Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Archangel trying to save world’s trees

TakePart (Yahoo! News); Wisdom Quarterly
Tropical spirit women once looked after forest residents (
Bodhi tree (VagabondTravels/flickr)
Last year New York Times journalist Jim Robbins talked to TakePart about his book The Man Who Planted Trees. It focused on David Milarch, a Michigan tree nurseryman who cofounded the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, an organization that is working to replant the genetics of the world’s remaining ancient forests.
On the verge of a major profile by the Today Show, as well as one for NBC’s Nightly News, we decided to catch up with Milarch, who has been traveling the world to identify the most important trees and where the oldest species are living.
“Archangel hired three of the most renowned tree minds on Earth and asked them to create a list of the top 100 species on Earth that man absolutely has to have to survive as a species,” Milarch told TakePart.
Climate change [as caused by ] is always the lead criteria for each of the species on the list [that he and his team attempt to clone], along with how close are each of those tree species to extinction, and what must we do to save them,” Milarch said.
“And of course, which trees stack carbon faster than any other trees on Earth. That answer is simple: First is the eucalyptus, second is the giant sequoia. So in the top ten, you have cottonwood, giant sequoia, coastal redwoods, eucalyptus, and some of the aspens.”
Replacement tree grove (
Milarch explained that most people are focused on trees that are given to them because they’re free or they’re what he called “French poodles” -- those specimens with pretty leaves or flowers.
“We discard all of those, and we look for the work horse in the long run, and also the work horses in the short run, that will help get us out of this mess called climate change,” said Milarch. “How can we suck the most carbon and stack it, sequester it, and help turn this thing around?”
Listening to Milarch talk in a folksy manner that’s backed up by an encyclopedic understanding of his subject, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense that what they’re doing at Archangel is pretty straightforward.
In reality, Milarch said, he’s faced an ongoing challenge for 20 years now because most horticultural experts and academics have told him that what Archangel is about to attempt in their next project is impossible or near to impossible. More

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