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Forest Digest: December 10, 2017

December 10th, 2017|

Credit: Thombattu

Find out what’s happened this past week in the world of forestry!

Did Climate Change Worsen the Southern California Fires?The Atlantic

Yes. And no. It’s complicated. One major causational factor is the onset of hot dry air exacerbating the conditions for wildfire, which is connected to the melting of Arctic sea ice. However, another contributing factor is the Santa Ana winds, which blow from the desert to the sea. Measurements have shown that the winds have not increased in strength or duration, but studies say they may become more common by the end of the century.

Freezing trees, finding answers – Science Daily

Researchers are predicting that the prevalence of ice storms will increase in the future, as a result of climate change. However, what they don’t know is how this will affect trees. One solution? Make your own ice storms. Scientists at the U.S. Forest Service have been spraying water on parts of forests during cold nights, simulating ice storms and measuring their effect on tree health. It’s hoped that the experimentation will provide insight how trees adapt to tremendously cold weather.

Water Your Christmas TreeSlate

The National Institute of Standards and Technology produced a  video showing how quickly a dry tree can catch fire compared to a tree that’s watered every day. In less than 30 seconds, the dry tree was completely engulfed in flames! Water your tree every day, and keep it away from open flames.

Holiday sneezes: How your Christmas tree can affect allergies – WTOP FM

If you find yourself sniffling around the holiday season, the culprit could be your Christmas tree! People with asthma and allergies can be especially affected. The number one culprit: mold on your tree. In order to limit the exposure to mold, Dr. Rachel Schreiber recommends wearing a face mask when adding water to the tree, or using a funnel to limit your exposure to moldy water. For artificial trees, make sure to shake off dust before putting it up!

Preventing deforestation might be expensive, but it will cost us more if we don’tPopular Science

Forests serve as “carbon sinks,” absorbing greenhouse gases and removing carbon from the atmosphere, but only if they’re kept around. Deforestation through clear-cutting and burning causes all that carbon to be released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. New reports show that worldwide governments are still investing more capital in agriculture and land development, even though reforestation will contribute more in the fight against climate change.

Mixed Forests Are Healthier, But Can They Survive Climate Change?EcoWatch

Two recent studies on biodiversity and forest health paint a complicated picture on the effects and health of a biodiverse forest. One study from the Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research has found that forest stands with more species are healthier, store more carbon and resist pests and disease at a higher rate. However, a second study by the University of Antwerp has found that biodiverse forests may not be able to recover from extreme climactic events.

Mountain Trees Love DustAtlas Obscura

It’s well-documented that dust clouds will travel intercontinentally, high up in the atmosphere, serving as a source of vital nutrients for certain ecosystems, but scientists didn’t think that it was happening high on mountaintops. New research published in Science Advances has found that dust travelling from Asia and depositing along the Sierra Nevada Mountains was key to replenishing mineral content in the soil necessary to support plant life.

What would happen if all trees disappeared? – Treehugger

See the effects of a hypothetical in this infographic produced by Alton Greenhouses. What would happen? In summary: nothing good. Major droughts, flooding, mass extinctions and possibly even the end of the human race!

‘Stressed out’ cocoa trees could produce more flavorful chocolate – Phys.org

According to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cocoa trees grown in a monocultural environment, resulting in more stress on the individual trees, produced cocoa beans that had a higher antioxidant content and a lower fat content. It’s thought that these chemical differences could lead to changes in taste of the cocoa bean flavor, but more research is needed.

Thanks to climate change, the weather roasting California and freezing the East may thriveThe Washington Post

Currently, the west coast is experiencing hot and dry weather, while the east coast is about to be struck by a cold snap. This weather effect is a result of a weather pattern known as the North American Winter Dipole, a surging jet stream of air creating contrasting temperatures around the country. Researchers believe that this weather pattern is related to the loss of Arctic sea ice due to climate change.

December 10th, 2017|0 Comments

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