The vanishing groves: A chronicle of climates past and a portent of climates to come – the telling rings of the bristlecone pine.
It sprang to life sometime in the 3rd millennium, outliviving the kingdoms of ancient Egypt, it survived six of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and it's older than Judaism. It survived 5,000 years (give or take a few hundred), and was cut down in 1964 by Donald Currey, a graduate student in geography. He was studying the Little Ice Age (prev), and he was looking for an old Bristlecone pine in the White-Inyo mountain range of California (prev), as a record for climatic conditions from that period. As that tree, nicknamed Prometheus, is no longer living, the record for oldest tree goes to a tree from the same stand, Methuselah. If trees aren't your thing, there are quite a few long-living organisms of other sorts. For more fun and photos, join Rachel Sussman on her journey to photograph them. [more inside]
Suddenly everything you eat or drink tastes horribly bitter and metallic, with the bitterness persisting at the back of your tongue after each swallow. The symptom recedes somewhat after a few meals but still persists after days. What's wrong with you? Brain tumor? Liver failure? First check if you ate pine nuts a few days ago - if so, you've probably just got pine mouth. [more inside]
Canadian expatriate (and Metafilter member) stavrosthewonderchicken has a detailed and depressing look at the impact of the mountain pine beetle in Northern British Columbia, where a perfect storm of "forest fire suppression, clearcutting (and subsequent replanting), [and] global warming" has led to the destruction of over 130,000 square kilometers of forest.