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Nature of Oaks
By Susan Beck
Posted: 2022-11-03T15:40:18Z

In my continuing attempt to educate myself and our membership about the impor-

tance of trees, I purchased Doug Tallamy's book, The Nature of Oaks. I knew from

his lectures how important oak trees are. As it turns out oak trees are the most im-

portant trees of all. The book is full of fascinating facts and stories about who and

why and how different species use the oak tree to live. Doug Tallamy is a Doctor of

Entomology besides being an avid conservationist/environmentalist. If reading

about how important oak trees are to insects is not up your alley this book is not for


Rather than go chapter and verse I will quote some of what he writes in the Epilo-

que to give you an overview on the purpose of the book.

In the preceding chapters I have described some of the life that is associated with

oaks in general.

If you are at all interested in contributing to the conservation of local animals, or in

enjoying the wonders of nature right at home, planting one or more oaks is an aw-

fully good way to do these things.

Although oaks can live to become ancient cornerstones of ecosystems throughout

the United States, the old giants that once provided so many unique niches for lay-

ers upon layers of biodiversity are now largely absent from our landscapes.

We cannot casually accept the loss of oaks, without accepting the loss of thousands

of other plants and animals that depend on them.

Our only option, then, is to find ways to coexist with other species. That’s right, we

must construct ecosystems that contain all the functional parts where humans

abound. "Over a million species are headed for extinction in the next few years unless we

take immediate action" {Sartore 2019}.

We have no choice but to prevent such losses, not because we are nice guys, but be-

cause it is those species that run the ecosystems that support us. And by

“we” I mean every single human earth dweller, not just the surprisingly few people

who already recognize the necessity of sustainable earth stewardship. Although

their impending demise is bad enough, it is not the loss of rare and endangered spe-

cies that we should fear; their populations are no longer large enough to have major

impacts on our ecosystems. Rather, it is the loss of the common kingpins like oaks

that we must prevent as if our well- being depends on them.

For it does.

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