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November 12, 2014     Journal Opinion
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November 12, 2014
 

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The mOld trees-- by Joe Rankin There's something in us that can't help but be impressed by an old tree. Perhaps we're simply in awe of something that has outlived generations of humans and will outlive us. We acknowledge this when we compare the giant sequoia groves to a cathedral. When we compile state lists of big old trees. When we give names like Methuselah to the longest-lived specimens. Most trees are not destined to live long lives. Ninety percent of the trees in a forest will never become very big, or very old. Some will lose the race for sunlight and food. Others will succumb to insects, wind, fire, or logging. It's also true that all tree species aren't created equal when it comes to potential lifespan. Some species just aren't built to become centenarians, explained Kevin Smith, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service's Northern Research Station. They have fragile wood or a weak stem or branch structure; they don't invest resources in creating chemicals to ward offpests or aren't very good at walling off wounds before fungi invade them. But even beyond a tree's general characteristics, there's the Former Orange East EducaUon Association President Ted Pogacar specterofapoptosis--programmed reads from a prepared statement at last week's Orange East cell death. According to Smith, Supervisoff Union School Board mt ting. most trees have their life span JO PHOTO BY ALEX NUTI-DE BIASI encoded in their genes. When the NORTHERN STAGE switch is thrown, the tree will begin WHITE RIVER JUNCTION-Northern to die. For some species that is Stage is producing Clybourne Park, a measured in decades. For others, (continued from page 1)contemporary Pulitzer Prize-winning centuries. For a few, millennia. And comedy by Bruce Norris, at the Briggs just as with humans, some board members from the indi- Opera House throughNov. 16. The play individuals live longer than others vidual schools at the breakout is a satire about people dealing with race before theinevitableoccurs, meetings laterthatnight, and class issues. For ticket and The longer lived tree species of At the beginning of the meeting, performance7000.Ticketsinfrmatin'startat$15.call (802)296- northern New England tend to be OESU Board Chair Steve Simpson the denizens of climax forests: read a statement from the board's hemlock, white cedar, white oak, negotiating team. red spruce. All of those can live for "We are in a unique negotiating hundreds ofyears. You might think situation for which there is no thatthe oldest specimens wouldbe precedent and have reached im- where passe. However, in an attempt to find " " at's not life is good. tsut th a mutuallyacceptablesolutionwe necessarily so.. :__ will be going back to mediation on There are red spruces growm Nov. 17. The board's goal is to high on the boulder-strewn slopes negotiate a health insurance plan of New Hampshire's White that meets the health care needs of Mountains that are 400 years old. our teachers and their families and Some of the oldest trees in eastern which is aligned with the vision of North America--white cedars with Orange East Supervisory Union, our 11 centuries under their bark-are communities expectations, and the growing out of the clifffaces of the needs of our students." Niagara escarpment in Ontario, not In addition tO school board the most hospitable environment, members, principals from every one Of course it's difficult to of Orange East's schools were determine a tree's capacity for present for the meeting. But little r l,K, crL ar soN A ;ENC ; NC, longevity when people have spent else was said about negotiations ' ........... the last few centuries cutting down during the OESU meeting other than Chelsea: 685-3885 Barre: 479-2556 the oldest and largest specimens, the remarks delivered from the And efforts to date preserved three preparedstatements. specimens pulled from bogs or lakes will only provide so much information. However, standing or recently deceased specimens yield some clues to which species live longest. According to the Eastern OldList, an online database of the oldest confirmed trees in eastern (continued from page 1) North America, a white cedar factors which significantly out- growing ontheNiagaraescarpment weigh any mitigating factors," lived to the ripe old age of 1,653 MacLeodsaid. before dying. Another lasted to MacLeod told the defendant that 1,567.Al,141-year-oldspecimen he had destroyed the victim's is still alive, childhood. There's a baldcypress in a "Shewillcarrythosescarsforthe swamp in North Carolina that's rest of her life," he said. 1,622 years old, an eastern red MacLeod said he understood the cedar in West Virginia that's been case would be appealed as he read dated at 940 years, a blacksum in out the terms of incarceration. In New Hampshire that's listed at 679 addition to a term in prison, Aldrich years, andan eastern hemlock in will undergo a sex offender treat- Pennsylvania that started as a ment program and he was ordered to seedling 555 years ago. In the Great have "no contact" with the victim or Smoky Mountains, there's a tulip with anyone under the age of 18. poplar that' s 509 years old.The September trial happened 13 The oldest white oak on the years after allegations of abuse were Eastem OldList is 464, the oldest first reported and nearly 10 years red oak is 326, and the oldest white after state police first interviewed pine is 401. The oldest tree in the thevictim. world, according to the OldList, the Eastem OldList' s parent database, is an unnamed Great Basin bristlecone pine growing in California's White Mountains-it's 5,062. It's no wonder the bristlecone's scientific name, Pinus longaeva, means "ancient pine" in Latin. Since new trees can sprout from old root systems, the numbers get really eye popping if you consider the age of the roots. Smith noted that some of the largest and most enduring organisms in the world are clonal colonies of aspen. One of them, named Pando, is estimated to be 80,000 years old, though i most of its stems are less than 100. If success as a tree means passing along genes, perhaps age is i overrated. "For some species their goal is simply to survive and spread. That strategy is different than being able to exploit a climax forest environment," Smith said. "To me, if we're looking at the success of tree species, [short- lived species like] striped maple, pin cherry, and paper birch do a greatjob." ### Joe Rankin writes about forestry and nature from his home in central Maine. The illustration for this column was drawn by Adelaide Tyrol. "The Outside Story" is assigned and edited by Northern Woodlands magazine in Corinth and sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Fund of New Hampshire Charttable FoUndation: wellborn@nhcf org. Alex Nuti-de Biasi can be reached at editor@/onews, com. November 12, 2014--JOURNAL OPINION--Page 17 ;K BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HAl )range East uperv,sory Cobb (center) is flanked by OESU Board Chair Steve Simpson (right) of Corinth tul Jewett (left) of Newbury as they listen to a representative from the teachers union criticize recent board actions dudng negotiations. In the background on the other side of the bookshelf, teachers look on. r~,, JO PHOTO BY ALEX NUTI-DE ~IASI , i:f ,i (~ ;i~7, ag. JO PHOTO BY ALEX NUTI-DE BIASI South Newbury, VT Bob & Kim Gray Newbury: $25,000, 14.3 +/- ac., wooded Bradford: $49,500, 13 +/- ac., wooded, great hunting area Fairlee: $49,900, 3.15 +/- ac. building lot, perc design, views, close to I-91 and DHMC Bradford: $55,000, 4+/- ac., w/water & septic, camp Moretown: $75,000, 77+/- ac., wooded Groton: $175,000, 145+/- wooded ac., 2600 ft. road frontage Newbury: $245,000, 261+/- ac., pond, timber, 2500 ft. road frontage, small sugarbush Fairlee: $795,000,252 +/- ac., beef farm, barn, subdivision potential, fantastic views Bradford: $250,000, 3 BR 2 BA log home, "Birdsong Lodge", extra features, 60+/- ac., barn, GREAT FOR HUNTING LODGE Barnet: $450,000, 244 +/- ac. farm, barn w/68 tie-ups Groton: $550,000, Operating dairy farm on 120+/- ac. Clifton Gross, Broker cliff@bckrealestate.com WILLIAM -- BCK Real Estate -- ......... REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE ]NSURANCE 802-222-4900 802-479-3366 preventive healthcare, obstetrics serious conditions for all ages. Little Rivers Health Care Welcomes Dr. Simone Lessac-Chenen, Family Physician To Our Care Team Little Rivers Health Care is one family physician richer with the arrival of Dr. Simone Lessac- Chenen, a board certified family medicine physician who is now at our Wells River Clinic. Dr. Lessac-Chenen is focusing on care and diagnosis and treatment of more Dr. Lessac-Chenen completed her residency as chief resident at Providence Milwaukie Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She was born in New York City, but attended a small country school where she was able to experience farm life throughout the year. Her appreciation for this life style has brought her to Vermont and to our community. She views moving here as coming full circle, reliving her childhood adventures and dreams, while sharing them with her husband Michael, and little man Benny. "I know that here, I will be able to develop the strong relationships and sense of community that allow me, as a family physician, to attend to all aspects of life... working together with my patients promoting full health." She also brings her experiences with eastern medicine including Ayurveda and Reiki. Recruiting her is a big win for our community. She strengthens our primary care network and she is devoted to providing the best possible care to her patients. Dr. Lessac- Chenen joins Dr. Stephen Genereaux, Dr. Fay Homan and Marlene Bristol, FNP in our Wells River office and looks forward to taking new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call (802) 757-2325.