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Publication April, 2019
 
 

Morel pulled away, saying, “When we created the field for the corn, we removed many tree trunks that died more than half a century ago. To see one living is amazing!”

“More amazing, Morel,” Dr’sey said, “is this tree probably saw the world before climate change destroyed it. White oaks don’t do well in the heat—they need the cold of winter to go dormant and rest. Fortunately, it gets cold enough at this elevation in the winter to let them. But, soon, temperatures will become too high for the trees to survive well.”

Morel touched the trunk and felt its bark. “So we lose these beautiful trees?”

“They move away—further north,” Dr’sey replied.

“How?” Morel asked, furrowing hir brow. “Do they pack bags? Do they yank their roots from the ground and walk away on them?”

Dr’sey tried, but couldn’t stop the burst of laughter. “No. Animals spread their seed, the acorn. They take it some place and bury it, then forget about it or die before they can return, and the seed sprouts. Eventually it matures then drops its seed, which is taken elsewhere and this repeats.

“Sometimes the acorn may sprout someplace unfavorable for growth and it doesn’t do well. But as climate changes, its growth improves and its seed does also, and that tree furthers the advance.”

He touched the tree and pursed his lips. “This will happen over many decades, Morel. Unfortunately, by then, this tree will be dead, its habitat invaded by other species of trees more tolerant of heat. They compete for nutrients and water and this tree loses.” He shook his head. “But, in several decades, we’ll see decreased rainfall here and all trees will die.”

“Leaving the land looking similar to Huntsman—dead trunks standing over bufly bush.”

“Yes.”

Morel leaned to the trunk, looking up at its branches again. Zie thought of Ben and David at Pin Hill.

“It seems the best solution is to stop the warming,” zie said.