Wednesday, December 3, 2008

where have all the acorns gone?

I'm a few days late with this (a bit late with everything at the moment...). The Washington Post has an article about the dearth of acorns (and other nuts) in the east:

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn't find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head.

Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill.

But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing...

The mast cycle is not very well understood but, still, this sounds vaguely apocalyptic. There again, I seem to have apocalypse on the brain. What will I eat while I sit in my bouncy house, drinking my wine and popping vitamin D?

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