Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Climate Change and Walden Pond

Henry David Thoreau was many things, including a fantastic naturalist. One of the treasures he has passed down to our generation is a collection of documents about the flora around Walden pond. By looking at his data and comparing it to what we can check with current field studies, it is clear that all is not well in Walden.

Comparing data meticulously gathered by Henry David Thoreau more than a century and a half ago with more recent observations, Harvard biologists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that more than a quarter of Walden's plant species have already been lost. And an additional 36 percent are in imminent danger, including lilacs, roses and buttercups.

"It had been thought that climate change would result in uniform shifts across plant species, but our work shows that plant species do not respond to climate change uniformly or randomly," said co-author Charles Davis, a biologist at Harvard, in a release.

The Walden study shows that even small changes in temperature can have outsized impacts on plants that are evolutionarily adapted to fulfill ecological niches. Together with changes seen in other locations, like the unprecedented pine beetle damage in the West, the new work suggests that finely tuned biological systems are having a difficult time keeping up with the rapid pace of human-induced climate change.


Yet, Sarah Palin claims that this is either not happening or not very important. What an ignorant person she is.


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2 comments:

Ynoandino said...

What climate change?

Do you remember when you would walk outside and across a field of grass in the winter? The grass underfoot was frozen with the dew and would crunch underneath your foot. Do you remember Halloween being VERY cold? These are some of the memories of my youth in South Carolina. I haven't felt the crunch of frozen grass underfoot since 1987. I haven't experienced a COLD Halloween in 20 plus years.

But, why am I compaining? At least I am not a polar bear. I still have my chunk of ice to call home.

BTW, I started a new blog and added you to "My Blogs"

Jon said...

Cool image

Consider yourself added.