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  • Drought-induced changes in forest composition amplify effects of climate change
    on March 21, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    The face of American forests is changing, due to climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature that are causing shifts in the abundance of numerous tree species, according to a new article. The result means some forests in the eastern U.S. are already starting to look different, but more important, it means the ability of those forests to soak up carbon is being altered as well, which could in turn bring about further climate change. […]

  • How trees coexist: Understanding biodiversity
    on March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    One of the most fascinating topics in ecology is the exploration of interactions between plants, specifically in long-lived organisms, such as trees. In this context, it is generally assumed that tree-tree interactions are dominated by competition for resources such as light, water or nutrients. […]

  • Palm trees are spreading northward. How far will they go?
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    What does it take for palm trees, the unofficial trademark of tropical landscapes, to expand into northern parts of the world that have long been too cold for palm trees to survive? A new study attempts to answer this question. Researchers analyzed a broad dataset to determine global palm tree distribution in relation to temperature. […]

  • Tree care workers need better training to handle dangers on the job
    on March 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    A new study calls attention to post-storm hazards posed to tree care workers and provides safety recommendations. […]

  • Soil fungi may help determine the resilience of forests to environmental change
    on March 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    A major new study reveals that soil fungi could play a significant role in the ability of forests to adapt to environmental change. […]

  • Twice as many birds at a creek after water restored
    on March 15, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    A small sliver of wildness is having a big impact on the birds, fish and wildlife. Birds at Putah Creek have more than doubled since water was restored to the creek in 2000. […]

  • Growing need for urban forests as urban land expands
    on March 14, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    New research projecting urban land growth and updating urban forest values suggests that urbanization and urban forests are likely to be one the most important forest influences and influential forests of the 21st Century. […]

  • Predicting an insect community structure based on genomic variation in a tree species
    on March 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Researchers have discovered a rule to predict an arthropod community structure based on the genomic variation in a foundation tree species. […]

  • Lack of water is key stressor for urban trees
    on March 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    A recent study finds that urban trees can survive increased heat and insect pests fairly well -- unless they are thirsty. Insufficient water not only harms trees, but allows other problems to have an outsized effect on trees in urban environments. […]

  • Plants faring worse than monkeys in increasingly patchy forests of Costa Rica
    on March 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    A new study shows that cattle ranching, agriculture and other human activities breaking up Costa Rican forests into isolated patchy fragments, are causing more problems for native plant populations than for monkey species sharing the same habitat. […]

  • Elephant declines imperil Africa's forests
    on March 12, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Poaching and habitat loss have reduced forest elephant populations in Central Africa by 63 percent since 2001. This poses consequences not only for elephants but also for the region's forests, a new study finds. Without intervention to stop poaching, as much as 96 percent of Central Africa's forests will undergo major changes in tree-species composition and structure as local populations of elephants disappear and surviving populations are crowded into ever-smaller forest remnants. […]

  • Increasing tree mortality in a warming world
    on March 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    A mix of factors is contributing to an increasing mortality rate of trees in the moist tropics, where trees in some areas are dying at about twice the rate that they were 35 years ago. […]

  • Once degraded, Brazilian savanna does not regenerate naturally
    on March 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    According to study, after being converted to pastures, areas of the so-called 'Cerrado' become closed forest with poor biodiversity if not appropriately managed. This biome works as the source for much of Brazil's main river basins, and boasts biodiversity levels higher than tropical forests at the microscale. […]

  • Diverse tropical forests grow fast despite widespread phosphorus limitation
    on March 7, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Ecological theory says that poor soils limit the productivity of tropical forests, but adding nutrients as fertilizer rarely increases tree growth, suggesting that productivity is not limited by nutrients after all. Researchers resolved this apparent contradiction, showing that phosphorus limits the growth of individual tree species but not entire forest communities. Their results have sweeping implications for understanding forest growth and change. […]

  • Wildfires set to increase: could we be sitting on a tinderbox in Europe?
    on March 7, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    2017 was one of the worst years on record for fires in Europe, with over 800,000 hectares of land burnt in Portugal, Italy and Spain alone. […]

  • These tropical hummingbirds make cricket-like sounds other birds can't hear
    on March 5, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Researchers have found that a tropical species of hummingbird called a black jacobin makes vocal sounds with an unusually high-frequency pitch that falls outside birds' normal hearing range. It's not yet clear whether the hummingbirds can even hear themselves, the researchers say. […]

  • Kids persistently allergic to cow's milk are smaller than peers with nut allergies
    on March 4, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Children who experience persistent allergies to cow's milk may remain shorter and lighter throughout pre-adolescence when compared with children who are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, according to a retrospective chart review. […]

  • Landscape genetics branches out to help conserve riverside forests
    on February 28, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Scientists have examined gene flow in the endangered maple, Acer miyabei, using landscape genetics, a powerful and increasingly popular tool in conservation projects. It involves the integration of population genetics and landscape ecology, in order to examine how recent landscape changes, for example, habitat fragmentation, have affected the genetic diversity of species. […]

  • Drier conditions could doom Rocky Mountain spruce and fir trees
    on February 22, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Drier summers and a decline in average snowpack over the past 40 years have severely hampered the establishment of two foundational tree species in subalpine regions of Colorado's Front Range, suggesting that climate warming is already taking a toll on forest health in some areas of the southern Rocky Mountains. […]

  • Damage encourages maple species to become female
    on February 22, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Biologists report that striped maples not only change their sex periodically, but that they can wait until the last minute - three weeks before flowering - to do it. The switch appears to be triggered by physical damage, which can prompt a branch to flower female if it's cut off a male tree. […]

  • Seasonal patterns in the Amazon explained
    on February 22, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Environmental scientists have led an international collaboration to improve satellite observations of tropical forests. With the help of professional tree climbers, the scientists collected field data on three factors that affect canopy 'greenness.' […]

  • Tropical trees use unique method to resist drought
    on February 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Tropical trees in the Amazon Rainforest may be more drought resistant than previously thought, according to a new study. That's good news, since the Amazon stores about 20 percent of all carbon in the Earth's biomass, which helps reduce global warming by lowering the planet's greenhouse gas levels. […]

  • For green toads, species with multiple genomes have ancestors that are only distantly related
    on February 20, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Most vertebrates have two sets of chromosomes, one from their mother and one from their father – including humans who are thus diploid. In contrast, polyploidy, meaning to possess three or more sets of chromosomes is very rare in animals. To find out how new vertebrate species have evolved, and, more generally, how the current biodiversity emerged, evolutionary biologists are studying green toads (Bufo viridis) – an excellent model system for studying various evolutionary processes, because they can be diploid or polyploid. […]

  • Lasers revolutionize mapping of forests
    on February 20, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    New laser scanning technologies are being used to map forests in more detail than ever before. […]

  • Birds and beans: Study shows best coffee for bird diversity
    on February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    It's an age-old debate for coffee lovers. Which is better: Arabica beans with their sweeter, softer taste, or the bold, deep flavor of Robusta beans? A new study has taken the question to unlikely coffee aficionados: birds. […]

  • At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
    on February 15, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Butterflies offer key insights into community ecology, how species originate and evolve, climate change and interactions between plants and insects. But a comprehensive map of how butterflies are related to each other has been lacking -- until now. […]

  • Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected
    on February 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating. […]

  • Australian fire beetle avoids the heat: Its infrared organs warn the insect of hot surfaces
    on February 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    The Australian jewel beetle Merimna atrata has several heat sensors. Originally it was thought that it uses them to detect forest fires as the insect lays its eggs in the wood of burned eucalyptus trees. Researchers were finally able to refute this hypothesis. Instead, the beetle appears to need its heat sensors for a different purpose: to not burn its feet on landing. […]

  • Deforestation in the tropics
    on February 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Tropical forests around the world play a key role in the global carbon cycle and harbor more than half of the species worldwide. However, increases in land use during the past decades caused unprecedented losses of tropical forest. Scientists have adapted a method from physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests. They explain how this allows to model and understand the fragmentation of forests on a global scale. They found that forest fragmentation in all three continents is close to a critical point beyond which fragment number will strongly increase. This will have severe consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage. […]

  • Nursery stock, homeowner preferences drive tree diversity in Salt Lake Valley
    on February 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    What factors shape the formation of a new urban forest? Researchers' survey of tree species diversity in the Salt Lake Valley found that diversity can be shaped by the species available in nurseries, the preferences of the homeowners, and even the tree selections of their neighbors. […]