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Concern of the Week

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Concern of the Week.

Are the oaks ok?

Have you noticed that alongside the lanes and roads of the County, a lot of the trees look different this year. You catch sight of a rusty tinge to the leaves of one, then another, until when you have got your 'eye in', you seem to see them everywhere.

Is the cause last year's damaging drought, poor air quality accumulating from too much traffic for too many years, or the fallout from the daily lattice of vapour and jet fuel trails filming over the sky. Or simply a sinister virus or insect attack.

I suspect such extreme plagues of pests themselves stem from climate change: where are their predator birds? The chain of causes is long and labyrinthine. But why aren't all trees affected in these cases?

The first spring leaves have been mangled to a brown pulp: second buds are coming at least on these examples on Bickerton Hill; (see pic) so an insect or pest is a prime suspect. Some recovery seems to be in progress; our own apple trees were similarly stripped early on by what turned out to be the goat moth caterpillar; new leaves are appearing but the blossom was long since lost so no fruit this year.

Does the apparent concentration of damaged trees near main roads speak .of possible airborne drift sucked along in the wake of traffic?

The point is this:

Dramatic changes in the health of trees are unsettling; indicators of ill winds that blow nobody any good.

We need to be watchful and draw lessons not to take it for granted that changes in the natural world will right themselves, without disturbing our unthought- through lifestyles.

If the trees have been ravaged by a passing pest, but seem to recover, can we just forget the bedraggled sights of this spring, and drive on to the airport without a care?

Or will this all come back to bite us again, much sooner than we think, and certainly before 2050?

What is the legacy we are leaving for our children?

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