Researchers Rediscover Oak Tree Thought to be Extinct

One Quercus tardifolia found clinging to life in Big Bend National Park

Reports and Proceedings

THE MORTON ARBORETUM

Researcher group finds Quercus tardifolia
IMAGE: THE RESEARCH GROUP STANDS WITH THE LONE SPECIMEN OF QUERCUS TARDIFOLIA view more CREDIT: UNITED STATES BOTANIC GARDEN

LISLE, Ill. (July 7, 2022)—Botanical researchers representing a coalition of more than 10 institutions have discovered an oak tree once thought to be extinct, and now in immediate need of conservation within Big Bend National Park in Texas. 

Researchers led by The Morton Arboretum and United States Botanic Garden (USBG) were thrilled to find a lone Quercus tardifolia (Q. tardifolia) tree standing about 30 feet tall, though it is in poor condition. First described in the 1930s, the last living specimen was believed to have perished in 2011.  

“This work is crucial to preserve the biodiversity that Earth is so quickly losing,” said Murphy Westwood, Ph.D., vice president of science and conservation at The Morton Arboretum. “If we ignore the decline of Q. tardifolia and other rare, endangered trees, we could see countless domino effects with the loss of other living entities in the ecosystems supported by those trees,” she said. According to Westwood, Q. tardifolia is considered one of, if not the rarest oak in the world.

Scientists anticipate that by studying why this tree is going extinct they may be able to protect other organisms from the same fate. Whether or not this specimen of Q. tardifolia can be saved remains in question. 

The team that made the discovery on May 25, 2022, described a dire scene. The trunk is scarred by fire and shows signs of severe fungal infection. A drought or fire has the potential to end its life, say the scientists who also report that climate change makes this outcome more likely every year. The group is now working with the National Park Service to reduce the immediate wildfire threat to the tree, and conservationists in this collaborative are moving quickly to return to search for acorns and to attempt propagation, the process of breeding specimens from a parent plant. 

“This is important, collaborative research necessary for the conservation of Q. tardifolia,” said Carolyn Whiting, a botanist at Big Bend National Park. “The Chisos Mountains support a high diversity of oak species, partly because of the wide range of habitats available in this ‘sky island.’ There is still much to learn about the oaks in the Chisos.”

“The United States Botanic Garden is thrilled about the success of this partnership and collecting trip that rediscovered such a rare oak,” said Susan Pell, Ph.D., acting executive director at the United States Botanic Garden, which is funding and collaborating on the project. “This discovery is just the beginning of the conservation work we are doing in partnership with The Morton Arboretum to better understand and conserve threatened trees.”

Other collaborators were Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories and Arboretum; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; NatureServe; Polly Hill Arboretum; San Antonio Botanical Garden; University of California, Davis Arboretum and Public Garden; and The Sul Ross State University A. Michael Powell Herbarium. 

What might molecular analysis reveal about Quercus tardifolia?

Oaks tend to hybridize, or crossbreed, which may allow them to adapt more quickly to changing climate conditions such as extreme heat and new diseases. This frequent hybridization can also blur the genetic lines between oak species in a given ecosystem like Big Bend. Molecular analysis will confirm whether the DNA of the newly discovered tree matches that of previous samples of Q. tardifolia, but according to the researchers, there is a chance that the analysis will raise more questions than answers. 

According to Andrew Hipp, Ph.D., senior scientist in plant systematics and herbarium director at The Morton Arboretum, whose team will be conducting the genetic analysis, “This is an interesting problem. We’re looking into whether this tree is genetically similar to other trees that have been previously collected as Q. tardifolia. That should tell us whether this collection is the same as what Cornelius H. Muller named Q. tardifolia. It should also tell us whether this collection of specimens is genetically distinct enough from other closely related oaks in the area to warrant recognition as a species.” 

Regardless of classification, Hipp noted that it is important to preserve more than individual species, but rather all the genetic variation in life. “Species are genetically distinct populations that we can generally recognize in the field,” he said. “But they aren’t the be-all and end-all of conservation. We also aim to protect the functional variation within species. Leaf forms, physiological responses to drought and fire and even tree longevity are all attributes that can be shared among populations and among species by gene flow. The functional variation that these new collections represent may be just what is needed to help oaks of the region adapt to environmental changes in the near or distant future.”

Preserving oaks is critical to ecosystems

Oaks are exceptional among tree species in that their acorns cannot be traditionally seed banked for conservation purposes. According to the researchers, they must be preserved in the wild or in living collections, which is why the involvement of botanical gardens is critical. The researchers who found the Q. tardifolia tree are concerned that it is not producing acorns. Other methods of propagation, including grafting, are being pursued to preserve the oak’s future.

“Across the planet, oaks serve as an ecological anchor cleaning air, filtering water, sequestering carbon dioxide and supporting countless fungi, insects, birds and mammals,” Westwood explained. “When one is lost, we don’t know what else we might permanently lose in its wake,” she said.

However, Westwood, Pell and others warn that conservation efforts such as this require collaborative initiatives, such as the Global Conservation Consortium for Oak, the involvement of botanical gardens and a variety of scientific experts to secure a future for endangered trees.

“In many ways, this tree is an ancient relic. Due to the changing climate, the world is completely different now than when it evolved,” said Wesley Knapp, chief botanist at NatureServe, who participated in the expedition. “It is incumbent upon us to learn from it and protect it while we still can in order to inform future conservation efforts,” he said. “Nature rarely hands us a second chance, and I doubt we’ll get a third. We won’t waste it.” 

Members of the May 2022 expedition that first located the lone Q. tardifolia tree included Adam Black of Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories and Arboretum, Michael Eason of San Antonio Botanical Garden, Emily Griswold of UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, Wesley Knapp of NatureServe, John Saltiel of USBG, Phillip Schulze of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Elizabeth Thomas of Polly Hill Arboretum, Kelsey Wogan of Sul Ross State University A. Michael Powell Herbarium and Zarah Wyly, an independent oak researcher in California.

###

From EurekAlert!

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Gregg Eshelman
July 8, 2022 10:28 pm

Take some cuttings. Collect some seeds. Grow a bunch more of the tree. Sell the seedlings to anyone who wants to buy. When those mature, repeat with them.

Dennis
Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
July 8, 2022 10:59 pm

As with the Wollemi Pine Tree of Australia recently discovered but had been thought to be extinct, Dinosaur food.

http://www.wollemipine.com/aboutwp.php

H B
Reply to  Dennis
July 9, 2022 1:24 am

Ginkgo is another

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  H B
July 9, 2022 6:19 pm

There are a half-dozen Ginkgo trees planted in the Cemetery next to our house.

Ron Long
Reply to  Dennis
July 9, 2022 3:53 am

Dennis, if you like dinosaur food you should visit Pulmari Valley, located in the Province of Neuquen, Argentina, just south of Lake Alumine. The Paleontologist at several museums told us repeatedly that 60% of the flora in the Valley Pulmari is a carry-over from the last Age of the Dinosaurs. I went there to see for myself and it truly has weird trees and bushes. The valley has been utilized as backdrop for several dinosaur TV shows. The word “Pulmari” is a Mapuche Indiginous word that means “Giant Terrible Lizard”. OK, I made that part up, sorry.

Dennis
Reply to  Ron Long
July 9, 2022 9:58 pm

Are they the tribe that use the indigenous word vegan?

I understand that it means incompetent hunter.

Saighdear
Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
July 9, 2022 12:37 am

How DO you propagate oak trees by cuttings, and how do you POLLINATE trees which are not self-fertile ? Hmm?

MrGrimNasty
Reply to  Saighdear
July 9, 2022 1:04 am

Almost any plant can be propagated from tissue in the lab these days.
https://www.internationaloaksociety.org/content/oaks-test-tubes-introduction-oak-micropropagation

Kelvin Duncan
Reply to  Saighdear
July 9, 2022 8:42 pm

Use plant biotechnology. Cultivate tissue on suitable media. Cheers

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
July 9, 2022 7:51 am

Most likely they will sample, core, take cuttings and unnecessarily expose it to disease until they kill it…during which time they can collect a bunch of donor cash for their efforts.
Nothing like a “last one of its kind” story to increase the revenue stream from collector cars to, apparently, gnarly old trees….

Last edited 30 days ago by DMacKenzie
Richard Page
Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
July 9, 2022 11:08 am

And if it’s in such a delicate state stop clomping about all over it’s roots.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
July 10, 2022 3:17 am

Cloning is much faster, as is being done for elm recovery.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Doug Huffman
July 10, 2022 3:57 am

I have some elm trees that seem to have survived. Over the years I have lived here, dozens of huge elm trees have died, but there are still some growing and they look to be healthy.

eyesonu
Reply to  Tom Abbott
July 10, 2022 9:01 am

Elm trees are a dime a dozen in the mid Atlantic states. They are a pest species where planted in reridentual areas as the leaves are difficult to rake and the get very tall. One in my neighborhood that was over 80 tall recently blew down and extended from one side of one lot and about half-way across the opposite neighbor. The lots are 60 ft. and it costs a couple grand to have them removed.

Dave Fair
July 8, 2022 11:06 pm

10 people and none could find the time to look for acorns while they were there? Taxpayers will foot the bill for another, presumably springtime, nice weather visit.

Oaks hybridizing is a survival method; Darwin, anyone? Since climate has not changed in at least 120 years, how are they blaming climate change for the specie’s problems?

Mike
Reply to  Dave Fair
July 9, 2022 11:10 pm

Oaks hybridizing is a survival method;”
Not only survival put how many plant species come into existence. And just as that happens some species simply die off. Nothing new.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Mike
July 10, 2022 8:23 am

To Ma Nature (Gaia, if you will) the extinction of a single (especially sub-) specie means nothing: It is a game of huge numbers with her. It is only post-rational Man(?) that fixates on the truly unimportant.

[It is a fact that Ma Nature (Gaia) doesn’t suffer from male-pattern baldness like a famous woman-of-the-year U.S. Admiral and a very few others. It is for that reason that the U.S. elites and political leaders cannot publicly acknowledge what a woman “is.” They’ve created an ideological trap for themselves, the support of which becomes more and more ludicrous.]

Reply to  Dave Fair
July 10, 2022 1:12 am

It may have been badly expressed, but surely the writers meant “evolved” as when the Oak genus departed from its original ‘large tree’ family? Perhaps 200M years ago, so definitely the climate has changed a lot since then.

Someone, perhaps Geoff Sherrington, judging from a later post, suggested that “wild bores” should be employed to root around the roots to get rid of root fungus which may be what is killing the tree, (and its fellows, if any). Good idea, but also need to add a breeding pair of wolves to ensure the boars don’t get out of hand.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
July 10, 2022 1:15 am

Sorry, found the original quote, it was Rod Evans: “no obvious solution, other than possibly reintroducing wild bore to route up the rhizomes spreading the boot lace growth from one tree to the next.”

Mike Dubrasich
July 8, 2022 11:19 pm

Show me the DNA. Without it, this is just eco-babble narcissism.

Scissor
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
July 9, 2022 4:58 am

Sounds like they are hedging.

Molecular analysis will confirm whether the DNA of the newly discovered tree matches that of previous samples of Q. tardifolia, but according to the researchers, there is a chance that the analysis will raise more questions than answers.” 

Rich Davis
Reply to  Scissor
July 9, 2022 5:21 am

If any of you read this entire pile of rubbish, and lived, I commend you.

This may, that might, oh pause for obligatory advertisement from Climate Change ™

YouReekAlot!

Citizen Smith
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 9, 2022 8:18 am

If “climate change” is causing earlier springs and later falls, then the growing season is getting longer. Would that not be good for things that grow?

dodgy geezer
July 8, 2022 11:38 pm

I can never understand this mania for preservation. I thought that Darwin pointed out the way evolution works – species change to adapt to the environment.

That means new species occurring, AND old species dying out. That’s the sign of a healthy system. Trying to keep something alive when it is past its time is pointless, and probably damaging to the environment…

Cam
Reply to  dodgy geezer
July 9, 2022 4:45 am

Don’t you know that every species that disappears now is because of humanity and not a part of the natural process?

stinkerp
Reply to  dodgy geezer
July 9, 2022 8:21 am

Environmentalism is a strange religion, worshipping trees and a multiplicity of other gods—polar bears, spotted owls, Delta smelt, Gaia—like their superstitious ancestors.

Rod Evans
July 9, 2022 12:20 am

I wish them luck with their conservation of a rare oak specie, if that is the actual reality they are reporting. I hope it is not just another photo opportunity to talk about the ‘climate change’ threat.
Trees are surprisingly vulnerable to mass dying from natural predators.
Here in the UK our oak trees were relatively rare prior to the industrial revolution due to the wide scale use of oak in construction and burning. Thankfully we now have many times more oaks in England because we found coal was better than burning wood, and other forms of construction systems saved oaks from their otherwise human induced early demise.
In the last century the entire stock of English Elm trees was destroyed by Dutch Elm disease. Every one of our hedgerows that once boasted endless huge elm trees marching across the landscapes has gone.
This century our Ash trees are now under severe threat from Ash die back. It is too early to know what the total scale of that will be. We remain hopeful that variation in individual species, will allow some to overcome the disease.
In my own broadleaf woodlands here in the Midland of the UK, my oak trees are being taken out by Honey Fungus invading the bark. It is a huge problem with no obvious solution, other than possibly reintroducing wild bore to route up the rhizomes spreading the boot lace growth from one tree to the next.
Nature is so complex. Our influence on it is of course real, but the scale of our activities needed to make a lasting impact is not clearly understood.
Thanks to the industrial revolution woodlands are increasing all across Europe. Sadly we could easily revert back to the pre industrial dark ages when wood becomes the only available energy option once again.
Let us hope that never happens, but the signs are not looking so good with Eco terrorists now being suggested as a good idea!!

Last edited 30 days ago by Rod Evans
Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Rod Evans
July 9, 2022 12:56 am

Rod,
‘Specie’ is an old word for a type of coinage. Nothing to do with taxonomy or nomenclature in the plant world.
Maybe you meant ‘Species’ but that is a troubled word because it is elusive to define in a practical way.
Geoff S

Rod Evans
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 1:04 am

Thanks for the correction Geoff. Species’ is right. i think….

Last edited 30 days ago by Rod Evans
Graemethecat
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 6:43 am

“Wild Bore” – either you mean “wild boar”, or you are referring to Griff.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Graemethecat
July 9, 2022 11:12 am

I do mean Boar though a wild Griff might work just as well. Today is not my best day for proof reading or self spell checking my apologies to all. It was quite early and only half way through my first coffee 🙁

Bob Jameson
July 9, 2022 12:27 am

There is over 100 species of oak (Qurecus).

Drake
Reply to  Bob Jameson
July 9, 2022 7:27 pm

Wici says over 500.

fretslider
July 9, 2022 12:51 am

Hearts of oak have gone extinct…

Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 12:51 am

Years ago I brought home from China to Australia a few cuttings of Camellia tunghinensis, which has bright yellow flowers, rare for camellia. There were only a few hundred known plants, all in one small location.
We grew on some plants and spread them around Australia, out of harm from foraging buffalos and firewood gatherers.
Nobody offered me any publicity, let alone a dedicated essay on WUWT.
In Nature, plants go extinct all the time, mutations and hybrids evolve, the scene forever changes. Why make news out of an oak tree that could be doing what Nature does every day?
Geoff S

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 1:55 am

Have you learnt nothing from rabbits and cane toads? 😇

Kelvin Duncan
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 8:53 pm

Geoff
It’s not a good idea to spread species, no matter how rare, to other places. Look at the harm the inadvertent spread of saafa grass by Aussie troops has done to the Pacific Islands. The grass seed was introduced on dirty tyres on trucks from Queensland.
You have to do a lot of testing to see if the new plant carries diseases or would be a rampant and destructive weed.

Mike
Reply to  Kelvin Duncan
July 9, 2022 11:16 pm

From Camellia cuttings? I don’t think so.

Mike
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
July 9, 2022 11:16 pm

We grew on some plants and spread them around Australia, out of harm from foraging buffalos and firewood gatherers.
Nobody offered me any publicity,”
If it was an Australian native you would be held up as a God.

Pete Bonk
July 9, 2022 1:18 am

“The functional variation that these new collections represent may be just what is needed to help oaks of the region adapt to environmental changes in the near or distant future.”

No estimate of how old the tree might be, which informs the next question of how much has the climate changed at Big Bend NP in the timeframe of the tree’s lifetime. My guess is “not very much.”

Considering this may be the last tree of this species, it’s genetic makeup would seem ill suited for recent conditions. Maybe keep it away from healthy species? The last of anything invites reflection, but it is how life and nature are. Not all species die out due to an asteroid collision.

Peta of Newark
July 9, 2022 2:21 am

What a sorry sight..
That tree is starving to death.

We don’t need no stinking Climate Research to work out why.
Just Feed It. Feed the tree and the dirt all around it.

A foliar feed for the tree, a very dilute solution of Nitrogen, Iron, Copper, Manganese and Zinc.
Through a fine spray nozzle in the evening. (I’m hoping some sort of dew normally descends on the area through the night)
Repeat every 3 weeks while its got leaves on it

And if any measurable dew does form, gather up any sort of organic litter from all around into a 2″ layer under the tree.
Then, gather up those rocks and build a mini cairn under the tree
i.e. Build its own personal air-well for some water.

Toss some old camp-fire wood ashes onto the cairn and if you wanna be really posh, some pulverised volcano rock-dust.
Some generous handfuls of Epsom salt would do no harm and probably immeasurable good. (You need Magnesium to make Chlorophyll. If you’re a plant or a tree that is and the colour in that photo speaks volumes.

Oak trees grow like weeds given half the chance, and some decent nutrition which from the photo, is almost completely lacking in that area.
They really do, I’ve ran and continue to run the experiment in my own garden here near Newark. ##
Also with Berberis, Silver Birch, all conifers and Willow also.
But Willow are immensely thirsty plants.
♫Cry me a River♫ …..and a Willow will mop it up.

If they/you do manage to cultivate any cuttings or seedlings, do not bring them back to that area without improving the landscape and dirt.
e.g. Cairns, Hugenkultur, Raised beds, Terraces, Rock Dust, Wood Ash, Compost of any sort, else that place is a dead-zone & ki11ing field.

Without doing so your babies will perish and we all know what happens next.
More research. More tax. More strategic oil for China. More demented presidents & drunken-oaf prime ministers. More flat tyres. More jollifications in Glasgow. More abuse of autistic children. etc

U get the picture, not pretty or good is it = right where we came in 🙂

## Would you personally regard it as ‘odd’ that plants require the exact same trace element nutrition as we do?
Some might regard the state of that tree as equal that of the health status of Humanity right now.
And in the US that amounts to a Six trillion Dollar annual spend to try repair the damage. Yet it doesn’t, just like ‘more research’ it prolongs the agony and makes things worse.

If we spent a fraction of that on fixing the plants & greenery we’d not only fix the climate, we’d have a few $Trill left over and have the Good Health to enable us to enjoy our handiwork. It would actually be more rainy but hey-ho = less likely to catch fire and burn your house down.

And no. More research is not needed, it’s more obvious than a really obvious thing once you know what you’re looking at and what you’re looking for.

Last edited 30 days ago by Peta of Newark
Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 9, 2022 3:37 am

Forty years ago we were living in a city that was struggling with severe drought. Around the corner from us we had a neighbor whose garden looked like a paradise. He had plenty of trees and continually raked up all the leaves under the trees and in this flower beds to form a protective mulch. His garden survived.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 9, 2022 3:57 am

What looks sick to you & me is probably standard fare for local species growing in Big Bend NP as
they only get 11″ of precip/yr & have 50 days/yr with Ts of at least 100°F. I lived 250 mi NE of there
where we got 26″ of precip/yr, with Ts at least 5°F cooler, & 20′-30′ was the average height of native
trees. We also had some small cactus, along with sand burrs. Scorpions & rattle snakes lived there,
too. So it’s more like Oz @ Big Bend than the UK. It definitely could use some of your TLC!

Last edited 30 days ago by Old Man Winter
Mike
Reply to  Peta of Newark
July 9, 2022 11:19 pm

That tree is starving to death.”
No. It’s in it’s natural habitat. Why would it be deprived of nutrients all of a sudden? It’s probably just old or lacking water or both.

Ron Long
July 9, 2022 3:36 am

Looks like the oak tree was hiding in plain sight. I wonder how many more there are playing hide-and-seek? Clone the thing already.

David Dibbell
July 9, 2022 4:15 am

“…conservationists in this collaborative are moving quickly to return to search for acorns and to attempt propagation, the process of breeding specimens from a parent plant.”

I’m really glad they cleared up that mystery. LOL.

BTW, I remember visiting Big Bend in 1969 as a teenager while visiting my grandfather. He lived in Alpine TX and taught astronomy at Sul Ross. He also taught me logarithms and how to use a slide rule.

ATheoK
July 9, 2022 4:26 am

“Across the planet, oaks serve as an ecological anchor cleaning air, filtering water, sequestering carbon dioxide and supporting countless fungi, insects, birds and mammals,” Westwood explained. “When one is lost, we don’t know what else we might permanently lose in its wake,” she said.”

Translation: ‘We don’t know so we make crap up. More funding forever!

Flash Chemtrail
July 9, 2022 4:50 am

All this for a tree that was already thought to be extinct? I live in Texas and I assure you there is no shortage of oak trees here. When man is extinct there will still be oak trees here, likely new species as well and the planet will be fine.

meiggs
Reply to  Flash Chemtrail
July 9, 2022 5:55 am

I’ve bushwhacked Big Bed a couple times, could swear I saw a bunch of those oaks once off the trail…We have lots of oak here in TN, the white oaks are easy to ID but the red oaks not…I thought I was dense but after a little reading turns out red oaks tend to cross breed…making it some times difficult to one kind of red oak from another….red oak makes great firewood if you burn in an open hearth…no popping and lots of delicious radiant heat! And the smoke smells heavenly…

Old Man Winter
Reply to  meiggs
July 9, 2022 7:51 am

We used white oak & tamarack for fence posts & red oak & fruit trees for smoking meat.
White oak was more durable & red oak was more fragrant.

H. D. Hoese
July 9, 2022 6:41 am

Big Bend is a tough place to survive, get there, get out off (still a few missing) but mesmerizing. There is a fish living way out in the desert, eggs survive dry arroyo conditions. We went there many times, good sanctuary from crazy administrators. According to A. M. Powell, 1988. Trees and Shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas (including Big Bend and Guadalupe National Parks) there are 57 species of Quercus, more or less. On page 113 tardifolia is called the LATELEAF OAK, along arroyos and canyons in the Chisos Mountains (7000′, not much habitat there ). A rare species “….it may prove to be a hybrid between Q. gravesii and Q hyopoxantha.” Trees have lots of problems at that altitude, give them credit– they made it there. In the book Powell (listed in the expedition) was in Sul Ross Biology Department.

Vuk
July 9, 2022 7:01 am

Here is a Mediterranean olive tree that has seen it all. Carbon dating sets its age at 2,450 +/ – 100 years. comment image

Editor
July 9, 2022 8:16 am

What utter nonsense! Just another “MY job is so so important!” bit of hyperbole.

““This work is crucial to preserve the biodiversity that Earth is so quickly losing,” “If we ignore the decline of Q. tardifolia and other rare, endangered trees, we could see countless domino effects with the loss of other living entities in the ecosystems supported by those trees,”

The facts are quite different, even in the article being reported. Oaks, of all kinds, hybridize all the time, and being able to name the species of any particular tree is not easy — they have to use DNA testing to be sure.

Like CliSci, the Biodiversity Faddists blow-up ever tiny little example into the cliche’d “Canary In A Coal MIne.” And most of their reports are factually false — including the new IPBES Sustainable Use Assessment.

Last edited 30 days ago by Kip Hansen
Steve Keohane
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 9, 2022 9:09 am

I agree Kip. Here in western Colorado, the scrub oak really don’t live much higher than 7000′, They grow by acorn seed and sprout new trees from the roots as well. Therefore you see genetic clusters of the trees. They are the last to leaf out in spring and to turn color in the fall of all the local plants. However, they do this per their genetic cluster, ie. they change by group, so some groups are earlier or later than the rest of the groupings. This year on May 30th, the temperature at my house dipped to 28°F, and I’m at 6600′, so it got down to 24°ish at 7000′. About 30% of the oaks were killed by this frost above 6500′. So Ma Nature eliminated all those sensitive to cold.

Scissor
Reply to  Steve Keohane
July 9, 2022 10:06 am

How’s your drought? I was in the middle of the state on Hwy 131 through Toponas, Yampa, etc., and it was so green it reminded me of Ireland. It rained for about an hour too.

Last edited 30 days ago by Scissor
Editor
Reply to  Steve Keohane
July 9, 2022 2:09 pm

Steve ==> It is a mandated “truth” that only human influences, including climate change (even with no actual changes) cause such adverse effects.

The whole biodiversity crowd has become anti-human instead of pro-Nature.

paul
Reply to  Kip Hansen
July 9, 2022 5:27 pm

The psycobabble in this article is over the top.
Just reading the quotes from these morons is enough to cause nausea

Myron
July 9, 2022 9:13 am

The article pretty much says that the tree is an ancient relic, saying that oaks tend to hybridize to survive. Sounds like nature simply adapted.

July 9, 2022 9:13 am

But will they find a second one, from the opposite sex?

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  E. Schaffer
July 9, 2022 3:07 pm

…and even if they do, what if they don’t even like each other?

John Hultquist
July 9, 2022 9:25 am

I’d like to have oaks on my place but I’m about 25 miles north of the habitat suitable for Oregon white oak or Garry oak ( Quercus garryana ), the only native oak of Washington State. The university — 10 miles and downslope from me — has mature oaks. Years when they mast provides a learning experience for the students.
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania when the remains of American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) still stood and sprouts still grew. Folks have been working for years to recover the Chestnut in the East, although ones taken to other parts of the Nation still grow.

While I wish these folks well, and the tree too, it seems much ado about very little. Without the “climate change” frame, this story would likely only make the local paper – if there is one.

Janice Moore
July 9, 2022 10:46 am

… say the scientists who also report speculate that []climate change[]* makes this outcome more likely every year.

*”climate change” as used by the average journalist (and many scientists seeking grant money) means “human CO2-as-the-controlling-cause climate change.” Thus, given that AGW has never been proven, the term “climate change” should appear in quotes, for its existence is dubious (at best).

When talking about the data-proven phenomenon of observed, meaningful, changes in weather in a given climate zone that persist long enough to be an enduring “change,” other terms than “climate change” should be used, e.g., “natural climate variation.”

Attention all science realist editors: only if you WANT to promote AGW, do you not use (or add in [ ] to a re-published article) the ” “.🤨

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Janice Moore
July 9, 2022 11:01 am

The Chisos mountains are already a “climate change” Pleistocene relic with small numbers of northern species including aspen, ponderosa pine, maple, Arizona cypress and Douglas fir. Wonder how they are doing?

Janice Moore
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
July 9, 2022 4:24 pm

Dear Mr. or Ms. Hoese,

Natural climate variation is what any Chisos mountain relics dealt or are dealing with. “Climate change” (which in common useage means “significantly human CO2-driven climate shifts”) is, so far, mere speculation.

And, to answer your question, from this photo (and others I saw like it) I’d say, “Not very well.”
comment image

Sincerely,

Janice

Last edited 30 days ago by Janice Moore
John Galt III
July 9, 2022 10:49 am

“Democrat with an IQ over 100 found. The last known one alive was in 1927.”

Dennis
Reply to  John Galt III
July 9, 2022 10:00 pm

The Socialist Democrats.

Fatherknowsbest
July 9, 2022 10:10 pm

Nature probably has a good reason why this genus doesn’t survive, but what the hell. There are research grants to win and mortgages to pay.

Tom Abbott
July 10, 2022 3:51 am

From the article: “The team that made the discovery on May 25, 2022, described a dire scene. The trunk is scarred by fire and shows signs of severe fungal infection. A drought or fire has the potential to end its life, say the scientists who also report that climate change makes this outcome more likely every year.”

No, there’s no evidence that human-caused climate change (that’s what they are referring to here) is doing anything to threaten this oak tree because there’s no evidence human-caused climate change/CO2 is causing any detectable changes in the Earth’s atmosphere. Yet here we have another “scientist” lending credence to this human-caused climate change lie.

Does this tree produce acorns? Planting acorns would be a good way of preserving the tree’s future.

Art
July 10, 2022 10:59 pm

I got as far as:

“This work is crucial to preserve the biodiversity that Earth is so quickly losing,” 

and quit reading, knowing the kind of balderdash I could expect. Earth is only quickly losing biodiversity in models.

Glen
July 11, 2022 7:51 am

So they want to conserve individual trees, and at the same time, level complete forests for windmills and solar. I’m sure they can square that circle.

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