NYTimes: Trees 'are on the way out'

The New York Times concludes in this lengthy, front-page and hand-wringing article that to save the forests, fossil fuel use needs to be limited. Although the article is filled with dire forecasts and conclusions from many “scientists,” there’s actually no science presented in the article.

19 thoughts on “NYTimes: Trees 'are on the way out'”

  1. That there is no science is no surprise. You have but to read Stephen King’s “Danse Macabre” to find out why!

  2. Fossil fuel combustion creates CO2 which is used by living trees and green plants to grow and create O2 for us to breathe.

  3. Since when did any modern time journalist allow facts/science to get in the way of what they perceive will be a good story – one of the reasons why blogs have become popular is that a fair percentage of them deal in reality not some journalistic fiction!

  4. In my opinion, Blogs are just another form of communication, with no guarantee that the information being conveyed is as good or better than other modes of communication. The people behind the presentation are what matters. Unfortunately, we seem to have fallen into a mode to design for people of easy persuasion. You have to look long and hard at everything to distinguish fact from fiction.

  5. I’m sorry, but looking long and hard does not necessarily create anything close to scientific “fact”. Only closely moderated double blind tests may and even then skepticism is the word of the day. Data is not information and models are turtles all the way down.

  6. “Trees on the way out” seems to fly in the face of USDA historical tree survey’s which suggest that we are at about 70% of the forest coverage in 1630 and that the forest coverage has been relatively stable for over 50 years. Most of the loss seems to have occurred before 1900. Given that the wood products industries grow trees as crops and have a huge number of acres in tree farms and the casual growth in trees along roads and the like, I would have guessed an increase in forested land over the past few decades.

  7. These people would have really flourished in the mid to late 1800’s! For example, there was a severe timber and fuel shortage in New England then because farming and the wood products industry had cut down all the forests and literally denuded the landscape. There are photos extant that show the White Mountains bare as a bone. Now just look around. People cut down trees because they have become a nuisance rather than a commodity. The exception is in the NW where a greedy Asia wants the wood. The real problem is that we have become overgrown with stupid and self-serving Nostradamae Ignorantus.

  8. Actually I subscribe to the NY Times for entertainment value and for the online historic article archives back to 1850, which are always enlightening.

    So I saw this P1 article yesterday and marveled that the histrionic AlGore-like florid doomsaying was sometimes accompanied by phrases like “the point of no return has not been reached yet – and may never be.” There are more than handful of similar phrases mixed in with the apocalyptic hysteria about “the burning forests.” On the whole it’s a “most certainly we are doomed, but there are these actual mitigating facts” kind of mixed-bag article, with a risible and compulsive leaning to the hand-wringing apocalyptic. The article admits after a lengthy spew about CO2-induced forest fires, that in the American West “people mismanaged…over the past century… [and] foests have become tinderboxes.” No mention that the “people” who did that are the U.S. federal government, which “mismanages” 59 percent of Western U.S. forests.

    The article also coins some destined-to-be famous new sound bites for the AGW catechism: “ecological tension” and “climate stress.” You see, there never were any forest fires, droughts, bug infestations, blights, or regional climate variances prior to 1850. Now it’s “climate stress” and “water stress caused by climate change.”

    Yet now we “deniers” are saluted with a new and less inflammatory description by the NY Times: “climate-change contrarians.” The June International Conference on Climate Change in DC is described by the Times not as a “denier conference” but as a “contrarian conference.”

    I guess the NY Times is feeling a little bit of the heat and in this article is just a smidgen less of a CAGW cheerleader. But not much, it’s still a horrible article.

  9. I have read that the recent floods in Pakistan were exacerbated by rampant and unimpeded forest clearcutting, though I haven’t confirmed that assertions elsewhere.

    And it’s pretty much been confirmed that Kilamanjaro’s “melting ice cap” has actually been caused by massive forest clearcutting around the base of the mountain, which has altered the localized humidity and air flows. Rather than “melting ice caps” it’s been a simple matter of “less snow.”

  10. Well I’m just an interested layman and not an expert, but I did read somewhere (by some forester in Missoula MT) that these infestations are largely affecting lodgepole pines, which are a fast-growing, short-lived species that are usually the first to grow back after any forest fire. In any case, the rampant and egregious mismanagement of Western forests by the US Forest Service (which owns 59 percent of Western forests), mainly the “no burn” policy, means that fires will not clear out the infestations but rather allow them to fester and grow in older (maybe too old) pine tree populations. Which then spreads to other weaker and older trees.

    Don’t know if this is accurate but is sounds more plausible than “demon CO2 done it again.”

  11. The folks over at the NYT ought to look up the term “irony” and “conflict of interest”.

    Then, perhaps, they might explain the irony behind an industry which cannot exist without actually (and very brutally to boot) cutting down trees. They could then explain the conflict of interest which they must eventually arrive at when they posit that trees should only be allowed to be cut down for news-print.

    And, if they have an issue with “conflict of interest”, they could always go with “hypocrisy”.

  12. Conceveivable? In ancient Rome and Medieval Europe, there were serious deforestation problems. The errosion caused by the destruction of pretty much all forests in Italy have caused the ancient docks of Ostia to be several miles away from the water.

    There are more forests in Europe than there have been in half a century BECAUSE of fossil fuel use.

  13. The news media jumped the track quite a while ago, and the NYT is no exception. They should know better. Any news organization is no better than the people who run it. It appears that the NYT, like so many other papers, has become infested by those who behave like people who have no firm grip on reality and the truth, and function solely in their personal interest. Trust is just about everything. If the NYT publishes environmental articles that are factually worthless, I can not accept anything they say without compromising my own personal integrity. The NYT needs to be relegated to the supermarket checkout magazine racks.

  14. I’ll conceed your point that many blogs (this one included) have a problem with the consensus effect selective perception.

    However, in many cases, the facts are straightforward. In this case, forest extent in Europe and America has greatly increased over the past hundred years, and planet-wide, forest extent has grown over the past twenty years. That basic fact belies the emotional plea given in the linked article. The claim that “climate change will destroy all the forests” make sno sense. Mild warming of less than 3 degrees and slight changes in rainfall won’t destroy anything, and if the trees currently there do die, they will be replaced by others

  15. It’s an uphill battle. Read the comments. One person from the UK stated:
    “Forests absorb significant amounts of CO2 only when they are actively growing. Then they are largely full but no longer absorbing. ”
    His solution was to cut down the trees store the wood and allow the forests to grow. It never occurs to him that CO2 is necessary for survival as well as growth of trees.

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