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Posts Tagged "trees"

Culturing Science

City Trees Grow Faster, But Seedlings Struggle to Take Root

western-red-cedar-200

Urban areas are growing in size–and with them, the number of trees influenced by city life. While development often leads to deforestation, there are still a significant number of trees growing in the shadow of cities. According to a report released in 2000, 2.8% of tree canopy cover in the U.S. is in cities, and [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Hemlock Extinction Looms over Tennessee Forests

hemlock sq

The branches of the massive eastern hemlock loom more than 30 meters above us, but instead of craning our necks to look up Tennessee state botanist Todd Crabtree draws our attention closer to the ground and the thumbprint-sized dot of yellow paint near the base of the tree. This little dab of color is the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rare Tree, Dependent on Fire, to Leave Endangered Species List

Santa Cruz cypress

Natural forest fires were once an important part of the life cycle of the Santa Cruz cypress, a rare tree that today exists in just five mountainous groves in California. Fires cleared out competing plants from around the trees and, crucially, the heat caused their cones to release their seeds—the main way the species reproduces. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

World’s Largest Owl Needs Equally Large Trees and Forests (But It’s More Complex Than That)

Blakiston's Fish owl

With a body the size of a small child and a wingspan of up to two meters, the Blakiston’s fish owl (Bubo blakistoni) is the largest owl in the world. It is also one of the rarest, shiest and least studied. But that didn’t stop a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Giant Tortoises and Baobab Trees: Imperfect Apart

Aldabra giant tortoise sq

Remove a species from an ecosystem and other species tend to suffer. Take the giant Madagascar tortoise, for example. The two species of giant tortoises on Madagascar went extinct centuries ago, but their loss is still being felt today. According to new research, the extinction of these tortoises robbed one of the island’s iconic baobab [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Climate Change Could Wipe Out Amazing Baobab Trees in Madagascar

baobab

The Ewe people of Togo, Africa, have a proverb: “Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.” The proverb refers to the massive trees of the genus Adansonia that can live thousands of years, reach 30 meters into the sky and achieve trunk diameters of 10 meters or more. One baobab [...]

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Extinction Countdown

What Happens When Forest Elephants Are Wiped Out in an Ecosystem?

forest elephant family

As go the elephants, so go the trees. That’s the message of a new study published in the May 2013 issue of Forest Ecology and Management that found more than a dozen elephant-dependent tree species suffered catastrophic population declines in new plant growths after forest elephants were nearly extirpated from their ecosystems. The fruit-bearing trees [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Guerrilla Marketing to Save Mountain Gorillas: Renewable Energy to the Rescue

gorilla marketing virunga national park

How does dressing up in a really bad gorilla costume help to save endangered mountain gorillas? Well, it’s not actually the costume itself that’s important; it’s what the man inside the costume is also carrying. Take a look at the photo to the left. In one hand, the costumed gorilla holds an energy-efficient stove. In [...]

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Extinction Countdown

2 Trees Twice Thought to Be Extinct Rediscovered in Tanzania

Erythrina schliebenii

How’s this for luck? Two tree species that scientists believed were extinct—twice—have been rediscovered in a remote area of Tanzania. According to a paper published in the Journal of East African Natural History, the two species were rediscovered in the remote, highly fragmented and rarely explored Namatimbili–Ngarama Forest, 35 kilometers inland from the Indian Ocean. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Bad News for Christmas: Frankincense Faces Uncertain Future

frankincense tree

Frankincense—that aromatic staple of the original Christmas story—could soon be “doomed” to near-extinction, according to research published December 21 in the Journal of Applied Ecology. Frankincense is an aromatic resin used in perfumes and incense. It comes from trees of the Boswellia genus, which grow mostly in the Horn of Africa and Arabian Peninsula. The [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Whitebark Pine Turned Down for Endangered Species List

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) are at risk of extinction due to climate change and invasive species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) declared on Monday, but the trees will not be added to the endangered species list because other as yet protected species are a “higher priority.” (In other words, there’s just not enough [...]

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Observations

Did Human Ancestors “Walk” Up Trees? [Video]

human ancestors walk tree

A new study suggests that we might be thinking about tree climbing in our recent ancestors all wrong. The traditional idea that our ancestors descended from the trees and gradually—and exclusively—began walking upright might be a gross over simplification. Fossil evidence from early hominins suggests that adaptations for tree climbing, such as long arms and [...]

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Observations

Climate Change Could Delay Fall Foliage Colors [Video]

It’s that time again: time to take a hike and enjoy the splendid fall foliage. Or, if you live in a tourist town like I do, time to see “leaf peepers” driving their cars aimlessly throughout the countryside searching for a stand of incredibly red maples or golden oaks. If climate change continues on its [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Wordless Wednesdays: Photogenic Palms

By far, my favorite palm tree I photographed. I love the Golden hues in the sunlight and next to the green.

I think I have found my photographic calling, taking pictures of palm trees. I swear they love my camera. I am actually considering submitting one of my Golden Palm photos to the National Geographic Photo contest. I’m really proud of some of my photos. And my time here is winding down. I fly back home [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Wordless Wednesday: You’re a star

star shaped red leaf of sweetgum tree

Today’s Wordless Wednesday was inspired by yesterday’s post: Urban Science Adventure: Art and Science of Autumn Leaves. This star-shaped leaf is from a Sweetgum tree. This leaf shape is also called palmate, since it resembles the palm of the hand.  All of the leaf veins for each of the ‘fingers’ or points of the star all [...]

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