Accelerated Ecology

As planetary surface temperatures continue to rise the area in which trees can survive extends further north.  The maximum range of tree cover is called the treeline.  The velocity of global warming, accelerated by the human species’ burning of fossil fuels has opened territory to vegetal colonization faster than many plants evolutionary means of migration.  A common trait of invasive species is their ability to rapidly colonize new environments.  In the remote areas of the arctic at the treeline, novel strategies will be required to assist the successful advance of native tree species in order to outpace invasive species and maintain high levels of biodiversity.  This is Operation “Early Breakfast.”


The primary means of transportation between many arctic communities in the Canadian North is by air.  The map below shows the location of the communities where this is the case.  Also mapped is the extent of the arctic treeline across the North American continent.  At this extreme climactic and evolutionary divide small fluctuations in environmental factors can mean the difference between life and death for fauna and flora.  While black spruce is most commonly found growing at the northern limits of the treeline, a host of other trees survive in this zone.


The plan below shows the termination of the Dempster Highway at Inuvik, Canada's only all-weather road to cross the Arctic Circle. Beyond Inuvik the arctic treeline boundary is crossed most commonly by airplane.  Carrying repurposed cluster munitions with modified anti-personnel fragmentation mines, vast quantities of seeds sourced from native species can be delivered to territory previously inhospitable to tree growth.


Significant research and design has gone into maximizing the effective radius of anti-personnel mines.  This logic is inverted and the new anti-entropic devices are modified to cast seeds – life, with a maximum area of effect.


Modified fragmentation mines are deployed by airplanes as they travel in the proximity of the arctic treeline.  The M692 is a 155 mm artillery projectile that carried 36 M67 mines.  These were normally armed with a long delay self-destruct fuse.  If modified by altering the battery and trigger mechanisms, these mines are reimagined to detonate with environmental stimulus.  When ecological and environmental conditions are met the cluster munitions detonate and deploy seeds over a maximum radius.


Fionn Byrne, “Operation: ‘Early Breakfast’,” in Maya Przybylski & Lola Sheppard (eds) At Extremes: Bracket 3, (New York: Actar, 2015): Forthcoming.