Ghost Forest

Carol aka 奇芍

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.


42 thoughts on “Ghost Forest

  1. It’s an honor for you to adopt my post on Flickr to bring up the awareness of “Climate Change” by Maya Lin.

    Hopefully more and more people would get it.

      1. Again, my honor to be included in your blog for this cause. Please forgive me my mistake

  2. Hi Ashley, definitely a powerful post and statement. I always appreciate how art can sometimes inspire us to action more than research and data. Kind of like that statement seeing is believing.

  3. I find trees so fascinating and we owe a lot of what we learn to people that dedicate their lives in study of trees. Thank you for your interesting post 🌷👍🙋‍♀️

  4. Great post, Ashley! But, I think walking through the Ghost Forest would not be appreciated by our present world leaders, although that’s a great idea! It would be nice if the COP26 was done using Zoom technology to reduce their carbon footprints.

    1. Hi Edo! That is possibly what will happen, a Zoom conference, and unfortunately, I’ve not seen any way in which the public voice can be heard in those circumstances! It just becomes another Davros, another “closed shop” for the rich and elites!

  5. Dear Ashley,
    thanks for this important post 🙏 🙏
    We find it very important to remind everybody again and again of our climate change.
    Wishing you all the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes, we need to ask everyone to act before it is too late, but not in the way that was demonstrated 🚀 by some of the richest recently!🙏🙏

  6. Lovely post, Ashley. I like your idea. It is indeed ashamed that the wealthiest, most powerful people are the ones to make the decisions on how the Earth, our shared home, is treated. I am not typically pessimistic, but it’s hard to see how things are going to improve enough so that our species doesn’t soon go extinct. It’s important for each of us to do whatever we can to care for our primal Mother. And now is the time to cherish each day we have, along with the beauty of the outdoors still available to us. Thank you for this post. 🌞

    1. Lisa, my fear is that those wealthy people are already planning to plunder the rest of the universe! It’s the only answer they have for our predicament: let’s not change how we behave, let’s just carry on out in space!

  7. You’re right, Ashley, plants do talk to each other. Earlier I had commented somewhere that if two fading plants kept separately are brought together, they start flourishing once again. This I had seen once in my garden. This is a lovely post. Reference to Maya Lin is very appropriate. Thanks 😊💖

    1. Thank you KK! There are those who talk to their plants, play music to them and are rewarded with more flowers or fruits. 💐🍏💐🍎🙋‍♂️

  8. I’m very happy to know that Italy will collaborate with this project. I live in Italy and here we have a very beautiful park full of trees, The Cansiglio wood” and when I go there I feel revitalized ☺

    1. The conference in November is very important and I hope all our leaders can work together in a big way. I wonder if there is a link that would let me see your beautiful park full of trees. Maybe you have a water fountain to help keep you cool; I believe you have been having very high temperatures in your country. Thank you for visiting my blog. It’s good to meet you here. 💐💐🙋‍♂️

    1. You are right! Human activity is destroying the planet but Mother Earth will have her own solutions unless we can act together now! Thank you for visiting 💐🙋‍♂️

  9. Unfortunately there are also many ghost forests in Germany. This is due to the bark beetle, these are small beetles that have been destroying the spruce forest in Germany for three years, plus there are more storms, very heavy rainfall and more drought. More mixed crops of deciduous and coniferous trees are now being planted. Deadwood is left lying there more often than in the past, so that the forest floor becomes more fertile and more species can find shelter. I wish that this will lead to success.
    Ashley, I wish you a nice weekend!

    1. I hope that after the climate conference governments will take bold and sensible actions to move quickly towards a greener future, otherwise it really might be too late! Thank you, Rosie, for your informative comments. Have a lovely weekend 💐🙋‍♂️

    1. Yes, you are right, our forests, and much of the natural world might soon be ghosts. It is both shocking and frightening! Were you able to visit Madison Square Park and walk through it there? I read recently in one of our newspapers, a comment from someone who said that we have been “in the last chance saloon for too long!” So true! Thank you for visiting and commenting. 💐🙋‍♂️

  10. Trees have a lot to teach us, if we pay attention. Most will adapt to environmental changes. Living on the edge of a natural habitat, in just over a decade I have seen substantial growth which I didn’t think possible. We must always respect nature. We have so much to learn. 🌿🌳🌱

    1. Dear Gail, thank you for visiting my post and your comments. You are right, given the chance the environment will recover, but our governments need to act together now and the climate change conference will give them such an opportunity. Whether they respond remains to be seen! ⏳

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