Monday, May 7, 2007

A Note on Oaks

According to The Chicago Wilderness Atlas of Biodiversity, our northern Illinois oak-hickory forests and oak savannas have historically supported a world of different living things— from hundreds of species of plants and animals to thousands of species of beetles, spiders, snails and centipedes.

Only a fraction of these old woodlands remain. In fact, in the next 15-20 years, most of our oak-hickory woodlands may be lost. The remaining trees are old (many are 200 or more years old).

The Chicago area is still booming with growth, we are making homes for people and all the facilities we seem to need. But these trees and the community of life they support are under stress from the changing land uses around them. They are rarely protected during the development process, and they are not reproducing successfully.

With existing trees dying out due to age and environmental stress, and with few young trees to take their places as the large trees die, we are likely to see a dramatic change in the landscape across McHenry County.

In less than a generation, we may see our landscape transform into one without the old oak tree we have come to assume will always be there, because its been there our whole life. But we are likely to see these changes impact the health, character and economy of the region--– and the entire Chicagoland area.

We need to tie a yellow ribbon ‘round the old oak tree for more than one reason…

Go to The Land Conservancy of McHenry County Illinois for more information