Torreya Guardians

Dec 09, 2015 | written by:

For humans moving house is no longer a problem. There are dedicated services that help us in the process and apart from the initial trauma of boxes and the consequent discovery of things accumulated over years, in a short time the move is over!

But if we were in the shoes of a lynx or a tree endangered soon we would discover that their latest move goes back to Noah's Ark, when the biblical patriarch led them to safety, and to undertake a new one is so difficult. Species in danger of extinction, in the animal world in the vegetable one, are increasing and they are not able to deal with long distances to go in search of a better habitat to survive.

In Florida, it happens with Torreya taxifolia, at risk of extinction due to a fungus and unable to move cause to the aridity of the surrounding soil. So a group of people, affectionately called Torreya Guardians, collect seeds of the plant to take them to lands more suited to the growth across the United States. Some, however, are skeptical and doubtful about this choice, considering it a forced alteration of the ecosystem, while others support it considering conservation as a 'backward-looking, trying to preserve plants and animals not just where they are but where they were before humans meddled'. In fact in a world that is warming faster and faster, no part of the Earth can be returned to a natural state. Due to that it’s necessary to understand which areas can better adapt to accommodate movement of species at risk of extinction.

Some animals have already done it by themselves like the purple emperor butterflies that have moved in search of colder climates or phytoplankton that has moved 400 km in a single decade to find a more congenial habitat. These two examples belong to the class of fast movements and autonomous. But there are other animals that are not fast or who must cross specific climates and areas before to get into a new home. In the previous years someone had already tried to make a move for a particular butterfly: the result was positive, so why not reproduce the experiment helping animals and plants providing them a specific and personalized way to move that also humans will envy?

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