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Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015

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Heading North [Jan. 4th, 2011|12:48 pm]
Wizard of Changes -- ©cdozo 2004 to 2015
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The animation on the map at http://www.arborday.org/media/mapchanges.cfm shows the change in plant hardiness zones since 1990. The zones, and the plants that live in them, have slowly moved north as an increase in the average temperature has moved north.

People may not believe in global warming, but plants don't lie.

[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-01-05 03:48 am (UTC)
My personal gauge for the change is huisache, a plant that, 40 years ago, did not reach Austin. We had huisache trees of 25-30 years old on our street in San Antonio (one block south of Basse Road, in the first block west of San Pedro) and when we had a freeze, they froze back almost to the lower trunk. We lived there in the mid-1970s.

When we moved here, in 1979, there were a few huisache along a creek in east-central Austin (along Airport, across from the airport) but they died back every year. Then one year they didn't die all the way back. A few years later, they had enough size to actually flower. They began propagating north along the big highways and railways; they were between 183 and the railroad track in Leander by the mid-late 1990s--again, first as barely noticeable sprouts, and one-year-olds that died in a freeze, and then larger trees.

Now they're showing up another 20 miles north, along 183 north of FM 970, though they're not flowering yet--they die all the way back to the root with a hard freeze. They're moving in along FM 487 (sometimes mistaken at first for mesquite by locals who don't know huisache--the difference is obvious later) and at the same distance north of Austin, but east of I-35, where it's lower and usually not quite as cold, I've seen them on the edges of cattle pastures. (Yes, I drive a lot of back roads when I get the chance.)

Of course the plants don't lie. Neither do birds and fish and insects and all the wildlife that's either changing its breeding season, its migratory patterns, or its range...or all the above. Neither do glaciers: ice melts when it gets warmer. But the capacity of men in power to ignore facts is well-documented in history.
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