I’d just finished reading Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard when I saw this photograph on Flickr. The book is about the author growing up in the forests of British Colombia, Canada. Later, whilst working in the forest service in the 1980s she discovered that trees communicate below ground through networks of fungi, and she writes about the struggle she had to convince others of her findings. Nowadays, most people in conservation know about the enormous impact that mycorrhizas have on a plants ability to exist; Simard’s work was ground-breaking. It is an amazing and brilliant book, written by an amazing and brilliant woman.
The picture was taken by Carol aka 奇芍 on 23rd July 2021 and published on Flickr in her Sunday Art series of photographs and she has generously allowed me to reproduce it here. The following summary of Maya Lin’s work is also by Carol:
“Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, a towering stand of forty-nine haunting Atlantic white cedar trees, is a newly-commissioned public art work. Lin brings her vision as an artist and her agency as an environmental activist to this project, a memory of germination, vegetation, and abundance and a harsh symbol of the devastation of climate change. The height of each tree, around forty feet, overwhelms human scale and stands as a metaphor of the outsized impact of a looming environmental calamity.
In nature, a ghost forest is the evidence of a dead woodland that was once vibrant. Atlantic white cedar populations on the East Coast are endangered by past logging practices and threats from climate change, including extreme weather events that yield salt water intrusion, wind events, and fire. The trees in Ghost Forest were all slated to be cleared as part of regeneration efforts in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
The magnitude of planetary vulnerability is a significant subject in Lin’s practice through sculpture, installation, and her web-based resource, What Is Missing?. Now two generations removed from the Earthwork artists of the 1960s and 1970s, Lin is taking on rural and urban outdoor space with a focus on geology and the fragility of the earth’s ecosystem.”
In November this year the UK Government, along with Italy, is hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. It would be a poignant reminder for all the world’s leaders if Maya Lin’s work was on show in Glasgow, at the entrance, so that everyone attending had to approach through the Ghost Forest! Perhaps then the world’s leaders might appreciate what is happening to the planet.