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Scottish woodland specialist speaks on widespread tree extinction

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by Molly Duerig

Eco-friendly Carr Hall was a fitting location for Tuesday’s presentation by Duncan Stone, senior woodland specialist at Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish government’s conservation agency.

Stone is visiting the U.S. for nine months to conduct a study comparing European and North American experiences of woodland ecology, and exploring the viability of replacing dying tree species with non-native species. He is one of Harvard Forest’s seven Charles Bullard Fellows in Forest Research for the 2012-13 year.

Before arriving at Allegheny, Stone was at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass., Harvard University’s 3,500-acre forest and laboratory. There, Stone is developing the basis for new policies on native plants in conserved forests.

Stone said forest conservationists are faced with “unpalatable options” to solve the problem of widespread, native tree extinction. This problem is occurring in the U.S. as well as in the U.K.

Widespread extinction of tree species is the combined result of climate change and infestations of non-native fungal and insect pests and pathogens, or tree diseases.

Quickly-increasing temperatures are causing drought, storminess, waterlogging and lack of snow, which freezes roots, insulating them during the winter.

Stone said a common strategy is to replace old trees that are dying with new, young trees of the same species. He said that in 2012, Scotland’s forestry commission stated that native tree and shrub gene pools are perfectly adequate for adaptation to climate change as long as they are given the chance. This statement runs contrary to the truth: that native species are dying at a rapid rate, making them ultimately irreplaceable.

“The option to have the native species is going,” Stone said. “We all learned non-native genotypes are bad. But we don’t know where we are going with native species.”

Stone argues that planting traditionally non-native species is not necessarily a bad practice and in fact it could be supremely beneficial to preservation of forest ecosystems.

He offered an example, saying that it may be possible to replace the whitebark pine that grows in the western U.S. with the Arolla or Swiss pine that grows in the Swiss Alps.

“Not every function of native species is unique. Every combination is,” Stone said.

It is vitally important to consider the effect a particular species has on its ecosystem. Many tree species, like the whitebark and Arolla pines, have overlapping functions within ecosystems.

“Yes, [the Arolla pine] is non-native, but it gives us some of what we need,” Stone said.

One particularly valuable function of the ashwood tree is its luxuriant growth of epiphytes (plants that grow upon other plants). But the ashwood is not the only species with this function.

Stone showed slides picturing vast, mountainous areas in the western United States which had previously been covered by the whitebark pine. Whitebark pine has been disappearing rapidly during the last 20 years due to climate change.

The tree’s disappearance is a problem in large part because grizzly bears depend on whitebark pine nuts as a source of food. Bears also help plant more trees by spreading the seeds.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Mark Neff said that the area surrounding Yellowstone National Park is an ideal example of the importance of preventing further tree species extinction.

“Now the grizzlies are going into towns because they’re not getting their natural food source,” Neff said. “They’re attacking people, they’re getting into houses. That really puts the spotlight on this issue.”

Stone reflected on the grizzly bears searching for food in towns and homes in the western U.S. as a result of the diminishing whitebark pine.

“I guess you could feed the grizzlies, but I’m not sure that’s any more unnatural than growing a different tree,” Stone said.

Current projection charts only show estimations of climate change until the year 2100. Especially in terms of tree life, this is not a very large time frame. Stone said the charts do not account for the increasing magnitude of climate change’s harmful effects on the environment and on forest ecosystems.

“We have to grow the next big old trees for our descendants,” Stone said.

He warned about the dangers “do-it-yourself” solutions could yield if forestry experts do not take control of the situation by implementing non-native species. As people notice more and more trees being lost, they may ask friends to bring up tropical plants from other parts of the country, which could cause further problems.

“If we don’t resolve [this] as forest conservationists, then someone else does, and that’s where it gets scary,” Stone said.

Stone emphasized that humans must both acknowledge and grieve their love for “big, old trees.”

“Losing big, old trees hurts. I don’t think we will get anywhere until we admit that this is a crap situation and we hate it,” Stone said. “The reason we’re here is not a happy one.”

Stone shared the picture of the Pontfadog Oak, a 1,200-year-old tree which toppled over in Wrexham, Wales, a week ago. According to BBC.com’s article about the tree it was one of the oldest and largest in the United Kingdom. Villagers gathered around the tree after its collapse in a type of funeral.

This funeral is just one example of the cultural significance trees have for humans.

“People do care about big trees,” Neff said. “[They’re] the charismatic megafauna of the flora world.”

State trees in the U.S. are another example of trees’ cultural importance.

William Chappel, ’14, asked about the current condition of Pennsylvania’s state tree, the Eastern hemlock.

Stone said that although there is time until the hemlock becomes extinct in Pennsylvania, the damage caused by the adelgid, an invasive pest of the hemlock, has approached an irreversible point.

“You might want to think about another state tree,” Stone said to Chappel.

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134 Comments

134 Responses to “Scottish woodland specialist speaks on widespread tree extinction”

  1. Fen beauregard on April 26th, 2013 11:25 am

    Its a shame trees have to go away

  2. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:43 am

    PREACH! I LOVE TREES!

  3. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Trees!!!

  4. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Forever!!!

  5. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:15 pm

    We make oxygen!!

  6. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 2:17 pm

    Are you my dad?

  7. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 2:17 pm

    I hope so

  8. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 2:17 pm

    I miss my dad

  9. FRACK DADDY on April 26th, 2013 12:33 pm

    We are not going to frack the trees, its soil and stone that is doomed.

  10. I'mRonBurgundy? on April 26th, 2013 12:56 pm

    I’M EXPRESSING MY INNER ANGUISH THROUGH THE MADJESTY OF SONG

  11. Saul on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    Don’t fret, they’ll grow back 🙂

  12. National Forester on April 26th, 2013 11:30 am

    We need to eliminate some trees to make sure that the others receive enough sunlight.

  13. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:36 am

    How can you even say that?! Trees are what save this beautiful, God given Earth!

  14. National Forester on April 26th, 2013 11:39 am

    God Given, HAH, I bet you think he made all the trees 2000 years ago

  15. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:40 am

    To even debate that He* didn’t is a disgrace.

    *you need to capitalize the H in He.

  16. Concerned student on April 26th, 2013 11:41 am

    Let’s try to keep this conversation civil. Let’s not forget that our Statement of Community mandates that we be tolerant of the cultures and religious ideas of everyone around us, regardless of your opinions on the matter!

  17. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:53 am

    Thank you! I am glad someone is bringing the statement of community into this conversation.

  18. tree hugger on April 26th, 2013 11:33 am

    I thought it was rather interesting and unconventional that an environmental scientist is suggesting the use of invasive species to conserve forests as a whole. this is a rather radical idea when you consider what has happened in other cases where people have used invasive species to fix environmental problems, or just by accident. however, I could see it working in this case because tree’s don’t tend to take each other’s food because they are limited in the space they can take up. this being said, we will need to be careful in choosing which species we decide to bring in to combat this dilemma.

  19. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:49 am

    Radical ideas are not how we save the earth.

  20. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:34 am

    But I love the Tsuga canadensis as the Pennsylvania state tree, how could Stone say we might want to think about another state tree?!

  21. National Forester on April 26th, 2013 11:36 am

    The state tree is an outdated and irrelevant point in this article

  22. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:38 am

    You don’t even understand. My family has tradition with this tree. Some of our family holiday celebratory ceremonies take place around our tsuga canadensis tree.

  23. tree hugger on April 26th, 2013 11:43 am

    I thing you brought up a great point that this is much bigger than Allegheny College. The world as a whole is changing, and all decisions we make about how we influence the world are final, and decisions we need to live with. this is why it’s so important that we use forests like Harvard’s research forest as opposed to much larger and interconnected forests where an invasive species has the potential to be much more harmful .

  24. Concerned student on April 26th, 2013 11:47 am

    Exactly! This Earth is not here for us to experiment on it! We can’t let this planet become our Frankenstein’s monster! Who are we to tamper with the natural state of this planet’s ecology?!

  25. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:49 am

    We need to help close the hole in the ozone layer. Save this earth, Save this earth!

  26. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:47 am

    This issue goes way beyond Allegheny College and I appreciate you picking up on this.

  27. Concerned student on April 26th, 2013 11:40 am

    I’m sorry, but how dare you? Who are you to say that the tree that we as Pennsylvanians have recognized as a symbol of the ideals of our state is outdated? I hope you aren’t from PA, because if you are, you’re a complete and utter disgrace.

  28. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:44 am

    Whoever you are, we should meet in person to formally discuss our love for the PA state tree!

  29. Concerned student on April 26th, 2013 11:37 am

    This is a really important article for us to see, not even just as Allegheny students, but as students of the world. If we don’t start paying attention to the implications of our actions, we could find ourselves in an environment entirely different than we were raised in, and that difference could be for the worse, dramatically.

    Of course the introduction of non native species to our environments has always been a problem that we as humans have perpetuated. It is sometimes overwhelming to think about the negative impact that we have had on this planet as a species. It would be a shame to see yet another ecosystem disrupted by the actions of human beings. Either way, it is definitely food for thought!

    If we don’t start paying attention to the footprints we leave on our planet, we’re going to find ourselves without a livable home sooner rather than later. Look no further than the example that Stone gave of bears attacking people! All because we were not conscious as a species of the way that we introduce non native species into our environments. Similar problems have occurred in places like Australia, where frog populations are absolutely OUT OF CONTROL, because they were introduced to an environment in which they have no natural predators. I can think of another example off the top of my head where a lighthouse keeper’s cat sent an entire species of birds to extinction! We as inhabitants of this earth cannot be so arrogant as to think that our actions in matter such as these don’t adversely affect the ecosystems around us!

    This is something that should be very important to all of us! I would be interested to hear how the general population of our community feels about this kind of issue, especially with the question of whether or not to frack on our campus is on the horizon!

  30. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:43 am

    PREACH! SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS!

  31. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:14 pm

    Trees understand

  32. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:15 pm

    At least I think they do

  33. Trees Dad on April 26th, 2013 2:15 pm

    But I’m just a tree

  34. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:52 am

    The fact that we are even considering fracking on this campus is bullshit. As a liberal institution I do no think we should be whoring ourselves out to the conservative elite to make a pretty penny.

  35. Saul on April 26th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Gimme a break, your boy Obama is crony capitalist just as much as Romney and Bush. They’re all in together, and they don’t give a $hit about you or anyone else in this country. At the end of the day, all the campaign rhetoric goes right out the window. It’s all about the green, and I ain’t talking about the trees….

  36. Go frack yourself on April 26th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Thank god that someone has some damn sense around here! I like the way you think! We need to actually sit down and acknowledge the fact that at the end of the day, liberal or conservative doesn’t matter. All politicians are the same under their lies and deceit.

  37. Tree Lover on April 26th, 2013 11:55 am

    The fact that we are even considering fracking on this campus is bullshit. As a liberal institution I do no think we should be whoring ourselves out to the conservative elite to make a pretty penny.

  38. Go frack yourself on April 26th, 2013 12:01 pm

    Please tell me this is some kind of joke. Are we really going to pass up this kind of opportunity because of some horseshit perpetuated by the LAMESTREAM media? The so called “health problems” created by fracking are ALREADY PRESENT in all of the places that these phenomena have been occurring, fracking or not! The fact that everyone seems to hate money on this campus is preposterous and unAmerican. It makes me sick how much we pander to the bullshit liberal agenda that this campus stands for. First we rally the troops over a goddamn afro wig, and now this? Can’t believe this school anymore.

  39. FRACK DADDY on April 26th, 2013 12:32 pm

    FRACK=$$$

  40. Saul on April 26th, 2013 12:33 pm

    Amen, brother! What irks me is that most of the kids whining about fracking are the sons and daughters of super-wealthy parents. They rail against capitalism, but they sure as hell won’t give up their MacBook Pros and smart-phones. All bark, no bite. Oh the hypocrisy!

  41. Go frack yourself on April 26th, 2013 12:43 pm

    Can’t believe that we’re even having this conversation at all haha. Everyone wants to be an activist and no one even knows what it means. Good grief!

  42. intriguedreader on April 27th, 2013 11:27 am

    bump, extremely important comment.

  43. GrizzlyLover on April 26th, 2013 11:59 am

    I’ve always wanted to get attacked by a grizzly in my house!

  44. That guy on April 26th, 2013 12:12 pm

    You should actually be ashamed of yourself for saying that. People’s lives are in danger, and you’re joking about it. Sick.

  45. GrizzlyLover on April 26th, 2013 12:16 pm

    But getting mauled by a big black bear is my fetish

  46. yuh boi on April 26th, 2013 12:04 pm

    We talking about trees…. treess… treesss…… come on son i dont like trees i like bushes

  47. Jon smith on April 26th, 2013 12:13 pm

    Will my children be able to flock in the forest

  48. Jon smith on April 26th, 2013 12:14 pm

    Buildings are the new trees… Hippies

  49. AStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:16 pm

    Molly thank you for bringing to light such an important issue

  50. disqus_WmHaTwjwWL on April 26th, 2013 12:18 pm

    Trees!!!!!!!$!$!$$$$$$$

  51. disqus_WmHaTwjwWL on April 26th, 2013 12:21 pm

    I love trees thank god this isn’t happening in ‘merica

  52. Republicannomia on April 26th, 2013 12:21 pm

    How will this affect the nome population in northern Scotland, I’m sure we all know those dirty Scottish nomes will be fine

  53. Barney on April 26th, 2013 12:21 pm

    Do any of you think that the extinction of the Scottish woodland trees could affect the rise of the Hobbits in habitats outside Middle America?

  54. disqus_WmHaTwjwWL on April 26th, 2013 12:23 pm

    Trees = $$$$$

  55. Billmurry on April 26th, 2013 12:23 pm

    But if we cut down all the trees where will all the golfers play

  56. Barney on April 26th, 2013 12:24 pm

    I think if the Hobbits aren’t properly cultivated, then we won’t be able destroy the One Ring and Smaug will reign supreme alongside Sauron. simple as that.

  57. hardwood on April 26th, 2013 12:25 pm

    This is so fascist

  58. Madow on April 26th, 2013 12:26 pm

    We will save the Scottish woodlands those dirty bastards at Fox News would burn them all if they could

  59. Barney on April 26th, 2013 12:26 pm

    Plus Hobbits like to party. simple as that.

  60. disqus_WmHaTwjwWL on April 26th, 2013 12:26 pm

    Cut them all down! America will win!

  61. Barney on April 26th, 2013 12:26 pm

    We will save the Scottish Woodlands or we will die trying!!

  62. FRACK DADDY on April 26th, 2013 12:34 pm

    Scottish Woodlands stand no chance when it comes to fracking lol

  63. Mel Gibson on April 26th, 2013 12:27 pm

    They can take our trees, but they can never take our FREEDOMMMMMM!

  64. The Brits on April 26th, 2013 12:31 pm

    Scotland isn’t ready for its freedom, they will erode our tax base

  65. FRACK DADDY on April 26th, 2013 12:33 pm

    This is some William Wallace shit.

  66. Louis Brialle on April 26th, 2013 12:30 pm

    dfd fd df d fd

  67. TUNA<333333 on April 26th, 2013 12:31 pm

    I agree with the concerned student. This is a very important article because the scottish woodlands have an adverse affect on the bluefin tuna population. It is vital that this beautiful creature is preserved because it is an excellent specimen of natural energy efficiency. Tuna is the most efficient creature in the world and deserves not only our respect, but our love.

  68. Gnomelover on April 26th, 2013 12:35 pm

    I see your point. However, we need to also take into account the gnome population in the scottish forests. This is arguably the most pressing up-and-coming scottish forestry issue.

  69. CreepyPete on April 26th, 2013 12:41 pm

    Since they are the most efficient they should be able to handle any adverse change to the scottish woodlands. FRACK ON!

  70. GoGreen on April 26th, 2013 12:31 pm

    Tree harvesting dominates the production in the paper industry. This needs to change. the detrimental impact of tree harvesting is destroying the economy and is a very inefficient means of production. Instead, I suggest that we switch to hemp based paper production. This would be very beneficial not only to the economy but the ecology to all the habitats that are being destroyed due to tree harvesting.

  71. ConcernedStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:40 pm

    HEMP

  72. intriguedreader on April 27th, 2013 11:29 am

    Could the school look into possibly enforcing going paper less more heavily. I know some of my professors do not take advantage of Sakai and the paperless options it offers.

  73. FRACK DADDY on April 26th, 2013 12:32 pm

    Honestly, FRACK ON!

  74. ConcernedStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:40 pm

    OMG…smh

  75. Papa on April 26th, 2013 12:59 pm

    Disgusting.

  76. Duke on April 26th, 2013 12:32 pm

    I think evidence that the Scottish woodlands and they may be extinct is proof that today’s society is scared to rely on natural resources.

  77. ConcernedStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:40 pm

    Yeah definitely

  78. Mike Rithgen on April 26th, 2013 12:33 pm

    I totally agree with fracking

  79. CreepyPete on April 26th, 2013 12:34 pm

    The biggest issue with this is the fact that our fellow Americans who’s sexual orientation enables them to be attracted to trees are severely limited in their options as they search for partners and companionship throughout life. As a liberal arts school, our student body should be focused on solving this issue so that our peers will not feel discriminated due to their attraction to trees. I have a dream that one day, that my children will be able to stand in a great forest and have ample opportunity to get wood.

  80. i say cucumber you say rape on April 26th, 2013 12:35 pm

    my leg!!

  81. It'sashame on April 26th, 2013 12:35 pm

    Look as a nome I can say that my environment is extremely important, I grew up in a wonderfull tree house in northern Scotland in an absolutely huge Scottish pine next to a highland teak

  82. Nomia forever on April 26th, 2013 12:38 pm

    He time of the humans is over. The time of the humans is NOW!

  83. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:36 pm

    Trees

  84. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:36 pm

    The gnomes™

  85. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    10

  86. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    11

  87. GO GO AXO on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    So proud of my sister Molly for getting the most views of any article in campus history! The best girls wear lyres and pearls!

  88. intriguedreader on April 27th, 2013 11:27 am

    Let’s try and keep this about the article but I agree congratulations to Molly on a delightful article.

  89. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    12

  90. tree hater on April 26th, 2013 12:37 pm

    $$$

  91. Mike Litoris on April 26th, 2013 12:38 pm

    ouch

  92. ConcernedStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Frack Daddy, you are repulsive!! SAVE THE TREES PLEASE!!!!!

  93. ConcernedStudent on April 26th, 2013 12:39 pm

    Honestly, please save the trees! I can’t breathe without TREEEEEEEES

  94. Willie Stroker on April 26th, 2013 12:41 pm

    I love it!

  95. Willard B. Toke on April 26th, 2013 12:42 pm

    America’s industrial ban on hemp is “a poster child for dumb regulation,” argues lazy ass pothead! Wait, sorry, scratch that. Make that Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, introducing an amendment last week to the densely contested 2012 Farm Bill, which is either a subsidies and sustainability savior or callous food austerity, depending on who you ask. But if you ask Wyden, “the best possible Farm Bill” is one that repeals a ban on industrial hemp the United States is already quite busy, and expensively, importing from the few feet it takes to cross the Canadian border.

    “I will be urging my colleagues to support this amendment,” Wyden announced last week on the Senate floor, reminding the assembled elected that his plan won’t cost American taxpayers a dime. “I want [them] to know I will be back at this again until there are smarter regulations in place.”

    “America needs to get real about hemp, and fast, even if the country continues to fight about ending cannabis prohibition,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) executive director Allen St. Pierre told AlterNet. “There is virtually no one on earth who intellectually opposes farmers cultivating industrial hemp, other than anti-cannabis bureaucracies, politicians, drug testing companies and the U.S. law enforcement community.”

    That’s some stacked opposition. But the list below provides more than enough firepower for encouraging an overdue repeal of the ban on industrial hemp, cannabis sativa’s low-THC strain.

    1. We’re buying hemp from Canada anyway. Maybe we should just burn money, too? “We’re already importing a crop that the U.S. farmer could be profitably growing right here at home, if not for government rules prohibiting it,” Wyden argued, reminding listeners that in 2010, Canada subsidized its hemp industry with over $700,000 more in funding, increased crop sizes and “fortified the inroads the Canadians are making in U.S. markets at the expense of our farmers.” All while our hemp imports have grown 300 percent in the last decade, and 35 percent since 2009. Meanwhile, Canada’s cropland devoted to industrial hemp doubled from 2011 to 2012, Wyden added, remarking that his local Portlanders who manufacture hemp products are doing brisk business, thanks very much.

    2. Everyone is growing hemp and laughing at us. Besides Canada, Australia is enjoying an agricultural rebound because of hemp production. Over 30 countries permit its production, and as usual, resourceful China is the world’s largest producer with nearly 80 percent of global tonnage. Instructively, China has been around for thousands of years, so who on Earth is going to tell them shit about the future? Not the United States, which remains the only industrialized nation to forbid its farmers from growing industrial hemp. Cue the giggle track.

    “Canada, France, China, Russia and the United Kingdom all have cannabis prohibition laws in place,” St. Pierre told AlterNet. “And yet, they still allow their farmers to cultivate and prosper from industrial hemp.” Speaking of…

    3. We’re not talking about cannabis here. But who cares if we were? Both should be legalized anyway, and everyone knows it. But even cannabis paranoiacs need to chill: THC levels of hemp are under .03 percent, which couldn’t get a tobacco lobbyist high. Under Wyden’s amendment, hemp production would be regulated, but by the individual states’ permitting processes rather than the federal government that has made a Kafkaesque mess of medical cannabis. Nine states have already put similar legislation in place.

    “Why can’t the US government and its law enforcement community be as pragmatic and practical as other countries regarding making the logical ecological and economical distinction between ‘hemp’ and ‘cannabis’?” St. Pierre asked. “Is it that American narcs are less intelligent, or is it that they can’t be as educated about hemp as police in the UK, China or Canada?”

    4. Hemp is green. As any naturalist or historian will tell you, the uses for hemp — from paper, textiles and clothing to health products, biodegradable plastics and biofuels — are diverse and widely documented. But it’s a much more sustainable crop than most: It needs less fertilizer than King Corn, can be grown in several consecutive years in the same fields (monocultural!), rarely needs pesticides (if at all), and, irony of ironies, it’s a weed killer. Thanks to its fibrous density, it’s a construction material just begging for an increased American market. Wyden claimed that North Carolina builders are using hemp to make their structures stronger and greener, while Minnesota’s Original Green Distribution promotes it as the “perfect building material” — non-toxic, non-flammable, mold and mildew resistant, and cash-positive. The argument against local hemp production? A house of cards.

    5. Hemp is patriotic. Our lionized Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it, and they helped create the nation. Hemp has been cultivated and consumed across the planet for millennia, from China’s Neolithic Age to New England’s Puritans and Virginian farmers — who were instructed by a House of Burgesses’ Act to sow it on their plantations. Americans even created a World War II propaganda film called Hemp For Victory, despite the destructive, embarrassing Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which criminalized commercial use of hemp or cannabis. Whether that legislation, supported by progressive hero and president Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a back-door favor to the competing and eventually triumphant industries of his friends and sponsors Mellon, Hearst and DuPont, or just post-Mexican Revolution immigrant xenophobia, is ancient history now. This is a new century. We’re past it.

    6. Hemp has carbon-negative promise. Those remaining hemp naysayers will eventually change their minds when global warming starts downsizing the planet’s arable land. Because it has significant climate change upside, whether you’re talking renewable energy, carbon sequestration or just food. (Yes, you can eat hemp.) According to the Hemp Industries Association, the U.S. Department of Energy considers hemp a biomass fuel alternative that could ameliorate our addiction to fossil fuels, as well as an alternative to toxic petrochemicals involved in plastic production. In fact, there are over two millions cars on the road right now — from Ford, GM and Chrysler to Mercedes, BMW and beyond — housing hemp in their interiors. And it’s a naturally occurring carbon sink too. Unlike more traditional concrete, Hempcrete is carbon-negative, storing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. The HIA also claims that hemp proper produces more pulp per acreage than wood pulp, which is great because we really need to stop cutting down forests so they can continue to suck all the carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the air before the world as we know it ends before we know it.

    7. Nuclear apocalypse? Hemp has an app for that. Even if we jump back onto hemp’s historical bandwagon and dodge catastrophic climate change with the help of other green alternatives, we still might nuke ourselves like idiots. But hemp can even give us a hand with that irradiated lunacy. Thanks to its sprawling canopy, it’s already a powerhouse weed suppressor, as well an impressive mop crop capable of sopping up contaminants and even radiation. The Princeton-based company Phytotech and others even planted hemp in Chernobyl alongside sunflowers and other impressively extractive plants. It’s logical that planting more phytoremediation-friendly crops will help us clean up proliferating chemical and nuclear dumps. Hemp is a phytoremediator just waiting for the innovation that repealing a lame ban on industrial cultivation can bring.

    8. Hemp can help the sick. The medicinal and rehabilitative value of cannabis is already well-known, despite certain compromised parties still claiming the science isn’t in. (They often have the same denialist fever about global warming.) But once the ban on industrial hemp is inevitably repealed, expect stories about the healing properties of hemp oil to percolate above the subculture that presently contains them. American integrative medicine physician Andrew Weil has found that “some cancer patients have found it to be a superior remedy for the nausea caused by chemotherapy, and some people with multiple sclerosis are grateful for its relaxant effects on spastic muscles.” But repealing the ban on industrial hemp will put these contentions to the test for true believers and skeptics alike, once hurdles to cultivation and innovation are removed. It’s not an accident that more seniors are signing on with cannabis and hemp to deal with the ravages of age. It’s also no accident that my late, great father-in-law, who passed last year no thanks to Parkinson’s, extended and improved his deteriorating state with cannabis, or that his children who suggested it to him are mostly doctors.

    9. Hemp means jobs. As you may have heard, we’re mired in an ongoing recession with unemployment hovering near 10 percent and going nowhere. So why would we trash an economically logical, environmentally friendly crop whose industrial production could increase jobs and revenue? (Hey wait, is this why the Pentagon is built atop Uncle Sam’s hemp farm?) In 2010, U.S. retail sales of hemp-based products passed $400 million, and there’s likely a good reason that how much America pays annually to import hemp isn’t just a click away. But It doesn’t take 300 economists, including some Nobel laureates, arguing that decriminalizing cannabis and hemp could save us $7 billion a year to realize that domesticating hemp production will bring jobs back across the borders to unemployed Americans. Who then might just turn around and buy more hemp products with their hard-earned pay. No-brainer, bean counters.

    10. Hemp can be a peacemaker. Bipartisanship haters, take notes. Senator Wyden’s reasonable amendment has been cosigned by the sometimes unreasonable Tea Party favorite, Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, whose controversial father Ron Paul, R-Texas, introduced a similar measure earlier this year. Whether or not it immediately works should not overshadow the fact that it is Wyden and Paul who have brought legislation favoring hemp to the congressional floor for the first time since the ’50s. Not should it be forgotten than industrial hemp was once the second largest crop, after tobacco, of Kentucky’s antebellum economy, which grew more than any other state before its criminalization. Plus, legal hemp will stop pointless enforcements, like that of David Bronner, the fair-trade, sustainability entrepreneur and activist, who was recently arrested in front of the White House protesting the industrial hemp ban while locked in a metal cage alongside his plants.

    Optimists with faith in humanity cannot help but look into the future and see more cannabis and hemp cultivation and consumption, as lab-rat mutations like soda, cigarettes and antidepressants finish off what’s left of the evolutionary skeptics. We can’t believe, for a second, that last century’s superpower could stoutly march right off a cliff, armed with pharmaceutical marketing and a very unhealthy disrespect for earthly reality.

  96. intriguedreader on April 27th, 2013 11:28 am

    Interesting read. Not sure how it relates but interesting.

  97. B.J. Cobbledick on April 26th, 2013 12:43 pm

    GO MOLLY!

  98. Willard B. Toke on April 26th, 2013 12:43 pm

    This is ridiculous, we do not need trees, we need HEMP!

  99. Willard B. Toke on April 26th, 2013 12:44 pm

    LEGALIZE HEMP! THE UNITED STATES IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHERE HEMP IS ILLEGAL!

  100. GreenIGo on April 26th, 2013 2:55 pm

    Amen Brotha!

  101. Anass Rhammar on April 26th, 2013 12:44 pm

    AXO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  102. Mike Tolbert on April 26th, 2013 12:46 pm

    Ok, I agree with several of the valid arguments below; however, I believe it is my duty to say that fracking is where this College will ultimately end up.

  103. Go frack yourself on April 26th, 2013 12:51 pm

    Damn right! The only people at this school with a liberal agenda are the damn students! Honestly, the schools top priority is money. If anyone at this school honestly thinks that their opinion matters more than a couple hundred thousand dollars, they are SADLY mistaken.

  104. intriguedreader on April 27th, 2013 11:28 am

    We do not need to frack. As a liberal arts institution who supposedly cares about the environment it is completely against our morals.

  105. SharkBoy on April 26th, 2013 12:47 pm

    Scottish trees are great!

  106. Michael Jackson on April 26th, 2013 12:47 pm

    I love trees… And little boys

  107. Michael Jackson on April 26th, 2013 12:49 pm

    You go girl

  108. Tokyo Sexwhale on April 26th, 2013 12:47 pm

    I love the article keep up the great work!

  109. IdontGiveAFrack on April 26th, 2013 12:48 pm

    Trees are like people, they are completely disposable and when you need more you can just grow some new ones. Stop whining.

  110. &heartsgirl on April 26th, 2013 12:51 pm

    Great article 🙂 xoxo you’re beautiful my sister! <3 axo pride till I die <3

  111. Dewanna Bonner on April 26th, 2013 12:51 pm

    this is way better than molly’s

  112. &heartsgirl on April 26th, 2013 12:51 pm

    And honestly, if you do not like trees, like you are probably not even a human being so try and keep your ignorance to yourself…thanks <3

  113. IdontGiveAFrack on April 26th, 2013 12:52 pm

    I immediately regret this decision….

  114. I'mRonBurgundy? on April 26th, 2013 12:53 pm

    Milk was a bad choice…..

  115. Michael Jackson on April 26th, 2013 12:53 pm

    I want to frack small children

  116. I'mRonBurgundy? on April 26th, 2013 12:54 pm

    SANTIAGO

  117. GreenIGo on April 26th, 2013 2:58 pm

    Don’t act like you’re not impressed

  118. I'mRonBurgundy? on April 26th, 2013 12:54 pm

    Well, that escalated quickly…..

  119. April Mayjun on April 26th, 2013 12:55 pm

    I’m glad this is getting some good PR

  120. Manti Teo on April 26th, 2013 12:58 pm

    This really is a good article. good job!!

  121. Edgar DeWitt on April 26th, 2013 12:59 pm

    What would a Scotsman know about American flora and fauna, he doesn’t even live here!

  122. Manti Teo on April 26th, 2013 1:01 pm

    I LOVE LAMP

  123. GoGreen on April 26th, 2013 1:01 pm

    Any you guys ice road truckers?

  124. GreenIGo on April 26th, 2013 2:58 pm

    10-4 Good buddy. Got a shipment of hemp materials comin down from British Columbia. 10-4

  125. Cam Ibus on April 26th, 2013 1:05 pm

    Tuna sucks shut up dude!

  126. Concerned student #2 on April 26th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Wow this is an outrage Betty Crockett must be informed about this and make baked good to cheer up everyone’s spirits !!!

  127. Concerned student #2 on April 26th, 2013 2:45 pm

    Please someone contact her this is an emergency

  128. Concerned student #2 on April 26th, 2013 2:47 pm

    Sharpen your pencils because this article stays on point!

  129. Concerned student #2 on April 26th, 2013 2:48 pm

    Betty Crocker didnt get this much press when she died wtf guys come on!!!!!

  130. Concerned Forester on April 26th, 2013 3:52 pm

    Were the members of The Campus asked to spam other articles to prevent this story from appearing in the “Most Commented” list?

  131. Guest on April 27th, 2013 12:57 pm

    Insightful article well wrote. It was a lovely presentation.

  132. agnostic tree on May 1st, 2013 3:43 pm

    I don’t see why this is honestly such a big problem… there are organizations everywhere planting trees, how about we work on the real societal issues…

  133. NotAScott on May 1st, 2013 4:22 pm

    Does being Scottish really make you more qualified? Woodland expert dah dah dah would be just as powerful…

  134. NotAScott on May 1st, 2013 4:23 pm

    … the article was well written though

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The student news site of Allegheny College
Scottish woodland specialist speaks on widespread tree extinction