Forest scientists pit trees against each other in fight for survival
In Europe, forest scientists are setting up a kind of Hunger Games for trees. The goal, the BBC reports, is to find out which trees will survive in the harsh world to come:
Thousands of trees are being planted in test plots from Portugal in the south to Scotland in the north.
The trees will be measured and monitored as they grow in the diverse environments.
In Wales, a cleared area of the Crychan Forest about the size of five football pitches is being planted in a carefully mapped grid system.
The saplings going into the ground have been imported from the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, California and beyond … As the trees are being planted, they are measured and assessed.
Ok, so the trees aren’t trying to shoot each other with arrows or anything. But ultimately, how well they perform in these trials will bring fame and fortune to their district … er, species. Since it’s important to, you know, have trees in the future, the trees that thrive are the ones most likely to continue getting planted in large numbers. Sure, they’ll be planted by the timber industry and cared for just enough to be harvested at the appropriate time (boy, this Hunger Games analogy is getting better and better). It’s a dystopian enough fate, but likely superior to that of trees that just don’t cut it.