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on the trees in portland as described by chatgpt, part 1

I wanted to know what the recent artificial intelligence chat bots could do, I wanted to try one; so I joined ChatGPT.  I asked it to write an essay on the trees found in Portland, Oregon.  The following is what it wrote; I did not change anything.

Portland, Oregon is known for its lush greenery and towering trees that dot its landscape. These trees not only add to the aesthetic beauty of the city but also play an essential role in the ecosystem and the overall well-being of the city’s residents. In this essay, we will explore the various types of trees in Portland, their significance, and the challenges they face.

Portland’s location in the Pacific Northwest region provides a conducive environment for the growth of various types of trees. The city boasts of several tree species, including conifers, deciduous, and evergreen trees. One of the most iconic tree species in Portland is the Douglas Fir, which is also the official state tree of Oregon. Douglas Firs can grow up to 330 feet tall and 14 feet wide, making them one of the tallest and largest trees in the Pacific Northwest region. They are popularly used as Christmas trees and are also a source of timber for the logging industry. Other conifers in Portland include Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar, and Sitka Spruce.

Portland is also home to several deciduous trees such as the Bigleaf Maple, Oregon White Oak, and Pacific Dogwood. The Bigleaf Maple is a common tree in Portland, and its leaves can grow up to 12 inches wide. They are known for their beautiful yellow and orange hues during the fall season. The Oregon White Oak, on the other hand, is the only native oak species in the Pacific Northwest region. It is a slow-growing tree that can live up to 500 years. Its acorns are a source of food for several wildlife species, including squirrels and deer.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Evergreen trees are also a significant feature of Portland’s tree population. These trees retain their leaves throughout the year, providing greenery even during the winter season. Some of the common evergreen trees in Portland include the Pacific Yew, Port-Orford-Cedar, and the Madrone. The Pacific Yew is a small tree that grows up to 50 feet tall and is known for its medicinal properties. Its bark contains a compound that is used in the production of chemotherapy drugs. The Port-Orford-Cedar, on the other hand, is a slow-growing tree that can grow up to 180 feet tall. It is a valuable timber source, and its wood is used for construction and furniture making.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Trees play a vital role in the ecosystem, and Portland’s tree population provides several benefits to the city and its residents. One of the primary benefits of trees is their ability to purify the air by absorbing pollutants such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Trees also absorb excess rainwater, reducing the risk of flooding and soil erosion. Their roots stabilize the soil, preventing landslides and mudslides. Trees provide shade, reducing the urban heat island effect, which can lead to a significant increase in temperature in urban areas.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

Portland’s tree population also provides habitat and food for several wildlife species. Birds, squirrels, and other animals make their homes in trees and depend on them for food and shelter. Trees also contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the city, making it a desirable place to live, work, and visit. Portland’s tree-lined streets, parks, and natural areas provide residents with a sense of connection to nature, reducing stress and improving mental health.

Despite their significant benefits, trees in Portland face several challenges, including urbanization, pests, and diseases. As the city continues to grow and develop, more land is cleared for construction, leading to a decline in tree cover. The loss of trees has a significant impact on the ecosystem, reducing habitat and food sources for wildlife species. Trees are also vulnerable to pests and diseases such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease. These pests and diseases can quickly spread and decimate entire neighborhoods.  (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail. Cliquez sur une vignette pour l’agrandir.)

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. That is amazing. I will check out the colours of autumn leaves that your article mentioned. Tom

  2. Becky #

    So now you don’t have to write anything.

  3. Grace Herr #

    No attribution? As an English teacher, how would you evaluate student essays in the AI world?

  4. Hello, Grace. I was thinking about you when I pushed the button for these two posts. Really. In fact, I toyed with the idea of inserting a second paragraph, after the first, that would have said, “I used to teach English at the high school level. I wonder what my former department head would be thinking right now.”

    With AI there is no attribution, is there? The words and thoughts come from a vast world of sources that has no distinction. Maybe I should tell ChatGPT to site its sources. I wonder what would happen.

    I did tell it ChatGPT to write an essay, instructions I gave to my students many times. I would say to them, “Write an essay on trees.” I would not say, “Write something on trees.” Note the response of ChatGPT. Opening paragraph with theme sentence, following paragraphs with their thesis sentences, and then the concluding paragraph. Straight out of a textbook.

    I have had my share of students who had plagiarized their work. I am glad I am not required to deal with AI and chat bots and the temptation to use them.

  5. I asked ChatGPT to write an essay on Portland and also to cite its sources. It did and it cited four, The New York Times, The Oregonian, Travel Portland, and Powell’s Books.


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