At Home: Arctic Forest
High in the Arctic there’s not a tree to be seen?but it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, mummified forests have been found north of the tree line, suggesting a different pattern of plant growth than the one we’re accustomed to today. But there’s more than just historical merit here: these ancient forests can help predict the future.
As the CBC reports, one such forest, recently discovered on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, may be ?key . . . to teas[ing] out the impacts of global warming in the Arctic.?
The mummified forest, which is composed of birch, larch, spruce, and pine trees, is believed to have been ?buried by an avalanche two million to eight million years ago.? It’s the northernmost such forest discovered so far.
Researchers believe that the trees and plants ?struggled to survive? the rapid climate changes of the time (from a warmer, more vegetation-friendly climate to ?its current frigid state?). And although now we’re looking at a different direction of climate change, scientists hope that the preserved forest will offer clues to the future of the Arctic. By exploring ?how past climate conditions stressed plant life,? we might better understand ?how the Arctic tundra ecosystem will respond to global warming.?
Around the World: If It’s Broken, don’t Fix It
Damaged antiques, crudely mended old pottery, and items whose replacement parts are a mishmash of materials?all are frequently rejected by antique hunters as having little value. But a new trend in collecting suggests that these patched-up items may yet get their chance to shine.
As The New York Times reports, collectors now are seeking out the so-called ?make-do? antiques, items ?that bear evidence of having been broken and repaired in unusual and often artful ways.? And rather than being scorned for their appearance, these objects are becoming increasingly ?cherished for their imperfections.?
Praised by interior designers for their chic, ?deconstructed aesthetic,? make-dos bring an additional dimension to the mix: what’s the story behind the damage and the subsequent repair? Why was it repaired at all, and why in that particular manner?
Plus It’s a reflection of our own human condition. As David McFadden, chief curator at Manhattan’s Museum of Arts and Design, told reporters, ?There is something profoundly human about these repairs . . . They’ve been around from Day 1.?
There’s also a tie-in with our growing awareness of the link between lifestyle and environmental impact. As McFadden told reporters, ?It’s just so relevant now that we’re dealing with sustainability.?