Alaska Science Forum: The season of senescence is upon us


By Ned Rozell

The glorious paper birch outside the window that has for the past three weeks beamed a sunny glow is losing its luster, one golden coin at a time. The 10,000 solar panels the tree has worn since early spring are releasing their grip without a sound, and spiraling to the forest floor.

In deciduous plants, senescence means about the same as what it does in humans — the process of deterioration with age. Senescence makes me wonder what gray-haired person is looking back from the mirror. Trees and other plants are simply shedding what no longer suits them.

This photo shows Aspen trees in Fairbanks on

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