collection of water droplets / moisture held in suspension in the air that then condenses on the leaves and the rest of the tree strucure which then falls to the ground. I have absolutely no problem with this whatsoever, and I know of the Chilean forest that "captures" fog that you mention - but if the fog didn't form as a result of the air/sea combination, the forest would not be able to survive. But, this is not rain in the real sense of the word.

So, yes a forest can help capture moisture that is in the atmosphere and which can then form droplets on the trees which may then "rain" onto the ground, but they don't form rain-clouds. There are certainly instances where forests appear to drag cloud down, and this is the result of evapo-transpiration. I see it very frequently here in the Black Forest! These "clouds" remain highly localised and also remain at rather low elevations above the ground, and in fact rarely rise above the trees at all, or rather, when they do, they become dispersed and don't aggregate.

I think that it is a question of definition and semantics.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Andrew - there is one other point that I would like you to expand on, please. (But no too much, I've got to find time to read it too!)

"Nature does not like monoculture cash crops"

 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Monoculture cash crops impoverish the soil causing eventual soil erosion. Monoculture forestry causes fires by failing to add diversity. alternating the material that is deposited in the soil by including trees that drop the leaves alongside trees that remain evergreen allows the continuation of farming without depleting the soil further. This is why indigenous people who live in the rainforest can do so for thousands of years without damaging the environment. The forest quickly reclaims the small openings they clear and the villagers move on when the soil becomes unproductive in the clearings.

Clear felling severely damages the soils but with careful introduction of indigenous trees alongside the cash crops we can continue to harvest without causing the soil to be washed away in floods.
 

Offline dentstudent

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Andrew - I would just be really careful about what seem to me to be very broad generalisations. You said that "nature does not like monoculture cash crops". Well, firstly, I don't think that "nature" really cares whether something is a cash crop or not. Secondly, there are many naturally occurring monocultures that are coincidentally also cash crops. In forest scenarios that are beech oriented, there is generally a 2 storey beech canopy - one of the overstorey, and the other of naturally regenerated trees. Beech operates in such a way that is detrimental to other species and therefore these stands are monoculture. However, I think that you are using the word "monculture" to define an anthropogenically altered forest, for example, a spruce forest. There is evidence that this type of monoculture is detrimental to ecosystems and to stand stability (either stable ecosystems or mechanical stability). However, there is also evidence that suggests that there are other forest types that are susceptible to damage. This can only be managed by species and structural dynamics. We cannot assess the effects against a natural forest (in Europe, at any rate) since they don't exist to any great extent. I agree that the use of indigenous species is a good thing, but, this is not going to be the case in several decades time. We will have to change our thinking away from current site adapted species to future site adapted species, and we can only speculate through the use of models as to how this will work, ie. which species and which structures. If we manage it correctly, we are able to make sure that the species that are used are not only site adapted/adaptable, but are also financially viable.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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With you all the way on this one Dent. I was referring to manufactured cash crops not naturally occurring cash crops but you made a good point about the beech tree forming it's own monoculture. Never thought of relating to monoculture like that before. Thanks

The potato famine in Ireland gives another insight into cash crops. When they fail it is often not without disastrous consequences.


The picture below is not unique and shows clearly how moisture rolls along a coastline due to thermals rising from the hot sands and black tarmac roads. At night when temperatures drop the clouds cross onto the land and rain falls as a result. Observed many times here in Devon.


« Last Edit: 27/11/2008 18:29:02 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Little Sula planting trees for the future on televison news.

Autumn has arrived and the seeds are on the ground ready to be picked up and planted where trees have fallen or been chopped down.

We had a lovely stroll the other day through a woodland that is 11 years old and some of the trees are 20 feet tall, there are spindle, whitebeam, holly, ash, oak, crab apple, maple, hazle field maple, chestnut, hawthorn thriving, deer have moved in and wild flowers are beginning to settle in nicely. Trees have begun to self seed and more saplings are thriving ready to be transplanted out to new ground.

Please give a hand and start your own planting project.



Click on the image to view photographs of our new woodland in Cockington Devon
« Last Edit: 13/10/2009 20:51:29 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline BenV

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You should try developing some heathland for your next project - I think it's the most endangered habitat in the UK now...
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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You should try developing some heathland for your next project - I think it's the most endangered habitat in the UK now...

Only heathland because the trees have been removed in the first place. Maintaining heathland is practiced so doubtfully in decline although the constant burning of the gorse and small trees is adding to soil erosion.

So how do you propose to devolop more heathland?
 

Offline BenV

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Now that's a good question, and one to which I really don't know the answer!  I'm not sure of the successional stages that lead to heathland, or those that degrade it naturally.

It's obviously never going to be as simple as 'plant a load of heather and gorse'; proper management would need light grazing, occasional cutting and burning, removal of excess nutrients (i.e. from local agriculture) etc etc etc...

Actually, reading up about it, it seems that Devon is one of the most significant areas for lowland heath - I assume there are geological considerations...
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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The problem with heathland and the moors is the grazing and burning required to maintain it. It is not a natural habitat but clearly a manmade habitat and as you say in Devon and Cornwall we have more than our fairshare of this useless landscape which could easily be put back to forest.

The burning adds to pollution and global warming and the grazing stock contributes methane although does add some fertility to the soils.

Certain areas like the spring bogs and streams are very attractive for visitors but many leave without taking their litter problem with them, a few weeks ago I collected a carrier bag full of litter and glass bottles that people had discarded in a few hundred yards from the car park among grazing Dartmoor ponies.

If we are to begin to address global warming we really need to consider replacing the forests we devour each day before considering to cut more trees down in order to provide more heathland, just my humble opinion mind.

Andrew
 

Offline BenV

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Heathland is as important as forest, without a shadow of a doubt.

Grazing animals, natural fires and limited resources all occur naturally, so health lands are certainly a natural, rather than man made environment.

Forests are great, but support a different range of species to other environments.  If we were to replace all of England's heath with forest, we would lose almost all of our remaining reptile species, a few species of ground bees, several other insects and probably a few birds.

Boundaries between one habitat and another tend to be the most species rich areas.
 

Offline rosy

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Ye-es. However. I've always suspected planting trees was a footling way of approaching climate change (in the sense that it would never make sufficient difference to be meaningful. I've always vaguely meant to do the sums...
It turns out the very clever (and thorough) David Mackay has done the sums for me.
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_245.shtml
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_246.shtml
So we might as well stick to husbanding our forest and heathland environments to preserve diverstiy.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Heathland is as important as forest, without a shadow of a doubt.

Grazing animals, natural fires and limited resources all occur naturally, so health lands are certainly a natural, rather than man made environment.

Forests are great, but support a different range of species to other environments.  If we were to replace all of England's heath with forest, we would lose almost all of our remaining reptile species, a few species of ground bees, several other insects and probably a few birds.

Boundaries between one habitat and another tend to be the most species rich areas.

Nope, Heathlands are managed with fire and domestic grazing animals, nothing natural about them at all!
http://www.theheathproject.org.uk/news.html?newsId=20&page=3

Deserts are the end product of this stupidity.

One only has to look at Australia to see the end product managed now by sheep and dairy farming along with rabbit and native grazing animals.

Most of Australia is now desert. The credit given to the native Australian bushpeople. But the truth is they burned the vegetation to kill and cook the wildlife and rid the area of deadly snakes!

« Last Edit: 14/10/2009 13:53:50 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Ye-es. However. I've always suspected planting trees was a footling way of approaching climate change (in the sense that it would never make sufficient difference to be meaningful. I've always vaguely meant to do the sums...
It turns out the very clever (and thorough) David Mackay has done the sums for me.
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_245.shtml
http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c31/page_246.shtml
So we might as well stick to husbanding our forest and heathland environments to preserve diverstiy.

Rosy,

All depends on how you look at the problem, pull blinkers on and yes you will see straight ahead and yes the sums will add up to anything you want to focus on.

We are however not trying to completely offset the carbon from every person with just trees, the ocean lake and river sinks provide some ďCo2 suckingĒ and as pointed out the minerals also provide some Co2 sucking.

Let us also remember that trees are very good at burying their own timber in the root systems which remain underground long after the above ground timber has been utilised.

And let us also remember the foliage dragged below ground by earthworms or foraged by moulds and deposited below the soils enriching them.

But most of all let us remember that shielding the suns energy from reaching the soils and drying it out contributes to keeping the climate cool and the transpiration in the air also blocks out a lot of the sunís energy.

So it is nonsensical to try to separate the carbon emission trade off without considering the huge amount of water storage the prevention of soil erosion by the root system and of course the production of fruits, animal fodder, shelter, increased moisture, reduced temperature micro climates created by the trees and habitats for wildlife and humans. And then there is also that valuable age-old useful product called timber.
Almost forgot preventing flash floods, mud slides and dry river beds.
On the other hand there is always a handful of lucky heather for the gypsies to be found in the heath lands.

« Last Edit: 15/10/2009 15:20:34 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline litespeed

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Andrew - You wrote: " Nature needs a little help if she is ever going to address the most devastating attack this planet has ever seen."

First, it is this sort of exageration that gives greens a bad name. The planet has suffered far worse in the past. Believe me, you would not wish to live where you do now a mere 10,000 years ago. Think ICE age. Think Jurrasic astroid, or any Super volcano you wish.

That said, I plant and tend trees on my wood lot adjacent to the house. I leave the dead ones standing for the wood peckers, and weed out encroachments. Furthermore, I grew up in Ohio with many small farms.  Many of them were not amenable to large scale farming and have returned to brushland and even woods. Even the beavers have returned.  We never had beavers were I lived as a kid. So cheer up, bucky!

PS - It is looking more and more like wind power has come of age. It already supplies Texas with three or four percent of its total power grid.  And the things are going up like weeds all over West Texas. Wind pricing is based on Natural Gas prices which are also plentiful in Texas. I drove up to one of the windmills, and it was an impressive thing.  Also impressive was the ground level wind speed which was constant and VERY fast. Uncomfortably fast!  Lots of wind in Texas!
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Hi and thanks for letting us know of your tree planting. Great work!

The ice age was probably brought about by changes in weather due initially to global warming and the removal of vegetation, for example the giant freshwater lake in Canada released onto the ocean surface down the St Lawrence river is thought to have caused the Atlantic conveyor system that drives not only the ocean currents but the worldís weather to grind to a halt, this is said to have caused a catastrophic drop in temperature following the warming that released it.

Here again the temperatures are rising and the caps melting spilling onto the oceans surface, diluting the surface water and interrupting the saline flow and return system that effectively drives the massive flow of sea water to the equator and back.

Huge volcanoes and Earthquakes fail to come close to mans disease on the soil. Deserts and desertification pose more problems than any short-term catastrophic disaster, no matter how spectacular. Take the dustbowl in America for example. Ignore the signs and continue to overexploit the soils and they will blow away leaving behind a desert.
The ancient Egyptians, the Anastasian Indians, the Incas, the Chinese, the Mesopotamians, have perished and their bones tell the story of impoverished diets, disease and starvation. Many more have left their feeble irrigation channels buried beneath the drifting sands.

The dinosaurs became exports at degrading their environment, impressive sizes were reached as more and more efficient plant eaters evolved. Is it a coincidence that many of their bones are found not in lush green forested areas but in sands devoid of vegetation?

If we donít address the expanding deserts soon we wonít be on this planet for much longer!

Wind power is a smart move to generate electricity reducing pollution significantly but with all due respect it cannot address the worlds inherent lack of fertile soil and failing rainfall, coupled with the all too familiar flash floods and imbalance in rain distribution.

More forests planted along the desert coastlines will permit the ocean born moisture to cross onto the land and cause rain to fall where it is needed most and therefore relieving the burden of too much rainfall in other areas that are still forested.

As the forests grow with or without mans help rain clouds will begin to pass inland to feed more forest rather than falling where they are not needed by vegetation. As the clouds cross the dry deserts the air will cool and the suns energy will be prevented from heating up the sandy soils shaded by the airborne moisture. Then global temperatures will fall.
 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Millions of trees felled in UK forestry crisis

By Dan Gledhill

Sunday, 1 October 2000

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/millions-of-trees-felled-in-uk-forestry-crisis-698477.html
A crisis in the UK's forestry industry has forced the destruction of millions of sap-lings, according to one of the UK's largest tree growers.

A crisis in the UK's forestry industry has forced the destruction of millions of sap-lings, according to one of the UK's largest tree growers.

In the latest episode of an orgy of felling uneconomic trees that has bedevilled the industry in recent years, the privately-owned Maelor Nurseries is having to close a big nursery in Scotland. On the eve of its harvest, Maelor has also started destroying saplings planted just three years ago on its Welsh Borders' farm. Millions more will have to go, the company predicts.

Ironically, Britain is the world's second-biggest importer of timber, buying £6.5bn of wood from overseas every year, according to official statistics. Only 20 per cent of wood consumed in the UK is grown in this country.

At the same time, Britain has sunk near to the bottom of Europe's afforestation table. Only 10.5 per cent of British land is now wooded thanks to a steady decline in commercial planting. A damning report by the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) highlighted a particularly worrying decline in the planting of conifers and broad-leaved varieties. The HTA is also critical of much of the planting which has gone on, condemning the use of cheap and unregulated foreign stock likely to have a negative environmental impact.

Britain's forestry problems have been aggravated by the actions of conservationists, industry figures say, even though groups like Greenpeace oppose the indiscriminate felling in the virgin forests of developing countries. The creation of commercially sustainable forestry in the UK has been frustrated by interest groups concerned about the impact on local wildlife. Michael Harvey, managing director of Maelor Nurseries, believes the opposition is misconceived.

"Modern forestry is no longer concerned with the monotonous conifer planting that was popular before the 1980s," he says. "We believe that such an important subject should be viewed in the global context and controlled through more public debate."

Mr Harvey also blames red tape for the destruction of 15 million new trees which was forced on Maelor last year. Not even the awarding of a series of lottery grants to fund millennium planting projects has been enough to stem the tide of felling.

The impact of the trend has been felt beyond the industry, especially in remote parts of the country where forestry has traditionally been one of the most important employers.

In the light of the crisis, Mr Harvey is calling for an urgent review of the Government's forestry policy. He believes that the UK should take a leaf out of the books of Holland and Ireland, where forestry's positive environmental effects - for example, its ability to reduce carbon in the atmosphere - are factored into the equation when planting policy is formulated.
 

Offline Bass

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Recently back from wilds of Alabama with a few updated photos


Tornado tract- 700 acres cleared, burned and ready for planting this winter


3 year old loblolly tract

« Last Edit: 22/11/2009 18:52:47 by Bass »
 

Offline Bass

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continued...


5 year old longleaf tract


8 year old loblolly tract

Photos show our forests in different stages of growth/rehbilitation.
 

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