WALDSTERBEN: Sudden Aspen Decline
July 2, 2013
De Lane Bredvik
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Aspens in a forest are not separate individual trees. Each is a stem connected to a single ancient root system that often spans many acres and can be several tens of thousands of years old. They are among the largest and oldest living things on earth.
Last year two Front Range Arts organizations celebrated their own longevity: 40 years for the Sangre de Cristo Art Center in Pueblo, and 30 years for the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Colorado Springs. While arts organizations may seem to sprout up individually across a wide region, like an Aspen forest, they are part of a larger inter-connected energy, sharing vision and a passion to support the arts.
As a conceptual representation of this interconnectivity, my installation "Waldsterben: SAD, sudden aspen decline" hangs in an expanded set of grid coordinates originating in the Sangre de Cristo Art Center where it was first commissioned. Subsequent exhibitions were positioned in the same grid system. This serves as a reminder that we are all part of and belong to a greater sustaining whole.
- De Lane Bredvik
Waldsterben: SAD, sudden aspen decline
"Waldsterben" is the German word for "forest death." It emerged 40 years ago to describe the first massive forest mortality events due to human industrial activity.
Colorado's aspen forests are currently experiencing "Waldsterben." Almost a quarter of all aspen forests in Colorado have died in the past ten years. Scientists labeled this phenomenon "sudden aspen decline" because the cause was not clear. Researchers now understand that increasing cycles of heat and drought triggered by global climate change is the cause.