Climate change in the Carolinas.
A landscape ecologist, Pearsall heads a pioneering Nature Conservancy endeavor designed to help ecosystems native to 500,000 acres in northeastern North Carolina withstand the ravages of global warming. He believes sea level locally is rising about two inches every 10 years, and, at that rate, "a significant portion of the peninsula will be underwater in 100 years." He also predicts that rate to double in the next century.
Refuge Biologist Dennis Stewart agrees. He says a pine forest that existed on the Alligator River 20 years ago is now a treeless sawgrass marsh.
Global warming's effects may be more profound on this lobster claw of land than in other places, scientists say, due to low elevation and the nature of the peat-rich soils holding the land together. Peat decomposes at 10 times its usual rate when exposed to saltwater, Pearsall says.
Pearsall's project eventually aims to keep peat sequestered under the soil by planting the coast with thousands of salt-tolerant bald cypress trees. "My working hypothesis is that the submerged trees will live for 200 to 300 years," says Pearsall. "Sediments will gather around the roots, securing the marsh." CONTACT: Albemarle Environmental Association, (252) 336-4778, www.members.inteliport.net/~aea.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Esprit de Tompkins.|
|Next Article:||Be safe? Lois Gibbs' new campaign urges caution on toxic chemicals. (Currents).|