Green spaces that are more than just green

Many urban ecologists are looking to shift the perception of what the “green” in green space should actually signify. New avenues within lawn research and development can help communities embrace wildness over uniformity in urban ecosystems, and push for the creation of urban green spaces that are more resilient to climate change.

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Climate change can make it harder to help your neighbors – increased insect damage in diverse forest stands during drought

if you’re a tree trying to avoid being eaten by insects, it matters who you’ve got next to you: is it your own species, or another one? Often you’re better off with another species as a neighbor, but a new study shows that climate change can turn this upside down.

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Drought! What is it good for? Native plants

Climate change predictions show that extreme events, including extreme droughts, will be more common in the future. From 2012-2015, California experienced the most extreme drought in over 1,200 years. Scientists from the University of California examined seeds in the soil and plants growing in grassland communities at the beginning of the drought and two years into the drought. They found that the seeds of native plants increased in the soil during the drought, while seeds of non-native grass species that generally dominate the landscape decreased significantly. Their findings suggest that brief, periodic droughts may benefit native plants that produce drought-resistant seeds.

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Snow: More Than Just the Backdrop for your Favorite Winter Olympic Sport

Even if you don’t live anywhere near mountains, it is very possible that the water that comes out of your tap originated as snow in the mountains. Many places rely on melting snow from the mountains to supply water downstream for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems. However, melting is not the only thing that can happen to mountain snowpack and scientists are trying to figure out where else it goes and how that could change in the future.

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The Dynamic Duo: Pine trees partner with fungal communities to survive climate change

With climate change comes increased drought, which can have serious consequences on many species. This study examined whether one tree species, the Pinyon pine, can rely on a relationship with fungal communities in its roots to survive drought conditions. Does the relationship last? Read on to find out.

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From bad to worse: nitrogen deposition amplifies negative impacts of drought in California’s biodiversity hotspots

The release of excess nitrogen into nature, for example through fossil fuel combustion, still gets relatively little attention in the public debate about biodiversity threats, especially compared to climate change and habitat destruction. But human-driven nitrogen increases in natural ecosystems demand our attention, as they can worsen the negative effects of climate change in biodiversity hotspots, and threaten some already endangered species.

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Thirsty trees are more susceptible to damaging beetle infestation

Summer, winter, and multi-year drought events initiate outbreaks of the damaging spruce beetle. Droughts suppress the ability of trees to produce chemicals to defend themselves against the fatal bugs.

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