How do trees die from drought? Plant ecophysiologists are studying air bubbles in tree water columns to understand hydraulic failure: in other words, when tree water columns stop working. Their goal is to improve forecasts for tree responses in a changing climate future. Here is a brief summary of how hydraulic failure works and an introduction to three recent papers on the topic.
Public land management often neglects to consider intertwined ecological and human histories. Assessing both ecological data and Indigenous history, new research suggests that co-management offers a pathway towards better honoring traditional practices and increasing forest resiliency.
From a distance, it sounds like thunder. Explosive charges blast five hundred feet or more of bedrock from mountain peaks across Appalachia. New research highlights how mountaintop removal can harm Appalachia’s children, not just its landscape.
In the 21st century, urbanization has become one of the most dominant forms of land use in the world. As natural ecosystems are converted to city landscapes, how do urban forests play a role for both birds and humans?
Large-scale, uncontrollable wildfires are expected to break out more frequently and burn with a greater intensity due to climate change. Preventing and responding to these extreme events is an unavoidable challenge that will require using natural solutions, technology, and policy.
Globally, the conversion of forest land for agriculture and livestock rearing is among the key threats to tropical forests. Harvesting non-timber forest products can be a sustainable alternative source of livelihood for forest-dependent communities. A recent study from Brazil considers the potential of the açaí palm in enabling forest conservation and ending poverty.
The way leaves reflect and absorb light can drive the climate of the entire planet. Darker leaves absorb more light, trapping heat and subsequently warming surrounding ecosystems. A recent study shows that climate change may be changing leaf properties, making them darker.
Protecting livelihoods while simultaneously protecting forests can be a difficult task. However, recent research suggests that investing in innovating social programs is an effective way to improve livelihoods of forest-dependent communities, without putting pressure on the environment.
Scientists studied the effects of changing soil moisture on plants over the twenty-first century. They found that with the increase of droughts, plants are losing their power to take in carbon dioxide, even when dry years are followed by years of heavy rainfall.
Tropical forest conservation for climate change mitigation is commonly thought to automatically benefit biodiversity as well. New research finds that optimizing for forest carbon sequestration may not always promote biodiversity. However, by co-managing for both, it is possible to achieve large biodiversity gains with only small decreases in carbon storage.