Tree Extinction Due to Human Induced Environmental Stress

originally titled:
Foliage Spoilage & the Trees' Canopy Collapse

A study by The Membrane Domain, &
Started in 2005. Climate change update in 2022.

Death By Ozone | The Ozone Know Zone

  1. Overview
    It would appear that there is a complex chaotic system in play that is resulting in the deforestation of the Earth. Following is an abstract from a study started in 2001 and continuing through the present.

    Leaf Damage and Dying Tree From Ozone 

  2. Sampling Of Contributing Variables
    1. Pollution
      It is difficult to list "types" of pollution that are causing the death of trees. For instance, what is acid rain? Is it air pollution or water pollution? And, there are some forms of pollution that have not yet been widely recognized, such as, thermal pollution. Originally, we thought instead of trying to define the type of pollution that is contributing to the mass mortality of the forests, why not just consider how "human output" is to blame? However, it would appear decisive and immediate action needs to be taken if we are to have any hope of slowing the defoliation. At the top of the list of suspects is ozone. (The picture to the right is dying due to ozone pollution.) Quite a few studies have been conducted that show ozone pollution causes leaf death eventually resulting in dying trees. See: Tropospheric Ozone = Bad Ozone, The Ozone Know Zone, and Gasoline Plus Ethanol Equals Bad Ozone.
    2. Water
      During the recent past there has been an unprecedented number of droughts and a measurable decline in the water table. Other severe weather including floods, winds, ice storms, etc. are also breaking records.
      Too Much Rain (Water Pollution / Acid Rain)
      Trees are being attacked both from above and below. Ground water contamination is causing damage to the trees. Perhaps more evident is the effects of acid rain and acid fog. For many years, there has been alarming documentation of massive deforestation due to acid pollution in precipitation.
      Will Tree Species Survive Climate Change?

    3. Pests
      Insects and Worms
      Some of the tree mortality might be from regularly occurring life cycles of critters like the gypsy moth caterpillar and the elm borer. However, the decline of the bee population and changes in the worm population appear to be a relatively new phenomenon. There is a serious pollination problem due to the devastation of bee colonies. The cause is not fully understood. Worldwide insect populations are in decline by as much as 80%. Tree deaths due to the change in worms is thought to be a result of pH changes caused by acid rain.
      Alien Invasion
      Eurasian, as well as, other "foreign" plants and insects are taking over many species that evolved in the Americas. [e.g ailanthus (tree of heaven), Queen Anne's Lace, earthworms colonizing North Eastern forests, MALB (Asian ladybug beetles), bamboo, morning glory, the list of invasive plants goes on and on.]
      Short, Warm Winters
      Higher temperatures increase the reproductive rate of temperate zone insects. As winters become warmer, pests have a longer period of time to eat their way north. In addition, the warmer and shorter winters allow more larvae to survive. The USDA reports about Larval Winter Survivorship, "From our simple model that related the coldest temperature experienced by emerald ash borer larvae to the extent of mortality, we predicted that when larvae reach -17.8C (0F), 5% will die; at -23C (-10F), 34% will die; at -29C (-20F), 79% will die; and at -34C (-30F), 98% will die."

      A study published in the Journal Nature, The contribution of insects to global forest deadwood decomposition found, "Worldwide, dead and decaying wood releases roughly 10.9 gigatons of carbon every year. This is roughly 115% of annual fossil fuel emissions. Globally, the net effect of insects may account for 29% of the carbon flux from deadwood,"

      Examples: Emerald Ash Borer, Whitebark Pine Beetle, Worm Invasion, Beetlemania and Utah Beetles

    4. Climate Change Feedback Loops
      Pollution, droughts, heat waves, and pests are killing many of our trees. Climate change is involved in all these causes. In addition, climate change feedback loops are accelerating the extinction of trees.

      Feedback loops accelerate global warming. For example, global warming has resulted in tree deaths and deforestation (see above.) Trees are a natural carbon sink for carbon dioxide, as well as, provide shade, retain moisture, and aid in cooling. As trees die from the effects of global warming, climate change is accelerated resulting in more tree deaths. Scientists' warning to humanity on tree extinctions, "This evidence suggests that a third of the world's tree species are currently threatened with extinction, which represents a major ecological crisis. Large-scale extinction of tree species will lead to major biodiversity losses in other species groups and substantially alter the cycling of carbon, water and nutrients in the world's ecosystems. Loss of tree diversity could lead to abrupt declines in ecosystem functions and services, and ultimately ecosystem collapse."

      Wildfires also are a climate change feedback loop. As the planet warms, wildfires increase. Wildfires destroy the carbon sink of forests, and spew massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The result is an increase in global warming. The increase in global warming results in more wildfires resulting in desertification.

      In 2020, 20% of all the forests in Australia burned. Some of these forests hadn't seen fires in the last 35,000 years. "More than 24 million hectares (59 million acres) burned during Australia's devastating 'Black Summer' bushfire season of 2019-2020, which formed part of a confirmed climate change-driven trend of worsening fire weather and larger, more intense forest fires," reported Mongabay News.

      The 2021 fire season saw a record number of acres burned in the Northwestern USA and Canada. In California a total of 8,835 fires were recorded, burning 2,568,948 acres (1,039,616 ha) across the state. Over 1.4 million acres burned in Oregon and Washington. "Three times in the past five years, over 10 million acres have burned nationwide. On average, over 2 million more acres burned each year in the 2010s than during the 1990s," reports Spokane's KXLY.

      Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports, "by 2070, around 2 billion people are expected to live in extremely hot areas" similar to the Sahara Desert.

  3. Conclusion
    Human activities are contributing to tree mortality and deforestation. Humans have also induced climate change in other ways. The combination of human induced climate change and human induced tree mortality are creating a cycle of exponential chain reactions. A better way to say it might be -- the veiled causes of the current tree deaths are an unanticipated result of human activities. This new form of deforestation contributes to more global warming. An increase in global warming and human induced climate change intensifies the rate of tree mortalities. The result could very well be "foliage spoilage and the trees' canopy collapse" in the very, very near future.

  4. Resources
    European Tree Extinction
    Tree Death Questions And Answers
    Losing 10 Billion Trees Per Year
    Danger: Do Not Breath! (Ozone Destroys Your Lungs)

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Footnotes | Human Induced Climate Change
The Membrane Domain