Tag Archive | Trees

The Forest Man of India

Meet Majuli, India native Jadav Payeng. For almost 45 years now he has been planting trees on the Island of Majuli, in North East India. Through his work, he has reintroduced vegetation to the barren, eroding island. Alone, he has now planted a dense forest larger than Central Park in New York City. His efforts have been recognized by the Former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kamar, who has dubbed him the “Forest Man of India”! Check out the video below for more information on this amazing accomplishment and the man who saved his island!

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First Global Forest Protection Platform Opens Online

Logs cut illegally, Russia

Global Forest Watch, a new, free online monitoring and alert system for forest management, was launched Thursday by more than 40 organizations, including the World Resources Institute, Google and the UN Environment Programme.

The mapping application provides near-real time, reliable data about what is happening in forests worldwide, using the latest satellite technology, open data, and crowdsourcing information.

“From now on, the bad guys cannot hide and the good guys will be recognized for their stewardship,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, president and CEO, World Resources Institute, WRI, during the launch event held at the Newseum in Washington.

In the years from 2000 through 2012, the world lost the equivalent of 50 soccer fields of forest every minute of every day for entire 12 years, a total of 2.3 million square kilometers (888,034 square miles), according to data from the University of Maryland and Google.

The countries that lost the greatest amounts of forest are: Russia, Brazil, Canada, United States and Indonesia.

Rebecca Moore, engineering manager, Google Earth Outreach and Earth Engine, said Global Forest Watch is an ambitious vision, and yet it’s both timely and achievable given WRI’s knowledge of environmental science and policy, strong partnerships, and the high-performance Google cloud technology that we’re donating to this initiative.”

Cloud computing multiplies the speed at which data can be analyzed.

Global Forest Watch can support indigenous communities, who can upload alerts and photos when encroachment occurs on their lands; and nongovernmental organizations can identify deforestation hotspots and collect evidence to hold governments and companies accountable.

Read the full story here.

Tropics Feel the Heat of Climate Change

Researchers suspect tropical forests like this are more susceptible to changes in climate than they thought.

Tropical ecosystems may be responding to global warming more energetically than anyone had expected.

Scientists from China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States report in the journal Nature that the tropical carbon cycle – the uptake and release of carbon dioxide from and back into the atmosphere – has become twice as sensitive to temperature change in the last 50 years.

A one degree rise in average tropical temperature leads to a release of around two billion more tons of carbon per year from tropical forests and savannahs, compared with the 1960s and 1970s.

This is unexpected. Climate scientists had foreseen the ability of land-based ecosystems to store carbon declining through the coming century as average global temperatures rise, but not on this scale.

Positive feedback loop
To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers looked not at the crude rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, but the year-to-year variations of traces of the gas recorded both at the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii and at the South Pole, and then matched these with mean annual temperature variations over the same timescale.

Read  the full story here.

The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees

Emerald ash borer larvae damage the ash trees they live in.

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That’s because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

After their eggs are laid in the bark of ash trees during late summer, the larvae of these beetles start to bore. They feed on the conductive tissue, where water and nutrients go up and down the tree. In infested trees with multiple larvae, the small, white, worm-like creatures about half an inch long eat their way through the tree tissue in a squiggly S-shape, cutting off what are essentially the tree’s arteries and starving the tree branches above.

Then, they burrow into the bark for the winter, where they are somewhat vulnerable to extreme cold.

Chopping into an ash tree with a hatchet in his frigid bare hands, entomologist Tom Tiddens peels back the bark, looking for emerald ash borer larvae. Native ash trees make up 20 percent of the forested land at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where Tiddens is supervisor of plant health care. He wants to see how this tiny but devastating insect has been faring through this week’s bitter cold snap that sent temperatures to 16 degrees below zero in the Botanical Garden.

Read the full story here.

Older Trees Grow Faster as They Age

The world’s biggest trees, such as this large Scots pine in southern Spain, are also the world’s fastest-growing trees, according to an analysis of 403 tree species spanning six continents.

Like a fairy-tale beanstalk, a tree can grow and grow until it scrapes the sky.

Instead of slowing down as the centuries add up, old trees speed up their growth, according to a study published today (Jan. 15) in the journal Nature.

“Trees keep growing like crazy throughout their life span,” said Nate Stephenson, lead study author and a forest ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Three Rivers, Calif.

The results of the survey of 403 tree species around the world suggest that trees never suffer the ill effects of old age. In animals, cells change and break down over a lifetime, eventually causing death. But trees seem free from this growth limit, called senescence. Instead, only disease, insects, fire or accidents such as lightning will kill a tree, Stephenson said. (He forgot to mention logging, of course.) “They never stop,” he said. “Every year, they are always putting on more weight than before.”

Read the full story here.

California’s Redwoods face new threat

California’s Redwood.

California is a magnificent state, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. It is also home to some of the most magnificent trees in the world, the giant Redwoods. These trees have survived for millennia, fending off attacks from diseases and fire. Now they face a new threat, the combined effects of sudden oak death and fire.

Usually resistant to the effects of wildfires, California’s coast redwoods are now burning as fast as other trees. But why?

Read the full story here.

Chronic Harvesting Threatens Tropical Tree

A man harvesting leaves from African mahogany to feed his cattle.

 

According a recent study, which appears in the Journal of Ecology, there is a mathematical method of estimating plant age from its size, to analyze how harvesting affects a plant’s life expectancy and to determine the plant’s life history, such as age maturity.

A West African tree, Khaya senegalensis, commonly known as African mahogany, is considered a valuable species due to drought and logging. This tree is heavily reaped for its bark, which produces medical treatments for aliments such as stomachaches and fever reduction and leaves, to feed livestock.

Click here to read the full story.

Rising Temperatures are Triggering Rainforest Trees to Produce More Flowers

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 3.20.03 AM

Slight rises in temperatures are triggering rainforest trees to produce more flowers, reports a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The research is based on observations collected in two tropical forests: a seasonally dry forest on Panama’s Barro Colorado Island and a “rainforest” with year-around precipitation in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. The authors, led by Stephanie Pau, currently at Florida State University but formerly from UC Santa Barbara, analyzed the impact of changes in temperature, clouds and rainfall on flower production. They found an annual 3 percent increase in flower production at the seasonally dry site, which they attributed to warmer temperatures.

For more information, read the full article here:

Rising Temperatures are Triggering Rainforest Trees to Produce More Flowers