“Solving the Mystery of Washington’s Bigleaf Maple Die-Off”
by Ian Rose
Earth Island Journal, January 19, 2022
Earth Island Journal Editors,
I hope you’re all doing well there. I’d like to pitch an online news report on the ongoing mystery behind the decline of the bigleaf maple in the Pacific Northwest.
The signs have been evident for at least a decade. The bigleaf maple, which can grow to 100 feet tall with leaves a foot wide, is disappearing. But unlike the plagues that have swept through other American trees like chestnut and oak, there is no clear culprit in the maples’ case. A new paper in the journal Forest Ecology and Management re-examines the decline of this iconic tree species and suggests a combination of factors, including climate change, but the exact cause remains a stubborn mystery.
I would interview two of the authors of this new paper (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378112721007714), Patrick Tobin from the University of Washington and Amy Ramsey from Washington State Department of Natural Resources. If necessary, I also have contacts in Oregon state resource departments I could ask for comment.
I am new to science writing and hoping to break in as a freelancer, but I have always been a writer. My published fiction is available here – https://ianrosewrites.com/bibliography/. My formal training is in marine biology, specifically the seabirds of the North Pacific, which I studied on both the Oregon and Alaskan coasts for Oregon State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Here is one paper that research produced – https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/MO_37_3_227-236.pdf
I hope this finds some interest there, and welcome any feedback you have for me. Thank you.