Are tree mortality rates higher now? One just needs to pay more attention to one’s surroundings and it will be obvious that trees are dying faster now, compared to 20-30 years ago. This phenomenon is real, and it’s something I have been observing for the past decade. Of late, I have seen many trees simply die off in forests that were absolutely not disturbed at all, and this occurred after sudden leaf flushing and then, the trees were dead!
What could be causing this?
Right now, I don’t think anybody knows. This article appeared in Science Daily, and also touched on the same subject. It’s a kind of validation for me, that certain scientists have also come to the same conclusion, and that I am not imagining this or making things up!
The part about trees dying off even in cities is alarming. Standing on the lookout tower atop a hill in Bukit Cerakah, the ridge just ahead shows many trees no longer present today, compared to just 15 years ago. Surely they could not all have died due to old age within such a short span of time? And aren’t trees generally supposed to live for hundreds of years?
For disbelievers, please refer to the two photos below of a patch of forest in Bukit Cerakah, that I took on different dates:
A bit of clarification is in order. In any normal rainforest, there are bound to be dead trees, since a rainforest consists of a mosaic of forest in differing stages of development, from gaps to climax closed-canopy patches. However, since dead trees are being encountered with ever increasing frequency these days, this established theory of “rainforest dynamics” is now being seriously challenged. In an unnatural way, I suppose.
One thing is certain. If trees, which are supposed to be the longest living things, are dying due to unknown reasons, this spells bad news for the other inhabitants of planet earth – including human beings. Taking into account events like mass animal die-offs, freak weather, and general ecosystem collapse (especially in our oceans), all this doesn’t paint a very nice future for the earth – as the only home we know of. Very alarming indeed.
There is strong evidence that trees are dying worldwide as a result of increasing ozone levels. One of the culprits may be the enormous amounts of methane (that further contributes to ozone) released due to fracking (a type of oil drilling), and another one may be the 2010 BP oil spill (the Gulf of Mexico region contains enormous amounts of methane), plus all the open burning going on all across the globe (case in point, being the “annual” forest destruction in Indonesia – mainly to plant/maintain vast oil palm plantations). A very good article was brought to my attention here by the author, Gail Zawacki. http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/