From the time America was discovered until around 100 years ago, most of the old growth forests were cut down. This upset environmentalists, so a push was made to protect forests and to plant more trees. Now trees are roaring back. Estimates are that between a third and half of America was once covered in forest, and we are not too far from those numbers.
But of course we did it all wrong.
We have planted the wrong kinds of trees. We plant non-native trees that support very little wildlife and crowd out native species. We have monocultured tree plantations that have very low biodiversity.
We have planted trees in the wrong location. The Continental United States has at least seven biomes subdivided into many different regions (such as the Piedmont). Very few planters have any concept that they might be doing more harm than good by planting a tree that doesn’t belong in that location.
|Colorado Blue Spruce|
Let me introduce you to a few of our feathery friends:
|Cute and Cuddly (Left) and Pure Evil (Right)|
The Barred Owl has been slowly moving west due to a combination of factors including inappropriate human habitat changes. Eventually it reached the territory of the Northern Spotted Owl where it took up residence and started outcompeting it. Environmentalists love the Northern Spotted Owl because it is weak. Darwin would have preferred the evil creature be purged from the earth.
In a postmodernist philosophical twist, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been shooting owls in an attempt to save owls. Of course with our stellar history of environmental manipulations I’m sure this will turn out just fine.
Sorry Barred Owl. You might look cute and cuddly, but you should have stayed home.
Note: All images used were copied from the Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain.