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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Connie Barlow & the Torreya Guardians: Helping Plants Move North in Anthropocene Climate

Climate is warming too fast for large-seeded plant species to migrate north via the animal partners (e.g., squirrels) that have dependably dispersed seeds for millions of years. In July 2008, a group of citizen-naturalists (Torreya Guardians) legally acquired 31 seedlings of the most endangered conifer in the world — Torreya taxifolia (the "Florida Torreya") — and then planted the seedlings beneath wild forest canopy on two private properties in the mountains of North Carolina. In this richly illustrated, 75-minute videoblog, the founder of Torreya Guardians (Connie Barlow) reports in November 2013 on what they have learned thus far — and the frightening implications for how even common plants will soon require human assistance for keeping pace with human-caused climate change.

00:01 Helping the most endangered conifer move north — now
06:02 Thomas Berry: Humans as a geological force
06:25 We are now in the Anthropocene epoch
07:14 N-S migrations during Pleistocene shifts in climate
08:03 A deep-time and wide-space perspective
09:38 History of "ASSISTED MIGRATION" controversy
11:03 Patrick Shirey 2013 confirms Torreya actions legal
11:53 "Rewilding" the endangered Torreya taxifolia tree
12:28 Torreya genus tracks climate for millions of years
13:16 Excerpts of Shirey et al paper 2013 (on legality)
13:58 Introducing the leaders of Torreya Guardians volunteers
14:56 Might Torreya take the place of dying Hemlock trees?
15:24 Site visits to sister species' habitats in California

18:05 "REWILDING" Torreya: poster plant for climate change
20:03 Hypothesis: Torreya left behind in peak glacial refuge?
22:44 Torreya is not invasive; it is "return of a native"
23:27 Shirey et al: why citizens can act faster than ESA

25:34 REPORT on 2013 seed harvest of Torreya in North Carolina
25:55 A.J. Bullard's role in protecting North Carolina Torreya
26:51 The Clinton NC tree: Photo-rich report of 2013 harvest
31:39 Squirrels as the crucial seed disperser for Torreya
37:26 Torreyas in Mt. Olive, NC (planted by A.J. Bullard)
41:05 Horticultural propagation of Torreya is not "rewilding"
43:40 Torreya can produce female and male on same tree

46:33 REPORT on 2013 seed distribution and planting of seeds
46:58 The mountainside Evans property, Waynesville NC
47:55 2008 historic plantings: Torreya "rewilding" (photos)
49:48 Testing Torreya's possible affinity for deciduous canopy
50:47 Barlow and Martin 2004 paper on assisted migration
52:08 Naturally preventing squirrels from eating seeds
57:03 Artificially preventing squirrels from eating seeds

59:23 The fastest growing tree from our 2008 NC plantings
01:00:10 Audubon Magazine reported on 2008 NC plantings
01:00:30 Recruiting new sites and ensuring genetic diversity
01:03:55 Dissection: Green v. ripe (purple) seeds harvested
01:07:32 Do not call this tree "Stinking Cedar" (common name)
01:10:17 Recruiting youth to become Torreya Guardians
01:13:09 SUMMARY of assisted migration in a changing climate

For more information:

Also: "What Is the Anthropocene and Are We in It?" (Smithsonian Magazine 2012)

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