Posted: May 22nd, 2023

A death in the forest

The article “A death in the forest” and Preston’s idea of organisms

Preston’s article was written on “The New Yorker” on December 7 2007. It is a letter about a rare parasitic attack on the American hemlock trees at the Great Smoky Mountains. The article seeks to examine the possible outcomes of the parasitic attack. He seems to argue that the future of the trees, as well as that of other plants, is put at risk because little is known about the parasites. Preston describes the event in which an insect originating in Asia started attacking eastern hemlocks in Richmond Forest sometimes in 1951(Preston, 2007). The insect, known as the hemlock woolly adelgid, is a tiny burg that lives in hemlocks. It is also related to aphids. The article has described the life cycle of the parasite and the high fertility rate it possesses. In addition, Preston shows that the parasitic attack kills more than 90% of the trees in any forest, causing a massive environmental damage (Preston, 2007).

In late 1940s, the American chemical company Bayer is said to have developed a chemical insecticide, the Imidacloprid that is easily carried up by the hemlock root system from the soil (Boynton, 2010). It kills the bugs that attempt to attack the trees. However, the chemical was slow, which caused the death of many trees.

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Similar to the African event, Preston visits the Cataloochee Valley Forest to examine the impact of the parasites. The arborist Will Blozan accompanies Preston. Here, they find most of the hemlock trees eliminated by the parasites. Preston has shown that the trees could be revived by scientific efforts such Blozan’s Tsuga Search Project (Preston, 2007). However, he attempts to show that the impact of natural organism such as parasites subject nature to a dark future.

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