Letter to the Editor

Oaks and climate

Thursday, June 9, 2011
An old photo of a large oak near Bartley.

Dear Editor,

My friend, Justin Evertson from the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, sent this picture to me the other day along with some correspondence about trees for our area.

The picture was taken near Bartley, most likely along the Republican River. It is a magnificent tree for certain. But I believe that it should also make us wonder about the validity of some statements that have been made about climate change, and specifically what our area looked like hundreds of years ago.

Have you ever heard the statement that there were no trees along the river before "the flood"? Oh really, were the people that tiny a hundred years or so ago?

People that attended the Bur Oak Canyon symposium three years ago heard Tom Buchanan theorize on the stand in the canyon being thousands of years old. Most likely this entire area was oak Savannah at one time, and probably climate change wiped the majority of the trees out. (Glaciers and heat, although I believe we are not in an area that was glaciated)

The oak tree is considered by many to be the cornerstone of civilization, and the book "Oak" The Frame of Civilization by William Logan Bryant documents its importance throughout the history of man.

Oaks would have been utilized long before other less desirable wood, and thus wiped out first.

Aside from this being such a cool picture that I wanted to share, I just thought that I would suggest that the next time you hear someone talk of climate change, before you totally discount what they are saying, perhaps we need to do some critical thinking and get away from what our concept of time is.

Ranges of plants are changing, and these changes are documented and happening as we speak, though you will not hear much of this on listen radio. And, if you ever get the chance to watch any of the documentaries on how Arctic ice is cored and "read," you may find it interesting and eye-opening.

And then again, you might not.

Bruce Hoffman,

McCook, Nebraska

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