The mighty birch – An elegy

Missing, presumed dead.
So the leaves were declared.
All on the grey branches
Not a green bud appeared.

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From fine tundra rising,
The sunlight to scatter
Those canopies green
Now just sticks of brown matter.

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But you shout “Are they shy?
Hiding? Just late arrivers?”
No. I’m sad to announce
That there are no survivors.

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I am sorry to announce that none of the birches that were propagated last year have made it through the winter.

Thankfully many of the willows are growing rather astoundingly well, especially those from around Kluane lake. The Qikiqtaruk willows seem a little more hardy – far fewer have died than their southern counterparts – but also far more humble in stature. It therefore seems likely that the northern willows are adapted to their cold, harsh environment and may not be able to grow as tall as the same species down south.

Does this mean that local genes may prevent shrubs growing taller even as the climate warms? Now that’s a question…

By Haydn

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