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Send in the Clones - Believer Magazine
Last November I drove to a private grove in the southern Sierra Nevada to meet the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a band of renegade foresters working to clone and move the big trees north, out of their native range, to cooler and wetter climates. I was skeptical of this, because I had spent the last few years very invested in California’s native-plant movement, which holds that genetics is tied to place for a reason, and that human meddling in natural processes like species migration often leads to disaster....

sequoias are, of course, the largest of all trees, and the most massive freestanding organisms in the world. They live as long as three thousand five hundred years, longer than all trees but the Chilean alerce and the bristlecone pine, which grows east of here, over the Sierra crest and across the Owens Valley. ...

You will never find a lonely old-growth sequoia, because they live in groves, of which only seventy or so still survive. You don’t have to be a mystic to think that this is because they are sociable old trees—we are only now learning how plants communicate underground and through aerosols they emit, and in a sequoia grove it doesn’t take long to notice they are working together to form a special environment: a grove provides an airy break from the denser, darker, and more juvenile west-slope forest...

more than one hundred million California evergreens have expired in the last decade, mostly in the southern and central Sierra, where the sequoias live. They have been killed by drought, heat, insect infestations, and inscrutably complex interactions between these. The trees are part of a trend of mass die-offs that has quietly been sweeping the world...

I had always believed it self-evident that, in an ideal world, the Arroyo basin would be populated only by plants that evolved to grow in its climate and decomposed-granite soils, building a home for the microorganisms, pollinators, birds, and mammals that in turn enliven these soils, inseminate the flowers, spread the seeds, and generally work with the plants to create an ecosystem that’s whole and healthy.

But in the summer of 2018, I watched as native plants were scorched in a matter of hours, as the thermometer at our Pasadena nursery rose to 118 degrees, and mature, theoretically drought-tolerant sages desiccated so abruptly that they didn’t even have time to shed their fragrant leaves, as they usually do—they just died. I found this very upsetting, and I began to wonder whether the plants I considered to be native were still the ones best suited to this landscape, and what it even means to have a native habitat in a state where more than half of the state’s plant species could soon disappear from the vast majority of the lands they now inhabit, hemmed in to redoubts where they’ll be ever more at risk from fire and climate change...

I have a favorite southern Sierra canyon where my best friend and I go to backpack and fish, and it’s a heartbreaking place to hike if you’re paying attention: above the healthy live oaks and deciduous blue oaks are ponderosa pines, and at the ridgetop the pines mix more or less evenly with fire-red incense cedars—the most beautiful, in their color and graceful symmetry, of all Californian conifers. But it takes only a glance upward to realize that every single one of the cedars is stone-dead, their carcasses preserved by the tannins in their trunks. You look closely and notice that a number of the ponderosas are dead, too, and realize that the next big combination of drought and heat will probably kill the rest of them...

But human-implemented forestry projects often fail when they’re planted with too little genetic diversity or with nonnative and unsuitable tree species. Massive reforestation projects in China and British Columbia have been plagued by these problems...

Mock suggests that we can both manage and participate in nature. For centuries in this area, the Miwok tribe sent burns through the Sierra understory to encourage the growth of black oaks, which produce the acorns they ate. Was this “natural”? How long did a person or a plant have to have been in the area to count as “native”? It’s a tricky road to go down: the great crops of the pre-Columbian southwestern cultures, the drought-tolerant corn and amaranths that I now grow at my house for fun, aren’t actually native—they were introduced thousands of years ago by cultural exchanges in what is now Mexico....

“The best way to find out is to plant one seed,” Mock said. “But we do know from experience and the latest science that you have to pay a lot more attention than we have to the microclimate and microorganisms in the soil.” This is where the mystery reasserts itself. “Because it’s a partnership between microorganisms and the big guy,” he said. “That’s what makes the whole thing work.” ...

I did not believe that he, Milarch, and company would save the world by planting big trees, but I did feel that people like them, working together, just might—they were bold enough to try something new, but were as deeply rooted and conscious of their environments as any people I’d ever met. This might be the exact combination of traits we all need to embody if we’re going to fight this catastrophe while avoiding the trap of humans-know-best arrogance that led us here in the first place. ...
forests  trees  conservation  botany 
11 days ago by shannon_mattern
P.S., Mushrooms Are Extremely Beautiful | JSTOR Daily
A sketchbook dated 1899 contains Violetta’s earliest studies of plants and their cellular structure. Violetta became a registered investigator at the New York Botanical Garden in 1901, and it was during this period that she began her research on fungi. The seriousness of her studies brought her under the mentorship of Lucien Underwood of the New York Botanical Garden and Charles H. Peck of the New York State Museum. Violetta also corresponded and exchanged specimens with William Alphonso Murrill, head of mycological research at the NYBG and founder of the journal Mycologia. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed a surge of women entering into the botanical field in the United States. It wasn’t uncommon for women to provide fieldwork such as specimens, sketches, and notes for male mentors in the scientific establishment.
mushrooms  botany  biology  history  women 
18 days ago by atbradley
Crime Pays But Botany Doesn't - YouTube
A Low-Brow, Crass Approach to Plant Ecology as muttered by a Misanthropic Chicago Italian. Plants and rocks are the skin of the Earth and awareness of the ph...
comedy  video  botany  lol 
21 days ago by redex
Project Seagrass | Advancing the conservation of seagrass through education, influence, research and action
Project Seagrass is the only charity dedicated to advancing the conservation of seagrass through education, influence, research and action.
government  agriculture  pollution  conservation  environment  biology  botany  marine  coastal  plants  angiosperms  seagrass  wetland  habitats  research  university  swansea  glamorgan  wales 
4 weeks ago by asaltydog
NPSBC | Encouraging knowledge, appreciation, responsible use & conservation of BC's native plants and habitats
Who is the Native Plant Society of BC? We are people from British Columbia and beyond who appreciate, enjoy, study and work with BC's native plants and their habitats. We are naturalists, gardeners, botanists, biologists, forest ecologists, plant propagators, landscapers and more. What are our goals? The society was founded in 1997 and based on…
bc  native  plants  botany  ecology  permaculture 
5 weeks ago by ivar
3D Tree Growing Software - The Grove
Grow natural 3D trees for visualisation and film. Grow, bend, prune, interactively simulate the seasons year by year. Build highly detailed 3D models.
3d  animation  tree  biology  botany  generative 
6 weeks ago by geetarista

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