Peace for the Soul

A common space for harmonic peacemakers

Amazing read... long but worth it! Touching our assumptions about what is a living being and what is an object, what is nature and what is not.

here the link to read:    The Social Life of Forests

By searching for hints of interdependence in the forest floor, she had inadvertently provoked one of the oldest and most intense debates in biology: Is cooperation as central to evolution as competition?

Humans have relied on forests for food, medicine and building materials for many thousands of years. Forests have likewise provided sustenance and shelter for countless species over the eons. But they are important for more profound reasons too. Forests function as some of the planet’s vital organs. The colonization of land by plants between 425 and 600 million years ago, and the eventual spread of forests, helped create a breathable atmosphere with the high level of oxygen we continue to enjoy today. Forests suffuse the air with water vapor, fungal spores and chemical compounds that seed clouds, cooling Earth by reflecting sunlight and providing much-needed precipitation to inland areas that might otherwise dry out. Researchers estimate that, collectively, forests store somewhere between 400 and 1,200 gigatons of carbon, potentially exceeding the atmospheric pool.

Crucially, a majority of this carbon resides in forest soils, anchored by networks of symbiotic roots, fungi and microbes. Each year, the world’s forests capture more than 24 percent of global carbon emissions, but deforestation — by destroying and removing trees that would otherwise continue storing carbon — can substantially diminish that effect. When a mature forest is burned or clear-cut, the planet loses an invaluable ecosystem and one of its most effective systems of climate regulation. The razing of an old-growth forest is not just the destruction of magnificent individual trees — it’s the collapse of an ancient republic whose interspecies covenant of reciprocation and compromise is essential for the survival of Earth as we’ve known it.

When Europeans arrived on America’s shores in the 1600s, forests covered one billion acres of the future United States — close to half the total land area. Between 1850 and 1900, U.S. timber production surged to more than 35 billion board feet from five billion. By 1907, nearly a third of the original expanse of forest — more than 260 million acres — was gone. Exploitative practices likewise ravaged Canada’s forests throughout the 19th century. As growing cities drew people away from rural and agricultural areas, and lumber companies were forced to replant regions they had logged, trees began to reclaim their former habitats. As of 2012, the United States had more than 760 million forested acres.

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Windy Willow (Salix Tree)
Artist Silvia Hoefnagels
Ireland NOV 2020
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