Sunday, July 29, 2018

Time to start up this blog again . . .

Yes, I'm back. So, with half the western U.S. and Europe on fire, we're the lucky ones. We've had some warm spells but nothing horrific, and plenty of rain. The farmers are ecstatic, it's been absolutely perfect. This is one reason people are complacent about climate, I expect. Most of the time, in most places, the weather is still basically okay. And when we have a storm or a drought it isn't immediately obvious that they're happening more often than before.

Actually where I am the predictions are pretty benign for the foreseeable future. A longer growing season, maybe some greater extremes of heat and cold with the wandering jet stream, greater chance for the occasional hurricane to make it north with more punch, but we won't have wildfires or dust bowls.

Actually the bad news is subtler. The dominant tree species here are oak and hemlock. My woods contain hemlock groves, while the expanses of oak are interspersed with other hardwood species. But the hemlocks are dying. This is because of an insect called the woolly adelgid which is expanding its range north. In centuries and decades past we lost our chestnuts and elms to imported blights, and now the emerald ash borer is threatening another species. In fact at some point I'm going to have to work up the energy to fell a couple of dying hemlocks on the edge of my clearing. I just cut one down at my neighbor's business yesterday.

I don't know what these woods will look like in 10 or 15 years, but they will be a lot different. Should we care about that? Change is always with us. Maybe next time I'll talk about bats.

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