Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hitchiti Experimental Forest & the Southern Pine Beetle

Southern Pine Beetles

When I used to go hunting with my father, we saw trees damaged by the southern pine beetle all the time.  I used to think the wormy patterns on the wood were cool, but my dad did not think so.  He knows a lot of farmers whose lines of planted pines were decimated by southern pine beetles.  Fortunately, we haven't had any trouble with them in our own hards.  

Featured Creatures, a website by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Services, defines "the southern pine beetle (SPB), Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmermann, [as] the most destructive insect pest of pine in the southern United States. A recent historical review estimated that SPB caused $900 million of damage to pine forests from 1960 through 1990 (Price et a1. 1992). This aggressive tree killer is a native insect that lives predominantly in the inner bark of pine trees. Trees attacked by SPB often exhibit hundreds of resin masses (i.e., pitch tubes) on the outer tree bark. SPB feed on phloem tissue where they construct winding S-shaped or serpentine galleries. The galleries created by both the adult beetles and their offspring can effectively girdle a tree, causing its death. SPB also carry, and introduce into trees, blue-stain fungi. These fungi colonize xylem tissue and block water flow within the tree, also causing tree mortality (Thatcher and Conner 1985). Consequently, once SPB have successfully colonized a tree, the tree cannot survive, regardless of control measures." (http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/trees/southern_pine_beetle.htm).

Riverside Cemetery: The Effects of the 1918 Spanish Influenza on Macon Residents

"October 15 The Spanish influenza epidemic sweeping the nation hit Macon, with 250 new cases reported in the previous 48 hours. A new preventative measure also appeared on the streets of Macon -- "flu masks", which basically were cloth masks with small eye, nose, and mouth holes. Camp Gordon ended its military quarantine, which had been in place for several weeks due to the flu epidemic. But the scare was not over -- Maj. Joel B. Mallett, selective service officer for Georgia, instructed all local boards of health to cease physical exams for new military registrants until further notice - - effectively stemming the draft (albeit temporarily). While this was ordered as a preventative measure against the flu, it also was possible because Allied armies were on the brink of defeating Germany at the time."  (http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/1918flu.htm).

I thought it was interesting that this website, which describes the chronological progression of the influenza epidemic in Georgia, could pin it to a specific day on which a multitude of new cases arose.  When walking around the cemetery and looking only for 1918, my partners and I found a lot that were 1917 and 1919 as well and wondered if the disease had preceded and followed 1918 or if it was confined to that year alone.  This website makes me think it moved in brief but devastating waves.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ocmulgee National Monument

"Congress passed a bill on June 14, 1934, authorizing establishment of a 2000-acre Ocmulgee National Monument on …lands commonly known as … funds were provided for purchasing land, all lands for the Monument were to be donated or purchased by others and then donated.  Due to economic constraints, only 678.48 acres were acquired, including 40 acres at the detached Lamar Mounds and Village.  December 12, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Proclamation establishing Ocmulgee National Monument.  On June 13, 1941, an additional 5 acres was added to the Lamar Mounds and Village Unit.  Then on July 9, 1991, another 18 acres, known as  and makes this valuable part of America" (http://www.nps.gov/archive/ocmu/GPRA.htm).

I chose this fact for two reasons:  First, June 14 is my birthday! (though not in 1934, obviously).  but also because people don't usually think of Macon in terms of the larger country.  So I thought that Roosevelt's involvement in the creation of the Ocmulgee National Monument was particularly interesting to think about.  It's also strange to think about the way that the monument has changed and been experienced over the years, as it was (and differently so than now) in the 1930s.