An introduction to Gaia



Trees for Life (2)
The inside



Trees for Life (1)
The outside



Hidden reasons for mass tree dying



The impact of forests on climate

April 2012


Yew make me feel so young

autumn 2011


The Wonders of Yew

Sept 2007 / March 2008


Spirits of the Taiga

Aug 2007


The Tree of Life

Jan 2001


Living with the spirit of trees

Feb 2000

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Hidden reasons for mass tree dying

The hidden reasons for mass tree dying

Fred Hageneder, 2013


fruit bodies of the ascomycete fungus (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) that causes ash dieback (© Wikimedia Commons)

Fruit bodies of the ascomycete fungus (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus) that causes ash dieback


Ash dying, oak dying, chestnut dying, etc, etc – these days many tree species in Europe and North America are being threatened by ever new bugs and diseases, whether they have been introduced by man via globalised trading routes (usually from Asia) or just appeared ‘out of nowhere’. Bugs that never were a big problem suddenly are, and it’s not just due to the warmer winters of global warming.

The same old dualistic, war-waging principles are applied – chemical warfare for the most part – to fight these new ‘enemies’, thus bringing more toxins into the ecosystems. Just as in human medicine, the ‘evil’ symptoms are being battled to ‘go away’ while the underlying reasons receive much less attention. Politics, obviously unable to mentally cope with the complexities of the living web of the biosphere, instead creates scape-goats to focus their efforts (and PR): in the 1980s and 1990s the culprit was ‘acid rain’, now all blame goes to carbon dioxide.

But there are other causes for the misery, except that tackling them doesn’t generate profits (fighting sulphurous ‘acid rain’ brought our vehicles the catalytic converter, and fighting carbon emissions spawns a global emission trade). On the contrary, addressing the deeper reasons for mass tree dying directly threatens some major industries, namely logging, agrobusiness, and the electronic industry, respectively, but most of all our monolithic belief in and service to the golden calf of today, economic growth.

But still we have to look at (and do something about)…
global deforestation (see World Tree News: deforestation),
agrobusiness and its large-scale use of chemicals and antibiotics (see below),
‘electro smog’ – a multitude of technical waves in the frequency ranges to which cells and DNA respond (see below),
nuclear contamination (see below).

Note: The following sections have been published in the first four German editions of my book Der Geist der Bäume (1999–2010). My UK publishers in 2000/2001 did not dare (perhaps wisely) to include this controversal material in The Spirit of Trees. The section on agrobusiness is from the 5th German edition (2014) of the same book.



So far, the sole focus on CO2 and global warming has been an effective distraction from looking at the grave damage to the biosphere caused by industrial farming. We all know of the vast amounts of pesticides, fungicides etc. which are produced and spread annually. How could anyone ever assume they would stick to the fields and not leach out into the surrounding ecotopes? Why should a fungicide not do its deadly job in the forest too? And another subject, almost totally ignored, is the by now omnipresent contamination with antibiotics. The animals in industrial livestock farming are in such a parlous state that it constantly requires pharmaceutica to keep them functioning. Every year the USA and Europe use 20,000 tons of antibiotics alone: about half for ill people, the other half in livestock breeding. Of that, what doesn’t go into the meat (and hence our stomachs) is spread with the manure onto the fields. A study in Switzerland revealed that antibiotic contamination has reached 1 kg per hectare of land. That is a ‘high enough concentration to trigger the development of resistent bacteria like E. coli’. [1]
(Interestingly, the consequences of decades of antibiotic abuse now appear at the same time in farming and in medicine – see World Tree News, Oct. 2014.) link-to-follow

Already over the past two centuries, the impact of man has changed the nitrogen cycle of the soils. [2] Many plant communities on Earth evolved under sparse nutritional conditions. But artificial fertilisers supply ample amounts of nitrates which push the growth of a few fast-growing species, but to the disadvantage of biodiversity. Acidification of soils and a decrease in fungi population patterns are the main reasons for mass tree dying in various countries.

Apart from the gigantic amounts of environmental toxins, modern techno-‘agriculture’ presents other fatal problems: heavy machinery causes soil compaction, and even ploughing is not as innocent an act as commonly believed. The mechanical compaction of the soil reduces the content and movability of oxygen and other compounds therein, and also the soil’s water storage capacity. Ploughing systematically kills a part of the ground life by tearing apart the fine root systems and the mycelia of the fungi populations, and by exposing ground microorganisms (who need moist darkness to survive) to the air and the sun.

Furthermore, mass breeding of livestock creates vast amounts of ammonia, a chemical compound which is brought out onto the fields with the manure, and from there can be carried by the wind into neighbouring woodlands. Ammonia acidifies the soils further but also acts as a fertiliser. The resulting trees grow fast but have weak, soft wood and are prone to infections, but they bring quick money to the foresters (which probably is the reason why they don’t complain about farming practises). The usual measure against too much forest soil acidification is liming (ignoring the fact that lime is thought to activate heavy metals like lead in the soil [3]). Since the 1990s, thousands of square kilometres have been sprayed with lime. It causes an additional growth push in ‘turbo’ plants and trees because it triggers ground bacteria and fungi to digest the humus faster – until it’s leached out! Then it loses its water storage capacity. In this way, the humus has been disappearing: every square kilometre of humus gone means 20,000 tons of CO2 have been released into the atmosphere. And, ironically, the helicopters for the liming are often paid from climate protection funds! [4]

The resulting chaos in the ground leads to its biochemical instability and slow death. In January 2014, the UN announced that a third of the world’s soils have been rendered dead and therefore unusable for agriculture (and that doesn’t mean that the other two thirds are in excellent condition). This number relates to farmland, but the same reasons are behind mass tree dying. Many of the bugs and pathogens* which bring down so many trees have been there before. What’s really changed in the past decades is the quality of the soil: overdoses of pharmaceuticals have savaged the populations of microorganisms and fungi and by doing so have severely impaired the immune system of the trees and the forests. [5]

* Especially Phytophtera, a genus of fungi which predominantly attacks larches, oaks, maples, chestnuts and junipers; the ash dieback by Chalara (Hymenoscyphus sp.); COD (Chronic oak dieback) and AOD (Acute oak decline) which is supposedly ‘caused’ by an unknown bacteria (note that the British forestry commission repeatedly mentions ‘weakened trees’ but does not explain what weakened them in the first place). Britain in particular is also haunted by bleeding canker of horse chestnut (Pseudomonas syringae pathovar aesculi) and the Horse-chestnut leaf miner moth. Major concerns are growing about red band needle blight in the UK and brown needle blight in the USA which are caused by the fungus Mycosphaerella or Dothistroma, and so far have been found in 60 species of conifer.

And how do we respond to the situation? Instead of tackling the root of the problem we add more toxins to the struggling ecosystems, to wipe out the ‘pests’. The collective mind is still trapped in a dualistic war against nature instead of developing a true understanding of life’s processes and, building on that, working with nature and not against it.

The European and global CO2 emission trade is a huge sham. Since the Kyoto Protocol (1997) all discussion revolves around the issue of industry, aviation and traffic reducing their CO2 footprint by a few per cent. But the biggest CO2 footprint is generated by the production and distribution of food for almost seven and a half billion people: not even counting the soil’s carbon loss (see below), the mass breeding of food plants and livestock, the production of the ‘necessary’ poisons for agrobusiness, global transport routes, and packaging etc., represents about a quarter of the world’s carbon emission. [6] Serious climate policies must obligate agrobusiness to act on its far-reaching global responsibilities.


Solution approaches

1. Biological farming and food production. Worldwide.

2. Caring for the soil
The soils of the world are a huge carbon reserve, holding around 150 billion tonnes which is about twice as much as the atmosphere and three times the amount contained in vegetation. Over the past two centuries, the intensely farmed lands of the world have lost 30 to 75% of their carbon content, that’s about 78 billion tonnes or a third of overall human emissions. Additionally, the destruction of rainforests so far has released 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. [7]

The good news: There are already methods to get the lost carbon back into the soils. It’s about caring for the soils. Pasture land simply needs a kind of management that avoids overgrazing, so the root mass can recover quicker and bind more carbon. For plantation land there are methods like pyrolysis which transforms biological carbon into a mineralized form which doesn’t rot and stays in the ground. This charcoal counteracts acidification, replenishes nutrient contents and improves the soil flora and fauna. Charcoal also filters water, which is of inestimable value. In these organic ways, it would be possible over the next few decades to bind 140 billion tonnes of carbon in the ground again [8] – that would almost solve humankind’s global warming problem. As for the forests: let the surviving old-growth forests be, and reforest the lost areas.


Technical waves

Already in 1953, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics stated that microwaves can increase the electric combustibility of organic tissue threefold. Prof EG Hensch from Hannover University quotes in his book (1987) from the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

‘It is known today that a tree within a TV and radio broadcasting area receives radiation like an allround-antenna, i.e. it can receive radiation from all directions. Via the cellular water the microwaves reach all parts of the trees, where they change the potential difference at the membranes […] The microwaves affect the chemical reactions and disturb the information exchange of the single cells, also the control of growth processes.’ [9]

TV, radio, mobile phones, radar, and military transmitters are ‘radiation sources aggressive to trees’ (Hensch), also high-tension lines and transformer stations. And satellites bombard the surfaces of whole countries with microwaves for the pleasure and entertainment of the owners of satellite dishes, mobile phones, etc., all of which amplify the radiation stresses locally. This unbelievable chaos of technically generated waves naturally has its strongest effects, the human users aside, on long-living plants, i.e. trees. Particularly those in exposed positions like the edges of woods or, once again, at high altitudes (see above). Most radio or TV channels today work with a transmitting power of about 100 to 200 kW. ‘The major part of this energy disappears into the ground around the transmitter station. Trees with their antenna-like needles and leaf ribs catch particularly large amounts of the broadcasting energy, and via trunk and roots diverse it into the ground.’ [10]

As if the situation of chemically induced global warming, an increased invasion of cosmic particles and resulting excessive ionisation of the air is not bad enough, test runs for heating the ionosphere have started in the remote wilderness of Alaska (at Gakona, 200m north east of Anchorage). Under the working title of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) an antennae forest of 48 masts (target: 360) has been installed on an area of about 50 acres. [11] ‘Research Program’ is a euphemism -after completion the ‘largest and most potent military instrument ever built’ (The Journal of Natural Science) is intended to shoot up forceful pulsed radio frequency beams into the ionosphere. The prospects of ‘Earth’s electrical system [being] injected with a further excess of high-energy particles’ [12] caused a shocked outcry from concerned people worldwide. Including scientists, because nobody can predict the consequences when a ‘saturated system is infused repeatedly with too much energy.’ [13] Never mind, the show must go on…

The massive showers of ELF waves (extremely low frequency; 0.001 Hz-40 kHz) that will bounce back to the surface of the planet have various effects on biological life. ELF waves can change the blood composition and the migration habits of animals. [14] They have known effects on the internal biological clock of all living organisms, including humans. The Max Planck Institute in Germany has shown that already very low energy levels (only a tenth of the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field) can influence these rhythms profoundly. Most physiological signals occur within the band of ELF waves, also the primary frequency spectrum of human brain currents (0 to 30 Hz). ‘Certain frequency bands, like the well-known alpha waves, are equivalent to certain states of consciousness. Outer stimulation of the brain, e.g. by low modulated magnetic fields, can induce very differentiated states of consciousness.’ [15]

The military of the United States avoids talking about the manipulation of consciousness, but make statements about new ways of warfare: communication with submerged submarines, scanning for hidden subterranean tunnels, the destruction of aeroplanes, missiles and satellites; the enhancement or disruption of communication networks over large areas; the changes in the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere; and the manipulation of weather, health, and earthquakes.
For more information on HAARP, see Bibliography: Begich, or visit his website

Since trees are antennae (although originally for signals benevolent to life), they are exposed to and affected by the radiation chaos.


Solution approaches:

1. Stop HAARP activities.
2. Research to see if entertainment radiation (TV, satellite, mobiles) microwaves could be shifted to frequency bands which don’t interfere with cells and DNA.



Artificially produced radionucleides are a main reason – and the original one – for the depletion of the ozone layer. The details of this physical reaction have been known to science since 1962 at least, and led to the moratorium on atomic weapon tests, which only France ignored. As early as 1956 the noted American scientist Dr. Ralph Lapp and others warned that the effects of the nuclear test bombing will ‘eat into our life-giving and life-protecting blue envelope’, and that the full extent of depletion would appear about twenty years after the ignitions. [16] In 1979, science officially confirmed a growing hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica.

After a similar time-span the long-lived radioactive emissions, which could first be measured only in leaves and needles, were washed into deeper layers of the soil and became accessible for the roots of trees. During the 1980s, for example, The Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center in Germany found a ninefold increase in tritium concentration in Pine needles (Pinus).

But the ‘peaceful’ use of nuclear power demands its tribute too. Surveying forest damage, the German professor Günther Reichelt found damage patterns in the vicinity of the Wuergassen power plant correlating to the dominant local wind directions. Commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) the Forestry and Environmental Planning Office in Rudolstetten surveyed the forest damage around three Swiss nuclear power plants and came to similar conclusions, stating ‘causal connections’. [17]

Less researched, however, are the correlations between radioactive particles and chemical pollutants, as well as with cosmic radiation, and/or technical microwaves. No one knows, for example, up to what distance around Chernobyl the trees died exclusively of radioactivity, and from what distance on infirmity and death occurred due to the said feedbacks.


Solution approaches:

1. Shut down all nuclear power plants.
2. Take all nuclear waste to the private mansion of Tony Blair who in late 2001, when nobody looked because of 9/11, signed the contracts with the nuclear industry leading Britain into a new era of nuclear waste production.


1 Pearce, Fred, 2002. 'Dung to Death', New Scientist April 20, 2002, p. 20, Stephan Mueller von der Eidgenöss. Anstalt für Wasserversorgung (EAWAG) zitierend.
2 Wikipedia: Human impacts on the nitrogen cycle
3 Von Schnabel, Ulrich, 'Viel Kalk gegen Sauren Regen', Oct. 9, 1992,
4 Wohlleben, Peter, 2013. Der Wald – Ein Nachruf. Ludwig, München, p. 215-7
5 Green, Ted, 2013. 'Ancient trees and wood-pastures', in Rotherham, Ian D. (ed.), Trees, Forested Landscapes and Grazing Animals: A European Perspective on Woodlands and Grazed Treescapes, earthscan/Routledge, Abingdon/New York, p. 127-42
6 Lovelock, James, 2009. The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning. Penguin, London, p. 47
7 Flannery, Tim, 2011. Here on Earth – A Twin Biography of the Planet and the Human Race. Penguin, London/New York/Toronto, p. 260, 263
8 Flannery 2011, p. 261-5
9 Bernatzky, A., 1986. 'Elektromagnetische Strahlen und Waldsterben' [Electromagnetic radiation and the dying of forests]. FAZ, June 12, 1986; quoted in Hensch, Eike-Georg, 1987. Radiaesthesie im ländlichen Bauen und Siedeln. Arbeitskreis zur Landentwicklung in Hessen, Wiesbaden, p. 100f. [Author’s translation]
10 Volkrodt, Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang, 1993. 'Fernsehen macht Wälder und Menschen krank' in: Wetter, Boden, Mensch – Zeitschrift für Geobiologie 4/1993, p. 23
11 Begich, Dr. Nicolas J., Manning, Jeane, 1995. Angels Don’t Play this HAARP. Advances in Tesla Technology. Earth Pulse Press, Anchorage, Alaska; Begich, Dr. Nicolas J., 'Star Wars – A Step Toward the Apocalypse' in: The Journal of Natural Science 1/98, The World Foundation of Natural Science, Washington/Bern 1998.
12 Krause, Karsten, 'ELF', in the glossary of the German edition of Begich 1996. Löcher im Himmel, Der geheime Ökokrieg mit dem Ionosphärenheizer HAARP. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt a.M.; also Begich 1995.
13 ibid.
14 Begich, Dr. Nicolas J., Manning, Jeane 1996. Löcher im Himmel – Der geheime Ökokrieg mit dem Ionosphärenheizer HAARP. Zweitausendeins, Frankfurt 1996., p. 347
15 Krause, Dipl.-Ing. Karsten, 'ELF', in Begich 1996, glossary.
16 Walter Russell quoted in Gruber, Stefan, 1998. 'The Petkau Effect: The End of all Nuclear Power Plants' in: The Journal of Natural Science, The World Foundation for Natural Science, Washington/Bern, p. 47.
17 Begich 1996.