Friday, April 28, 2017

X is for Xylology and other tree-related stuff

Xylology is the study of wood. Here is how the word is broken down: "logy" is means the study of and Xylo, which is derived from the Greek word xylon, which means wood. Xylologists focus specifically on the wood, while dendrologists study trees and other woody plants. Dendrologists study, identifies, and names woody plants. They'll be kept in business for some time because there are actually more than 100,000 different species of trees.
That's quite a variety.

Unfortunately, in many communities, the variety of tree species is much more limited. Oftentimes, this limited variety of tree species is by choice. Large numbers of the same type of trees, known as a "monoculture," are planted in many communities. The ongoing crisis caused by the emerald ash borer, an invasive species, really dramatizes the danger of planting a monoculture, instead of a great variety of tree species. In New York State, the emerald ash borer is in the process of producing disaster, putting the state's 900 million ash trees at risk.

Here, in Grand Island, anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of the trees are ash trees. According to entomologist Mark Whitmore of Cornell University, all of Grand Island's ash trees are infested.

Unfortunately, other tree species are at risk to infestation by invasive insect species, including:

  • Asian longhorned beetle, which poses a threat to maple trees.
  • Hemlock wooly adelgid, which poses a threat to hemlock trees. There are at least 274 cultivars of the hemlock trees known to exist.
So why do we need trees? Would the loss of all of these trees be a huge disaster? In a word, yes. In a few more words, trees are necessary for the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the environment and they put out oxygen. They provide shade. If trees are well placed around buildings, they can reduce the cost of air conditioning and heat because they act as wind breakers. Trees have deep roots, which helps prevent soil erosion and runoff.

I am writing about trees today because tomorrow is arbor day. It is a day in which trees are celebrated and planted. Many countries observe arbor day. In Japan, it's called "Greenery Day." And, speaking of Japan, there is, in Buffalo's Delaware Park, a beautiful Japanese garden. It came about because of a sister city relationship between Buffalo and Kanazawa, Japan. It was conceived in 1970 and the garden, with sculptures and cherry trees, was completed in 1974.

Buffalo's cherry blossom festival, held at the Japanese garden, began today and will continue tomorrow. I hope to have photographs of that to share within the next few days.

Conversation point: What are common species of trees in your community? Do you celebrate arbor day and how?

4 comments:

Karnika Kapoor said...

That is quite an informative post. On the same note, deforestation is a sad reality of today! I live in Delhi and experience the effect of heat rising each year. In summer, the mercury is relatively higher every given year. During my childhood, we had more trees around in the neighborhood. We could play outside the weather used to be pleasant. Nowadays I can't imagine stepping out and leaving my artificially regulated temperature comfort place.
We don't have arbor day in India. :( We have a harvest festival (Baisakhi) on 13th April, but that is not the same.
I think Cordia, blackberries, sacred fig, nimtree ... are a few common trees in my location.
Thanks for sharing
Yearnings
Best wishes!

Alana said...

I was recently in Richmond, Virginia where I visited a historic site. At one time it had beautiful boxwood gardens but most of the boxwood has recently died from a blight. It is sad the number of blights that seem to have recently struck. Like you, we are suffering from the ash blight. One of my co workers has two ash trees on her property - one has died and one is in the process of dying. I could not imagine a life without trees. And, on my property, I have a cherry tree and a redbud we got from tiny saplings provided by the National Arbor Day Foundation by a neighbor who was terminally ill and thought we might want them. We remember him by them. The cherry was opening its buds yesterday.

Isobel Phillips said...

I learned a new word today! :) I live in a desert climate so the city has planted mainly date palms. Unfortunately they don't really know how to prune them properly, or they don't have the skilled labour to do it (or they don't care!).

bellybytes said...

Thanks for a new word today. Trees move me in away I can't describe. I just feel like giving them a tight hug . There's something so majestic and grand about an old tree.

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