The natural world is changing in significant ways thanks to human-caused climate change. While some species are flourishing, others are already gone forever. Now scientists are looking specifically at how US forests will transform due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
"After a long a long day of photosynthesizing, do trees fall asleep? It depends on how you define "sleep," but trees do relax their branches at night, which might be a sign of snoozing, scientists said. In the only reported study to look at tree siestas, researchers set up lasers that measured the movements of two silver birch trees (Betula pendula) at night.
A computer program that learns and can categorize leaves into large evolutionary categories such as plant families will lead to greatly improved fossil identification and a better understanding of flowering plant evolution, according to an international team of researchers.
This is not the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Heat and periods of drought in summer can take their toll on late-planted trees and shrubs. Save your money and wait until late fall and winter to plant.
iStock/Thinkstock(PASADENA, Calif.) -- The devastation the California drought has caused to conifer trees in the Sierra Nevadas over the last couple of years "is far greater than previously observed," NASA scientists said in announcement of the publication of new map of the region.
In the 20th century, chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease decimated billions of U.S. trees, in forests and along urban and suburban streets. The tree diseases, caused by invasive pests, effectively changed the face of one American city landscape after another—chestnut trees were virtually wiped out and elms diminished to but a few locations—and cost local governments and homeowners a fortune.
A paper published May 10 in the journal Ecological Applications illustrates how American homeowners today bear the brunt of the burden posed by current invasive forest pests. The emerald ash borer, hemlock woolly adelgid and others are costing Americans well over $2 billion dollars a year. Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, based in Millbrook, New York, was inspired to pursue the study after realizing that in his field work he was coming across more and more hemlock and other Eastern U.S. trees that were dead or destroyed by forest pests. *** Lovett calls forest pests, present in all 50 states, the most pressing and underappreciated forest health issue today. Working with 15 other scientists to synthesize information found in previous scientific studies of invasive pests, Lovett found that, on average, 25 new pests become established in the country every decade. The scientists say efforts that exist to prevent new forest pests from entering the country are far too weak to keep up with escalating trade and an increased reliance on shipping containers—25 million enter the U.S. each year.
More than 90 percent of wood boring insects that have recently invaded the U.S. entered on wood packaging materials, mostly within shipping containers. And while the federal government does require that wood packaging material be treated to prevent pest importation and that plants are inspected upon entry to the U.S., there are simply too many shipments coming in each day to inspect everything. *** Lovett says we've been lucky not to have yet encountered an imported pest destructive to the Southeast’s loblolly pine or the Northwest’s Douglas fir, two of the country’s most commercially important trees. He estimates the economic damages would then be far greater than they already are.
However, the stakes are already higher than most people realize. Forest pests are the only threat that can decimate an entire tree species within just decades, as they did the American elm and chestnut.
Local authorities are using geospatial technology to help speak for the trees, writes Mary Jo Wagner
The benefits of trees are well documented: they improve air quality, absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade to cool streets and homes, mitigate storm water runoff, increase property values and improve our quality of life. Yet, urban forests continue to steadily decrease in significant numbers. A study published last year by the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service found that the US is losing four million urban trees per year.
Studies have shown that natural environments can enhance health and here we build upon that work by examining the associations between comprehensive greenspace metrics and health. We focused on a large urban population center (Toronto, Canada) and related the two domains by combining high-resolution satellite imagery and individual tree data from Toronto with questionnaire-based self-reports of general health perception, cardio-metabolic conditions and mental illnesses from the Ontario Health Study. Results from multiple regressions and multivariate canonical correlation analyses suggest that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions (controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors). We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. We also find that having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio-metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.
"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery -- trees talk, often and over vast distances.
Via Alexis Brantes, Luciana Viter, Online Marketing
July 6, 2016 —AUSTIN, Texas— For the first time ever, a census for trees is available in a new, easy-to-use application developed by Texas A&M Forest Service. The Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis of trees in Austin, Texas, is presented graphically in My City’s Trees . My City’s Trees enables civic leaders, community planners, elected officials and anyone with access to the Internet, to learn about Austin’s urban forest, and explore Urban FIA data by land cover, city growth, watershed
Over the last few years, this area of the park, known as the Vale of Cashmere, was battered by a spate of storms. When Hurricane Sandy tore through the New York area in the fall of 2012, the wind and rain pummeled grasses and shrubs. The storm splintered branches from tree trunks and yanked plants up by their roots; 50 mature trees were destroyed in this area alone. The park is still trying to recover. A nearby play area was constructed from the trunks and branches of the felled trees; they comprise the sides of a sandbox and a literal treehouse. But the trees' absence has been acutely felt—not least in the form of invasive species that have since proliferated. Park officials are hoping that goats—and, especially, their seemingly bottomless, multi-chambered stomachs—might offer a solution.
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