What’s a Forest Without Trees?

Trees are one of the most important natural resources: they consume carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen, building materials, and fuel. However, global forest degradation exceeds the total CO2 emissions in the US for both highway vehicles (1.7 Gt CO2e/year) and power generation (1.9 Gt CO2e/year)! A new study discusses the difference between deforestation and forest degradation and why it’s essential to account for both in greenhouse gas emissions management.

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Red Deer Takeover!

Most people would not think of red deer as powerful enough to take over farmers’ land. However, a recent increase of red deer population has devastated land in Slovakia and other European countries. A recent study determined the amount of forage red deer consume per season and the key elements affecting forage availability that determine the boom or bust of red deer.

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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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Coming out of a fire, are our forests doing just fine?: Impacts of climate change on forest recovery after wildfires

Climate change is predicted to change the frequency and severity of forest fires, but can it also impact what happens to forests after the fire? This study tries to answer that question by studying how recovery of forests after fires across the Rocky Mountains has changed with our changing climate.

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Can you see the forest for the trees?

From iconic redwoods, to tropical palm trees, to the small windblown trees of subalpine threshold forests are just about everywhere. We assume that the vast majority of people know what a forest is and what it does, but is that so? Forests are being looked at through a new lens using new methods. Researchers are trying to answer questions like: what services do forests provide, how much biodiversity do they have, and what can be done to protect them amidst so many human and environmental threats?

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Predicting nature’s trends: What is behind leaf turnover in temperate deciduous forests?

Finally, after five gruesome months spent doing field work in the Louisiana swamps sweating and inhaling mosquitos, I can sense the coming of fall. My coworker from Minnesota is not convinced however with temperatures still reaching above 90°F during the middle of the day. I try to explain that unlike further north where the changing of seasons is marked by an obvious change in temperature and vibrant alteration in the color of the landscape, seasonal change in the south takes a well trained eye to observe. The changes are a bit more obscure: A slight browning of the green swamp canopy, fewer bugs, and a small breeze. How do the trees decide the time is now to start the process of dropping all their precious foliage and why are there differences in preferred timing between various individuals living within the same area. More importantly, why do you care?

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