Category Archives: Forest

Upcoming Urban Forestry Renewal Interview

My first interview will be with Michael Dugan, the Forestry Coordinator of Openlands. The organization is a Chicago based non-profit working to renew urban ecology through the simple act of planting trees, an act which also not only builds greener communities, but also unites communities.

I would like to explore the social justice implications of urban forestry initiatives and connect this to the notion of a larger, nation-wide reforestation initiative and how this could resonate within the American consciousness.

Is planting a tree a revolutionary act? I think so, but I’d like to hear what a person who does it for a living thinks.

 

American Forests: North American Forests in the Age of Man

American Forests is a non-profit working towards the reforestation of woodlands both nationally and globally. Though, their “Community Releaf” program is where they shine. With these green endeavors, the organization “aims to bring national attention to the value of our urban forests and reaches geographically distributed and culturally diverse communities across the United States.”

Their community inclined projects typically work to restore tree canopies in urban areas. With their project in Oakland, they intersect social justice with ecological justice.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the matter:

“Several studies have found correlations between city trees and public health in neighborhoods with low tree canopy — increased respiratory illness, particularly among children and senior citizens, and more incidents of diabetes and heart disease. In terms of psychosocial benefits, a lack of access to green space can negatively impact mental well-being and stress levels, the latter a foreboding allusion to the potential climate change risks highlighted in the recent IPCC report.

Recognizing that tree canopy can be an important factor in understanding and addressing income disparity and supporting sustainable development — both environmentally and economically — a recent study by American Forests examined tree canopy by Oakland council district in correlation with several demographic and socioeconomic factors, including income, poverty rate, unemployment rate, population and age. The information that was derived can help identify the districts where additional trees can provide the greatest positive impacts for communities.”

They have also published a digestible history on the American forest since human civilization has taken root. Here’s a look:

“Human impacts, from colonial times to the present, have drastically changed not just the size, but the nature of American forests, whether you consider the baseline for what is natural to be 1492 CE or 15,000 BP.

The trees in mature forests are adapted to soil characteristics, light intensities and moisture levels created by the forest’s species themselves. Remove these species, and all those factors change. The resulting forest is now composed of pioneer species — those first to grow in a tree-less location, like aspen, birch and alder. The old-growth forest species must wait until the pioneer species recreate their required soil, light and moisture conditions to reemerge. Similar changes in forest composition are created by natural events such as fires and wind storms, and the mature forest regenerates naturally. The difference is that most managed forests today are harvested so frequently that they never reach the optimal conditions for the species that prefer mature conditions. Instead of a complex, old-growth structure of multi-layered canopies with a spectrum of young to ancient trees and tree fall gaps, decaying down wood, standing dead trees and high species diversity, forests today have relatively young, dense, even-aged and even-canopied stands of fewer species.

Simply replanting trees does not always mean the forest has returned. In places where timber companies have replanted with native trees — whether in rows on a plantation or less orderly in wilder areas — the new forest is a monoculture of commercial species that lacks most of the biodiversity associated with the original forest. Smaller patches of forest, or forest fragmentation, has also reduced forest biodiversity because the smaller fragments cannot support wide-ranging wildlife species. In addition, the small, isolated populations of other species, including some trees, are more susceptible to local extinction.”

BBC Story on Invasive Species–More to Come with Climate Migration?

BBC Newshour ran a story today on the Brown Tree Snake, an invasive species that is causing quite a problem for the ecosystem in Guam. Dr. Haldre Rogers, Assistant Professor in the
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, calls the snake the “poster child” for invasive species and their impact. Believed to be brought over in the 1940s, the snake has since wiped out much of the local bird populations. The birds were essential to spreading the seeds of certain local trees and many of these trees are dying out. One invasive species can have a huge ripple effect on entire ecosystems.

 

Humans are not the only forced climate migrants. Animals are quickly losing their habitat and moving to new areas newly hospitable to them. The migration changes are altering ecosystems in ways we cannot predict–and we can assume will continue to do so as the global climate changes.

 

BBC Newshour 3/8/17 jump to minutes 18-23 for referenced interview.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04vd1mx

Plant for the Planet: Campaign to Plant 1 Trillion Trees!

Launched at the age of nine, Felix Finkbeiner is now 19, and his organization Plant-for-the-Planet has planted more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations.

Check out this piece in National Geo:

Finkbeiner has an answer for skeptics who doubt the science of climate change.

“If we follow the scientists and we act and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, we didn’t do any mistakes,” Finkbeiner told an Urban Futures conference in Austria last year. “But if we follow the skeptics and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, it will be too late to save our future.”

A Big Effort to Count Trees

The tree study came about as Plant-for-the-Planet’s ambitions expanded. One of the largest projects now is a reforestation effort underway on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The group built a nursery that contains 300,000 seedlings of native trees and plans ultimately to plant 10 million trees by 2020.

Larger ambitions prompted new questions. Did the 14 billion trees already planted make any difference? Would 10 million in Mexico? Can planting keep up with the continuing deforestation around the world? No one knew. Scientists have long considered conducting a tree census, but until then, no one had done one. Enter Tom Crowther and his team at Yale.

“Felix asked the simple question: how many trees are there?” Crowther says. “Plant-for-the-Planet was certainly the inspiration for me.”

The two-year study, published in Nature in 2015, found that the Earth has 3 trillion trees—seven times the number of previous estimates. The study found that the number of trees on the planet since the dawn of agriculture 12,000 years ago has fallen by almost half—and that about 10 billion trees are lost every year. Planting a billion trees is a nice effort, but won’t make a dent.

“I thought they might be disheartened,” Crowther says. Instead, “they said, ‘Okay, now we have to scale up.’ They didn’t hesitate. They’re contacting billionaires all over the world. It is amazing.”

Scaling up means Plant-for-the-Planet now aims to plant one trillion trees. That’s 1,000 billion. Those trees could absorb an additional 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year; Finkbeiner says that will buy time for the world to get serious about reducing carbon emissions.

The Outline Outside My Mind

Theme : Have you ever wondered how great nature can be? Doesn’t matter your answer to that question because either way, this project will entice you to form a more perfect union with trees.

General storyline: I, along with a good friend of mine, will be walking through a forest and talking about the intricacies, the beauty, the majesty, the drama, the romance, the war, the famine, the peace, the pieces, and the nature of what we see. We will, of course, supplement all the factual information with statements that may not be facts to the general public, but they are to us.

Main characters: Those featured in this work will be, as of today, will be Raud, yours truly, and my main man Creek may sneak on camera.

Interviews: I have interviewed Creek, the caretaker of the particular forest I will be filming in, and Andy, the university’s urban forester. I am currently working with three other folks to get interviews. Some more viable than others, so we shall see who else will join in.

Arts Medium: I will be working with film. I do not think it will be on an old-timey crank-and-shoot, but the world has many surprises and that is always an option.

P.S.: I plan on reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio, so, ya know…the film should be pretty cool.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Leonardo+DiCaprio+working+with+Solomon+Furious+Worlds+at+UIOWA

 

...Me?

…Me?

Leo lovingly pointing at...

Leo lovingly pointing at…

Kate’s Outline

cnpoutline

C  N  P    O U T L I N E

Theme : will be based on the concept of oil and crude materials and their destruction of nature and society as a whole. The idea is the spilling of oil will have an effect everywhere with its drips touching everything.

General storyline I (maybe with someone else) will walk up representing humanity/Big Oil. Will admire this beautiful piece, and then spill all over it. Subject matter/ pieces in the whole canvas: forest, ocean, desert, cityscapes, possibly Iowa City, polar ice caps, human health, and how our culture is impacting these elements.

Main characters me, the piece, humanity. 

Interviews / Research Erica Damman (arts medium), Richard Priest (oil background), online research of artists of inspiration

Arts Medium  slanted canvas with acrylic subjects. Then real oil or a replacement will be spilt over it, dripping on ceramic/plastic figures of humans on a map.

Creek CNP Outline 11/2/16

Creeks of Johnson County

Theme: Restoration and Conservation and reconnecting with the land

General storyline: The four seasons will be analogous to the development of the destruction of our land and resources and will be threaded together with my families land and the waterway running through it juxtaposed with the greater area surrounding it. Spring is a time of birth and great opportunity and I will explain how the land we see today was shaped by natural process and then utilized as a partner by the Native People of The Americas. Summer is a time of agitation and preparing for the future survival in winter. I will use this verse to illustrate where man went wrong and what we still do wrong. Fall is a time of reflection and will be used to promote possible solutions to our wrong-doings as well as how we impact the entire globe all of its inhabitants. Winter is a time for huddling together and staying alive or being left in the cold to freeze to death. This will be an opportunity to predict what will be of our future if we stay on our current trajectory or if we merge together as one and begin to respect nature as a fellow, not a foe. As Thoreau said, “Alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear, it is never too late to give up our prejudices.”

Main characters: Creek Hoard, Old Man’s Creek, Mother Nature

Interviews / Research: I will be interviewing a few scientist from campus to attain a clear understanding of what has happened as well as what my come in the future, as well as possible solutions. I will also be interviewing my family members to get an idea of what the land means to them. Research will be done to gather historical information about the area and what it has been used for in the past.

Arts Medium: I will write and read live a prose poetry, essay and short story. I will also include a visual medium and Music for thought throughout the reading.

Andy the Arborist

Before me stood a tall man, with a beard that puts my chin hairs to shame, and a smile larger than the trees he plants. He greeted me by saying, “You must be Solomon!”

Andy Dahl is the University of Iowa’s Arborist and he describes himself as an Urban Forester. He is a down to Earth (pun intended), charismatic man who is a champion for the plant ecology we see in Iowa City’s university districts. I asked him three questions:

1) What are the intricacies of forest systems?
2) How are the local animals handling the dwelling forests?
3) How do people interact with the forest overall?

No question had a straight forward answer, however, there were not straight forward questions. Andy is also not a straight forward guy. I expected to see a man who wanted to have a quick 30 minute conversation, but instead I found someone who wanted to spend more time than he had talking about his love of trees.

Andy has helped save countless trees as well as plant many more than the countless he has saved. He is an Urban Forester, he loves Neil DeGrassee Tyson, and he gives tours of the trees.

Here are some University of Iowa trees:

SE area of the Pentabest

SE area of the Pentabest

One Sol, Two Creeks, and Tons of Trees

I am the one Sol (Solomon) who met up with a man named Creek, who showed me another creek that lied adjacent to a forest – the first forest I have ever been able to stand inside. I was literally among the trees! If you told a young Solomon Furious Worlds, that one day he would be able to stand tall next to real non-cactus plants that are green, leafy, and magnificent, he would have believed you because he, who is I, always knew he would make it to a forest.

Creek, my friend and “interviewee,” is not just an aspiring Environmental Scientist. He also happens to be the caretaker of the forest we explored. He knows more about the trees we saw than I know about myself. He explained his environment like an expert, while watching out for his two dogs. And, of course, we had our “interview” in the forest that the “interview” was about

The detailed reader noticed that I put the word interview in quotes. That is because our meeting was much to free form to be a typical interview. Our conversation was after delicious waffles, but just before we explored about 30 years of hip hop and Black culture. For Creek, it was an average Saturday. Ditto for me, except for all the beautiful trees. Here is a snippet of our conversation:

Our interaction was lax, but hearing about specific species of the forest I will be recording in was a fantastic experience. Getting to know Creek a bit better was priceless.

P.S. : I prefer Visa.
P.S.S. : The line I quote in the sound bit was improperly quoted. The source is much funnier. Here is the source:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/comments/31jw4m/if_you_leave_hydrogen_atoms_long_enough_they_will/