EDRO

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One Step Away From Collapse

Posted by edro on February 17, 2009

Civilizations are and have always been just a step away from collapse

According to the following news item, generation-long droughts in Indochina led to the collapse of Angkor, an advanced civilization that occupied the modern-day Cambodia, about 700 years ago.

Another long spell of drought in the mid-18th century caused the collapse of all kingdoms in Southeast Asia including Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Killer droughts recorded on tree rings

fokienia-hodginsii

Fokienia hodginsii can reach 30 m in height and up to 2.2 m in diameter on flat land. © Andrei Kuznetsov [Large-scale logging has resulted in the species disappearing or becoming scarce in parts of its range, notably in northern Viet Nam and southern China. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.]

Researchers from the United States and Japan have discovered  details of generation-long  droughts in Indochina going as far back as 700 years by studying tree ring core samples from Fokienia hodginsii, a rare species of ancient conifers that grows in Vietnam’s cloud forests, Reuters reported.

They discovered two persistent drought periods  in the early 1400s, which coincided with the collapse of the large and wealthy Angkor civilization in what is now Cambodia.

“There was a very significant multi-decadal drought in the early 1400s with the worst drought year being 1417,” said Brendan Buckley of the Tree Ring Laboratory at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in the United States.

A third major drought lasting at least 30 years occurred in the mid-18th century, said Buckley, who worked with Masaki Sano and Tatsuo Sweda of Ehime University of Japan studying the tree rings of Fokienia.

“All of the kingdoms in Southeast Asia collapsed, in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos between 1750-80,” he said.

“The research is helping unravel the complexity of the annual monsoon that usually begins during March-May and on which millions rely to grow crops, particularly rice in the Mekong Delta. It could also help understand how climate change could affect the densely populated region and its economies.” Reuters reported.

“Buckley said the chronology constructed from  36 conifer trees found in a national park near Dalat showed a strong correlation between dry spells and the El Nino weather pattern that typically brings drought to Southeast Asia and eastern Australia.”

“It’s an amazing site, really, so it’s a real breakthrough in tropical tree ring studies,” he said.

“Fokienia is an exceptional tree species because of the way it grows and responds to drought,” he said, adding the data was corroborated with a lot of historical records, such as ancient lanna palm leaf texts from Thailand and accounts of foreign merchants, plus tree-ring data from teak trees in Thailand.

“What the Fokienia trees are most keenly tuned into is the length of the monsoon. Longer the monsoon, the trees grow more.”

D2 —> D4 =  Collapse of a Civilization

The relationship is simple:

  • No water =  Drought
  • Too much water =  Floods [Deluge]
  • Drought and Deluge =   NO Crops [food]
  • No Crops = Famine
  • Famine = Divergence + Displacement + Death + Disease [leading to more death]
  • D2 —> D4 =  Collapse of  Civilization

Related Links:

W: 510, I: 1; L: 4

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One Response to “One Step Away From Collapse”

  1. [...] One Step Away From Collapse [...]

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