September 18, 2013

Stripped trees awaiting cutting.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Trees exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen and as such help to regulate the greenhouse gases emitted by our lifestyles.  They also provide shade on a sunny day; a home for birds and other fauna; and, in some cases, a barrier to the noise generated by highways.  Oh, and in keeping with the previous post, trees can provide an abundance of fall colour.  (As an aside, The Giving Tree, is a worthwhile read and addresses all of the points made in this blog opening.)  Trees provide a great many benefits-until they are cut down.

Single stripped tree.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Arguably, once cut, trees can be used for firewood or ground to pulp for a variety of paper products.  If burned, not only are they no longer able to participate in the exchange of CO2 for O2, any carbon that has been stored is then released into the atmosphere by the burning thereby adding to climate change.  The efforts to create a reduction in use of new paper products or the recycling of used paper products do help offset those trees lost to harvesting or removal for other reasons.

Single stripped tree with a single branch left at the top.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I do not know the reason for the cutting of the pine trees along this particular stretch of road.  Perhaps it is due to the proximity of the above-ground power lines.  It is most certainly less expensive to cut the trees than it would be to put the power lines underground, although the recent history of big weather would argue for just such a step.  Trees certainly can become a threat to infrastructure (think houses), especially if they become diseased and lose their structural integrity,  and therefore may need to be removed as a precautionary measure.  That does not appear to the case here, but I am not an aborist.  Nonetheless, they are now gone and any benefits or problems go with them.

Stumps after the cutting.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The past year, 2012, was the hottest year on record according to the Weather Channel.  While 2013 has been much different in the Mid-Atlantic, it has remained brutal for most of the Southwest (as described here) and in other parts of the world.  Out west, the trees and ground covers have been so dry that they readily burn and the fires rapidly consume whatever is in its path.  Human infrastructure, be that houses or power lines, is increasingly at risk due to the confluence of changing weather patterns and our material culture.  With those environmental/societal changes has also come the increased risk to those fighting the fires and this has been a remarkable deadly fire season.

Single tree stump left after cutting.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

These particular trees have been removed from those equations.

Take care.


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