If so, here’s your chance to help shine a light on the effect that man-made electromagnetic fields (EMF) are having on trees.
The ‘Dead Tree Detective’ citizen science project, which is being run in association with Western Sydney University and the University of New England, gives people Australia-wide the opportunity to report observations of tree death. The project’s ‘About’ webpage explains that “In the past, there have been many occurrences of large-scale tree death that were initially identified by concerned members of the public such as farmers, bushwalkers, bird watchers or landholders. Collecting these observations is an important way to monitor the health of trees and ecosystems”.
Let’s take this opportunity. It may be that anecdotal information linking EMF to tree-death will be given greater weight than the reports of adverse health effects of EMF exposure on humans. So far there has been deafening silence from Australian health authorities when SSMA has requested smart meter post-rollout health surveillance surveys.
Contributing to the Dead Tree Detective project is easy. You’ll need to be able to upload your photo/s and give the latitude and longitude coordinates. If you haven’t got the coordinates, the entry screen gives you the option of marking the location on Google Maps, and they will automatically be inserted. If the EMF source is a tower, you can also obtain the latitude and longitude coordinates for these from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s website here. (If you type in the suburb where the tower is, it will bring up a map showing all the towers and then you can click on the tower you’re interested in to get the latitude followed by the longitude, along with the accuracy.) You can just load one set of photos or you can revisit the location in later months to document what happens to the tree/s.
You’ll need to register to upload data. If you like, you can use a pen name, nickname or pseudonym as your login name. You can also check out the data that other members of the public have already entered.
SSMA suggests that, in addition to recording existing dead or dying trees, you might also like to start taking observations when a tower or other EMF-source is being upgraded, or being installed. If you are able to take a photo of the infrastructure whilst this is occurring so you have proof of the date for future reference, all the better. Remember, depending on the topography of the location, the height of the trees and whether there is a line of sight from a tower or other EMF-emitter, it may be trees hundreds of metres away that bear the brunt of the radiation.
If you want to look at the calculated maximum levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (EME) around an existing and/or proposed wireless base station you can obtain an Environmental EME Report. Go to the Radio Frequency National Site Archive to access. (You can use the Search function located at the top of the webpage without logging in.) ARPANSA explains here that these values are calculated at 1.5 metres above a flat landscape (so considerably below the point that trees might be exposed to radiation).
Make sure when you load data on to the Dead Tree Detective that you include in the ‘Additional notes or comments’ box information about the proximity of towers or other EMF-emitters to the tree/s and any information you have obtained about the services that the infrastructure is hosting!
For assistance in recognising visible damage in trees exposed to radiofrequency radiation, download Helmut Breunig’s excellent report, entitled ‘Tree damage caused by mobile phone base stations: An observation guide’.
For an explanation of why trees are damaged by radiofrequency radiation, see ‘Why Our Urban Trees Are Dying’ by Andrew Goldsworthy, PhD.
Alfonso Balmori Martinez’s paper, The effects of microwaves on trees and other plants, also offers valuable insights.