It is a beautiful spring day. We are out camping. Nature is coming back to life. Looking for a warbler hopping from tree to tree, something catches my eye: a young conifer that has turned red, standing out among the green trees. It is obviously dead.
Out of curiosity and professional interest, I stop to examine the specimen. What could have killed this fir tree?Disease? Perhaps. Insects? No visible exit holes. Rodents? No damage at the base of the trunk. Suddenly, I see the answer. Looking closer at the trunk, I spot the culprit: a nylon rope!
A small, fatal act
Une corde de nylon oubliée a étranglé l'arbre © Espace pour la vie (Pascale Maynard)
I can imagine the scene: on a wet day, wanting to protect their tent and to make a comfortable area sheltered from the rain, a group of campers put up a tarp. A tarp held in place with rope... tied to the trees. Can you guess the rest? When the time came to leave, they couldn’t untie the knot, or they were too lazy or in a hurry to remove the rope and simply cut it. It stayed in place while the tree kept growing. The rope eventually “strangled” the tree, like a tourniquet around an arm or a leg: as the sap could no longer flow, it died. A small, seemingly insignificant act that turned out to be fatal to this conifer.
I implore you. Next time you attach a rope, a strap or anything else around a tree, consider that the diameter of the trunk will increase and the constraint will eventually become intolerable for this living being. So don’t forget to set it free before you leave so it can continue to grow in full health.
On the trees’ behalf, thanks! Happy camping!