Skip to main content

    Something I missed at first in the Monday NY Times:

“Ninety-nine percent of the ashes in North America are probably going to die,” said Andrew M. Liebhold, a research entomologist with the United States Forest Service.

Nobody was really studying the ecology of ash forests until the borers began destroying them. But now scientists are beginning to see what that change might look like.

A 2009 study in the journal Biological Invasions listed 43 native insect species that rely on ash trees for food or breeding. Those insects are the food supply for birds, including woodpeckers.

emphasis added

More below the Orange Omnilepticon.

       The problem is this. The emerald ash borer is an insect invader that is normally found in Asia. It is believed to have arrived in North America in ash wood used to reinforce shipping crates. Here, its life style is fatal to North American ash trees. It has no native enemies here, nor diseases.

      It had been thought its numbers were small enough and its arrival recent enough that it would be possible to control its spread and eliminate it. It now appears it has been here much longer and is so thoroughly established, eradication is not possible. Estimates vary on how bad the damage is going to be. There are a number of ash species in North America and they differ in their vulnerability. According to the NY Times a bit further down the article by Maggie Koerth-Baker,

The emerald ash borers’ effect may not be as dire as Dr. Liebhold predicts. Dr. McCullough, the entomologist at Michigan State, noted that the bugs’ conquest varied by tree species and location. Of the four major species, black ash and green ash are probably lost, but the beetles kill only 60 percent to 70 percent of blue ash. White ash falls somewhere in between.

And while the eight million ash trees* in wild forests cannot really be protected, ash trees in the city may stand a chance because of the development of new insecticides.

* wikipedia gives a number of 8 billion ash trees in the United States.

        There's nothing new about this, unfortunately. Humans are constantly rearranging the planet for their own convenience, with unintended consequences. Without more money for surveillance, without more money for all of the other resources needed to watch for and prevent the transfer of species into habitats where they don't fit, this will continue to happen. It has, after all, happened before.

       Unless you are in your sixties or older, you probably don't remember how different America used to look with elm trees. The American chestnut has been gone for a long time too. While there are survivors of both, their numbers are a shadow of what they once were.

       What's a greater challenge isn't the loss of species like this. It's what are we going to do with the new tools we've been developing recently?

        Scientific American reports that a new generation of chestnut trees may be able to thrive once more thanks to genetic engineering.

...By taking genes from wheat, Asian chestnuts, grapes, peppers and other plants and inserting them into American chestnut trees, William Powell of S.U.N.Y.–ESF and scores of collaborators have created hundreds of transgenic trees that are almost 100 percent genetically identical wild American chestnut yet immune to C. parasitica. The scientists hope to get federal approval to begin planting these trees in the forest within the next five years...
      What was undone by accident may be mended by intent - IF we are prepared to accept the responsibilities and consequences of using the techniques of molecular biology in this effort. Given the antipathy to GMO food crops (plant and animal) which is seen among a certain percentage of the public, what will be the response to using genetic modification to 'repair' damage to vulnerable ecosystems?

        The Scientific American article details a number of ways in which chestnut trees shaped the forests. They've been gone so long, we really can't appreciate what we're missing - but it looks like their contribution was not inconsequential. Indeed, restoring the chestnut might facilitate efforts to recreate another famously extinct species: the Passenger Pigeon.

        There's one more thing to consider. Climate Change. It's already changing planting zones; plants in the wild can't exactly get up and chase the climate they need. To preserve functional ecosystems, we may have no choice but to use genetic modification techniques to adapt species to the changing climate we're subjecting them to - or prepare to see ecosystems degrade and unravel.

      Whatever we choose to do, we're definitely going to need to budget for the science we'll need to support it. We're already running up a tab for damages - we better start budgeting for whatever we can do for amelioration and adaptation. Doing nothing is a false economy.

Originally posted to xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

Poll

How would you feel about using GM organisms to restore and/or preserve our ecosystems?

0%0 votes
8%14 votes
15%25 votes
45%74 votes
26%43 votes
1%3 votes
1%2 votes

| 161 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (92+ / 0-)

    "With great power comes great responsibility" or so the saying goes. Considering our responsibility for some great problems, it may just be that we have no choice but to accept those great powers and do our best to use them to solve those problems as wisely and well as we can.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:11:56 PM PDT

  •  American chestnut (22+ / 0-)

    We have no choice regarding the American chestnut tree. It's either GMO or no with that species. We humans did nothing to cause C. parasitica, but it now lay within our power to defeat the blight -- no reason not to do it. The worst thing that can happen is that the chestnuts grown on the new trees will be inedible -- and that's not very likely.

    I have no idea what the F we're going to do about the invasive borers. They're wreaking serious havock with the pine forests in Colorado and elsewhere, too.

    :-(

    "It's high time (and then some) that we put an end to the exceptionalistic nonsense floating around in our culture and face the fact that either the economy works for all, or it doesn't work AT all." -- Sean McCullough (DailyKos user thanatokephaloides)

    by thanatokephaloides on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:32:12 PM PDT

  •  Not just ashes and chestnuts (31+ / 0-)

    Here's an incomplete list of American trees we can probably kiss goodbye in all or large parts of their ranges in the lifetimes of people living today:

    flowering dogwood (fungus)
    pinyon pine (bark beetles)
    American beech (bark disease)
    butternut (I can't recall, but they're nearly extinct in many places)
    American elm (Dutch elm disease--they're mostly gone)
    quaking aspen ("sudden aspen decline")
    whitebark pine (white pine blister rust)
    eastern hemlock (hemlock wooly adelgid)
    Fraser fir (balsam wooly adelgid)
    several California oaks (sudden oak death)

    I'm sure I'm forgetting many more (I didn't count the huge die-offs of lodgepole pine and spruces out west since it's unclear how those will play out).  

    Basically, trees are totally fucked.  The combination of introduced diseases and climate change mean that a hefty percentage of trees in our forests now will be gone in the near future.

    Sad.  And probably unstoppable, too.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:33:10 PM PDT

  •  it's always about the GMOs (12+ / 0-)

    If there is a resistant population, however small, plant seeds from those. Use related resistant species, as with the chestnuts, and plant those. You probably don't need genes from fish, unicorns, Round-up Ready, etc.

    It can be done, and it has been done many times. The grape crops have been wiped out entirely and started over. Bananas will always have to be re-developed after diseases get too overwhelming. Potatoes had their armageddon. It's the nature of mono-cultures especially, but sometimes of trees also. It's especially sad with trees, because they take so long to grow, and leave such a gap in the meantime, but there isn't anything about GMOs that will change that.

    I accept GMOs, except in food crops, sold by monopolies, that require herbicide be sprayed over the food plant several times, and are unlabeled in the finished product.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:48:02 PM PDT

    •  Speaking about bananas…. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, catwho, terabytes

      Scientific American has news of a GMO strain with nutritional promise.

      Cultivated bananas couldn't survive without human intervention - and the way the article describes the wild varieties, they're almost useless for human consumption.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:57:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes, that's obvious (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, flowerfarmer

        of course "wild" bananas are inedible. So are the ancestors of all our staple crops, at least by current standards. Who wants an ear of corn a half an inch long, or something that's poisonous unless prepared a certain way, or unproductive, or whatever. All that was fixed before GMOs ever were a gleam in somebody's eye.

        The only thing that GMO techniques do better than normal, standard plant breeding techniques is:

        Creating monopolies for seed companies, primarily Monsanto. Other chemical companies are rushing in also now that the precedent was set by Round-up Ready.

        This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

        by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:19:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you sure you want to leave it at that? (10+ / 0-)

          For Monsanto, GMO techniques may only be about creating monopolies - but the banana example cited above was using GMO techniques to do something conventional plant techniques can only do with great difficulty, if at all. And it's not about creating a monopoly; it's about coming up with a solution to a real nutritional problem in a way that's compatible with what people are already doing.

          If you are going to reflexively reject GMO techniques as a tool only good for use by corporations for nefarious ends, then you're depriving yourself of a tool with far greater potential than that. I'm reminded of a discussion of the difference between white magic and black. The difference, according to the story was none of substance really - it was a matter of symbolism and intent that made the difference.

          Read the whole banana article - it covers a great deal of the issues at stake. As far as the researchers are concerned if their work succeeds,

          "We're also offering this technology for free; anyone is encouraged to take it and use it or build off of it," Dale said. This means the super-banana, unlike seed-bound crops, will never be bound or controlled by middlemen such as seed dealers.

          "If we manage to pull this off, as with most technology, the next projects will be easier and cheaper, making bio-fortification an option for many more people and many more crops," said Dale, reflecting.

          "This has to have some positive effect on food security and nutrition, not just in Uganda but worldwide," Dale said. "It just has to."

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:38:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll read the article (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xaxnar, blueoasis, flowerfarmer

            and you're quite right, it's the intent. If the intent is to create a monopoly, or sell an obligatory chemical, it's not altruistic plant breeding, it's a marketing gimmick.

            Also, bananas are reproduced by offshoots, not seeds, so it would be pretty much impossible to monopolize in any tropical country anyway.

            This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

            by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:06:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you're kidding, right . . . ? (0+ / 0-)
              Also, bananas are reproduced by offshoots, not seeds, so it would be pretty much impossible to monopolize in any tropical country anyway.
              Ever hear of "United Fruit Company" . . . . ? Know how "banana republics" got their name . . . ?

              Even today, just four companies, worldwide, dominate nearly all of the global banana trade--and two of them have applied to merge.

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:17:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh Lenny (0+ / 0-)

                jodiendo again, are we? Of course, I meant monopolize the reproduction of the plant, not the export sales.

                I'm growing bananas and platanos right now in my yard. Half the people in tropical America are also. Fuck you, Chiquita.

                This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

                by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:23:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  um . . . (0+ / 0-)

                  . . . there are four companies in the entire world who sell nearly every banana that all those farmers are growing in South America. And Southeast Asia.  And tropical Africa.

                  And two of them are merging (Chiquita being one of those two).

                  PS--those four companies get most of the money. Not the plantation owners (or workers) in Costa Rica or Malaysia.

                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:30:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So what (0+ / 0-)

                    if you lived most places in the humid tropics, you could buy a banana for a penny or 2 or someone would give it away. They're nothing. Anybody who wants to grows them in their yard. And there are all types, short, fat, long, red, for cooking, etc.

                    You're obsessed with global trade. Whatever one of the fruit companies that used to export bananas from Bocas del Toro (Google "Panama Disease") pulled out long ago and collapsed the local economy.

                    Lenny, you're tedious. I don't care about Standard Fruit. I read their history 20 years ago.

                    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

                    by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:47:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  the domestic banana will be gone within a few (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, xaxnar, catwho

        decades. I have a diary upcoming about it.

        Even GMO technology can't save it, since the EU bans imports of GMOs--and all bananas there are imports.

        We rich Americans, of course, can just put blueberries in our corn flakes instead.  But in much of tropical Africa (where wheat, corn, rice and potatoes don't grow), bananas and plantains (cookable bananas) account for almost three-fourths of the total daily food calories.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:56:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The article makes that clear, how key bananas are (4+ / 0-)

          One of the related issues of nutritional security is that wheat rust is having a major impact on world wheat crops. If they don't come up with resistant strains soon, there are going to be real problems.

          As for Europe and GMOs, that's an evolving policy. Things may change.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:08:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the EU may change its policy towards bananas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            catwho

            because the GMO rules there are largely about preventing foreign imports, not about any actual "protection" from GMOs (the Europeans know as well as everyone else that there are no documented health effects from any GMO gene).

            Since there is no banana production within the EU--none at all--to protect from foreign imports, they may make that exception.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:20:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  the "domestic banana" is one variety (0+ / 0-)

          it has changed at least once in our lifetime. The many, many other types of bananas consumed around the world will be fie.

          This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

          by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:06:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you are absolutely wrong (0+ / 0-)

            About 85% of all the bananas in the world are threatened by TR4 and Sigatoka.

            When the Gros Michel was killed off by Panama Disease, we were lucky to find the Cavendish as a replacement.

            Today, there is no replacement.

            The many many other types of bananas in the world, are virtually all inedible. Or they can't be grown in the areas they are needed--and can't be transported.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:13:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you try my patience (0+ / 0-)

              the export plantations will become too uneconomical to keep healthy with fungicides. They are the 85%. They will be abandoned, as economics dictates. They may be planted with pineapples, or cattle or whatever. Or just left to grow brush.

              The local plantings won't. The ones in my yard will not die. Come and see.

              There are thousands of varieties of edible bananas. There is incredible genetic diversity. If you had ever shopped outside of a Safeway store you would have noticed at least a couple of them.

              This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

              by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:29:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you are wrong. utterly wrong. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KJG52

                1. all of the edible seedless bananas are triploid hybrids of just two species. And TR4 kills them both.

                2. if the bananas disappear, much of Africa will die. It's that simple. They depend on bananas precisely BECAUSE no other suitable food plants will grow there.

                3. All of those thousands of other banana species, are completely inedible.

                4. There is NO genetic diversity in edible bananas. They are all, literally, clones of each other. That is why diseases can wipe them all out so quickly.

                5. The ONLY way to save the bananas is to find a resistant gene in an inedible wild variety and introduce it to the edible varieties---but because edible bananas are completely sterile and cannot breed, the only way to do that is through technologically inserting that gene from one species to another.  Ya know, that thing you're against.

                In the end, reality always wins.

                by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:45:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I tried, but you're hopeless (0+ / 0-)

                  OK, Lenny, everyone in Africa will die, because they all eat bananas exclusively, and only GMOs can save them. And I'm personally stopping that.

                  Next time I really will ignore you when you come up with your idiocies.

                  This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

                  by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:55:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  that whooshing sound again . . . . (0+ / 0-)

                    People in central Africa get over 70% of their daily food calories from bananas.

                    That is not a matter of opinion--it is a simple fact. Without bananas, they die. That is not a matter of opinion either--that is a simple fact.

                    In the end, reality always wins.

                    by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:29:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  "will be fine" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            flowerfarmer

            the Cavendish variety will go away soon, just as the Gros Michel did before it in 1960. The "domestic banana" AKA export supermarket variety of the current production is grown on millions of acres, and will inevitably fall to uncontrollable disease. The Cavendish was developed when needed without GMO.

            That has nothing to do with any other variety of banana, of which there are.. probably thousands.
            Read.

            This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

            by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:16:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  interesting . . . . (0+ / 0-)
      I accept GMOs, except in food crops, sold by monopolies, that require herbicide be sprayed over the food plant several times, and are unlabeled in the finished product.
      How would you feel about, say, using GMO technology (government-developed, so it's free to anyone) to take a gene for disease resistance from a wild banana species and inserting it into the domestic banana species . .  .?

      (Domestic bananas don't have seeds or pollen and are completely sterile, so the gene CAN'T be bred into it through cross-breeding.)

      Careful how you answer that . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . .

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:07:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the answer is obvious from what you quoted (0+ / 0-)

        strange that when the diarist was maintaining a productive atmosphere here, you felt some great need to come and change that.

        How exactly do you think banana varieties are created? Cavendish just popped out of some petri dish? of course there are traditional plant-breeding techniques for bananas, same as any other vegetatively-propagated plant. Look it up.

        This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

        by Karl Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:38:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cavendish is a natural hybrid (0+ / 0-)

          It was not bred by anybody.

          There are no other hybrids that are (1) disease-resistant, (2) edible, and (3) suitable for large-scale growing and transport.

          None.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch. Not a one.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:55:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I really don't think there would be... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karl Rover, jayden, flowerfarmer, ColoTim

    serious opposition to using GM techniques to save tree species, unless I'm misunderstanding the nature of the current opposition to GMOs. Of course, if used in nut trees, a lot of people would want the commercially produced nuts labeled. (And would subsequently be labeled as nuts.)

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:49:15 PM PDT

    •  There would also be concern for the wildlife (0+ / 0-)

      that would be eating products (leaves, nuts, seeds) from any GMO forest tree.  Not saying it wouldn't place behind a need for the trees themselves, but there would be concern anyway.

      Just a hypothetical - gmo tree has jellyfish gene.  Deer eats leaves with jellyfish gene.  Hunter eats deer.  Is that safe for hunter?  Or could something like Chronic Wasting Disease, which is a disease affecting wildlife, come from that.

      It would take a lot of steps and bad outcomes to get there, but I'm sure there would be people trying to make sure the GMO genes aren't causing problems.

      •  I expect jellyfish genes would not be used (0+ / 0-)

        As I understand it, they're chiefly used in lab work to verify a gene manipulation technique works. If it does, the genes express themselves by making a protein that glows under UV light. It's a way of labeling cells and even entire organisms.

        For this kind of work, there'd be no reason to insert any genes except those that would contribute to disease/pest resistance. The goal is to make as few changes as possible, especially for an organism like the chestnut which would be intended to propagate itself in the wild while matching as closely as possible the unmodified species.

        While we focus on macro phenomena, things happen at the molecular level in the natural world all the time. Recent work suggests that malaria parasites change the body odor of the critter they've infected to attract the mosquitos that spread them around. It's the parasite's way of saying "Hey - I need a ride!"

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:52:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just chose the jellyfish because that's one of (0+ / 0-)

          the best publicized genes that is inserted into new places.

          Fascinating work on the mosquitoes.  Nature really does have lots of neat solutions through evolution.

  •  Thanks for this diary... (21+ / 0-)

    I have been using ash lumber form many years--this is such a sad story.  Still, I will share this little bit of hope---about 25 years ago my Dad planted an elm tree right next to our garage which just happend to be the orgional farm house on our farm property--the actual house was built in 1890 so no telling how old the garage building was.  Anyway, I asked him why did he plant that damn tree so close to the building since it was sure to grow and damage the foundation.  His reply was it is an elm and would be dead in a few years anyway so he was just screwing with God.  Well, that tree is still alive and well.  The floor of the garage is a bit cracked up but the main stone foundation is still in good shape.  No comment on God's role here but that elm tree brings joy everytime I return home.

    The more you learn, the less you know.

    by quiet in NC on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:55:56 PM PDT

    •  Yep (7+ / 0-)

      I love ash trees. It makes great firewood too, there's an old poem about the different firewood and the last line goes something like, and ash wood either green or dry is fit for a king to keep his slippers by.

      The lumber is great for steaming and then bending used for things like oxbows and snowshoes. The brown ash besides its humorous name is used by native Americans for basket making here in New England.

      To top it off the leaves of the white ash turn an unique purple color in the fall. I've been favoring it when I thin out the forest. I truly hope they make it like your people's elm.

      music- the universal language

      by daveygodigaditch on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:34:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One major problem with many GMOs is that (6+ / 0-)

    the plant is engineered to have a natural insecticide as part of its make-up. Organic growers object because they can use those insect repellants over brief periods, insuring the insects don't have the time to develop resistance. When corn or rice or something else contains the repellant, the first insects die. Several generations may die, the next ones get sick, then nothing, just chomping. Too often, GMOs create super bugs. I would support chemical sprays before I'd support GMOs.

    "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

    by cv lurking gf on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:03:08 PM PDT

    •  That's one of the ironies of organic farming (6+ / 0-)

      While rejecting artificial chemicals, it still remains that many plants already have their own defensive chemicals built in by nature. And they're not afraid to use them!

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:13:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not irony at all. Successful organic farmers us... (4+ / 0-)

        Not irony at all. Successful organic farmers use natural plant defenses and beneficial organisms to minimize damage to our crops. We really don't need "artificial" (synthetic) chemicals. Natural un-interfered-with systems do just fine.

        •  It's ironic in that people who think... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim

          they are going chemical free are still getting some pretty active biological stuff from the plants themselves.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:10:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The difference is that the synthetic stuff pret... (4+ / 0-)

            The difference is that the synthetic stuff pretty much disrupts our enocrine systems. The more we look, the more troublesome synthetic "organic" (a chemistry term) pesticides/herbicides seem to be.

            Give me ladybugs and toads.

            And for "organic" farmers, the holes are merely pre-chewed.

            •  A friend who has her Ph.D. in soil science (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              xaxnar, ColoTim, RunawayRose

              told me of a study done decades back. Two acres were planted the same way over a period of ten years. One was treated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the other organically. The chemically treated acre out-performed the organic acre the first three to four years. Around year five production was equal. By about year seven, the organic acre was outproducing the chemically treated one, which had had production lessening anyway, since around year four. After ten years, the organic acre was producing more yearly than the chemically treated acre ever had, and continued to do so. The chemically treated acre's production was poor. Unfortunately, few farmers can afford that initial five to seven years. (She also has a coffee company, started before Free Trade, which cut out the middle man so poor farmers in South America who were barely surviving made more money. One irony is that because they were so poor, they raised their trees organically - they could not afford the chemicals.)

              "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

              by cv lurking gf on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:09:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I expect one of the reasons for the difference was (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RunawayRose, cv lurking gf

                the micro biome in the soil. Just a hypothesis for which I have no data at hand, but I'd be interested in seeing how bacterial/fungal populations differed between the two plots and how that changed over the time period in question.

                "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

                by xaxnar on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:37:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wish I could find it - that was about 35 (0+ / 0-)

                  years back. She's currently pushing agro-forestry. Most of the farmers she dealt with could not, fortunately, afford chemical treatments.

                  "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

                  by cv lurking gf on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 05:49:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  A few years ago I did a calculation indicating (18+ / 0-)

    that the market value of the trees we are going to lose far exceeds whatever marginal value we realized from allowing "comparative advantage" to dictate that we should have certain consumer goods produced in Asia.

    In other words, just the value of our lost ash trees negates 100% of the economic gain of trading manufactured goods with Japan, Korea, China and southeast asia.

    When will we ever learn?

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:23:20 PM PDT

  •  This is a pickle (6+ / 0-)

    While I am generally opposed to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides by the home and garden set, because the potential for misuse is so high, the attached brochure makes it sound like imidacloprid and dinotefuran are the best tools for stopping the larvae that shelter under the bark.

    This question is of some personal urgency as a town in the county has been placed under quarantine because the ash borer is already there.

    What is a good environmentalist to do?

    Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati (-8.75,-8.36)

    by tarkangi on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:37:18 PM PDT

    •  Are ash trees native to your area? This is a ve... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      catwho, flowerfarmer, ColoTim

      Are ash trees native to your area? This is a very important consideration, because....

      Neonicotinoids have been implicated in the decline of (introduced) honeybees and (native) bumble bees. The importance of these insects as pollinators is beyond words.

      If your ash trees are not native to the area in which you live, then in my opinion (at least) the benefits of potentially preserving the bee population by NOT using neonicotinoids on the trees far outweighs the loss of those (non-native) ash trees.

      •  to be accurate . . . (0+ / 0-)

        the bees aren't native either. Honeybees were brought here from Europe.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:22:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Note the parenthetical term preceding "honeybee... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flowerfarmer

          Note the parenthetical term preceding "honeybees" in my post.

          Bumble bees are native. European honeybees are not. Both are significant pollinators in our current manufactured ecosystems.

          Willfully killing either requires profound thought.

          •  um . . . . (0+ / 0-)
            Willfully killing either requires profound thought.
            No one has suggested "willfully killing" either one. But if "being native" is the crtierion for deciding what to save and what not to save:
            If your ash trees are not native to the area in which you live, then in my opinion (at least) the benefits of potentially preserving the bee population by NOT using neonicotinoids on the trees far outweighs the loss of those (non-native) ash trees.
            . . .then your criterion requires some profound thought, since honeybees are not native.

            In the end, reality always wins.

            by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:31:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Ash is Native (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catwho, flowerfarmer, ColoTim
        Ash is a main component of the Northern Hardwood forest in Massachusetts and is a common species in the Berkshires.  Ash is also a common street tree in eastern Massachusetts.
        The USDA has a highly informative map.

        Vai o tatu-bola escamoso encontrar-me onde estou escondendo? Lembro-me do caminho de ouro, uma pinga de mel, meu amado Parati (-8.75,-8.36)

        by tarkangi on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:36:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder about alternatives (0+ / 0-)

      I see plenty of houses being "tented" in my neighborhood.  I wonder if any of them are using heat instead of deadly poisons to do the job?  I doubt it.

      Seems like, instead of poison, a tree trunk could be enclosed in a sleeve, and carbon dioxide could be pumped in. (Or if all bark is affected, tent the tree).

      I don't know whether anyone has tried something like that.  Surely it would be worth experimenting with, rather than just killing every tree.

      I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

      by tle on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:32:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish more GMO discussions could go like this one (8+ / 0-)

    There's a lot of potential with this technology. As with potential energy, it could be incredibly useful or it could do grievous harm. There's no need for those with trepidation to be dismissed as chicken littles, or those with enthusiasm to be branded Pollyannas. There doesn't always have to be a "side" that "wins".

    It's refreshing to see that sometimes we really can just talk things over, looking for the best outcome.

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:03:30 PM PDT

  •  sadly, it is apparent that as global intercourse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    continues to expand, and species (and pests) keep being spread around the globe, what we will end up with is "McWildlife"--just a handful of the same hardy and adaptable plants and animals that can live happily in close contact with humans will end up living everywhere.

    :(

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:26:27 PM PDT

  •  The sad thing is... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, Scott in NAZ, ColoTim

    ...wood products shipped from the US are required by most receiving countries to be heat treated to destroy hitchhiking pests.

    But, here we will take anything, from anybody with little to no prophylactic measures.

    Follow the money....

  •  This looming catastrophe is only a foreshadowing (4+ / 0-)

    of the disasters to come with Global Warming.

    Instead of an entire species of trees dying out, we''ll have entire ecosystems undergoing unsurvivable shifts.

    One insect is doing all this damage. What happens when mass migrations of insects, birds, animals and even humans are looking for livable habitat?

    I remember elm trees lining city streets and filling parks with shade and the years after when they'd all died. Now the ash trees. And what comes next?

    Meanwhile, cheap plastic crap, along with way too much of our food containing questionable ingredients and alterations is shipped from questionable sources in non-fumigated ships, and we have "free trade" with nations  practicing slave labor, prison labor, child labor while utterly destroying the environment so, "What? Me worry?". All's good, right? As long as there are 300 channels in HD, who cares?

    /sarcasm, if it's not obvious.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:05:14 PM PDT

    •  au contraire . . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan
      This looming catastrophe is only a foreshadowing of the disasters to come with Global Warming.
      It is one of the initial stages of that Global Warming disaster. Just as are the disappearance of frog species around the world.

      It's already begun.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:09:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What'll we do for baseball bats? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    OF COURSE the New Right is wrong - but that doesn't make WRONG the new RIGHT!

    by mstaggerlee on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:33:51 PM PDT

  •  Had to take down my 50yo ash tree 3 years ago (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, flowerfarmer, ColoTim, RunawayRose

    I was told I had five years to do it, or I was in severe risk of it fall over on its own.  And it was only 20' from my house!  The same day they took mine down, they were working on two dozen of them over at the home for Veterans a few blocks away.  I've been told that there are no more ash trees left standing here in Sandusky, OH.

    The silver lining is that I also needed to do it to satisfy a Sierra Club grant to put dual solar collectors on my roof.  The big ash tree interfered just a slight bit (it cast a shadow on a small part of the collector's surface for about 40 min a day - and only in a few months out of the year), but it was enough to put my grant in jeopardy.

    Since the solar collectors have been installed, I literally pay nothing to heat my hot water eight months out of the year.

    We need to invade the Cheney compound. It's ok. They'll greet us as liberators.

    by thenekkidtruth on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:16:58 AM PDT

  •  I purchased (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, flowerfarmer, ColoTim

    the family farm and have 12 acres of woods. Every last one of my ash trees are dead. At the homestead where my sister lives, Dad had planted several ash trees back in the 50s. They were beautiful trees. Were....

    6% of scientists are republican. Scientists have no explanation why that number is so high.

    by fugwb on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 03:01:27 AM PDT

  •  Our ash trees are all dying here in... (5+ / 0-)

    rural western NY state. The first started showing the signs of EAB infestation a couple of years ago, and it's progressed at a breakneck pace since. They're most all doomed.

    God, I remember those gorgeous elm trees. In Buffalo NY, residential neighborhoods were lined with them up and down the streets, giant graceful crowns spreading out to shade the sidewalks and front yards. By the late 1960s to early 70s they were all gone, and the streets looked naked. It was the icing on the cake for Buffalo's rust belt collapse, turning from a thriving industrial city into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

  •  I've spent the last three weeks... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, ColoTim, xaxnar, RunawayRose

    ...injecting 'Tree-Age' into mature ash trees in central PA.  We are right at the edge of this invasion and we still have healthy (seeming) ash.  West and south of us, they are all dead and even the trees we treating might already be infected.

    After dealing with gypsy moth, hemlock wooley adelgid, asian longhorned beetle and now EAB, we're running out of native trees to rely on.  Forests of red maple aren't going to benefit many species.

    Thanks for this post.  I was wondering if anyone out there was noticing this very intensive battle we are waging (and probably losing).  

    Elasg, Forester in central PA

    "They call it 'the American Dream' because you have to be asleep to believe it." George Carlin, 2005

    by Elasg on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 05:10:32 AM PDT

  •  looking at the poll, I once again notice something (0+ / 0-)

    that MB once pointed out a long while ago--in any poll, on any topic, once you get about 100 responses, the relative percentages tend to not change very much after that, no matter how many more responses one gets.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 05:55:52 AM PDT

  •  We have a 140 acre tree farm in south eastern (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, ColoTim, xaxnar, RunawayRose

    Iowa.  We have lots of ash trees on it.  Not sure of exactly which species though.

    The state has been trying for many years to prevent the the bug from crossing the Mississippi.  It failed a couple of years ago.  The state still has a moritorium on 'import' of any non specially treated ash products.  And there is also prohibitions of taking some ash products across county lines.  Quite frequently there are clips on the news about bringing ash firewood across state and/or county lines.

    The bug has been confirmed in the counties to either side of the county that our farm is located.  So, the bug is probably on the farm.  The state DNR and the US Forest Service has been trying to contact dad about the trees ( the farm is in a set aside forest preserve that we set up on purchase and the forest service gave us the saplings in '94).  So, we're going to be taking the ash trees down soon.

  •  Last year I lost 2 big Ash trees and the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, xaxnar, RunawayRose

    final Elm in the neighborhood to disease.  I still have a couple of big Maple trees and several Blue Spruce remaining.  I'm a bit worried about my conifers - the warming climate is causing lots of problems - not only disease but they do better in cooler places.  I'm thankful the Norwegians have established a seed repository or "Doomsday Vault" to save native seeds from all over the world - just in case.  Here's a link to the CBS special about this: Doomsday Vault

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:23:05 AM PDT

  •  My father in NE Kansas has two huge green ash (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, RunawayRose

    trees.  The EAB isn't known to be in his county, but I'm sure it's a matter of time.  I'm hoping he doesn't have to see these trees he planted sixty years ago succumb like the elms that perished back in the 70's did.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site