Is It Too Late To Save The Pine Barrens?

This past summer (2013) an expansion of the Native Flora garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden opened to the delight of thousands of visitors. The original Native Flora garden had been planted in 1911 (hence its somewhat quaint name) and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011.

It then subsequently underwent a total renovation in which it added another acre. The additional acre replicates Hempstead Heath on Long Island and the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Here is the New York Times article about the re-opening of the entire garden.

To my mind, that may be a good thing because another New York Times article this week talked about how the southern pine beetle was ravaging the pine barrens of New Jersey.

As an aside, the article, which appears here, mentions that the pine beetle began appearing in New Jersey because it is slowly warming. Their idea of “slowly warming” meant no nights of minus 8 degree temperatures which the state climatologist said used to occur several times a decade. As someone who lived in New Jersey for several decades, I can tell you I never remember a night that cold in my life–and I lived on the edge of the Pine Barrens. I do not know where he is measuring but it’s surely not there!

I remember reading a BBG publication (which does not seem to be online so I cannot provide a link for you) last summer about how delighted the designers and horticulturists of the BBG were to find so many species they were looking for in their garden expansion so nearby in the Pine Barrens. To now read that that ecosystem is threatened (again, or perhaps I should say, for a change) is deeply troubling.

I wonder if perhaps native plant gardens will become like zoos–a place we will go to see these rare things that no longer exist in the wild?

I pray it never comes to that!

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