Topical issues: nature

Our natural world is under assault from human activity. The trouble is, to recognise damage to nature reveals also the risk to ourselves. ‘Progress’ is in the hands not of individual people, nor their elected representatives and politicians. It is in the hands of the free market, the large corporates who set the direction of our world through creating profit streams however they can. We don’t have to identify this as evil; rather it is almost inevitable. We are persuaded of the benefits of convenience and consumerism, and we are the source of the profits and the stimulant to corporate behaviour and the setters of social trends. What we must do is to observe, to ask questions, and be honest enough with ourselves to recognise that nothing we do is without consequence. If we are custodians of our children’s futures, we must accept individual and joint responsibility for the condition of our planet.


Here are examples of honest concern over EM fields from telecoms affecting wildlife:

  • The Kompetenz initiative writes urgently to bee associations and beekeepers and explains about EM fields and bee colony collapse
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Concerns Over U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Concerns Over Potential Radiation Impacts of Cellular Potential Radiation Impacts of Cellular Communication Towers on Migratory Birds and Communication Towers on Migratory Birds and Other Wildlife Other Wildlife – Research Opportunities Research Opportunities

Electromagnetic fields and trees

There are some very interesting pieces of research and anecdotal evidence related to possible physiological effects of EMFs.

Research indicates that microwave radiation may be partially responsible for some cases of partial deforestation:

  • Hertel HU, Wattenwil S: ‘Der Wald stirbt und Politiker sehen zu’, raum&zeit, Nr. 51/91, Ehlers-Verlagpp. 3-11 (The forest dies and politicians watch)
  • Volkrodt W, Bad Neustadt: ‘Mikrowellensmog und Waldschäden – Tut sich doch was in Bonn?’, raum&zeit, Nr. 52/91, Ehlers-Verlag 51/93 (Microwave smog and forest damage – is Bonn reacting after all?)
  • Volkrodt W: ‘Droht den Mikrowellen ein ahnliches Fiasko wie der Atomenergie?’ (Are microwaves threatened by a fiasco similar to that of nuclear energy?)

Dr Hertel’s work also includes photographs and maps of an apparently effected areas, with the photos showing what is alleged to be damage to tree growth caused by microwaves – with markedly different ring profiles noted on different sides of the cross-sections taken through the trunks. Lines of deforestation followed line of transmission. Though there are other possible explanations for some noted occurrences such as the light and shade the trees have been exposed to in the past and geoelectromagnetic anomalies affecting growth patterns and die-back, the research seems highly competent and worthy of further investigation.

Further aspects

  • Growth stimulation in Vicius fabus at power density of 0.0000000027 µW/cm2, Growth inhibition noted at 0.0027 µW/cm2 (Brauer, (1950), ‘Experimental studies on the effect of meter waves of various field intensities on the growth of plants by division’, Chromosoma, Vol. 3 pp. 483-509)
  • Premature aging of pine needles at power density of 0.000027 µW/cm2 (Selga T, Selga M (1996), ‘Response of Pinus sylvestris L. needles to electromagnetic fields. Cytological and ultrastructural aspects’, The Science of the Total Environment Vol. 180, pp. 65-73, Elsevier Science BV)
  • Smaller tree growth rings at power densities of 0.0027 to 0.065 µW/cm2 (Balodis V, et al. (1996), ‘Does the Skrunda Radio Location Station diminish the radial growth of pine trees?’ The Science of the Total Environment 180:57-64.)
  • Damage to trees – ‘Oak Die Back’. In the book Electromagnetic Environments and Health in Buildings (2004) edited by Derek Clements-Croome (p. 263), Anne Silk noted in that in work she did for the Forestry Commission on very rare conditions of oak trees, ‘Oak Die Back’, where ‘the tree dies from the top down, instead of from the roots upwards as is usual. ... [She] was given over 100 sites in the UK and was able to pinpoint the common distance between sick trees and high multi-mast user. This would appear to indicate that such (modulated) fields interfere with plant hydraulics and the electroosmotic processes taking place within the trees themselves by masking natural electrical fields, particularly those experienced under ‘fair weather’ conditions. Alternating or inverted fields have already been shown to have biological effects on humans and animals – see Jamieson KS, Bell NB, ‘Distorted current flow – the forgotten factor in EMF research? Part 1.’, European Biology and Bioelectromagnetics, 2005;1(1):1-5
  • Radial Growth of Pine Trees: Balodis V, Brumelis G, Kalviskis K, Nikodemus O, Tjarve D, Znotina V, (1996), ‘Does the Skrunda Radio Location Station diminish the radial growth of pine trees’, The Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 180, No. 1, 2 February 1996, pp. 57-64(8). Abstract:
    The Skrunda Radio Location Station (RLS), which has operated continuously for more than 20 years, has created a unique area for the study of pulse radio-frequency electromagnetic field effects. Trees were chosen to assess these effects. Since 1990, permanent plots have been established in pine forest stands around the Skrunda RLS and in control areas. The dynamics of tree growth changes were analysed using retrospective tree ring data. There is a statistically significant (P < 0.01) negative correlation between the relative additional increment in tree growth and the intensity of the electric field. The radial growth of pine trees has diminished in all plots that received electromagnetic radiation. This decrease in growth began after 1970, which coincided with the start of operation of the Skrunda RLS, and was subsequently observed throughout the period of study. The effects of many other environmental and anthropogenic factors were evaluated, but no significant effects on tree growth were observed.

Leylandii are notable for their ability to screen EM fields, but a long time ago the antenna properties of trees were known:

Charles Claessens, Verband Baubiologie, notes: ‘I have screwed a screw in some trees in my garden. On them I placed a contact antenne and recorded the signals coming from them. I have to place them on my website shortly. I am told, that some 15 years ago, somebody in Germany has a tree dying. He placed a screw in the tree, placed a thick wire on it and connected the other end to a ground rod placed farther away. The received signals now did not go through the roots of the tree, but landed in the ground rod. This tree got healthy again. Yes, trees absorb a lot of radiation.’