lunes, 7 de marzo de 2016

Mad Max

Cualquier gallego conoce la fama del eucalipto: estropea el suelo, consume mucha agua, desprende tanta cáscara que nada crece bajo él, es una autopista para el fuego y de los primeros en recuperarse después. En el imaginario colectivo, el eucalipto es tirando a cabrón.
El caso es que el otro día me encontré este párrafo en "The Orchid Thief":
There is even a grand champion of Florida's deathless plants. It's the melaleuca, a homely tree from Australia that was brought to the state in 1906 as an ornamental landscaping plant. Melaleucas grow to be fifty feet tall, and have spongy white bark, and look a little like a eucaliptus tree with long hair. They drink so much water that they can dry out an acre of wetlands a day, so they were also used to help drain what was then considered Florida's useless swampland. In the 1970s, real estate developers had melaleuca seeds scattered over the Everglades by plane. Melaleucas love living in Florida. Since their introduction, they have multiplied by the thousands. Ther spread at the rate of fifty acres a day. They have parched and then taken over a half million of the Everglades' 7.6 million acres. Melaleuca leaves are oily and burn intensely. A melaleuca-leaf fire in 1985 left two million people in Florida without electricity because the fueled-up flames burned as high as the main power transmission lines. No one has any sentimental feelings about the species, and most people now consider them as spreading evil. The problem is that melaleucas hate to die. If a melaleuca tree is frozen or starved or chopped or poisoned or broken or burned, it will release 20 million seeds right before it dies, and resow itself in every direction, so in essence it ends up more alive than dead. The trick is to kill the tree gradually, because the shock of dying is what causes it to shoot out its seed. The ranger who led me on my first walk on the Fakahatchee was a melaleuca murder expert. He said that a tiny, pudgy  Australian weevil, known as the snout beetle, lives on melaleuca leaves and flower pods, and that 300 of them had been imported and released in the Everglades, in hope of down the melaleuca population.  He said that, otherwise, the only way to kill the tree in a non-shock way is a method called hack-and-squirt. You hack a little bit of the tree, you squirt in just a little bit of herbicide, come back after a while and hack and squirt again, and keep hacking and squirting until the tree languidly dies.
¿A qué clase de torturas espartanas somete Australia a sus árboles? ¿Cómo los deja tan dañados, tan egoístas, asustadizos como monstruos en un país extraño, con tanto miedo a morir que al huir aplastan todo a su paso?

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