Tree and other plant problems as evidence for chemtrails?

Gail

New Member
[Thread extracted from https://www.metabunk.org/posts/36596 and retitled by Mick]

Hello all, I am new to this forum so please forgive any transgressions of protocol due to ignorance. I found metabunk because I happened upon the most recent youtube video of Kristen Meghan and googled her; this site came up.

I was very glad to see (reading pages of comments!) that there is a community of people that are interested enough in "chemtrails" to take the time and trouble to investigate whether there is any validity to the claims that are so widespread on the internet. I was especially glad to see the claim that spreading lines in the sky are due to some deliberate conspiracy to spray toxins or nanoparticles refuted - and are in fact what you would expect from airplanes...so thanks for that.

Personally I have never found any evidence whatsoever to indicate that chemtrails actually exist, but I have wondered from time to time because I happen to have a very suspicious mind when it comes to the antics of our reptilian-minded oligarch overlords, whether political, corporate or military.

Many of the people that I've come across who do subscribe to a chemtrail conspiracy seem to have noticed, for one reason or another, a rather large elephant in the room, which is that trees are dying at a rapidly accelerating rate. This is bizarre and very unsettling, and so many who do see it (most are blind to it) try to find an explanation. The reasons range widely, from invasive pathogens, to climate change to Fukushima, HAARP, cell phone towers, the Gulf Oil spill, and the second coming of Christ. Chemtrails are a very common explanation, despite any evidence that they are actually occurring.

I realized that trees are dying in 2008 and after much reading and thought (and resistance), it became quite obvious to me that the only reason that fully explains the empirical evidence is air pollution. Tropospheric ozone is inexorably increasing and is extremely toxic to vegetation. Not only does it cause direct damage to foliage, it shrinks roots making plants more susceptible to drought and wind, and decreases immunities to insects, disease and fungus.

In addition to tree decline, annual crops are diminished in yield and nutritive quality, which is well known and documented at the EPA, the USDA, and the Forest Service. Decades of research from government agencies and academic researchers have been published on this topic.

So, I have had no success explaining this to people who subscribe to the chemtrail/contrail or other conspiracies, despite the many times I have sent them links to identical vegetative injury in places that have no air traffic (all around the world), or cell towers, and occurred BEFORE the Gulf Oil Spill, or Fukushima! I can only attribute this to the idea that they would much rather blame some evil cabal or new world order for environmental collapse than what is openly to blame, without any secrets - our industrial civilization is pouring poisonous substances into the atmosphere, constantly.

Most people have no idea how filthy the air is, no surprise - because ozone (like oxygen, CO2 and nitrogen) happens to be invisible. It is, however, caustic to all forms of life and is proven to be linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, and many other epidemics.

If anyone wants links to peer-reviewed science on this topic, please check here: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

and thanks for reading!

Gail
 
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George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Hello all, I am new to this forum so please forgive any transgressions of protocol due to ignorance. I found metabunk because I happened upon the most recent youtube video of Kristen Meghan and googled her; this site came up.

I was very glad to see (reading pages of comments!) that there is a community of people that are interested enough in "chemtrails" to take the time and trouble to investigate whether there is any validity to the claims that are so widespread on the internet. I was especially glad to see the claim that spreading lines in the sky are due to some deliberate conspiracy to spray toxins or nanoparticles refuted - and are in fact what you would expect from airplanes...so thanks for that.

Personally I have never found any evidence whatsoever to indicate that chemtrails actually exist, but I have wondered from time to time because I happen to have a very suspicious mind when it comes to the antics of our reptilian-minded oligarch overlords, whether political, corporate or military.

Many of the people that I've come across who do subscribe to a chemtrail conspiracy seem to have noticed, for one reason or another, a rather large elephant in the room, which is that trees are dying at a rapidly accelerating rate. This is bizarre and very unsettling, and so many who do see it (most are blind to it) try to find an explanation. The reasons range widely, from invasive pathogens, to climate change to Fukushima, HAARP, cell phone towers, the Gulf Oil spill, and the second coming of Christ. Chemtrails are a very common explanation, despite any evidence that they are actually occurring.

I realized that trees are dying in 2008 and after much reading and thought (and resistance), it became quite obvious to me that the only reason that fully explains the empirical evidence is air pollution. Tropospheric ozone is inexorably increasing and is extremely toxic to vegetation. Not only does it cause direct damage to foliage, it shrinks roots making plants more susceptible to drought and wind, and decreases immunities to insects, disease and fungus.

In addition to tree decline, annual crops are diminished in yield and nutritive quality, which is well known and documented at the EPA, the USDA, and the Forest Service. Decades of research from government agencies and academic researchers have been published on this topic.

So, I have had no success explaining this to people who subscribe to the chemtrail/contrail or other conspiracies, despite the many times I have sent them links to identical vegetative injury in places that have no air traffic (all around the world), or cell towers, and occurred BEFORE the Gulf Oil Spill, or Fukushima! I can only attribute this to the idea that they would much rather blame some evil cabal or new world order for environmental collapse than what is openly to blame, without any secrets - our industrial civilization is pouring poisonous substances into the atmosphere, constantly.

Most people have no idea how filthy the air is, no surprise - because ozone (like oxygen, CO2 and nitrogen) happens to be invisible. It is, however, caustic to all forms of life and is proven to be linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, and many other epidemics.

If anyone wants links to peer-reviewed science on this topic, please check here: http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/01/29/whispers-from-the-ghosting-trees/

and thanks for reading!

Gail
How about acid rain . . . ? I have given up on growing tomatoes. . .
 

Gail

New Member
Yes, acid rain. A Problem that was supposedly solved. Haha. However, it is true that acid rain is largely derived from SOx, and the scrubbers on coal plants have driven it down. SOx is the visible part of smog. Ozone is the part you can't see. An interesting part of the chemtrail conspiracy is the aluminum turning up. Aluminum is a natural part of soil composition, but it is bound up. Acid rain releases it. So, it's an interesting question how much that is impacting forests. The chemtrail people make much of the "white socks" on trees out west. Unfortunately, I'm not a scientist and I don't have access to a lab, but I a quite curious as to whether those "white socks" are aluminum on the bark. Or maybe it's just fungus??
 

lotek

Active Member
What!? sounds like you need to balance the ph of your garden soil, or have other problems you are unaware of. i cant imagine unless you live in hong kong, or 1975 L.A., that acid rain is bad enough to harm your garden.

if youd like to chat about it over pm id be more than happy, i have some bit of experience diagnosing and hunting down medical conditions in garden plants and herbs/flowers.

that article seems to perhaps boogyman o3,. im not sure a paper that uses the term interwebs is peer reviewed either.. not that i read into it real deep, its just that these systems are RARELY so simple! maybe my standards are getting skewed..
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
Yes, acid rain. A Problem that was supposedly solved. Haha. However, it is true that acid rain is largely derived from SOx, and the scrubbers on coal plants have driven it down. SOx is the visible part of smog. Ozone is the part you can't see. An interesting part of the chemtrail conspiracy is the aluminum turning up. Aluminum is a natural part of soil composition, but it is bound up. Acid rain releases it. So, it's an interesting question how much that is impacting forests. The chemtrail people make much of the "white socks" on trees out west. Unfortunately, I'm not a scientist and I don't have access to a lab, but I a quite curious as to whether those "white socks" are aluminum on the bark. Or maybe it's just fungus??

Hi Gail. I'm a biologist who studies tree problems for a living. When I saw those "white sock" pictures (e.g. here), the first thing I thought was, "sprinklers". It's common for irrigation water, which often contains dissolved minerals, to cause that appearance on tree trunks where the water regularly hits the tree, depositing the minerals. Note that on that page, someone in their group was astute enough to notice a connection, although it appears they were brushed off:
They also note that very small amounts of elements that are common in soil were found in bark samples - this should not be a surprise to anyone.

I often see chemtrails activists making statements like, "I realized that trees are dying in 2008." No offense intended to you, but trees are always dying - they have been for as long as there has been trees. Although some species can be very long-lived compared to humans, trees do have a finite life span just like other organisms. They can succumb to a wide range of natural causes, and at any given time, there will be some in any given region that are dying or recently dead. That has always been the case. When there is a region-wide event such as the drought in Texas, or the mountain pine beetle outbreak out west (which itself is due in great part to a combination of forest structure/composition and weather/climate conditions), they can die in really alarming numbers.

And yes, of course pollution can have an effect. Acid rain has been a big concern, but the good news is that the efforts to reduce SOx and NOx pollution has been having the desired effect - acid deposition has been decreasing since the 1990s (source).
acidrain.jpg

A really alarming cause of tree mortality now is the introduction of exotic pests and diseases, some of which can effectively wipe an entire native tree species (or even genus) from the landscape. Since the American chestnut was essentially wiped out in the early 20th century by the chestnut blight fungus, we keep getting more of these things showing up, and they're often very difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate once established.

But in terms of regional or national anomalous tree mortality with no known explanation, as is sometimes suggested by chemtrails activists? I'm not seeing it, and I don't know of anyone else in my field who is.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I'm an ace at tomatoes thanks to my Grandfather. Tell me your problems. I'll get you tomatoes!
Different each year . . . blooms drop off and no fruit . . . sometimes bottom rot, sometimes insect infestation, black spots, white spots . . . you name it I have had it . . .
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
What!? sounds like you need to balance the ph of your garden soil, or have other problems you are unaware of. i cant imagine unless you live in hong kong, or 1975 L.A., that acid rain is bad enough to harm your garden.

if youd like to chat about it over pm id be more than happy, i have some bit of experience diagnosing and hunting down medical conditions in garden plants and herbs/flowers.

that article seems to perhaps boogyman o3,. im not sure a paper that uses the term interwebs is peer reviewed either.. not that i read into it real deep, its just that these systems are RARELY so simple! maybe my standards are getting skewed..
If I try again I will talk . . . Right now I am taking a sabbatical . . . :)
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Belfry, maybe you can verify something I think I read. It was, that there is now either more tree cover or mores acres of forest in the states that comprise the original 13 colonies NOW, than there was at the time of the revolution.

Do you have any idea how it compares in other areas.
 

solrey

Senior Member.
If I try again I will talk . . . Right now I am taking a sabbatical . . .

Bummer. It sounds like a pH thing, which is really easy to test and change as necessary. Soil pH is a crucial, yet oft overlooked aspect of growing any plant, especially veggie gardens. An out of whack pH will cause all of the symptoms mentioned. Tomatoes do pretty well down to a pH of 5.5 or even slightly lower, they're kind of an acid loving plant so my guess is that the pH is too high, and wouldn't that be ironical.

So George, any chance you'd be into doing a simple litmus paper test on the soil, strictly for the sake of science of course. Look at it as a way to test your own theory. Which begs the question, have you tested your own soil pH and if not... why? I mean a covert spray operation should produce more acid rain and thus more acidic soils, no? ;)
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Well, I think the pH explains why my mom always had trouble with tomatoes.

The soil here is black clay, in fact, our house is within less than 3 ft of the bedrock chalk.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
She was a country girl and they didn't have problems, but they were on a nice sandy loam, not this heavy, black clay
 

solrey

Senior Member.
Well, I think the pH explains why my mom always had trouble with tomatoes.

The soil here is black clay, in fact, our house is within less than 3 ft of the bedrock chalk.

Yikes... Yep, that would be too alkaline for tomatoes. Pretty easy fix though, coffee grounds, leaves, pine needles, compost, or elemental sulfur can be bought at garden centers. Tomatoes like calcium too, prevents blossom end rot.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
She was a country girl and they didn't have problems, but they were on a nice sandy loam, not this heavy, black clay

Did you not notice the winky emoticon ;-) I was taking the piss.

I apologise as maybe it is the way we post and the like :)
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Bummer. It sounds like a pH thing, which is really easy to test and change as necessary. Soil pH is a crucial, yet oft overlooked aspect of growing any plant, especially veggie gardens. An out of whack pH will cause all of the symptoms mentioned. Tomatoes do pretty well down to a pH of 5.5 or even slightly lower, they're kind of an acid loving plant so my guess is that the pH is too high, and wouldn't that be ironical.

So George, any chance you'd be into doing a simple litmus paper test on the soil, strictly for the sake of science of course. Look at it as a way to test your own theory. Which begs the question, have you tested your own soil pH and if not... why? I mean a covert spray operation should produce more acid rain and thus more acidic soils, no? ;)
I haven't tested pH but I even fail using potting soil formulated for tomatoes in free standing pots . . .
 

justanairlinepilot

Senior Member.
In addition to tree decline, annual crops are diminished in yield and nutritive quality, which is well known and documented at the EPA, the USDA, and the Forest Service. Decades of research from government agencies and academic researchers have been published on this topic.

My parents have farm land in South Dakota, they've told me the last two years have been bumper, record setting crops...So, what area of the USA are you talking about? Additionally, farm land has become much more expensive. Midwest farmers have become much more wealthy just by owning farm land.

Tropospheric ozone is inexorably increasing and is extremely toxic to vegetation. Not only does it cause direct damage to foliage, it shrinks roots making plants more susceptible to drought and wind, and decreases immunities to insects, disease and fungus.

You mean the Stratosphere, right.

Read this article found on the NASA website.

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/climate/attrex-takeoff2013.html
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
Belfry, maybe you can verify something I think I read. It was, that there is now either more tree cover or mores acres of forest in the states that comprise the original 13 colonies NOW, than there was at the time of the revolution.

Do you have any idea how it compares in other areas.
I don't know about that statistic (the 13 colonies since the Revolution) specifically, but in general the area of forest cover in the US is well below the pre-colonial area. It's been steady for the past century, though.

 
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George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I haven't tested pH but I even fail using potting soil formulated for tomatoes in free standing pots . . .

Seems tomatoes have been attacked by world wide pathogens since 1980s and this assault is the closest thing to chemtrails as nature can design. . . .:)

 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
Different each year . . . blooms drop off and no fruit . . . sometimes bottom rot, sometimes insect infestation, black spots, white spots . . . you name it I have had it . . .
Different causes but all solvable. PM if you decide to try again.
 

Gail

New Member
Hi Gail. I'm a biologist who studies tree problems for a living. When I saw those "white sock" pictures (e.g. here), the first thing I thought was, "sprinklers". It's common for irrigation water, which often contains dissolved minerals, to cause that appearance on tree trunks where the water regularly hits the tree, depositing the minerals. Note that on that page, someone in their group was astute enough to notice a connection, although it appears they were brushed off:
They also note that very small amounts of elements that are common in soil were found in bark samples - this should not be a surprise to anyone.

I often see chemtrails activists making statements like, "I realized that trees are dying in 2008." No offense intended to you, but trees are always dying - they have been for as long as there has been trees. Although some species can be very long-lived compared to humans, trees do have a finite life span just like other organisms. They can succumb to a wide range of natural causes, and at any given time, there will be some in any given region that are dying or recently dead. That has always been the case. When there is a region-wide event such as the drought in Texas, or the mountain pine beetle outbreak out west (which itself is due in great part to a combination of forest structure/composition and weather/climate conditions), they can die in really alarming numbers.

And yes, of course pollution can have an effect. Acid rain has been a big concern, but the good news is that the efforts to reduce SOx and NOx pollution has been having the desired effect - acid deposition has been decreasing since the 1990s (source).
acidrain.jpg

A really alarming cause of tree mortality now is the introduction of exotic pests and diseases, some of which can effectively wipe an entire native tree species (or even genus) from the landscape. Since the American chestnut was essentially wiped out in the early 20th century by the chestnut blight fungus, we keep getting more of these things showing up, and they're often very difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate once established.

But in terms of regional or national anomalous tree mortality with no known explanation, as is sometimes suggested by chemtrails activists? I'm not seeing it, and I don't know of anyone else in my field who is.

There has been a longstanding effort, since the effects of pollution started being evident in the 1980's, to deflect concern away from the emissions of transport and power generation towards invasive insects (even when they're not exotic, but are native, like the bark beetle you mentioned), fungus and disease, and more recently towards climate change. (see this paper https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx-nOXUwrJtMenZ5VWJfUTlRRTY0QXF2WFRnZU1ZUQ/edit?pli=1 by Orie Loucks or the book published in 1995, An Appalachian Tragedy). This is in spite of studies indicating that plants exposed to ozone are much more susceptible to biotic pathogen attacks, which has been proven in controlled fumigation experiments. One scientist called them "the sharks that smell blood in the water". Excerpts and video from the FACE research station are here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/10/hysteresis-and-vile-conspiracy-to-blame.html

Of course trees always die. However, they are now dying prematurely, all over the world. It is not merely my personal observation, but has been documented in many peer-reviewed studies. Below is a short list of published, peer-reviewed papers and articles documenting a global decline. With the exception of the Wittig research, most scientists tend to blame drought from climate change, even though trees are dying just as fast in places that have become wetter from climate change, such as the UK and Scandanavia. Also plants that are being watered have identical damage to foliage as trees in the ground. You may recall that Lisa Jackson tried to tighten the AQ standard for ozone (the background to the voluminous Integrated Science Assessment says: "...the current ambient O3​ concentrations in many areas of the US are sufficient to impair growth of numerous plant species.") but Obama pulled the rug out from her and told her she couldn't. This is because so many precursors are drifting across oceans and continents that many counties in the US could not possibly meet stricter standards.

You are correct that many emissions within the US have been lowered however - and this is critical! - the persistant background level of ozone is inexorably rising, largely due to the explosion in emissions from Asia. Regulators like to restrict their measurements to the occasional high peaks - it's the same trick that is used in assessing the health hazards of many toxic chemicals, heavy metals like lead, and radiation.

Someone mentioned that there is now more forest cover than during Revolutionary times. What happened is that the entire eastern seaboard, with only trivial exceptions, was clear-cut, some areas more than once. Around early to mid 20th century, many family farms (probably almost all) were abandoned east of the Mississippi as the US turned to factory farming in the mid-west and California. Those fields reverted to scrub and then young forests, some of which are now primarily 80 year old trees appx. Those trees are now dying and it is premature for them to do so - you name it, hemlock, white pine, red pine, cedar, maples, beech, oaks, tupulo, birch, cottonwood, they are all dying whatever age they happen to be. It's quite obvious if you look at them. They have holes, broken branches, little new growth, and their bark is cracking, splitting and falling off. The reason for instance, that the power was lost for such a long time after Sandy is that millions of trees fell, and the reason they fell isn't that it was especially windy, or the trees were old - you could see that they were rotted in the center.

If anyone has specific questions about ozone's effects on plants I would be happy to answer them. Here is a list of primary sources of information about widespread vegetation decline:

EPA, you can download the 2nd draft of the ISA from this page: http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/isa/recordisplay.cfm?deid=226363

http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=26250 title: Declining Vegetation Growth Rates in the Eastern United States from 2000 to 2010. excerpts here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-walk-in-dying-woods.html

http://aspenface.mtu.edu/pdfs/Wittig et al GCB 2009.pdf Quantifying the impact of current and future tropospheric ozone on tree biomass, growth, physiology and biochemistry: a quantitative meta-analysis; 2009 Global Change Biology

Justin Gillis NYTimes article summarizing peer-reviewed research (
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/03/dying-forests-how-bad-is-it-really/?ref=earth): The result was a long article in Saturday’s Times on what appears to be a rising trend of forest die-offs around the world. I used the American West as a case study of the problems, with its twin plagues of bark beetles and catastrophic fires, but I could just as easily have set the piece on any other forested continent. link to earlier article he refers to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/science/earth/01forest.html?



Peng et al: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx-...C00OTg2LWJjMTItNWZhNTM0NWM5N2Q2/edit?hl=en_US
A drought-induced pervasive increase in tree mortality across Canada’s boreal forests
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
What happened is that the entire eastern seaboard, with only trivial exceptions, was clear-cut, some areas more than once. Around early to mid 20th century, many family farms (probably almost all) were abandoned east of the Mississippi as the US turned to factory farming in the mid-west and California. Those fields reverted to scrub and then young forests, some of which are now primarily 80 year old trees appx. Those trees are now dying and it is premature for them to do so - you name it, hemlock, white pine, red pine, cedar, maples, beech, oaks, tupulo, birch, cottonwood, they are all dying whatever age they happen to be. It's quite obvious if you look at them. They have holes, broken branches, little new growth, and their bark is cracking, splitting and falling off. The reason for instance, that the power was lost for such a long time after Sandy is that millions of trees fell, and the reason they fell isn't that it was especially windy, or the trees were old - you could see that they were rotted in the center.

I'm going to call you on your Sandy and fallen trees comments. I live on the east end of Long Island, and we were hard hit by Sandy. We have huge trees a hundred years old along the roads, which fell on the power lines. My town has been trying to remove some of the trees which could fall on them, people complain, they don't remove them, and the limbs fall on the power lines. I hope Sandy has removed many of them, because you are correct in a way, and you are wrong in a way. They are not dying prematurely, some have rot because they were damaged in previous storms and then not trimmed. Many of the trees on my property, which is heavily wooded, feel. Some were hollow, eaten by insects. Some were perfectly healthy. It was VERY WINDY here, and I live in a hollow, so usually we don't get a lot of wind damage. We lost many trees in Sandy. I do not see any evidence of anything you are describing that cannot be attributed to natural causes. We have a lot of hurricanes. If a tree top snaps, and you don't have it treated, it will collect water, rot and split. I think you are trying to explain things based on your own observations and something you may be read someplace at some point and be conflating with something you see, and not on science.. You are talking about trees dying all over, here on the east end we have huge pine barrens, the trees aren't dying there. We also have thousands acre nature preserves with scrub oaks, hemlocks, sasafras, natural cycle of tree life going on there, too.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
I'm going to call you on your Sandy and fallen trees comments. I live on the east end of Long Island, and we were hard hit by Sandy. We have huge trees a hundred years old along the roads, which fell on the power lines. My town has been trying to remove some of the trees which could fall on them, people complain, they don't remove them, and the limbs fall on the power lines. I hope Sandy has removed many of them, because you are correct in a way, and you are wrong in a way. They are not dying prematurely, some have rot because they were damaged in previous storms and then not trimmed. Many of the trees on my property, which is heavily wooded, feel. Some were hollow, eaten by insects. Some were perfectly healthy. It was VERY WINDY here, and I live in a hollow, so usually we don't get a lot of wind damage. We lost many trees in Sandy. I do not see any evidence of anything you are describing that cannot be attributed to natural causes. We have a lot of hurricanes. If a tree top snaps, and you don't have it treated, it will collect water, rot and split. I think you are trying to explain things based on your own observations and something you may be read someplace at some point and be conflating with something you see, and not on science.. You are talking about trees dying all over, here on the east end we have huge pine barrens, the trees aren't dying there. We also have thousands acre nature preserves with scrub oaks, hemlocks, sassafras, natural cycle of tree life going on there, too.
I have ten heavily wooded acres in PA that I have timbered every ten years or so. Oak, Hemlock, Maple, Hickory, even a Black Walnut or two. I also back up on a huge state park and game lands. No sign of any premature attrition but I agree that most of our problems now stem from pollution abroad and upwind.
 

F4Jock

Senior Member.
My parents have farm land in South Dakota, they've told me the last two years have been bumper, record setting crops...So, what area of the USA are you talking about? Additionally, farm land has become much more expensive. Midwest farmers have become much more wealthy just by owning farm land.
Took a look at some Dept of Ag figures. It's a mixed bag over the last decade. I saw no general downward or upward trend but overall yield seems highly dependent on crop, area of the country and acreage planted.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
Moderators, it might be a good idea to split the tree posts off into their own thread?
There has been a longstanding effort, since the effects of pollution started being evident in the 1980's, to deflect concern away from the emissions of transport and power generation towards invasive insects (even when they're not exotic, but are native, like the bark beetle you mentioned), fungus and disease, and more recently towards climate change. (see this paper https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx-nOXUwrJtMenZ5VWJfUTlRRTY0QXF2WFRnZU1ZUQ/edit?pli=1 by Orie Loucks or the book published in 1995, An Appalachian Tragedy). This is in spite of studies indicating that plants exposed to ozone are much more susceptible to biotic pathogen attacks, which has been proven in controlled fumigation experiments. One scientist called them "the sharks that smell blood in the water". Excerpts and video from the FACE research station are here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/10/hysteresis-and-vile-conspiracy-to-blame.html
It's absolutely true (and well-known) that trees that are stressed for any of a variety of reasons - including ozone damage - are generally more susceptible to pests and pathogens. The MPB outbreak out west is understood by specialists to be in large part a result of stressed trees (largely as a result of forest structure and composition, combined with weather and climate trends). What makes exotic pests and pathogens alarming in particular is that some of them can kill even perfectly healthy trees - which means that they aren't just a cyclical or episodic response to conditions, but game-changers which can permanently remove species from the landscape.

Gail said:
Of course trees always die. However, they are now dying prematurely, all over the world. It is not merely my personal observation, but has been documented in many peer-reviewed studies. Below is a short list of published, peer-reviewed papers and articles documenting a global decline. With the exception of the Wittig research, most scientists tend to blame drought from climate change, even though trees are dying just as fast in places that have become wetter from climate change, such as the UK and Scandanavia. Also plants that are being watered have identical damage to foliage as trees in the ground. You may recall that Lisa Jackson tried to tighten the AQ standard for ozone (the background to the voluminous Integrated Science Assessment says: "...the current ambient O3​ concentrations in many areas of the US are sufficient to impair growth of numerous plant species.") but Obama pulled the rug out from her and told her she couldn't. This is because so many precursors are drifting across oceans and continents that many counties in the US could not possibly meet stricter standards.

You are correct that many emissions within the US have been lowered however - and this is critical! - the persistant background level of ozone is inexorably rising, largely due to the explosion in emissions from Asia. Regulators like to restrict their measurements to the occasional high peaks - it's the same trick that is used in assessing the health hazards of many toxic chemicals, heavy metals like lead, and radiation.
Again, I'm not arguing that O3 can't be damaging, particularly near urban areas where levels can get quite high. But in the United States at least, it's not true that it has been "inexorably rising" - rather, ground-level O3 has been declining. Here's the trend from 1980 to 2010 (from this EPA page):
ozone1980-2010.gif
And here's the trend from 2001 to 2008, from that EPA ISA document you linked:
ozone2001-2008.jpg
Can ozone injure trees and other plants? Yes, of course. Is it something we should be concerned about? Of course, just like other pollution - especially since some predictions for the future indicate that we should expect a rise (thus the FACE experiments to see what the future effects might be). But I don't see evidence that it is currently rising, nor a primary cause of major tree decline and mortality on a national scale.

Gail said:
Those trees are now dying and it is premature for them to do so - you name it, hemlock, white pine, red pine, cedar, maples, beech, oaks, tupulo, birch, cottonwood, they are all dying whatever age they happen to be. It's quite obvious if you look at them. They have holes, broken branches, little new growth, and their bark is cracking, splitting and falling off. The reason for instance, that the power was lost for such a long time after Sandy is that millions of trees fell, and the reason they fell isn't that it was especially windy, or the trees were old - you could see that they were rotted in the center.
I would like to see some evidence that all of these trees are dying "prematurely". Trees with rot are nothing new or extraordinary, nor are the other signs and symptoms you're bringing up. They can happen to a tree at any age - as with other types of organisms, the majority of trees that sprout from seed never make it to greatly advanced age (and what age is considered "advanced" varies a lot between species). And while I work out in the forest all the time, specifically looking for tree problems, I certainly have not seen that trees are "all dying whatever age they happen to be." There are plenty of very healthy trees out there.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
I certainly have not seen that trees are "all dying whatever age they happen to be." There are plenty of very healthy trees out there.

That claim seems like an oversimplification. The world is more complex. My family owns a 78 acre pine farm, the remaining part of a larger acreage which has been in the family for over 120 years. The first tree farm in the nation was planted in 1941. Our family tree farm was first planted in 1955 and was about 120 acres. I can remember running beneath the rows of trees in 1960 at the age of five. The acreage grew for most of my life. It was replanted about ten years ago and a first thinning is planned for this year.
This is the sign I remember my Grandfather hung on his fence:
Tree Farm.jpg

As you can see, the trees are in fantastic shape:

Reynolds Tree Farm.jpg
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
Nice! Must be getting decent growth, to be thinning at 10 years. That should help to reduce the likelihood of bark beetle problems down the road.
 

Gail

New Member
Belfrey, the graphs you show reflect the way the EPA regulates by measuring the peaks of ozone to get an average. I agree, the peaks have gone down. I'm talking about the constant low-level background concentration, which IS inexorably rising as there are more people making more emissions per capita.

"While ozone is a normal component of the troposphere, background levels of ozone have been increasing for more than 100 years. They have doubled since pre-industrial times, and are continuing to increase, with average annual concentrations ranging from 20 to 45 ppb. Despite national air quality regulations aimed at controlling ground level ozone pollution, it continues to be a major concern for crop production and forest health."


(from Ambient Ozone Impacts on Specialty Crops published 2007 Air & Waste Management, NE-1013/1030 CSREES project, F. Booker, Chair, USDA-ARS Plant Science Research Unit, Department of Crop Science, NC State University). (posted here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/03/something-is-rotten-at-epa.html)

Research has indicated that the level above which vegetation cannot tolerate ozone is 40 ppb, which is pretty much the persistent background level now even in remote areas. Interview with John Reilly of MIT is here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2012/03/human-volcano.html in which he says:


REILLY: Many years ago when some of the first clean air legislation was passed, I think people thought it was very much as just an urban problem. When measurements have extended, people have realized that the ozone actually lives in the atmosphere for a few months, and so over that time it spreads out across the landscape and in fact, over the course of three months you can have a lot of transport around the entire globe. And so that means that ozone can appear at high levels in different places. The actual ozone levels, then, get higher because the background level is higher.

REILLY: Well I was, you know, dramatically surprised that the results were so negative, and we checked them several times. There is a threshold, 40 parts per billion of ozone in the atmosphere, above which damage starts occurring. What really happened here is that the actual ozone levels only increased 50 percent, but when measured above this threshold, the amount of ozone increased by six-fold. So that was a dramatic increase and led to this high damage.

from this post: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2013/03/its-fragment-not-day.html which also links to another paper from NASA documenting wide-spread decline in vegetation growth, in the boreal forest area: 'We found more plant growth in the boreal zone from 1982 to 1992 than from 1992 to 2011'.

There really is no question that forests are in decline, there are numerous meta-analysis done by foresters and satellite documentation as above, it's not simply me noticing. What is the question is whether it is from invasive species and climate change, or whether it is from pollution. In England they are convinced their trees, which are dying in the millions - horse chestnuts, ash, oaks, beech - are dying because of invasive species from imported plants. This makes no sense because the English have been planting imported trees for hundreds of years in their gardens and estates, they are crazy about exotic arboetums. And climate change doesn't explain it (yet) either, because not everywhere has become drier - scientists just assume that's the reason. The only explanation that works for a global-scale decline is the composition of the atmosphere, because it's the only influence that is well-mixed enough to impact everywhere at, geoglogically speaking, the same time. Plus, decades of research have shown that ozone is far more toxic than most people realize, or than foresters would like to admit.

One of my favorite demonstrations of this is a picture at a European site: http://ozoneinjury.org/crops/
There is a picture of potatoes grown in controlled fumigation tanks, the left in filtered, clean air, the center in ambient polluted air, and on the right, with additional ozone (because it's expected to continue to increase). It's a shocking picture. One of the well-known impacts of ozone is that roots are shrunk before any other damage is visible. There are many pictures on that site of what leaves look like, and I encourage people to get to recognize the symptoms because as the summer progresses, you will find them on virtually every leaf.

I did a radio interview which is posted here: http://www.ecoshock.info/2012/05/why-are-forests-dying.html, the host also linked to this study:

In the Journal Nature, I found a paper saying tropospheric ozone has increased 35% over the last century.

The 2003 paper by Wendy Loya and others says increased ozone levels hurts both forests and crops, even when carbon dioxide is increased, as we expect in the coming decades. They conclude "Our results suggest that, in a world with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, global-scale reductions in plant productivity due to elevated ozone levels will also lower soil carbon formation rates significantly."

and here is a video, with transcript, about global tree decline:

http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3488105.htm

I realize that thinking about trees dying is a daunting prospect with terrifying implications, and the fact that we are doing it makes it even more painful. Most people can't even contemplate it for a minute. That's why often they prefer to believe in evil cabals spraying chemtrails. There are dozens of back-yard videos on youtube of people filming their gardens and their trees - from all over the world - wondering why the leaves are speckled, shriveled, and dropping off early.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
Belfrey, the graphs you show reflect the way the EPA regulates by measuring the peaks of ozone to get an average. I agree, the peaks have gone down. I'm talking about the constant low-level background concentration, which IS inexorably rising as there are more people making more emissions per capita.
Thanks for that clarification. I'll skim through the literature about background ozone levels when I get the chance. I would prefer to see links to primarily literature than links to blog entries. I'm going to get out of the house in a bit, but here are some quick reactions:

Gail said:
In England they are convinced their trees, which are dying in the millions - horse chestnuts, ash, oaks, beech - are dying because of invasive species from imported plants. This makes no sense because the English have been planting imported trees for hundreds of years in their gardens and estates, they are crazy about exotic arboetums.

The emerald ash borer (EAB) which is killing ash trees in the East is not from Europe or England - like so many of our damaging exotic pests and diseases, it's from Asia. And guess what, North American ash species planted in Asia have also been found to be attacked by EAB there. (I can get you a reference for that if desired.)

Gail said:
And climate change doesn't explain it (yet) either, because not everywhere has become drier - scientists just assume that's the reason. The only explanation that works for a global-scale decline is the composition of the atmosphere, because it's the only influence that is well-mixed enough to impact everywhere at, geoglogically speaking, the same time. Plus, decades of research have shown that ozone is far more toxic than most people realize, or than foresters would like to admit.
I think that you're falling for the trap of finding something that may be causing a problem - ozone, in this case - and then concluding that it is THE problem, while ignoring all other well-documented causes of problems. No specialist in this field thinks that all tree decline issues in the world can be traced to a single issue - be it drought, climate, ozone, or invasive pests and diseases. For example, in the article you linked to about reduced growth rates from 2000, to 2010, they found that the reductions were associated with temperature and moisture - that's not an assumption, that's an observed association.

Gail said:
One of my favorite demonstrations of this is a picture at a European site: http://ozoneinjury.org/crops/
There is a picture of potatoes grown in controlled fumigation tanks, the left in filtered, clean air, the center in ambient polluted air, and on the right, with additional ozone (because it's expected to continue to increase). It's a shocking picture. One of the well-known impacts of ozone is that roots are shrunk before any other damage is visible. There are many pictures on that site of what leaves look like, and I encourage people to get to recognize the symptoms because as the summer progresses, you will find them on virtually every leaf.
I'd like to see some real data on that claim.
 

Gail

New Member
"I would prefer to see links to primarily literature than links to blog entries"

In the case you mention is illustrative as to why I linked to the blog entry, because there is not only the link to the primary source, but correspondence with the author and other research indicating that in some cases there was corrolation, not an "observed association" and in the eastern part of the continent, it wasn't even corrolated, which is why the author responded: "
You are absolutely correct that some of the existing changes still cannot be explained by our observations (or not included)."

As far as EAB attack, I'm not clear what that has to do with trees dying in the UK, which doesn't even have EAB, or all the ash trees dying from New Jersey to New England, which doesn't have EAB either or not in very great numbers. If as trees in Asia are being attacked, it wouldn't be surprising, see this article:

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139141/thomas-n-thompson/choking-on-china?page=show

The dangers of China’s environmental degradation go well beyond the country’s borders, as pollution threatens global health more than ever. Chinese leaders have argued that their country has the right to pollute, claiming that, as a developing nation, it cannot sacrifice economic growth for the sake of the environment. In reality, however, China is holding the rest of the world hostage -- and undermining its own prosperity.
According to the World Bank, only one percent of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air considered safe by EU standards. Beijing’s levels of PM2.5s -- particles that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and can penetrate the gas exchange regions of the lungs -- are the worst in the world. Beijing’s 2012 March average reading was 469 micrograms of such particles per cubic meter, which compares abysmally with Los Angeles’ highest 2012 reading of 43 micrograms per cubic meter.
Such air pollution contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in China in 2010, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study. The unrelenting pace of construction of coal-fired power plants is only making matters worse. In his recent monograph, Climate Change: The China Problem, environmental scholar Michael Vandenbergh writes, “On average, a new coal-powered electric plant large enough to serve a city the size of Dallas opens in China every seven to ten days.” The lack of widespread coal-washing infrastructure and scrubbers at Chinese industrial facilities exacerbates the problem.
Carbon dioxide emissions from cars in China are also growing exponentially, replacing coal-fired power plants as the major source of pollution in major Chinese cities. Deutsche Bank estimates that the number of passenger cars in China will reach 400 million by 2030, up from today’s 90 million. And the sulfur levels produced by diesel trucks in China are at least 23 times worse than those in the United States. Acid rain, caused by these emissions, has damaged a third of China’s limited cropland, in addition to forests and watersheds on the Korean Peninsula and in Japan. This pollution reaches the United States as well, sometimes at levels prohibited by the U.S. Clean Water Act. In 2006, researchers at the University of California–Davis discovered that almost all of the harmful particulates over Lake Tahoe originated in China. The environmental experts Juli Kim and Jennifer Turner note in their essay “China’s Filthiest Export” that “by the time it reaches the U.S., mercury transforms into a reactive gaseous material that dissolves easily in the wet climates of the Pacific Northwest.” At least 20 percent of the mercury entering the Willamette River in Oregon most likely comes from China. Black carbon soot from China also threatens to block sunlight, lower crop yields, heat the atmosphere, and destabilize weather throughout the Pacific Rim....A recent study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning found that environmental damage to forests, wetlands, and grasslands shaved 3.5 percent off China’s 2012 GDP. The World Bank puts the total cost of China’s environmental degradation in the late 1990s at between 3.5 and 8 percent of GDP.

"I think that you're falling for the trap of finding something that may be causing a problem - ozone, in this case - and then concluding that it is THE problem, while ignoring all other well-documented causes of problems."
Yes, that is a common response. However, I don't think it's a coinkydink that all species of trees, of all ages, in all locations, are exhibiting signs of decline, and I would not be the first person to observe that the situation is one more like the human illness AIDS. People that die of AIDS exhibit all sorts of secondary, opportunistic diseases - pneumonia, or cancers - and yet it's well understood that the underlying loss of immunity is the primary cause. Trees succumbing to insects, disease, and fungus are already weakened from absorbing ozone. There's no question that ozone kills people with health problems that are epidemics - heart disease, emphysema, asthma, cancer and others. Vegetation, because (like children, also more vulnerable) it absorbs more air, proportionate to overall biomass, is even more sensitive to ozone. Vegetation uses the air not just to "breathe" as we do, but also as a source of food to grow (carbon).

Naturally I do understand there are other threats to trees, particularly severe drought, and storms that are getting more violent from climate change chief among them. However, we are going to die without trees, and they are dying far faster and more uniformly than they would if it weren't for ozone. And, although there's not much we can do about the climate change that is already underway, we could slow it, and vastly slow the demise of forests, if we decided to drastically reduce our emissions of the precursors. It would take a lot of sacrifice, but what is the alternative? The sixth mass extinction?

I too am going out, to watch the movie about it at the end of this post at the local library:
http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2013/03/grasping-at-straws.html
I've already seen it, but there is going to a discussion with one of the producers afterwards.

As far as data about visibly damaged leaves, there was a USFS biomonitoring program for many years which was discontinued about two years ago. I think the data was becoming too disturbing, but what they had from prior years was part of the reason the EPA wanted to tighten the secondary AQ standards to protect vegetation. Many of the National Park websites have sections on plants being damaged within park boundaries. And that ozoneinjury.org cite I mentioned earlier has many photos. If you want anything more specific let me know, I'll look later.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
I really need to pay attention to my family for a while, but I just wanted to quickly make a note about this:
As far as EAB attack, I'm not clear what that has to do with trees dying in the UK, which doesn't even have EAB, or all the ash trees dying from New Jersey to New England, which doesn't have EAB either or not in very great numbers.

Sorry, I skimmed a bit there and thought you were talking about ash in the US. Are unusual numbers of ash trees dying from New Jersey to New England? Can you document that?

Gail said:
However, I don't think it's a coinkydink that all species of trees, of all ages, in all locations, are exhibiting signs of decline

You still haven't demonstrated that this is the case - and I can go for a walk right now (as I just did) and see that you're wrong, there are plenty of
trees out there that are exhibiting no signs of decline.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Hi Jay - where is that parcel located? When was the photo taken?
thanks, Gail
just west of El Dorado, Arkansas 2013 google earth view (see 1 in photo below)loblolly pine, genetically improved seedlings planted in rows. There are many millions of acres like this just in Arkansas.

Most of the green you see in this picture across the south are pine forests:

green.jpg
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
http://dallastrinitytrails.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-great-trinity-forests-white-rock.html

There are several thousand acres of wooded wilderness within the city limits of Dallas. I have not heard any discussion of the trees there dying off. Not only that, but Dallas county is also home to a second Audubon center in the SW corner of the county

http://www.dallascounty.org/department/plandev/locations/13-palmetto.php

That link is to a palmetto swamp in Dallas county. Other links on that page will show you several nature areas in the county of Dallas.

I am pointing these out, because Dallas is an urban area with a known ozone problem. It seems however that we have plenty of native trees that are doing well.
 

solrey

Senior Member.
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