Forests in Colorado are changing. Between insects, droughts, wildfires, and other factors, there are millions of acres of forest that need to recover. The Forest Service is contemplating what kind of role they should have in that recovery: should they determine what kind of new forest forms, or let nature take its course?
On the one hand, the recovery of so much forest can be seen as an opportunity. What if the new forest could be almost engineered to provide habitats for species who have lost it, or to create a more resilient forest that would be less susceptible to current forest management issues.
On the other hand, interfering in a natural process is something often frowned upon. Many organizations, American Forests among them, work to restore damaged forests, but always to bring back what was lost, not to create something entirely new. There is always the possibility that interference could create new environmental problems, and the question as to what right humans have to re-engineer nature.
What do you think? Should the Forest Service restore the forests that were, or help to create new kinds of forest? Tell us in your comments!
Don't forget: this Saturday is National Public Lands Day! It's one of the largest volunteer opportunities all year, aimed at improving the precious natural resources that belong to all of us. What will you be doing to get involved?
You can help build or restore bridges, roads and trails, clean up litter from campsites, weed out invasive species, restore wildlife habitats, and much more! Check out the opportunities to volunteer at a site near you at http://www.publiclandsday.org/involved/index.htm
Congaree National Park is incredibly unique. It is the only national park in South Carolina, and its forest and wetland ecosystems are nothing less than ancient. It is home to several champion trees on the state and national registries. But environmental groups say that some proposed roadwork in the area could have some very negative effects on this one-of-a-kind national park.
The proposed project would rebuild the U.S. 601, which runs through the Congaree, and restore an aging bridge within the park. Though the road and bridge do need to be repaired, environmental groups are stating that the methods used could damage the park's fragile ecosystems, and that a detailed study of the project's possible impacts must be completed before it is allowed to continue.
Alternative methods with less environmental impact are available, but would increase the project's cost substantially. The project's builders state that the effort simply costs too much, but environmentalists insist that the effort is well worth it. The irreplaceable old-growth forests and wetland ecosystems are unique, and support several sensitive wildlife species. Both types of ecosystems are in decline all across the nation.
It looks like the combined efforts of many determined environmental groups have finally made a visible difference in the Potomac River. This river, which runs through Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and West Virginia, as long had the reputation of a scenic treasure gone wrong. Even back in the 60's, President Lyndon Johnson declared the river flowing through our nation's capital a "national disgrace"; one that only got worse with time.
Urban development and runoff, as well as increased agriculture upriver, led to an immense amount of pollution being fed into its waters. This eventually led to a nutrient overload, causing a massive increase in algae and decrease in oxygen. The water became clouded and murky, and the aquatic life was anything but healthy. Its name is often heard in conjunction with that of the Chesapeake Bay, where its polluted waters have created quite the toxic problem.
A recent study reveals that the efforts to clean up the Potomac are finally making a difference. The water is clearer, and the nutrient overload has declined. These findings promise a brighter future for the Potomac, and hopefully for the Chesapeake as well. Some of the efforts that contributed to this improvement were upgrades to water treatment facilities upstream, made to reduce the amount of chemicals and nutrients that flow into the river from urban sewage.
Also playing a part are the efforts to restore riparian ecosystems up and down the river, bringing back the natural barriers of trees and plants to cleanse the water and protect it from runoff. We've been planting trees to restore those ecosystems for years, and it's great to know that those projects are making a difference. Take a look at some of those projects and others at http://www.americanforests.org/global_releaf/projects/
It's been 5 years since Hurricane Katrina brought such massive destruction to the Gulf Coast, shattering homes, taking lives, and bringing down hundreds of millions of trees. In the intervening years, much has been done to rebuild the human infrastructure. Roads, bridges, and homes have been rebuilt, and families returned. But how has recovery gone in the natural world?
Well, the barrier islands are practically drowning, and may actually need to be artificially rebuilt. The fragile marshes are recovering slowly, with intense restoration projects restoring the habitat so vital to so many wildlife species. And the forests that were leveled, both rural and urban, are growing back one tree at a time. Read more about the Gulf Recovery at http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/hurricane-katrina-gulf-coast-ecological-damage-0479/
Read about American Forests' Katrina ReLeaf projects, which have planted hundreds of thousands of trees in the Gulf Coast to restore those lost to the hurricane.
For a more personal version of the Gulf Coast restoration, read the story of Monique Pelee,whose fundraising efforts have helped to bring thousands of trees back to New Orleans.
Indonesia has some of the most remarkably diverse ecosystems in the world. They also have one of the worst problems with deforestation and ecosystem fragmentation. The unique forms of life that Indonesia hosts are incredibly valuable for their biodiversity, their value as natural resources, and even their medicinal values, which in the past couple of generations have yielded to great strides in cancer treatments. But if current practices continue, they could lose it all. Have their ecosystems and incredible biodiversity reached a tipping point?
KDC Solar and North
Jersey Media Group Cut
Ribbon on Large Solar
(SPX) May 10, 2013The
solar operation will
cover more than 60
percent of the power
needs at North Jersey
Media Group's printing
Dear Friends - please
accept my sincere
apologies for n ot
answering any of your
msgs and kind thoughts.
Unfortunately I lost my
password and have been
unable to get into my
account for ages -
probably with all the
moving house etc., but
you were all ...
Ever since I saw that
horrific pic of the
beautiful white horse, I
can't get it out of my
mind. To think a group of
people--or maybe it was
actually do something
like that totally blows