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TREE & PLANT NEWS: The Summer & Fall of 2019 sticky icon

 

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Summer & Fall
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TREE & PLANT NEWS: The Winter & Spring of 2019 sticky icon

 

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Generally Covering the Plant World

 

 TREE & PLANT
NEWS

Winter & Spring
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2019

 

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Summer & Fall of 2019 Tree & Plant News

 

Previously
2015 through 2018 Tree News

 

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2019

 

June 17

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Massive Northern Forests at Risk

 

PLANTS, FORESTS, & TREES

Massive Northern Forests at Risk

Boreal forest fires could release deep soil carbon,
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Feedback Loop by Fire
"Increasingly frequent and severe forest fires could burn generations-old carbon stored in the soils of boreal forests, according to results from the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment."

"Canada’s Northwest Territories were scorched by record-breaking wildfires in 2014."

Why this is Very, Very Important
Arboreal Forest Burning Accelerating for Years

Boreal Forests Burning More Now Than Any Time in Past 10,000 Years,
Scientific American, July 2013.

Legacy Carbon
"Boreal forests have long been thought to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release into it, making them carbon “sinks.” But if bigger and more frequent fires start burning legacy carbon, these forests could start releasing more carbon than they store."

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Climate Conditions Conducive to Fine Wines Changing in Italy

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: HEAT, PRECIP, & WINE

Sour Grapes; Conditions Conducive to Fine Wines Changing in Italy

Shift to More Intense Rains Threatens Historic Italian Winery,
Penn State, August 21, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Issue
"...a lack of steady rainfall brought on by a changing climate is threatening a centuries old winemaking tradition in Italy..."

Effects of Increasing Heat & Intense Rain
"Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the increasing tendency of precipitation intensity could exacerbate the effect of global warming on some premium wines that have been produced for almost 400 years,"

350 Year Prod Record
"Intense precipitation events represent the second most important factor, behind temperature, in predicting when grapes were ready at one vineyard that's been producing wine using traditional methods since the 1650s and recording harvest dates for 200 years."

"Early harvests can prevent grapes from fully developing the complex flavors found in wines."

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Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests

 

PLANTS & TREES

Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests

Previously unknown mechanism causes increased forest water use, new study says,
Indiana University, July 31, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

New Approach
"The impacts of soil biogeochemistry on large-scale forest water use had not been investigated."

Acid Rain Consequences
"Sulfuric and nitric acid fall to the ground when fossil fuels are burned, causing acidification of the soil. When that happens, a significant amount of soil calcium washes out of the soil, and then plants suffer from calcium deficiency."

Plant Biochemistry
"Calcium plays a unique role in plant cells by regulating the minute pores, called stomata, in the plants' leaves or stems."

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Bald Cypress in Wetland Forests are East Coast's Oldest Trees

 

AMAZING ANCIENT LIFE in the WETLAND FORESTS

Prof. David Stahle in North Carolina’s Black River
Prof. David Stahle in North Carolina’s Black River, UARK Research Frontiers, Photo by Dan Griffin.
UARK Research Frontiers, Photo by Dan Griffin.

 

Bald Cypress in Wetland Forests are East Coast's Oldest Trees

Researchers document the oldest known trees in eastern North America,
University of Arkansas, May 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Oldest Trees in East US
"A recently documented stand of bald cypress trees in North Carolina, including one tree at least 2,624 years old, are the oldest known living trees in eastern North America and the oldest known wetland tree species in the world."

"...discovered the trees in 2017 in a forested wetland preserve along the Black River south of Raleigh, North Carolina."

Long Run of Ancient Trees
"The ancient trees are part of an intact ecosystem that spans most of the 65-mile length of the Black River."

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Weather Report for Cloud Forests: Death Ahead

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS

Elfin Cloud Forest
Elfin cloud forest in the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, by María Rivera.
Elfin cloud forest in the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, by María Rivera.

 

Weather Report for Cloud Forests: Death Ahead

Neotropical Coud Forests to lose what most defines them: Clouds,
USDA Forest Service - Southern Research Station, April 17, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Cloud Forests
90% Gone by 2060
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue increasing as they have been, 90% of Western Hemisphere cloud forests would be affected as early as 2060. The current cloud and frost environment of the highly diverse alpine ecosystems above these equatorial cloud forests, known as páramo, will nearly disappear.”

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TWO FACES of FOREST DEATH: Heat Causing Fires Preventing Forest Regeneration

TWO FACES of FOREST DEATH

Heat Causing Fires Preventing Forest Regeneration

Idaho Complex Fire Aftermath
Forest regeneration failure after Idaho Complex Fire, by Kimberley Davis.
Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir forest burned in the 1994 Idaho City Complex Fire on the Boise National Forest in Idaho, and little regeneration has occurred since. Photo by Kimberley Davis.

 

UM study suggests climate change limits forest recovery after wildfires,
The University of Montana, March 12, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Heat Triggering Fires is Suppressing Growth
“...climate change makes it increasingly difficult for tree seedlings to regenerate following wildfires in low-elevation forests, which could contribute to abrupt forest loss.”

Ponderosa Pine & Doug Fir
“...examined the relationship between annual climate and post-fire regeneration of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir in low-elevation forests of western North America.”

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2019 Tree Mortality Report: Forest Succession Underway, Continuing Through 2018

FOREST, TREES, & CLIMATE

Great Swaths of Ultra-Dry Death Cut the Sierra Forests
 UC Merced
Many trees in the Sierra have died in the past few years because of drought. From, Can our forests survive the next drought? Credit: UC Merced.

 

Forest Succession Underway, Continuing

Survey Finds 18 Million Trees Died in California in 2018,
US Forest Service, Feburary 11, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Tree Mortality Continues
“The USDA Forest Service announced today that an additional 18 million trees, mostly conifers, died in California since fall 2017.”

California Count
“Over 147 million trees have died across 9.7 million acres of federal, state, local and private lands in California since the drought began in 2010.”

Over, but Extreme Weather Continues...
“While the 2016-2017 winter officially ended California’s drought, below-average precipitation recorded in 2017-2018 slowed the recovery of the state’s surviving trees.”

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Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data to Water-Stunted Tree Growth

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS & OUR CHANGING CLIMATE

Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change
Forest Trees Respond to 20th Century Temperature Change, Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.
Caption & Key. Graphic Credit to Flurin Babst, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zurich.

 

Innovative Study Links Satellite & Climate Data with Tree Growth

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms,
University of Arizona, January 16, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

“The growth of forest trees all over the world is becoming more water-limited as the climate warms...”

“The effect is most evident in northern climates and at high altitudes where the primary limitation on tree growth had been cold temperatures...”

"Our study shows that across the vast majority of the land surface, trees are becoming more limited by water..."

"This is the first time that anybody has projected the tree growth responses to climate at a near-global scale."

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2019 Water Research: Can our Forests Survive the Next Drought?

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS, & PEOPLE

Bleak Current Status of Sierra Tree Mortality
Dead Trees Everywhere
 UC Merced.
Many trees in the Sierra have died in the past few years because of drought. Photo & Caption Credit: UC Merced.

 

Understanding Tree Mortality

Can our forests survive the next drought?
UC Merced, January 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Understanding Tree Mortality

“Each year our forests, grasslands and shrublands depend on water stored underground to survive the dry summers, but during multiyear dry periods there is not enough precipitation in the wet winter season to replenish that supply.”

“If the drought is long enough and especially hot, as was the case from fall 2011 through 2015, large numbers of trees run out of water and die.”

Goal
“...delved into data from sites across the semi-arid West to determine the amount of water storage available in the root zones of different areas.”

“...how dependent different areas in the West are on that subsurface water storage and how many dry years the plants can survive.”

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High Sierra & Great Basin Transforming from Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow Pack

TREES & FORESTS CHANGING WITH CHANGING CLIMATE

Winter Snows are a Primary Source of Water for the Western U.S.

University of Nevada, Reno uses 15 years of satellite imagery to study snow's comings and goings,
University of Nevada, Reno, January 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow
“...snowpacks in the Great Basin appear to be transitioning from seasonal, with a predictable amount and melt rate, to "ephemeral," or short-lived, which are less predictable and only last up to 60 days.”

"Small temperature changes can lead to large ecological changes."

"More intermittent snowpacks means water flow is more difficult to predict. We might not get as much water into the ground, throwing off the timing of water for plant root systems, reducing our supply and use, and even affecting businesses such as tourism."

The Study
“...analyzed both ground-based and satellite-based remote sensing data collected every day from 2001 to 2015.”

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New Forest-Climate Relationships Revealed by “Super Studies” Amassing & Organizing Vast Information

FORESTS, TREES, CLIMATE, & TECHNOLOGY

New Relationships Revealed by “Super Studies” Amassing & Organizing Vast Information

These nine measures reveal how forests are controlled by climate,
Santa Fe Institute, December 27, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Super Study
Functional Traits
“...vital signs for a forest are captured in key traits such as the amount of nitrogen in a tree's leaves, the leaf area, or the density of the wood. These "functional traits" can impact how trees grow -- and therefore how forests respond to climate change.”

“...analyze existing data from trait studies on forest communities to see what could be revealed about these shifts on a global scale.”

“...take what functional data we have available from databases and pair this with locally collected field data, as well as data about species abundance, to say something about climate-biodiversity relationships that we couldn't say before."

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Observing the Decline of the Doomed Forests in the Southwestern US

PLANTS, TREES, & FORESTS

Observing the Decline of the Doomed Forests in the Southwestern US

Southwest forest trees will grow much slower in the 21st century,
University of Arizona, December 18, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

75% Productivity Decline
“Southwest forests may decline in productivity on average as much as 75 percent over the 21st century as climate warms...”

Tree Core Survey Recovery
THE LOST CORES
The First Hundred Cores of 20,000 lost cores, John D. Shaw, US Forest Service
“...based on a treasure trove of about 20,000 unanalyzed tree cores discovered in a Utah laboratory about a decade ago. The annual growth rings visible in tree cores reflect each year's climatic conditions.”

Photo by John D. Shaw, US Forest Service.

“The new collection of Forest Inventory and Analysis tree cores turned up when scientists at the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station in Ogden, Utah, were moving from one building to another. The researchers were surprised to find a bunch of dusty boxes filled with tree cores that had never been analyzed.”

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Pando in Trouble: Massive organism is crashing on our watch

TREE NEWS

Pando in Trouble

  Pando Grove in fall foliage at Dr. Creek Campground, Utah, image by Paul C. Rogers.
 Pando Grove in fall foliage at Dr. Creek Campground, Utah, image by Paul C. Rogers.

Massive organism is crashing on our watch,
S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources, Utah State University, October 17, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

The Pando
"...considered the world's largest single organism weighing in at an estimated 13 million lbs. (5.9 million kg). Covering some 106 acres (43 ha) in south-central Utah's Fishlake National Forest, the clonal colony consists of more than 47,000 genetically identical above-ground stems or "ramets" originating from a single underground parent clone. Quaking aspen, Pando's iconic species, was named Utah's State Tree in 2014 and, among numerous values, is considered a staple of scenic montane landscapes in the American West. Rogers sees trends found at Pando occurring across the western states"

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AB 425: Brown Proposes Opening Up No-Permit Logging in California

TREES

Brown Channels Zinke in Legislature

Brown Opening Up Logging in California

California fires: Governor proposes easing logging rules to thin forests,
Mercury News, August 24, 2018.

MAIN POINTS

Agent for the Timber Lobby

"...Brown is proposing broad new changes to California’s logging rules that would allow landowners to cut larger trees and build temporary roads without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state."

"...one of the most significant changes to the state’s timber harvesting rules in the past 45 years."

Brown: Best Lobbyist Money can Buy

"...negotiated by legislative leaders and the governor’s office behind the scenes and had not yet been formally introduced in a bill or put up for a vote."

Trees & Roads

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2018 Tree Mortality Mitigation: Feds To Remove Millions Of Dead-Dying Trees From California’s Forests

 

FOREST NEWS

Tree Mortality Mitigation

BLM has a Plan

Feds Want To Remove Millions Of Dead And Dying Trees From California’s Forests,
Capital Public Radio, July 9, 2018.

"The federal Bureau of Land Management wants to remove dead and dying trees from 35 California counties, from Siskiyou to Santa Barbara."

"...this would include prescribed fires and “mastication” work, which is grinding up vegetation and making it less of a hazard."

"The agency estimates trees on between 2,500 and 20,000 acres of land could be cut down, burned, hauled away or chipped."

"BLM says there are 127 million dead and dying trees in California forests. Agencies working through California's Tree Mortality Task Force have removed 1.2 million since February 2015."

“The scope of the problem seems to be expanding.”

"...the plan is to pay particular attention to forest land near power lines, roads, private property and trails used for recreation."

 

The Bottom Line

I give wildfire a higher chance of removing these trees than I give the BLM...

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Particulates the "Icing on the Cake?" of Tree Mortality?

 

TREES, CLIMATE, FIRE, POLLUTION & DEATH

Drought & Pollution Driving Tree Mortality

Particulates the "Icing on the Cake?"

Particulate matter increases drought vulnerability of trees,
University of Bonn, July 16, 2018.

More Dimensions of Forest Danger

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Mariposa Grove Restoration Complete

 

 

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Mariposa Grove Restoration Complete

From parking lot to giant sequoia grove. Yosemite transformation finally complete,
Fresno Bee, June 13, 2018.

"...three-year restoration project in the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias."

"...around 500 mature giant sequoias and is the largest and best-known of Yosemite's three sequoia groves."

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ECO-CRASH NEWS: Tree Mortality, High Sierra Carnage

 

ECO-CRASH NEWS: TREE MORTALITY

High Sierra Carnage

Forest Campgrounds Dramatically Altered

Going camping this summer? You can't tell the forest from the logs and stumps,
Fresno Bee, June 1, 2018.

"No area sustained more conifer casualties than the Sierra National Forest, home to nearly 32 million dead trees according to a U.S. Forest Service report."

 

THE BOTTOM LINE
The low Winter snowpack, the increased average temps, and the massive and ongoing Sierra tree mortality gives this Summer and upcoming Fall the potential to present heightened snag dangers to campers, hikers, backpackers and horsemen, while continuing to contribute to setting wildfire records in California and the High Sierra.

 

Forests, Parks, Fires and Smoke Page

 

Forest Service
California Tree Mortality
Our forests are changing

 

 

2018 FIRE THREAT PROFOUND
Three Fire Stories

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