Conservation and The Demise of Trees

Conservation and The Demise of Trees
14th September 2020 Steve Stoddart
In Natural History

The Demise of Trees

As I watched this tree being felled, I wondered how this was contributing to ‘conservation’ or sustainability. I suppose there are times when they have to come down with ‘assistance’. Even so, it is distressing to see a tree’s demise at the hand of humans. 

This one had found a home in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St. Edmunds. 100 years in the making. 100 minutes in its destruction and a little bit of deforestation right here, in my home county of East Anglia. When I recall the fact that some trees are over 1,000 years old, I find it difficult to hoist in.  Not so hard is how quick we can bring such a life to an abrupt end.

Look at the foreground. There is a sapling – no more than a metre high. Perhaps the offspring of its mighty neighbour. I could not help but wonder if there was an awareness, literally in its roots of what was happening so close by. If you think the idea fanciful, there have been recent discoveries that trees have always been able to communicate with their neighbours – so perhaps not so fanciful after all 🙂

My tendency to anthropomorphize was given all the prompting it needed as I watched this event unfold. With all mature trees, I often wonder at what they have ‘seen’.. what changes have happened all about them in the years they have graced this world.  They have always played a part in sustaining life on earth. In terms of sustainability, can we say the same?

Perhaps the demise of this tree was unavoidable. Regardless, I do hope a whole bunch of trees are planted to replace it.  Perhaps, then, ‘conservation’ will be more than just a word.

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