Check out this week’s Forest Digest:
- “Climate Isn’t Changing Forests as Much as We Thought” — Nature World News
Changes in disturbance regimes have had a much bigger impact than climate change in the changing composition of eastern forests, according to research from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. The study shows that eastern forests are still in a state of disequilibrium resulting from massive clear cutting and burning during the late-1800s and early-1990s, and aggressive forest fire suppression had also had a greater influence on shifts in dominant tree species than minor differences in temperature.
- “If you plant different trees in the forest, is it still the same forest? “ — The Guardian
The Nature Conservancy is working to help Minnesota’s North Woods by using a controversial technique to experiment the effect of climate change on trees. The organization wants to test “assisted migration,” a lightning-rod conservation practice that broadly means moving species from one region to another to either help that species or the target region adapt to changing conditions. It is a nuanced issue: If the trees moved from distant zones prove to adapt well, this kind of assisted migration could be adopted as a way to maintain the health of forests that might otherwise be decimated by climate change; however, critics argue that this type of intervention would change the essential character of the forest.
- “Watching 3-D videos of trees helps people recover from stress, researchers say” — University of Illinois
A study led by researchers at the University of Illinois is believed to be the first study to describe dose-response curve derived from exposure to nature. The found that viewing 3-D videos of residential streets with varying amounts of tree canopy significantly improved participants’ physiological and psychological recovery from a stressful experience.
- “Students tag trees for annual appreciation week” — The Montana Kaimin
In honor of National Forest Products Week, students from the University of Montana placed tags displaying the financial and environmental benefits that each tree brings to their campus. The students used a “tree benefit calculator” that uses algorithms based on tree species and climate range to determine values such as carbon storage, air quality, and energy savings. The trees on their campus are collectively worth over $2 million.