Taxonomy term

forest

Surveying forests from afar

Traditional surveys of forest health and diversity take hours of hiking and sampling by scientists who can only cover relatively small areas. Satellites, meanwhile, can survey large swaths of land, collecting information about forests in a fraction of the time that a ground survey might take. But the resolution and types of satellite data available don’t always allow for detailed studies. Now, a team of ecologists is staking out the middle ground by developing airborne laser scanning techniques to create high-resolution maps of tree species diversity to monitor changes in forest ecosystems.

22 Mar 2018

Fossil forest recorded ancient sunspots

The sun’s surface is home to dark, relatively cool blotches of high magnetic activity known as sunspots, which vary in number over a roughly 11-year cycle. In a new study in Geology, scientists found evidence of this solar cycle dating back 290 million years to the Permian Period.

05 May 2017

Comment: To intervene or not to intervene: Improving the environment

Are science and technology enemies of the environment, or can they help us effectively and sustainably manage it?

08 Dec 2016

Aerosols help mitigate ill effects of Amazon fires

Forest fires across the Amazon Basin — many of which are set intentionally to clear land for human use — burn thousands of square kilometers each year, releasing roughly 240 billion kilograms of stored carbon to the atmosphere. According to a new study, however, the vast amounts of black carbon and other aerosolized particles also sent into the skies by such fires offset much of this carbon loss by stimulating increased photosynthesis.

24 Sep 2015

California's big trees dying of thirst

From the days of John Muir’s treks through the valleys and peaks of the Sierra Nevada, California’s majestic forests have attracted nature lovers from around the world. Since Muir’s death in 1914, though, dramatic changes have taken hold. Across the state’s forests, small trees are more common while large trees have declined in number, and oaks seem to be taking over where pines once ruled. A new study cites drought due to warming as a major driving force behind these changes.

29 May 2015