Thursday, 22 November 2012

Warning From History

An estimated 4 billion American chestnuts were wiped out by disease a hundred years ago.

"The American chestnut tree was an essential component of the entire eastern US ecosystem. A late-flowering, reliable, and productive tree, unaffected by seasonal frosts, it was the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife from bears to birds. Rural communities depended upon the annual nut harvest as a cash crop to feed livestock. The chestnut lumber industry was a major sector of rural economies. Chestnut wood is straight-grained and easily worked, lightweight and highly rot-resistant, making it ideal for fence posts, railroad ties, barn beams and home construction, as well as for fine furniture and musical instruments."

There plans to bring the species back.

1 comment:

howard thomas said...

I read a long and in depth article the other day that went into great detail about how plant diseases can spread much more easily than used to be the case because of the long distances that plants are moved without any real checks.
One example was seeds which are harvested in the UK are grown into seedlings in New Zealand in their summer and then shipped to the UK as small plants just to get ahead in the race to produce the plants.
An example of red tape stupidity was the fact that a boring type beetle is destroying a woodland of 1500 ancient oaks in Rigolin, a Polish national park, but the beetle has actually been granted a preservation order by an EU eurobug committee. How absurd!
Basically the article was pointing out just how easy it is to move plants (and animals) around and this means that the diseases spread very quickly over wide areas, making dealing with these problems much more difficult.