Saturday, February 15, 2014

UST-AB DevCom: Let Us Save the Dying Trees!

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
 Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Lesson: Field Lecture on DevCom as applied in ecology and environment. February 18, 2014. Bring any camera and field notebook.    

These are camphor trees at the University of Santo Tomas facing the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. There are many trees in the metropolis facing this grave threat. Efforts to save the trees are a great concern for every one of us. 
The effect of intermittent flooding is evident;
we can even see the usual depth of flood. Water
logging occurs after a sudden downpour and
may last from a few hours to several days.

Floodwater deposits pollutants from oil to
toxic metals. As the tree
 struggles to survive,
termites and fungi set in, the same way we suffer
of secondary infection and complications when
our health is poor.

Wound that does not heal easily invades the whole system.
Here it has reached both roots and branches, predisposing
the tree to insects and rot. A gust of wind is enough to break
the tree at its weakest point.

Death comes slowly as the roots fail to absorb nutrients
for the leaves to use in photosynthesis. The tree actually
starves to death, a process we may not readily notice until
the tree defoliates and fails to produce new shoots. There's
one sign though at the threshold of death which is universal
to all organisms: reproduction. The tree profusely bear
flowers, fruits, and principally seeds. It's nature's way of
preserving the species.

This tree is virtually without foothold; it will
certainly topple down. The pith is severely
damage and new cells cannot replace it fast
enough. But what precipitates death is that
the wood of a tree is the conducting vessel
of food and water. If it fails, the tree, like any
organism that is starved, will certainly die.

It had been a long struggle it seems until this tree
succumbed. Pruned branch shows the cambium
layer trying to heal the wound the same way our
wound heals and later covered with scar. Untimely
too much pruning may deprive a tree from

manufacturing enough food. The same principle
applies that when a tree is felled, no amount of
new shoots will revive the remaining stump.

It's hauntingly sad to see a tree skeleton. Against
the sky we see a cross we ourselves made. It is no
different from the one we make to profess your faith.
For faith 
in God and in his Creation - Nature is one.
And the sin we 
committed in the death of trees is
mainly a sin of omission. It is simply 
because we seem
to lack compassion - that sensitivity 
for other living
things, which we define on a 
higher level of our
culture as reverence. Reverence for life.

What can we do to save the trees?

Never use trees to post advertisements, announcements, campaign posters. Injury from nails and other materials retards growth, predisposes trees to termites and fungi, and may lead to their early demise.

On Christmas, plant trees to celebrate the Season. Don't cut trees to make Christmas Trees. Instead, simply decorate a standing tree, with care not to injure it.

A potted tree seedling or sapling may be decorated in lieu of an artificial Christmas Tree. At the end of the season, plant it as an expression of thanksgiving for the Season.

3. Don't build fire near a tree, more so at its base. Never cook food under the tree. Keep barbecue stand at a distance.

4. Don't dump garbage near and at the base of trees. Never do composting beside a tree, or at the base of its trunk. Composting builds heat and emits poisonous gases of ammonia and sulfur which are deleterious specially to the roots.

5. Never carve a message on the trunk with a knife. There are better ways of expressing your affection such as planting a tree together with your loved one. A tree of love will certainly last long.

Before pruning, transplanting, spraying a tree, and the like, consult an expert or an agriculturist in your area. ~

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