Most of us thought it was arson. What a shame for such a wonderful tree to die in this manner. I've know about the Senator for many years but never got over to see it. I'm going to make it a point to get out to some of the big Cypress trees that I know of before we loose them. Larry
Yeah, meth addled stupidity. What a way for such a magnificent tree to go!Rand wrote:...meth addled stupidity. I wonder how much the dry weather they had this year contributed to the spread of the fire.
I would think you're right about the dry weather contributing too. That tree must have been real parched to go up in flames like that just from one stupid meth addict goofing around trying to start a fire to see by.
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson
I just find this sad. There seems to be something about a particularly impressive tree that attracts mentally unbalanced people to do something dramatic relative to the tree. Here we have a woman who's life is obviously in tatters doing something stupid which results in a tragedy. No good can come from venting anger at her. There is nothing we can do about it now. I have seen many unusually large trees with hollows and if they were in a public place, they have usually been partially blackened by people lighting flames in them. A tree such as the Senator that inspires awe in most of us can inspire strange and destructive reactions in a few people who are mentally ill or otherwise impaired. We can see a range of odd reactions in some of the comments on the news video.
Ryan,RyanLeClair wrote:I posted this because it seems to reveal a sad reality: we have to keep our champion trees secret, or at least a number of them.
The tree was important because of its size and age, but those are primarily HUMAN based values being placed on the tree. It certainly played an important ecological role in its immediate area, and it contributed to the genetic pool with likely many offspring. However in reality the loss of the Senator was more of a human tragedy than it was an ecological one. Its value rested on how people perceived it. Its value pertains to how many people it influenced to think about forests and tree. In how many people it spurred to support parks and legislation to protect great trees, rare and unusual, and old growth forests. If the existence of these trees is not known to the general public, and for many people that means the ability to see it for themselves, then they contribute virtually nothing to conversation on whether we should be protecting certain trees and forest or whether they should be harvested. The abstract idea of a big tree somewhere of such and such dimensions is not something easily grasped by the public at large. That may be good enough reason for some people, but may not be enough to support a preservation effort.
So if the Senator Tree were still alive, but only a handful of people knew about it, how would that be better on the broader scale of promoting forest conservation? Yes, it would individually still be alive, but its anonymity will not have contributed to the preservation of any other trees or forests. You see a public outpouring of awe when the tree is alive by those who visit. You see a personal loss when the tree dies for those who have visited it, and a sadness for its loss by those who otherwise would never have given the tree any thought at all. You see it for this tree. You saw it when the old elm tree Herbie died in New England. It would be better if the tree were still alive and it was open to public visitation, but a sad disturbed person killed the tree. That is just how things go. Forests and trees regenerate. Another tree will grow in its place if the forest surround the tree site is preserved for the long term. It will not be the same tree, the ancient giant is lost, but still its existence and presence for people to see led to the creation of the park and preservation of the forest and ecosystem contained there.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky
I agree with both Ryan and Ed in that some trees can be great mascots for preserving significant tracts of old growth forest, while others should not be easily accessible because of the danger of trampling soil around them etc. A properly fenced huge public tree can do a lot of good, but I don't want to promote funneling thousands of people a day through Old growth forest as if it were a shopping mall. That said, I think it is a great idea to bring K through 12 students through Old Growth forests in order to appreciate their beauty and the importance of preserving them.