There’s an international flavor kicking off this week’s Forest Digest. Get all your forest news this week, as there will be no Forest Digest next week when American Forests and our staff celebrate Thanksgiving.
- “Pew, Pew, Pew! NASA Space Lasers to Map Earth’s Forests in 3D” — Space.com
A new laser instrument developed for the International Space Station is expected to generate 3D maps of Earth’s forests. The instrument, called Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), uses lidar, a special kind of laser technology, to create detailed 3D maps and measure the biomass of forests. The maps will allow scientists to estimate the total amount of carbon stored inside the planet’s trees. One of the most poorly quantified components of the carbon cycle is the net balance between forest disturbance and regrowth, and these advances will help monitor forest degradation, adding to the critical data needed to mitigate the effects of climate change.
- “Fracking to be permitted in GW National Forest” — ABC News
Environmentalists and energy boosters compromised a deal that would allow fracking in the largest national forest in the eastern United States, but would make most of its wood off-limits to drilling. The federal management plan reverses an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing in the 1.1 million-acre forest that the U.S. Forest Service had proposed in 2011. A total ban would have been a first for America’s national forests, which are commonly leased for mining, timber and drilling. However, some environmentalists were pleased that at least some balance was struck between energy development and conservation.
- “Study: 11 million acres of dry NW forests need restoration” — KTVZ – Central Oregon News
More than 11 million acres of dry forest in Oregon and Washington are in need of restoration, according to a new study by scientists for The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service. The study, published in Forest Ecology and Management, is a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of where, how much and what kind of activities are needed across the fire-adapted forest landscape to restore ecological processes.
- “Quaking aspen trees dance with life” — Mother Nature Network
Why are the aspen trees so unique? Well, perhaps because it has several species, with only two that can be found in North America. Or the fact that the aspen is a tree of many names, like the trembling aspen, white poplar, or even “popple.” The National Park Service even says that “it may be better not to think of aspens as trees at all”, as they grow from a large underground network of roots and spout up via asexual reproduction. They are uniformly yellow because each tree is identical, part of the same organism and sprouting from the same system of roots. This solidarity lends itself to a long life, allowing us to admire its beauty for quite some time.