George Yatskievych tells the story of Missouri's once-common hawthorn, a tree in decline. "Humans have an effect on the landscape that isn't always predictable," he says. Fencing cows that once kept woodlands open was just the beginning, and now a rust disease is taking a toll. It's a cautionary tale: "There's a ripple effect that's often unpredictable until after the fact." It isn't only the hawthorn we should care about: “All of these plants matter,” he says. George is Curator of the Flora of Missouri project at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. He talked with us in October 2013.

Watch more stories like this on the Truth About Trees website, at truthabouttrees.org/digitalstories/.

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