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The World of Northern Evergreens$
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E. C. Pielou

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801477409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801477409.001.0001

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Natural and Unnatural Interference

Natural and Unnatural Interference

(p.125) Chapter 11 Natural and Unnatural Interference
The World of Northern Evergreens

E. C. Pielou

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the interactions between coniferous trees and nonliving things: fires, snow and wind, air pollution and acid rain, and logging. Fire is essential to forest renewal. Like decay, fire disposes of dead vegetation. Without fires the forest floor would become an impenetrable tangle of fallen trees, broken branches, and withered and rotting vegetation of all kinds. While ordinary snow is no threat to an evergreen, an avalanche in the mountains can take out hundreds of trees in seconds. Toxic gases are released into the atmosphere by industries burning fossil fuel. These affect forests by dissolving in falling rain and acidifying it. This kills much of the aquatic life in lakes and ponds and affects the water from which the trees obtain mineral nutrients. Conifers are more vulnerable than broadleafs. Their growth is slowed, their reproduction reduced, and their death rate rises. Affected trees are also thought to become more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Keywords:   coniferous trees, conifers, coniferous forests, fires, snow, air pollution

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