Eerie Environment On East Coast

Eerie Environment On East Coast

Haley Masten, Staff Writer

Too much of a good thing can actually be detrimental–even too much water!

With sea levels rising, trees are dying and “ghost forests” are being created. These forests that were once thriving are a result of climate change. Along the East Coast, there were once healthy, woodland forests that are now dwindling away due to being suffocated by saltwater.

Ghost forests have been a problem along the East Coast and certain Gulf states, such as Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Making these forests healthy again will take forever since they are also playing a game of catch-up, with over 80 percent of woodland gone due to logging over a large period of time. According to State Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn LaTourette, “If we pay close attention to our environment, we often see that it sends us signals.This is a signal about that risk that we all face from saltwater intrusion from storm surge.” 

As of right now, a ghost forest spans over 300 acres in southern New Jersey. Not only are these a problem in New Jersey, but they are also developing along the Mississippi River and in North Carolina. Even though it may be normal for trees to die, this is not normal. Trees are dying in large patches, and saplings aren’t growing to take their place. This is also not just an isolated problem;  it is happening all along the Coast, from Maine all the way down to Florida. The rapid flooding has made it impossible for these forests to adapt to the wetter, saltier conditions that they now have to live in.

Extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are causing further damage to these areas due to frequent hurricanes, heavy storms, and droughts. People that don’t live along the East coast are not as aware of this issue because it doesn’t affect them in their everyday life. Elkhart student Katie Rios says, “This most likely only affects the organisms living there such as trees and wildlife.” But that is not just the case. These Environmental changes are affecting more than just trees, though. Entire ecosystems, wildlife, forestry businesses, and local farms are all being threatened.

So, while Halloween may be just around the corner; it appears that ghost forests are already here.