10 Aug 2011:
New Trees Will Rejuvenate
Declining Midwestern Forests, Study Says
A new generation of native trees is poised to rejuvenate the aging forests in the U.S.’s Upper Great Lakes region
, providing a critical source of carbon capture in the 21st century, according to a new study. While some research suggests that mature forests store less carbon over time, Ohio State University researchers say the aging trees across the upper Midwest — which they likened to baby Boomers — are being replaced with a more diverse and complex mix of trees. “They may even outdo the boomer generation and be more productive,” said Peter Curtis, an Ohio State professor and lead researcher. In a comprehensive study conducted in northern Michigan, scientists stripped the bark off thousands of aging trees to accelerate a generational shift, and then observed the characteristics of the trees replacing them. Among other preliminary findings, they determined that the canopy created by the new trees uses light more efficiently to produce carbohydrates and release oxygen than the canopy of their predecessors. And using sophisticated instruments, they found that nitrogen losses throughout the system were small even after the deaths of thousands of trees, suggesting that the forests will robustly regenerate and remain an effective carbon sink.
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A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
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An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.