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Forest Loss in Papua New Guinea Increases Domestic Violence Against Women

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Forest Loss in Papua New Guinea Increases Domestic Violence Against Women
Tavurvur Volcano near Kokopo on Papua New Guinea. Daisuke Kishi / Getty Images

By John C. Cannon

Change. That's what Monica Yongol has seen in her 54 years. In that time, the loggers and then the oil palm companies have moved into the remote corner of Papua New Guinea where she raised her family, altering the contours of the society she knew.



"Things have changed a lot over the years for the women," Yongol said. "The male members of society or even other males from other clans, they go ahead and make decisions in private spaces, which means women are not included."

Often, those decisions determine the fate of the forests that the people of Mu, Yongol's village in the rural local-level government of East Pomio on New Britain Island, have lived next to and subsisted on for generations. In East Pomio, part of Pomio district in East New Britain province, mothers have traditionally passed what they have down to their children. The principle has worked well, Yongol said, because women have a vested interest in ensuring that the land continues to provide for them.

"Women are looking at how they sustain the lives of their children in the future generations," she said, "whereas men are more looking at short-term benefits."

But the influx of "development" — first to harvest the island's tropical timber in the 1990s, and more recently to set up oil palm plantations — backed by politicians and lawmakers in distant capitals, has shifted the calculus around the value of the land. Yongol and the other women gathered at the Vunapope Catholic Mission on a muggy November afternoon said they feel sidelined, shut out of decisions about what's to happen to the forests where they have traditionally tended their gardens, gathered wood and harvested wild-growing food.

In another cruel twist, Elizabeth Tongne said, these attitudes also lead to the scapegoating of women for standing in the way of progress.

"They're blaming us for stopping development on the land," she said.

Tongne, sporting a worn T-shirt emblazoned with "Badass PACIFIC Feminist," is the founder and director of Wide Bay Conservation Association, a local community-based organization named for the thumb of the Solomon Sea pushing into New Britain's eastern shore next to East Pomio. She and her team at Wide Bay organized a seven-day convention to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the Catholic mission just outside Kokopo, the provincial capital of East New Britain.

The women, leaders from Mu and a handful of other East Pomio villages, spent the days sharing their stories, identifying the problems they face, like domestic and community violence, and coming up with strategies to address them. Tongne and her team also aimed to provide them with information that would help their fellow women, as well as children and young girls, back home. They held presentations on the importance of education and avoiding teenage pregnancy, and they covered tangible skills such as farming, banking and "marketing" (selling goods like produce, tobacco and betel nut at market). As Tongne explained, the loss of the forest has left women and young girls with fewer options in their home villages.

Fresh produce at the Kokopo market. John C. Cannon / Mongabay

A Changing Island

The forested mountains rising in sight of Kokopo are constant reminders of the island's volcanic past — and present, if the 2014 eruption of the still-puffing Tavurvur volcano northwest of town is any indication. But the face of the island is shifting faster than the pace of geologic time, especially with the recent creep of oil palm over the past two decades. From the air, the crop's progress lurches inward from the province's outer edges: deep green canopy giving way first to brown earth and splintering logging roads and then to neat rows of the drooping, top-heavy trees that produce the world's most popular vegetable oil.

The dense forests that covered more than 98% of the province as recently as 2010 have begun to wink out, according to satellite data. Tongne said that oil palm companies began building roads and clearing forest for plantations in East Pomio around 2008. Today, clearings and plantations creep up coastal hillsides, albeit at a much smaller scale than the expanses you'd see in Borneo or other parts of Southeast Asia.

Pomio is the remotest district in East New Britain, Tongne told me, and perhaps that's saved it from some of the heavier forest loss seen in other parts of the province. Still, between 2001 and 2018, data from the University of Maryland show that tree cover has diminished by nearly 9% in the province, which has lost more than 1,370 square kilometers (529 square miles) of forest in that time. Much of that has happened in the last decade, with forest loss peaking at 201 km2 (78 mi2) in 2015, in a province covering a total of 15,816 km2 (6,107 mi2). Recent satellite images captured over the past few months show many new frontiers of deforestation encroaching into old-growth rainforest in East New Britain, including roads expanding inland from Pomio's coast.

Around the world, corporations comb through ecosystems in search of resources to feed their bottom lines. Timber and palm oil are the top commodities in this South Pacific corner of Papua New Guinea, but similar patterns emerge whether the prize is oil, natural gas, copper or gold.

Replete as it is with valuable minerals and the world's third-largest rainforest full of tropical timber, Papua New Guinea continues to struggle with economic development. Outsiders, meanwhile, have profited from those resources, as Australia did in its role as colonial administrator until 1975, and foreign companies from the U.S., Australia and China continue to do today.

East New Britain province has lost nearly 9% of its tree cover since 2001, and deforestation has accelerated since then, according to satellite data from the University of Maryland. The inset shows logging roads proliferating around the town of Pomio on Jacquinot Bay. To the northeast, in East Pomio rural local-level government on Wide Bay, deforestation for timber and oil palm has seeped inland. Source: Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA/Planet Labs, accessed through Global Forest Watch on May 13, 2020.

The Connection Between Violence and Deforestation

Around the world, the "colonial" approach aimed at extracting valuable resources has destroyed "traditional and customary social relations" in local communities, Jeanette Sequeira, vice director and gender program coordinator at the Global Forest Coalition, said in a telephone interview.

"Often, this is in the land of indigenous peoples and local communities where there's already insecure land tenure," she said. "When you have corporations coming in and occupying these lands, there's just total loss of governance."

Global Forest Coalition and its more than 100 member organizations around the world have studied the interplay between gender and forest loss around the world. While the context of each local situation is unique, Sequeira said that the coalition's partners have seen the impact that forest loss can have on the most vulnerable members of society. In many cases, that means women.

"Deforestation and climate change and environmental degradation do lead to an increase in violence against women," Sequeira said. "I think that's a claim we can make more and more."

Along with the evaporation of the trees, the rights of women to determine what happens to the land they depend on have likewise vanished, Monica Yongol said, as the other women in the room nodded in agreement. The changes have jolted their communities. They've made it harder to provide for their families. And problems like teenage pregnancy, drug use and domestic violence in their communities have cropped up that the women say didn't exist before.

Several argue that the problem is rooted in the silencing of women's voices that's become more common. Yongol recounted a meeting held by a landowner company, a common organizational structure in Papua New Guinea formed by landholders to negotiate with developers, such as logging companies, on behalf of communities.

A woman at the meeting stood up and asked why the group hadn't informed all of the landowners about what would happen if the outside company interested in their land secured development rights, Yongol said. The tenets of free, prior and informed consent, accepted global standards set forth by the United Nations, hold that all community members should be aware of the plans for the land they depend on. In this case, however, the chairman dismissed her comment, telling her that she shouldn't have a say — because she was a woman.

Forest clearance and plantations have crept inland from Wide Bay, an arcing inlet in Pomio District. John C. Cannon / Mongabay

The influx of developers didn't introduce such sexist attitudes to this part of Papua New Guinea. John Suka, a former teacher and now an elected councilor for the East Pomio rural local-level government, said that much of the problem stems from the "old ways."

There is "no fairness or equality," he said. "That's the first thing, maybe because of some traditional or customary ways of thinking."

Suka said that the upheaval in these societies triggered by surging interest from outside companies has exacerbated the situation. Without secure claims to the land, women are in a precarious position, especially when companies' respect even for the rights of a community as a whole is tenuous at best.

Society prior to the arrival of logging companies and plantation developers was neither perfectly fair nor equitable, Suka said. But, he added, the temptation to turn land rights, however spurious, into upfront cash and other benefits for certain members has changed the respect for other customs, such as that of matrilineal inheritance. And it's led some men to assume the roles of brokers in which they speak for entire communities.

At times, certainly, Suka said, "They have sold what they shouldn't be selling."

The airstrip at Tokua, south of Kokopo, with still-active volcanoes in the background. John C. Cannon / Mongabay

Cascading Effects

Tongne said that these developments often touch off a chain of consequences for women.

"Once land is sold and taken away from them, there is a greater violence against women," she said, for several reasons. The forests in East New Britain, and indeed many parts of the country, have long served as a storehouse of ready food and supplies. They're essential in times of plenty, and they serve as vital emergency caches when times are tough.

"If there's a drought, the women know where to find food in the forest," Tongne told me.

But as logging and industrial agriculture replace forests close to home, women are forced to travel farther to gather food and other resources or to tend their gardens. That time spent on the road is time they're not looking after their homes or raising their children, Tongne said.

"The men begin to beat them up," she added. "Violence comes about because there is no food on the table."

On these extended journeys to the forest, women might face the threat of attack from people from other villages or clans, or from the workers brought in from outside communities by the companies.

Before, "We had a lot of safety and security. We can walk, visit friends, long distances to other villages," said Lucy Teine, a 50-year-old woman from the East Pomio village of Iwai. "But now, with the population that's coming in to work in those developments, that's now a threat for us."

The fraying of the social fabric exacerbated by outsiders who might harbor different values is a symptom of a larger issue. Foundational blame for these changes lies with the mentalities that colonialism introduced, according to Sequeira.

While sexism has persisted in many societies around the world, "Indigenous communities had, in many cases, more equitable gender relations before the advent of colonialism," she said. "Women and men had different, respected roles and status in communities."

John Suka, an elected councilor in the East Pomio local-level government, at the Vunapope Catholic Mission. John C. Cannon / Mongabay

A Global Issue

The Global Forest Coalition and its partners have been investigating issues like these around the world. They've found that, while the details may change from place to place, there are broad commonalities among the communities affected by land development and extractivism, Sequeira said.

"We know that these [roles] became eroded as we had colonial administrations and just the complete dispossession and destruction of indigenous identity," she said.

In Colombia, she said, women and men are supposed to have equal rights to the land. But, "That's not really how it plays out."

"You still have women who have to ask permission [from] their husbands or partners for being able to use a bit of land to cultivate medicinal herbs and other food for household consumption," Sequeira said.

In many places — though not everywhere —laws are in place that should protect land rights, including those of women, she added. Where the system falls short is in implementing these statutes. What that means, broadly, is that forests suffer when women don't have a say in land rights.

"[W]omen play a vital role in forest conservation," Sequeira and her colleagues wrote in a November 2019 blog post. "Women interact daily with forests and other ecosystems, relying on them for household needs and their livelihoods, but also for conservation and restoration."

Several active volcanoes sit just northwest of the town of Kokopo. Tavurvur last erupted in 2014. John C. Cannon / Mongabay

Research conducted in India and Nepal and published in the journal Ecological Economics has shown that forests do better when women are involved in the decision-making process. But impediments, from patriarchal attitudes to "wife bashing" as domestic violence is viscerally referred to in East New Britain, can stand in the way of that progress on both the conservation and social justice fronts.

A 2010 countrywide study , published in the journal Contemporary PNG Studies, found that almost two-thirds of women had suffered gender-based attacks.

John Suka said addressing the problem of violence is critical. But up until now, it's not been something that's been seen as a priority. In most cases, government agencies don't have the capacity — or the will — to enforce these laws, he said.

"All the levels of government have the responsibility, but the point is, they don't implement what they are supposed to be implementing," Suka added. "It's a great failure across the board."

He said that a shift in thinking is called for.

"Of course, before we were kept in a little box with our own way of life," he said. "Today, we are in a new world."

Sequeira said she agrees that changing systemic attitudes is paramount.

"What we need is more than just policies and sanctions," she said. Elsewhere, she added, campaigns and dialogues around gender equality and women's rights have been effective at transforming the "culture of violence." Women, too, have taken control of their own plight, forming "brigades" that accompany vulnerable women on trips outside the community — say, to the forest.

Sequeira said women in other parts of the world also engage the broader community using "naming and shaming protocols" to call out perpetrators of violence against women. And both men and women partake in neighborhood watch programs.

She also said that violence on the personal level must be seen through the broader lens of what's happening to people's land in the community traced back to colonial paradigms.

"Dispossession and loss of land rights and extractivism … are also forms of patriarchal violence," Sequeira said in the interview.

In their blog post, she and her colleagues wrote that not only must women deal with the traditional ways of thinking that often relegate them to less-than status. They "must often defend their forests against the massive threats from extractivism, whether it be industrial livestock and agriculture (such as the production of soy and palm oil) or mining mega-projects."

"Forest conservation can never be successful or bring about social justice," they added, "if it does not address the prevalence of the various manifestations of violence against women, and especially so on the front-lines of the environmental and climate crisis."

Reposted with permission from Mongabay.

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Trending

Do you feel embarrassed due to the foul odor coming from your mouth? Or your oral hygiene isn't as good as before, and you are suffering from gingivitis (inflammation of gums)?

Well, these oral problems are skyrocketing, and even young people are suffering from oral issues that result in a lack of confidence.

It's common to change your toothpaste by seeing the TV commercials that claim to free you from bad breath or sensitive teeth, but these products don't always work.

Fighting oral issues isn't that easy, even if you religiously follow what your primary school teacher has taught, to "Brush two times a day!"

Well, there is a much-hyped supplement in the market that claims to help you fight all of these oral issues: The Steel Bite Pro.

Steel Bite Pro is an oral supplement that claims to cure bad breath and other such oral issues like sensitivity and gum problems.

But does the supplement really work, or is it just like the useless toothpaste that you tried before? Let's find out in this review.

Who Should Use Steel Bite Pro?

The best part about Steel Bite Pro is that anyone can use the supplement to get rid of oral issues. The supplement contains natural ingredients such as turmeric, zinc, alfalfa, jujube seeds, and much more, so there are no chemicals at all.

No matter whether you are 20 or 60, you can use this supplement to overcome oral issues and get the confidence back that you are missing due to bad odor and sensitive teeth.

Steel Bite Pro Review: Overview of the Supplement

Steel Bite Pro is an all-natural supplement that contains a mix of natural supplements to rebuild your gums and teeth.

The supplement contains 29 different foods that help you reduce the gum pain and other dental problems you have been facing for years.

More than 55,000 people have used Steel Bite Pro till now, and the results of the supplement are pretty impressive. Furthermore, the supplement is prepared in an FDA-approved facility in the USA.

It is available in the form of pills that you can consume anytime, so using the supplement is incredibly convenient. There are numerous benefits of using the Steel Bite Pro as it solves a plethora of dental problems.

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Pros and Cons: Steel Bite Pro

To understand the supplement better, it is essential to know about its pros and cons.

Pros

Convenient to Use

The dietary supplement is convenient to use as it comes in the form of pills. You can take the pill anytime, even when you are in your office or somewhere else. Now there is no need to use multiple kinds of toothpaste and splurge money by visiting a dentist.

All-Natural Ingredients

All the ingredients present inside the supplement are natural, and there are no chemicals that can harm your teeth or gums.

Affordable

When you compare the cost of 1 bottle with the cost of a special toothpaste with the fee that your dentist charges, Steel Bite Pro will seem much more affordable. The supplement is available in multiple packages, so you will find it affordable to use.

No Side Effects at All

There are no side effects to using Steel Bite Pro, so you can rest assured that you won't face any headaches or other issues while curing the oral issues. The reason why Steel Bite Pro has no side effects is due to its natural ingredients.

Designed by Experts

The supplement is designed by experts that have been in the industry for years.

No Additional Medicines Are Required

When you are using Steel Bite Pro, you can avoid using other medicines that you have been taking to cure oral issues.

Attacks on the Pain

There are several ingredients present in Steel Bite Pro that attack tooth and gum pain so that you get some instant relief with the supplement.

Comes With a Money Back Guarantee

The supplement comes with a 60-day money back guarantee, so you can claim a full refund if you find the supplement isn't working for you, or if it isn't doing what the manufacturer has promised.

Cons

You Can Purchase It From the Official Site Only

The supplement is only available for purchase from the Official Website. Sometimes the supplement gets out of stock, so you have to wait for it to get back in stock.

A Single Bottle Costs More

If you buy a single bottle of the supplement, it'll cost you more than other packages with multiple bottles.

Ingredients in Steel Bite Pro

All the ingredients present in Steel Bite Pro are natural and have proven benefits for humans. Here is a list of supplements explained in detail and how they can benefit you if you start using Steel Bite Pro.

Turmeric

As per a study, there are innumerable benefits of using turmeric on your teeth. The natural herb has antimicrobial properties that help remove the plaque effectively from the teeth, exterminate bacteria and help cure sensitivity.

Moreover, turmeric is good for fighting oral inflammation issues. When applied on teeth, the ingredient gives instant relief from pain and is effective in curing mouth ulcers as well.

Berberine

Berberine is a natural herb with proven antioxidant power to help you get rid of microorganisms developing inside the mouth. Furthermore, the ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties and is good for curing oral issues caused due to viruses and bacteria.

Yarrow

It is another natural ingredient that is used in a range of health supplements due to its healing power. The ingredient naturally heals the gums and the damage caused to the teeth by bacteria and microorganisms.

As per a study, it helps reduce the infection, oral pain, and cures other dental issues.

Milk Thistle

Your liver has a significant impact on your oral health, and that's where milk thistle works. The natural ingredient eliminates toxins from the liver and detoxifies your mouth as well.

Here is a study that proves how milk thistle is beneficial in detoxifying the liver.

Alfalfa

The decaying of teeth is the initial phase of damage caused by bacteria thriving inside your mouth. Alfalfa works by reducing tooth sensitivity drastically and repairs the tooth decay caused by the bacteria.

It even stops the bacteria from growing further so you can expect good oral health.

Ginger

A lot of natural supplements for teeth contain ginger because of its benefits on the teeth and the stomach. This ingredient present in the Steel Bite Pro reduces nausea and inflammation.

As per this study, there are umpteen other benefits of ginger as well, such as it maintains the pH inside your mouth.

Jujube Seeds

Jujube seeds are good for boosting the immunity. Also, the ingredient has excellent antioxidant properties and is rich in Vitamin C, which is beneficial for the teeth and overall oral health.

Dandelion

Dandelion is a natural ingredient extracted from herbs. The ingredient is rich in minerals and has immense benefits such as fighting the bacteria and preventing the infections occurring inside your mouth.

Zinc

Zinc is essential for teeth, and that is why many toothpaste brands advertise that their product contains a good amount of zinc. Further, zinc is a natural immunity booster and fights against bacteria to prevent gum disease and cavities.

Moreover, zinc repairs the enamel on your teeth that's damaged due to toothpaste or any other reasons. Here is a study that shows the benefits of zinc for your teeth and mouth.

Chicory Root

Chicory root acts as a catalyst and increases the effectiveness of other ingredients. The reason why you get instant relief from pain after using Steel Bite Pro is due to the presence of chicory root in the pills.

Celery Seeds

Bacteria result in bad odor and can create cavities in the teeth. Furthermore, some bacteria result in tooth decay and harm the gums. The celery seeds fight these bacteria and prevent further growth.

Yellow Dock

To stay healthy, the teeth need to absorb the minerals present in the saliva. When your teeth are damaged for any reason, they stop absorbing the minerals, and the damage continues further.

Yellow dock helps the teeth to absorb the minerals while reducing the inflammation. Various studies have proven the efficacy of yellow dock for teeth and gums, and it is a natural and effective ingredient to keep the teeth healthy.

Raspberry, Chanca Piedra, and Artichoke

These three natural ingredients have similar properties and contribute a lot to the effectiveness of Steel Bite Pro. The ingredients have good amounts of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K, Vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and folate.

The purifying agents will remove bacteria and other impurities from the mouth so that the other ingredients work well by repairing the teeth and gums.

Feverfew

The worst thing about oral issues is the pain that you have to go through. Steel Bite Pro claims to help with the pain as it contains feverfew, which is a natural pain reliever. The ingredient suppresses oral and dental pain so you will feel better instantly.

As per a study, there are some other benefits of feverfew, because it is a medicinal plant that suppresses other pains as well. Also, there are no side effects of feverfew at all.

Burdock Root

The root of the burdock plant comes loaded with antioxidants that improve the gum health and the overall health of your mouth.

The best thing about Steel Bite Pro is that the ingredients are present in exact quantities, so you can rest assured that there will be no side effects. Every ingredient is tested in the labs for its efficiency, and that's what makes the Steel Bite Pro a considerable option if you want to improve your oral and dental health.

Click here to See the full list of ingredients in Steel Bite Pro on the official website.

How Does Steel Bite Pro Work?

It is crucial to understand how the supplement works so that you can decide whether to invest in it or not. Below is a step by step process that will help you understand Steel Bite Pro on the go.

Step 1:

When you start consuming the supplement, the pills break down in your mouth. The ingredients then mix with saliva to perform their particular actions.

Step 2:

The ingredients fight the bacteria and heal issues such as wounds while reducing the inflammation caused in the mouth.

Step 3:

The supplement cements the root of the teeth so that there are no further oral and dental issues. Also, it heals the gums and repairs the enamel to provide you relief from sensitivity.

The minerals present in these ingredients strengthen the crown area of the teeth while repairing the cracks so that the damage can be stopped.

Step 4:

The supplement also has some impact on your overall health as the ingredients detoxify the liver by flushing away the toxins.

Step 5:

Consuming the supplement regularly will help you maintain the shield on the teeth that fights against bacteria and microorganisms. Also, it improves the condition of the teeth and curtails bad breath.

The working of Steel Bite Pro is really simple, as there are no complex ingredients present in the supplement. It is easy to use, and all you have to do is consume the pill regularly to keep your oral and dental health up to the mark.

Benefits of Steel Bite Pro

There are many benefits of using Steel Bite Pro since it is an all-natural supplement that has no side effects at all. Here are some benefits you need to consider before buying it.

Prevents Bleeding and Improves Gum Health

The reason why your teeth bleed is due to the loose gums. The space between the tooth and the gum results in bleeding, and that's where Steel Bite Pro helps. The supplement tightens the gums so that there is no bleeding at all.

Whitens the Teeth Naturally

The ingredients present in the supplement, such as zinc and milk thistle, whiten the teeth naturally. There is no need to invest in expensive teeth whitening toothpaste if you are using Steel Bite Pro.

Reduces Bad Breath

The supplement contains ingredients that improve the overall health of the teeth, and it automatically reduces bad breath.

Helps Cure Tooth Pain

Steel Bite Pro has feverfew, which is a natural pain reliever ingredient. The ingredient cures tooth and gum pain and can have instant results after you consume Steel Bite Pro.

Click here to Learn more about the Benefits of Steel Bite Pro on the official website.

Side Effects of Using Steel Bite Pro

You may find it surprising, but Steel Bite Pro has no side effects at all as the supplement contains natural ingredients and has exact quantities so that there are no ill effects on your health. If you keep using the supplement as prescribed, then it can have some excellent results.

Who Should Refrain from Steel Bite Pro?

Steel Bite Pro is an all-natural dietary supplement to improve your dental and oral health.

Anyone can use the supplement, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. There are no harms of using the supplement.

However, it would be great to consult a doctor before using the supplement to find out if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

Dosage and Tips to Start

To get the most from Steel Bite Pro, you should consume two pills with water every day. Take both capsules together anytime that's convenient for you.

To get the best results, follow a brushing regime, and massage your teeth regularly with some good-quality oil to increase the effectiveness of the pills.

Where to Buy Steel Bite Pro, and Guarantees?

You can only buy Steel Bite Pro from the Official Site, as the supplement is not available anywhere else for purchase. You can choose from three available options:

●1 bottle (60 pills) $69

●Three bottles (180 pills) $117

●Six bottles (360 pills) $294 (Best Deal)

You get a 60-day money back guarantee with all the packages, no matter if you go for one bottle or six bottles. You are eligible to claim the full refund within 60 days of the date of purchase.

Steel Bite Pro Reviews: Closing Thoughts

After this definitive review, it will be easier for you to find out whether you should use Steel Bite Pro or not. The supplement contains a mix of 29 natural ingredients that have proven benefits and are tested in labs.

It is essential to get rid of oral and dental issues before things get out of control and you have no option left despite visiting a dentist.

Getting a good quality supplement is essential, so Steel Bite Pro is a viable option if you need a supplement with no side effects.

Anyone can use this supplement irrespective of age, sex, and medical conditions. Lastly, buy the supplement only from the official site so that you can easily claim the refund if required.

Click here to Get the best deal on Steel Bite Pro from the official website.

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A ghost forest in Nags Head Woods, North Carolina on Oct. 16, 2017. NC Wetlands / CC BY 2.0


Along the Atlantic coast, ghost forests provide haunting signs of sea-level rise. These stands of bleached and broken tree trunks are all that remain after salty water inundates a forest.


Matt Kirwan is with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He says ghost forests are not a new phenomenon, but they're moving inland faster as seas rise.

"Eventually they'll fall apart and become stumps surrounded by marshland," he says. "And so when you see a ghost forest now, you're seeing where the marsh will be in the future."

Marshes are valuable ecosystems, so in some ways, that's positive.

"Ghost forests are a surprising indicator of ecological resilience in coastal systems," Kirwan says. "They mark how marshes naturally migrate in response to sea-level rise."

But that migration comes at a cost.

"Places that people have lived for hundreds of years are becoming too wet and too salty to grow crops on, in some cases," Kirwan says. "And of course, the forest resources are being lost. And in some cases, people are forced to move from their homes as the land becomes too flooded."

So ghost forests have become eerie symbols of rapid change.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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