Changes in the Land

After my last post, a reader sent a link to this incredible pollen analysis viewer.  Basically, it allows you to see the change in range maps of dozens upon dozens of plant species over the past 20,000 years based on pollen analysis from surface sediments.  Another great distraction (*ahem cough* research & educational tool) for the plant-focused among us.  And animated maps of ice sheets receding are included!

But there’s a very important take-home point, which is that what we currently consider “normal” in terms of species distribution is actually just one brief moment in time.  Landscapes, climate, ecosystems, etc. have always been changing and will always continue to do so.  That isn’t to say, “don’t worry,” about anthropogenic climate change – it’s just to understand that it’s not the change per se that’s a problem for us.  Instead it’s the rate, unpredictability, and feedback loops of climate change that create the really scary scenarios.

In a related vein, read this beautiful post on the history of people and oak trees by my long-time friend and kindred spirit Ben Kessler over at Laughing Crow Permaculture.

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4 Responses to Changes in the Land

  1. Dave Jacke says:

    Distraction!! Distraction??? It’s a key tool for getting us out of the boxes of our thinking about species movements over time! Unless you spend too much time checking out all those moving little colors on the screen. But here I am getting distracted by responding to your post! 🙂

  2. grousedrum says:

    ha ha! thanks Dave. you’re so right. it’s not a distraction at all. the soothing voices of the consumer world are the real distraction. “don’t worry…it’ll all be fine…nature is scary…stay safe and warm inside…just go shopping and it’ll all be better…”

  3. Emily Horne says:

    Oh that’s great! I wonder why there’s no data for the west? Hmmm. Very cool,

  4. Wow! Awesome site. Great acorn article as well. Thanks for the link!

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