Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Global warming threatens cedar trees

Lebanon's national symbol are majestic cedar trees, that were since ancient times famous for their quality wood in terms of strength and durability. Lebanon's majestic cedar trees are now on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's "Red List" as a "heavily threatened" species, and though there is a lot of talk how we should do our best to preserve these legendary trees we still miss any real action.

Environmentalists, both local as well as international agree that global warming impact could have devastating effect on cedar trees if current temperatures continue to rise in years to come. The main problem that could cause disappearance of cedar trees in Lebanon is the melting of snow on mountains as the result of increased temperatures. Cedar trees need snow for the seeds to be able to germinate since they have a natural range from 1,200 to 1,800 metres (from 4,000 to 5,900 feet) above sea level. Warmer temperatures would push the trees higher up in order to grow and develop.

Global warming threatens majestic cedar trees in Lebanon

Without snow, rain, frost for several consecutive days, cedar seeds won't be disseminated, and they also need summer mist, which compensates for water needs. Deforestation also took heavy toll on cedar trees as cedars were extremely deforested for thousands of years which on the end lead to their protection in some areas of the country. Even with the protected areas cedar tress will lose the battle with climate change if current warming trend continues. Some experts even believe that Lebanon will turn to desert if this warming continues.

Any year with bad rain season does great damage to cedar trees, and then there is also pest problem because many pests become active once temperatures increase during droughts. This was the case with wood wasp that several years ago ravaged cedars in Tannourin village in northern Lebanon because rising temperatures have extended its life cycle from once a year to three times a year. Cedars are not important from environmental point of view, they are also Lebanon's national symbol, as well as cultural symbol and symbol of some political parties. In any case cedar trees definitely deserve much more preservation efforts.

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