‘Fragmented’ Wood

March 23, 2015

tumblr_mbb4h4cx8M1rgxbgpo1_500 Humanity’s game:

“It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.”
— Agent Smith, “The Matrix

Yet not of themselves, but of humanity’s required trappings of an ever-expanding civilization.

(Illustration: ‘Paintings 53,’ by Zdzislaw Beksinski, found here).

In reality, mankind has always been the worse resident of this planet. And now there’s no room left to spread, and the lifestyle created by this civilization reflects a sort of nightmarish, handwriting-on-the-wall future for mankind — a horrible, vicious circle, a most-definite feedback-loop.

A current glaring instance, is in the woods — or what’s left of them. Not too long ago in history, our planet was full of not only just some woods, but huge, massive forests covering giant chunks of whole continents. And due to the virus-like nature of our civilization, our forests have been fragmented into failure, which is bad news for us, of course, circling back around to bite us greedily on the ass.
A new study checks ‘how isolated remaining forests are from a non-forest edge‘ and the results are a bit frightful.
From The Conversation last Friday:

The problem, according to new research published in Science Advances, is that the vast majority of remaining forests are fragmented.
In other words, remaining forests are increasingly isolated from other forests by a sea of transformed lands, and they are found in ever-smaller sized patches.
The shockwaves of loss thus extend far beyond the footprint of deforestation.

They found that more than 70 percent of remaining forest is within just 1km (about 0.6 miles) of an edge, while a 100 metre stroll from an edge would enable you to reach 20 percent of global forests.

These findings wouldn’t be cause for alarm if wildlife, forests, and the services that they provide humankind such as carbon storage and water, were unaffected by fragmentation.
However, by drawing together scientific evidence from seven long-term fragmentation experiments, Haddad and colleagues show that fragmentation reduces biodiversity by up to 75 percent.
This exacerbates the extinction risk of millions of forest species, many of which we still don’t know much about.

And there’s really no going back. In a piece on the new study, via The New Yorker, was this on the real grinding legacy of civilization: “Roads scare the hell out of ecologists,” William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University, in Australia, said. “You can’t be in my line of business and not be struck by their transformative power.”

Metamorphic indeed. Understood, though, put into context of the ‘greedy-growth’ quality built into our civilization — the influence of man has overcome other natural influences to rule to roost, which most-likely worse than bad.
I saw this story a couple of weeks ago, but it now dovetails into fragmented woods, and mankind’s leverage upon the land. Via Scientific American earlier this month:

The atmosphere recorded the mass death, slavery and war that followed 1492.
The death by smallpox and warfare of an estimated 50 million native Americans — as well as the enslavement of Africans to work in the newly depopulated Americas — allowed forests to grow in former farmlands.

Based on that dramatic shift, 1610 should be considered the start date of a new, proposed geologic epoch — the Anthropocene, or recent age of humanity — according to the authors of a new study.
“Placing the Anthropocene at this time highlights the idea that colonialism, global trade and the desire for wealth and profits began driving Earth towards a new state,” argues ecologist Simon Lewis of the University of Leeds and University College London.
“We are a geological force of nature, but that power is unlike any other force of nature in that it is reflexive, and can be used, withdrawn or modified.”

Our flashing, runaway-train of civilization can’t be modified easily at all, much less to any measurable degree to slow/halt our environment gone to fuck.
Neo’s quandary: “Tell me, Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call when you are unable to speak?”

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