Loose Leaf is proud to introduce Forest Digest! Once a week, we will share recent forest-related news from around the world.

Check out this week’s news in trees:

“Tree rings give scientists information about weather conditions hundreds of years ago”The Washington Post
David W. Stahle, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas, samples and analyzes the growth rings of the bald cypress trees of Virginia. The width of the rings helps Stahle to understand the weather experienced in the area long before it was inhabited by early settlers.

“USDA Releases State by State Impacts of Limited Wildfire Suppression in Recent Years”United States Department of Agriculture
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that limited federal firefighting funds, which are intended to be spent by states on wildfire preparedness and forest restoration among other outlets, have instead been utilized to fight fires, as other budgets could not provide adequate coverage. Every state is impacted differently by its spending. Across the board, however, the use of these funds has resulted in the weakened value of forest protection programs.

“In Effort To Improve Air Quality, Scientists Explore Plan To Use Trees To Clean Pollution”Associated Press/HuffPost Green

Dow Chemical and the Nature Conservancy are teaming up to reforest the city of Houston in order to cut back on air pollution. The project is inspired by research from the Environmental Protection Agency that indicates that plants─ particularly trees─ collect pollution in their leaves and prevent it from entering the atmosphere.

“Saving trees in tropics could cut emissions by one-fifth, study shows”Phys.Org
Research funded by the Natural Environment Research Council shows that tropical forests collect two billion tons of carbon annually. This number accounts for one-fifth of yearly global carbon emissions. As the climate grows warmer, the amount of carbon emissions from tropical forests grows too. However, researchers conclude that tropical forests could absorb even more carbon if all deforestation efforts were halted.