Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Millions of dead/dying trees have nothing to do with Climate Change ???

Bark Beetles Decimating Forests as Industrial & Eco-Activist Ideologues scramble for position on who owns the "Science" ??? Don't hold your breath that both sides will soon be holding hands singing 'Oh Lord Kumbaya"  and "We are the World" in celebration of  a viable "Climate Change Solution" anytime soon!  
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, . . . unthankful, disloyal,  , , , not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, , , , and from these turn away." 
 Yup, that just about sums up the disfunctional times we  live under today.
Illustration by Bill Mayer

I just read a great post by John Ikerd of Fairfield Iowa who writes about sustainable economics and particularly on agricultural subject matters. But he wrote a piece about how there really is no such thing as scientific consensus and why that is true. Ever notice that all sides of any debate always insist that they have the prevailing *cough-cough* settled science behind them ? So at the very beginning of his post John Ikerd poses a few relevant questions about science in his opening paragraph:
"Do you ever wonder why scientists can’t seem to agree? Why do nutritionists reach different conclusions regarding the risks and benefits of eating fats, carbohydrates, red meats, eggs, and sugar? Why did it take scientists so long to reach a consensus concerning the causes of climate change or the health risks of tobacco smoke? Why do competent economists disagree about causes of and solutions to just about any economic problem that arises?"
For the most part those are very interesting questions. Like other human endeavours when it comes to leadership and authority [Politics, Business, Religion, Etc], why should Scientists be any different than any other average human being in positions of authority ? They're not. They are as equally flawed as any other human being on this planet, despite the fact that they often blow their own trumpet about personal qualifications. He goes on further to say this:
"With respect to environmental problems, such as global climate change, the first principle of ecology is that “everything is interconnected” – you can’t do just one thing. So by definition, ecological causes and effects cannot be isolated. It is impossible to isolate the human contribution to greenhouse gasses from contributions of soils, oceans, on other animals because human activity affects everything else on earth and everything else affects human activity. Again, addressing the problems of global climate change will affect just about everything, and the economic stakes are enormous."
"The data necessary for social and economic studies inevitably reflect the choices of people. People are not machines. They do not all make the same choices and don’t necessarily repeat the same choice and actions over time. People are continually trying to solve old problems and exploit new opportunities. As they do, their choices, actions, and reactions change. Scientists are also people. It’s impossible for scientists to isolate their particular worldviews and belief systems from their scientific observations and conclusions, particularly when those observations involve other people and their conclusions effect their Professional $ucce$$." (emphasis mine)
JOHN IKERD.COM - Solving Wicked Problems
Yes, varying ideological beliefs or business fortunes do tend to colour whatever version of science you want to believe. In the whole history of science there has never been any such thing as neutral unbiased science from any side of a matter. Now fast forward to a group of ideologues who claim to have the 'real science' behind their opposition to climate change. The group is from the site, "Watts up with That?" [created by major climate change denier, Anthony Watts] and as per their usual modus operandi poked fun at climate scientist like Michael Mann who honestly stated that people shouldn't need climate computer models or scientific data to inform them something is wrong with the Earth's climate mechanisms. He stated that everyone should be capable of observing it for themselves that something is radically wrong with the Earth's natural forces regarding climate disruption.

Alfonso Bedoya in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

“Fundamentally, I’m a climate scientist and have spent much of my career with my head buried in climate-model output and observational climate data trying to tease out the signal of human-caused climate change,”
Yeah okay, you've all heard about these Climate Scientists reliance on computer models ? I remember back when this subject first hit the proverbial fan and the earliest created climate models said things would be irreversible within 100 years. Then the following year things were updated, corrections were made and it was going to be 75 years, then 50, then 40, 30, 25 years etc. Now in the latest News Reports many are saying we are now past the point of no return. But do people really need computer models by scientists to tell them something is seriously wrong ? Do you really need volumes upon volumes of data to tell you something isn't quite right with Earth's environment ? Unfortunately climate change computer models are always tentative, which basically means they are subject to change without notice pending newer discoveries.  
Climate Change: Should we put our trust in Computer Models ?
Well that appears to be the conclusion of Climate Scientists Michael Mann in this next paragraph taken from his speech and he is correct. The average human being doesn't need the so-called sophistication of computer science to reveal to them things they should be clearly observing with their very own eyes.
“What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle,”
Climate Scientist - Michael Mann
The above quotes and commentary from Michael Mann make perfect sense. But most people are out of touch with their surroundings or the dangerous times we are living in. Hatred of another side's political worldview blinds many people to the real issues and the natural world itself couldn't care less about the belief systems from the Fundies of either side. But the evidence for disruption is all around us. I dare say that many who do understand the scope of climate disruption also have no clue as to the massive scale of the problem out there in the real world other than what they read about in Media or on Social Networking sites. Take this year's fire season which every year continues getting worse. Many blame the dead trees, others say no that has nothing to do with it. But facts are, the photographic evidence is everywhere, even if you do not personally visit such forest sites of mass dieoffs. The ecology problem is all due to failed leadership when it comes to land mismanagement resulting from uninformed Science policies which are  shackled to industrial business interests. Criticize any of this and you are labeled as being Anti-Science, which is a coward's way out of accepting responsibility.

Image - Inciweb.nwcg.gov

The report from the Inciweb explains that the Beaver Creek Fire is burning in heavy beetle killed timber. The infested trees are subject to blowing over with large amounts of down timber, making the forest unsafe for firefighters. For the safety of firefighters, the Incident Management Team is allowing the natural process of the fire to occur while focusing their resources on the property values at risk. This suppression strategy apparently has provided for both firefighter safety and the protection of life and property. It's also allowing the elimination of the dead and dying trees which will hopefully come back, but that looks unlikely as there is not really any viable seed being released from cones of dead trees. That process is far different than when live trees with healthy viable cones open up after fire blows through to reseed the area destroyed. Even planting bare root stock will be ineffective if normal rainfall patterns do not return.

Image - Inciweb.nwcg.gov

This is an image of the massive beetle killed trees which are mostly Lodgepole, Fir etc. They have smaller needles which fall off easily and quicker. And they have died by the millions in the interiors of North America. But most photographs do not capture the true immensity of just how massive a scale and widespread the problem really is.

Image - Inciweb.nwcg.gov
The U.S. Government's Incident Informaton System (Inci-Web) has posted the above photograph to illustrate the scale of the problem in fighting the Beaver Creek Fire in Colorado's Routt National Forest on the border with Wyoming. Many shout it has nothing to do with Beetle killed trees. Yes green trees and dead trees burn equally well given current weather anomalies. But these kills are not normal kills as past historical outbreaks which were always localized. This scenario plays out all across the globe. So the strategy in fighting this fire is to allow it to burn and protect only human infrastructure. The natural forest infrastructure which regulates and moderates climate is effectively dismantled and nonfunctional here. No amount of fungal spores are going to create rain clouds and save the day. While I love the subject of mycology, contrary to promotion, they are not going to save the universe. The entire healthy system works together as a functioning whole. So allowing this dying forested system to burn is not destroy anything that isn't already gone. Still, many don't or won't grasp this.

Photo: Craig Kohlruss

These large patches of dead and dying trees in the above photograph are in the Sierra Nevada mountains are viewed from a helicopter back on December 2015. Mostly Ponderosa and Sugar pine trees are dying off in large numbers around Bass Lake and throughout the Sierra Nevada due to a bark beetle infestation brought about by four years of extreme drought in California. Now we are going on a year five. The dead conifers in California are different from those in the Rockies that we saw from the Beaver Creek Fire which have smaller needles which fell off easier. The Ponderosa Pines seem to keep their dead needles for two or three years. So fires blitzes very well through such materials. The debate however is ongoing in how to manage these dead trees. Leaving them or logging them will change nothing. The forests of the Sierra Nevada Mountains will not return unless the climate machanisms normalize and that is unlikely. Chaparral plants will replace these forest trees and like the pine beetles, they will be blamed for the loss of forests. Lousy land management and terrible industrial Science policies will get a free pass as usual. 

Image - Arborwell

Photo - Pail Chinn

AGRICHEM - Phosphite Product
Of course pines and other conifers are not the only trees dying by the thousands in California. The west coast is being hit hard with Sudden Oak Death (SOD). Pictured here in the photo above (clockwise from top left): dying oak tree, several Sudden Oak Death affected trees and bleeding kankers on the trunks of an Oak tree. And believe it or not, their answer is not doing anything about the cause, but rather more synthetic chemicals to kill the nasty insects as Park Ranger, Tracey Walker, for the City of San Diego Open Space calls them. While I understand the sentiment in blaming the insect for the sudden oak dieoffs, it's the overall misuse and abuses of scientific innovation shackled to big business and political interests which have brought us the present global climate disruption. This has completely changed the environment which in turn has triggered epigenetic responses within the spotted oak borers, pine bark beetles, etc. They are only responding to changes in the environment. Any checks and balances they once were subject under have now disappeared or in some way been altered. Humans are ultimately to blame, but that's hard for most people to swallow. Even for many in the environmental crowd who believe correction comes from saving land from development and creating eco-green rules enforced by a type of socialists police state brutality will not be the answer either. But the fact remains that humans have brought down the environment when they didn't have to for the economic good. And any solutions you keep reading about deal only with treating symptoms and offer nothing as far as stopping the cause. They're using the same failed business strategy as human healthcare models. If no money can be made on the fix, then it's abandoned. The simple fact is, many things should be corrected not because of making money, but because it's the right thing to do.

Finally, don't expect any Improvement or help from differing political ideologies, both are happily wedded to their Industrial Agricultural business interests who keep them in power.

Image - Miami Herald

Well, you've all heard about the big joke down in Florida of it's waters being likened to green guacamole ? Apparently it's industrial agirculture [sugar industry] which is the original cause of the pollution. Over decades they have dumped millions of tonnes of science-based synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals into Lake Okeechobee and other waterways. Both political sides are at fault here if you read the latest Miami Herald article and nobody can finger point or spit vitriol at the other side's ideology or worldview. They're the mirror image of each other. Seriously, read the article and appreciate how disgusting both sides really are here in this. Take a look at the article's title and these subheadings, then click the link and read the article.
Sugar’s decades-long hold over Everglades came with a price
The industry spent more than $57 million over 22 years to influence Florida campaigns   
Records show Big Sugar was consistently one of the largest contributors to both Republicans, Democrats
Industry’s clout helped it to transfer clean-up costs and postpone deadlines
(Source: Miami Herald)
And finally here is an aerial view of several vast locations throughout the Sierra Nevadas
The video below is of an aerial fly over of major sections of the California, Sierra Nevada Mountains and miles upon miles of dead and dying trees. It looks like almost 74% to 80% Beetle kill. Both the Timber Industry and Environmental Eco-Activists lose this one here. Both sides are at fault for supporting a system of human rule which allows for this scenario whether or not one thinks they are immune from responsibility. There are no winners, only losers. Nature loses too. Four years of extreme drought which actually followed decades of irresponsible decision making in land management. In those four years very little seed was likely produced and if any was released during that time period, then there was little annual moisture to sustain the seedlings and saplings. At this point there is no seed for regeneration. 

The News doesn't get any better from what reports are saying about the long term effects of deforestation. If all the bad decision making and stupidy of actions were to stop right now forwards, the Earth is already past the point of no return in the healing process. What's scary is that knowing this, we also know things will not change anytime soon. Here is a July 29, 2016 Update:
"Even if people completely stopped converting tropical forests into farmland, the impacts of tropical deforestation would continue to be felt for many years to come. That's the conclusion of researchers who have used historical rates and patterns of tropical deforestation around the globe to estimate the resulting carbon emissions and species losses over time."
The main character to blame here is Industrial Agriculture, controlled completely by the power obsessed Biotechnology and Agro-Chemical Corporations. Next time they call you an Anti-Science Luddite for critizing them, start showing them the evidence. And remember, you DO NOT need any Scientist to give a seal of approval to be on the right side.
Science Daily: Effects of past tropical deforestation will be felt for years to come

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