Blogging the NYTimes: Putting Trees to Work

Blogging the NYTimes: Putting Trees to Work

Jonathan B.
Aug 22, 2008

As a compliment to the idea of green infrastructure we blogged about earlier this week, scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger holds an unusual view of trees: they are, as she explains, chemical factories.

For example, Wafer Ash emits a chemical that attracts butterflies. It is so powerful that she suggests Wafer Ash could be planted near fields of organic crops to lure away butterflies that might otherwise damage the crops.

Similarly, she points to black walnut and honey locust trees as ways to treat polluted air. We were surprised by the welcoming tone taken by many of the scientists interviewed for the article. Rather than dismissing Beresford-Kroeger's claims out of hand, they agreed that trees are understudied, and that they hold great potential for undoing some of the change human beings have unleashed on our world.

As we continue to plan our backyard garden, we'll check out Beresford-Kroeger's book A Garden for Life to learn how we can translate her philosophy into a garden for Northern California.

image via the New York Times

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