Death of Gum Wood Trees

Our first home in Rochester, a two family in the 19th Ward, had beautiful gum wood trim throughout. Our second home, a single family in a nicer neighborhood and with more room, was a step up for us — but lacked the rich gum wood framing doors, providing floorboards, and encircling rooms with classy ceiling trim. And, I grew up in New Jersey — north Jersey, not the swamp areas of the southern part of the state from which this article is taken. The two connections drew me to read the article, which is an overview of significant examples of ecological loss — all likely irreversible.

Bear Swamp is a forest of 400- and 500-year-old black gums, some of the oldest trees in eastern North America, along the Delaware Bay in southeastern New Jersey. The trees have begun to die. The cause is the rising sea, which is making the groundwater at the base of the forest saltier. The trees are doomed. Much of the Glades Wildlife Refuge, which contains the forest, eventually will be under water.

Though I live only 55 miles away, I’ve never seen the forest nor had I heard of its old-growth trees until I read about them recently in The Philadelphia Inquirer. This knowledge was enough to make me grieve for the world that is vanishing before us. Earth is rapidly shedding life and the systems that sustain it. We know this but we don’t seem to be able to face it, for ours is an age of loss disguised as plenty.”

Loss disguised as plenty.” Now that’s not something to celebrate in the New Year, is it?

2 thoughts on “Death of Gum Wood Trees

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