The Resiliency of the Older Forest

If you are on top of reading about what is happening to the climate and the impacts it is having on all life it is easy and understandable to be frightened. Properly so. It’s scary.
You can go down the line and look at the way the spiraling climate is impacting people and where and how they live, migration patterns for animals, trophic patterns in the ocean. All kinds of things. And it is impacting plant life and will continue to do so. For all our lives even with the most noble and full response that we should be taking.
The University of Vermont has just come out with a study looking at the resiliencyof forests to climate change. After looking at nearly 20,000 forest plots from Minnesota to Maine and Manitoba to Nova Scotia they found that older forests in the Upper Midwest and New England were better suited to be resilient to climate change.
The more older trees there were the more diverse the ecology. The more carbon storage. More trees of varying ages. The new forests that were planted after excessive timbering all had trees that were the same age and same height and often weren’t as diverse as these older forests.
From a technical forestry perspective this is good news and will help them make better recommendations for forestry management.
But this is a moving thing for me to read because it speaks to how having the capacity to have old wisdom in our midst might allow for a kind of resiliency to emerge while things around us start to come apart from the way we have known and counted on. If you read much about trees you’ll find out that older trees act with incredible generosity to their neighbors – they help feed smaller trees through a mycorrhizal network under and in the soil. They help regulate growth of their smaller kin so that there might be older trees for the life of the forest – not every tree can or should be huge right now. Having a few big old trees allows light to get to the forest floor to help with germination and degradation of fallen plant and animal life. If the trees are all the same size and regularly spaced they end up competing and not thriving in the same way.
There is something special about being willing to have old and wise ways in our midst. We might now even know all the things they do for us.
Primal Derma is one old tree in a forest of old ways. It might help us be resilientin these troubled times. Not that it will stop the troubled times – no. But it might be recourse to something that looks a little sane.
So thank you for keeping the old ways alive and in your midst and on your skin. We are lucky to have you!

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