And Now The News …

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 17, 2019: PG&E to judge: We’re doing more tree work than any utility ‘has ever done before’

An attorney for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. defended the company’s tree trimming to a federal judge Tuesday, describing its efforts to prevent more wildfires by heavily clearing vegetation around power lines as necessary and unprecedented in reach, even while conceding some major flaws in the program. PG&E admitted to U.S. District Judge William Alsup that its contractors have failed to cut or fell every tree that could collide with electrical equipment and ignite a fire, but the company blamed a lot of that on the broadly increased scope of the program. The PG&E lawyer also said the software that contractors use to track their vegetation management work does not always accurately show the location of power lines. Alsup, who is overseeing PG&E’s probation from the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline blast, set the San Francisco hearing because of a recent critical report from the company’s court-appointed monitor. In the report, the monitor said his team found PG&E contractors had overlooked “numerous trees” and identified “substantial record-keeping issues related to the Company’s pre-inspection and tree work processes…”

Associated Press, September 17, 2019: Reward offered in death of woman struck by piece of tree

A group is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the death of a woman hit by a falling piece of tree at an Ohio state park. Forty-four-year-old Victoria Schafer was struck Sept. 2 near Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park and died at the scene. Authorities initially believed the part of the tree that hit the Chillicothe woman fell on its own but the Ohio Department of Natural Resources later said it had evidence indicating there may have been foul play…

Seattle, Washington, KUOW Radio, September 17, 2019: Dead tree after dead tree.’ The case of Washington’s dying foliage

When Jim and Judy Davis moved to their property in Granite Falls two and a half years ago, the trees in their 25-acre forest were healthy. Then the hemlocks started to turn brown. Now, “if we were to walk this path completely — it’s about a quarter of a mile — this is what you would see,” Jim Davis said, “just dead tree after dead tree. “It’s just a feeling of sadness and helplessness.” So the Davises called in Kevin Zobrist. “I feel like I’m always coming out to a crime scene, you know: another dead tree, another one lost, coming out to investigate,” Zobrist said. Zobrist is a forestry professor at Washington State University. He said this isn’t just a problem on the Davis’ property. “When I drive up and down the highways around western Washington, I just see dead and dying hemlocks all up and down the roads,” Zobrist said. “We first noticed it right around 2016, and now I just see it everywhere.” And it’s not just hemlocks. Western red cedars and big-leaf maples are struggling as well. All three species are native to western Washington. Zobrist isn’t the only one seeing this: KUOW’s listeners have been writing in to ask about why they’re seeing so many dead trees. Zobrist thinks the answer lies in climate change…

Richmond, Virginia, WTVR-TV, September 15, 2019: Unpaid tree stewards cut limbs ‘to fill a void’ in Richmond

Volunteers with the Richmond Tree Stewards pruned trees in heavy traffic areas and where folks frequently walk in hopes of making neighborhoods safer Saturday. Dana Marshall said the group’s tree care and pruning work helps the city, which is unable to tend to all of Richmond’s numerous trees. “They’re in the parks and have the big equipment,” Marshall explained. “So with the pruning we can really help and sort of fill a void that’s a little more challenging for the city to do on its own.” That is because city crews tend to focus on larger, dead trees. The tree stewards help with smaller limbs on healthier trees, like the one Marshall clipped in Church Hill. “Right now I’m cutting these limbs, there’s some limbs up here that could drop on cars,” Marshall said. “Assuming maybe a school bus could [drive] under here. It’s for the safety of people and vehicles, but it’s also for the tree…”

San Francisco, California, Chronicle, September 17, 2019: Forest Service seeks bids to thin dense stands of trees

The U.S. Forest Service, faced with the slow pace of forest thinning, is seeking proposals to remove dense stands of trees in a wide swath of Arizona to help prevent wildfires. The work is part of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative, the largest project of its kind within the Forest Service. It eventually will cover 3,750 square miles (9,712 square kilometers) along a prominent line of cliffs that divides Arizona’s high country from the desert. The bidding opened Monday for work on up to 1,278 square miles (3,310 square kilometers) in parts of the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto national forests. The proposals are due Dec 16. Contracts would be awarded in April. “The intent of the RFP is to support existing industry, attract new sustainable industry and to significantly increase the pace and scale of forest restoration while creating jobs, restoring our forests, protecting communities and downstream water supplies,” regional forester Cal Joyner said in a statement. Those keeping tabs on the project have been frustrated by the pace of the work done so far. The Forest Service set a goal of having 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) mechanically thinned each year, but only about a third of that has been done on average. “We all know how underwhelming the results of 4FRI have been,” Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott said at a recent science conference in Flagstaff…

Phys.org, September 18, 2019: Tree-planting to offset carbon emissions: no cure-all

A few euros, a couple of mouse clicks and a tree is planted—as air travel is increasingly becoming a source of guilt, consumers and companies are looking for other ways to ease their conscience and reduce their carbon footprint. But as more polluting industries join efforts to offset their carbon emissions, the effectiveness of the approach is open to debate, with some critics suggesting that tree-planting schemes are nothing more than a fig leaf. Once marginal, the offset movement has even reached the arch-enemy of environmentalists: big oil. Shell has ploughed $300 million (270 million euros) into forest plantations to reduce its carbon footprint by 2-3 percent, Italy’s ENI has set an objective of zero net emissions via its forestry investments, and France’s Total plans to set up a special “business unit” next year to spend $100 million annually on compensation efforts. Beyond the grand statements, carbon offset schemes basically follow the same, simple mechanism…

Washington, D.C., WUSA-TV, September 12, 2019: Leafy neighborhoods being rocked by ‘unprecedented’ wave of sudden tree deaths

Howard Sumka is stunned at how fast a mature hickory on his property line with Sligo Creek Park went from leafy green to completely dead in a few short weeks. “It’s heartbreaking,” Sumka said, as he showed WUSA9 the telltale powdery sawdust residue piled at the base of the stricken tree. The sawdust was produced by a common tree-boring insect called the Ambrosia beetle. The tree, like many others in Silver Spring, Takoma Park and similar neighborhoods, was attacked as it struggled to recover from two seasons of extreme weather according to University of Maryland Entomologist Dr. Michael J. Raupp. Such trees are now dying in large numbers more quickly than ever, Raupp said. “We’re in an extraordinary situation, with record rainfall back in 2018, the wettest year on history here in Maryland,” Raupp said. “You pile on top of that now, the hottest July since records have been kept. You’ve had two major stressors. You’ve got trees that are balanced on a knife’s edge and it’s simply not going to take a lot to push them over the edge. And what’s putting them over the edge is these Ambrosia beetles.” Raupp said mature “veteran” trees are most at risk, particularly oaks…

Chico, California, Enterprise-Review, September 12, 2019: Local and federal officials negotiating unprecedented tree removal deal

Local and state officials are scrambling for funding to help remove hazardous burned trees from the areas where people are starting to rebuild. The challenge is not new to California’s fire-prone communities. But the scale here is so large that it is butting up against the limits of what federal authorities are allowed to do after a disaster. Local and state officials are currently negotiating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse the removal of at least some of the trees. If they get the millions of dollars they hope will help, it would set a precedent for recovery from catastrophic wildfires in residential areas. Meanwhile, residents are looking up and getting scared. Foresters estimate that the Camp Fire burned half a million to a million trees, turning many into public hazards. The rate of tree mortality could be at least 80 percent. “I want to rebuild, but I don’t feel that I can really start because I don’t want to put myself or workers in danger,” said Pete Samuel, a longtime Paradise resident. “I’ve seen enough trees fall down in this town that I know what can happen. I’ve seen people get killed. Is that what it’s going to take?” A burnt oak recently fell on his neighbor’s vacant lot, just on the other side of his fence. Another one across the road is leaning dangerously to one side. Its leaves, once green, have started to die off…

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Argus-Leader, September 12, 2019: Have tree branches in your yard? Here’s what the city will take care of.

With Tuesday’s storms resulting in damage to trees all around the city, it’s important to know what you’re responsible for cleaning up and what the city will take care of. According to a release from the city, tree debris that have fallen into the public right-of-way — on a sidewalk, boulevard or street — will be cleared by the city. Any tree debris on private property is the responsibility of the homeowner. In the event that a tree has fallen on private property that reaches across into the public right-of-way, city crews will cut the tree at the sidewalk and clean up the debris in the public space. The homeowner is responsible for the remaining tree debris.The city emphasized that debris gathered and placed on the curb will not be removed by the city, and should be disposed of by the homeowner…

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Sun-Sentinel, September 12, 2019: Tree-cutting companies volunteer time to care for veterans’ cemetery

Professionals from local tree service companies will unite at the South Florida National Cemetery west of Lantana for a volunteer day of service dedicated to U.S. military veterans. Saluting Branches, Arborists United for Veteran Remembrance is a nonprofit organization that donates tree care at veteran properties. Celebrating the fifth annual day of service on Wednesday, Sept. 18, more than 3,000 tree industry professionals and other volunteers across the nation will donate a full day by doing what they do best — caring for trees. “We join with tree care companies around the country to honor our nation’s veteran’s by providing free tree care services,” said Sonny R. Peppers, director of South Florida National Cemetery. “Together we make these cemeteries safer, more beautiful resting places for those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.” Participating local companies are yet to be announced, said event organizer Michael Zimmerman of Zimmerman Tree Service in Lake Worth Beach. “I look forward to giving back and taking care of the place where those that gave their life have their final resting place,” one previous volunteer said…

Newsweek, September 11, 2019: Amazon’s Tallest Tree Has Been Discovered and It’s Far Bigger Than It Should Be, Baffling Scientists

Sometimes even the largest natural wonders can remain hidden from human view for centuries. The Amazon is a dense place, full of life with new species of flora and fauna being discovered every other day. Now, using the same technology that takes driverless cars from A to B, we—led by Eric Gorgens and Diego Armando da Silva, and along with colleagues from Brazil, Swansea, Oxford and Cambridge—have discovered the tallest tree in the rainforest. At 88 meters tall (288 feet), it dwarfs the previous record holders by almost 30 meters (98 feet). And it’s not alone either. The Guiana Shield of north-eastern Amazonia, which accounts for nearly nine percent of the world’s remaining tropical forests, may contain lots of these gigantic trees. With each one able to hold as much carbon as an average hectare of rainforest, our discovery means that the vast jungle may be a greater carbon sink than previously thought. We didn’t just stumble upon these trees while strolling in the forest. Between 2016 and 2018, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research coordinated a project to laser scan large swaths of the Amazon. This project scanned 850 randomly distributed patches of forest, each 12km (7.4 miles) long and 300 meters (984 feet) wide. Seven of these patches contained evidence of trees taller than 80 meters (262 feet)…

Cleveland, Ohio, Plain Dealer, September 11, 2019: Cuyahoga County awards nearly $1 million to cities, civic groups in County Executive Budish’s tree canopy restoration plan

Cuyahoga County on Wednesday announced $950,000 in awards to cities and other organizations as part of County Executive Armond Budish’s five-year plan to help restore the county’s tree canopy. The awards range from $11,000 to $50,000 and are being provided to 26 cities, community development corporations and other civic groups to help them lay groundwork for future tree planting. Budish rolled out the plan during his 2019 State of the County speech as part of his Climate Change Action Plan. He cited a 2013 county assessment that found the tree canopy covers 110,000 acres — about 38 percent of county land. But 371,000 more acres are available for potential tree cover…

Dallas, Texas, Morning News, September 11, 2019: When squirrels attack: How to prevent the little beasts from gnawing on your trees

The person who figures out how to eliminate squirrel damage deserves a fortune. There are no foolproof solutions, but there are some relatively effective solutions to some of the damaging habits of these pretty little beasts. Squirrels like to eat maturing fruits and nuts. Me too. Repellents don’t do well, so for some damage control, put netting over the plants. It’s often too much trouble and sometimes ineffective, but it’s about all we have. The squirrel’s precision gnawing to get the tasty black walnut meat is fascinating. The symmetry of the work is impressive. Bark eaten from trunks and limbs of Japanese maples, redbuds, fruit trees and other thin-barked trees is easier to control. It’s reported that squirrels chew on tree branches to sharpen and clean their teeth. That’s probably not true. They can sharpen their teeth by rubbing them together. The real reason for this damage is the attractiveness of the sugar accumulations in the tree. The solution is to uncover the root flares of the trees and apply the rest of the Sick Tree Treatment. Once healthy again, the trees won’t be so attractive to munch on…

Denver, Colorado, Post, September 11, 2019: A beetle that burrows into spruce trees has infected Denver city parks

Beetles that feast on spruce trees have invaded Denver’s parks and now crews are cutting down infected trees, starting Wednesday in Cheesman Park. On Wednesday morning, two crews cut down three trees, and they have plans to remove nine more by the end of the week, Cynthia Karvaski, a Denver Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman, said. In all, parks officials have found 74 infected trees in city parks. The trees have been invaded by the Ips engraver beetle, a species that burrows beneath bark to feed on a tree’s nutrients and lay eggs. The beetle infestations occur in nine-or ten-year cycles and cause trees to die, creating the risk of branches falling and putting people and property in danger. The beetles are drawn to trees that are newly planted, sick or simply weak. “The trees have been stressed from drought,” Karvaski said. “Once they’re infested, there’s no treatment. And it spreads…”

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Gazette, September 10, 2019: Iowa’s beloved ‘Hula-Hoop Tree’ could be cut down

Fans of one of Eastern Iowa’s most whimsical tourist attractions are hoping against hoop it will be saved. The Hula-Hoop Tree, a scraggly, leafless tree decorated with hundreds of the plastic hoops, for years has brought onlookers to the small community of Amber, home to about 35 houses. People have memorialized birthdays and wedding anniversaries at the tree. A Facebook page with over 3,200 followers is devoted to it. But now there are concerns about dangers the Hula-Hoop Tree poses. Jones County supervisors are scheduled Tuesday morning to hear a report from their attorney about liability questions. It was about 2015 when the first hoops appeared in the tree. Now there are hundreds of them. There are a lot of stories about how hoops came to be in the tree, said Bobby Krum, president of the Amber Community Club. But he is partial to the story about a group of employees from Monticello that started throwing hoops in the tree on payday. “It’s helped put Amber back on the map,” Krum said. “It’s whimsical. A nice, feel-good family event. People can throw hoops, make a wish.” While Krum fully supports the tree and what it brings to the community, it was the Amber Community Club that brought its concerns over safety to the supervisors, he said…

Newport News, Virginia, Daily Press, September 10, 2019: Whatever happened to local elm trees after deadly fungal disease struck Virginia?

Elm-lined streets were once ubiquitous in America. The trees’ success throwing beautiful, shady canopies over urban environments made them one of the most popular to plant in the country. Then a nightmare hit the elm streets. Dutch elm disease, caused by a fungal pathogen spread through bark beetles, took the U.S. by storm starting in the 1930s. Millions of trees were taken out, and no effective cure has been found. But did elms survive in Hampton Roads? Local reader Merrily Dethier-Best wondered recently and submitted the question to The Virginian-Pilot’s Glad You Asked initiative. “Once they were so prominent and then they were gone,” she wrote in an email to The Pilot. “I know I am looking back a very long time ago, but they were a lovely shade tree.” American elms are still present in the landscape, said Katlin Mooneyham, forest health specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. But they’re always at risk. There are three native elm species in Virginia: American, winged and slippery. They’re all highly susceptible to Dutch elm disease, which is still present throughout the Eastern Seaboard…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 10, 2019: Dorian takes out 80% of trees in Cavendish area of P.E.I. National Park, Parks Canada says

About 80 per cent of the trees in the Cavendish area of P.E.I. National Park were lost after suffering damage from post-tropical storm Dorian, Parks Canada says. It also estimates about two metres of coastal erosion in the park after the storm. Parks Canada has yet to fully assess the damage caused by the storm, said spokesperson Annette Campbell. “Upon first assessment, it was determined that there is extensive damage to the coastal forest in the Cavendish part of the park, with approximately an 80 per cent loss of trees,” she said in a statement. The area most affected is the west side of the park in Cavendish. Damage to infrastructure is also being evaluated at this time…

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Gazette, September 10, 2019: New trees and teen jobs combine in deal approved in Cedar Rapids

Under a new initiative, Cedar Rapids will forgo competitive bidding for annual tree planting in favor of forming a partnership with a Marion nonprofit — Trees Forever — to handle most plantings in public rights of way and foster a youth employment program. Initially, about 10 local teenagers ages 14 to 18 are expected to earn $10 an hour planting, caring for and watering trees through the program called Growing Futures. Similar programs operate in Des Moines, Indianapolis and Atlanta. “More trees will survive and I love the training program to this and everything about it,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said Tuesday before voting for it. The City Council, at its regular meeting Tuesday, approved the plan unanimously. The agreement pays Trees Forever $125,000 a year for five years, or $625,000 total, and calls for the planting of at least 2,150 trees in that time. Some additional tree plantings outside the scope of the contact — such as those tied to major road repairs — is also expected…

Phys.org, September 10, 2019: Ash tree species likely will survive emerald ash borer beetles, but just barely

“Lingering ash.” That’s what the U.S. Forest Service calls the relatively few green and white ash trees that survive the emerald ash borer onslaught. Those trees do not survive by accident, and that may save the species, according to Penn State researchers, who conducted a six-year study of ash decline and mortality. The research shows some ash trees have varying degrees of resistance to the strangely beautiful, invasive beetle from Asia. The study is unique because it took place at a plantation of ash trees planted on Penn State’s University Park campus in the mid-1970s. “We found that genetic variation exists in trees from around the country, and through time—especially as the emerald ash borer population collapses because host trees are rapidly disappearing—the resistance that we observed will likely ensure the survival of the species,” said Kim Steiner, professor of forest biology, College of Agricultural Sciences…

New York City, Daily News, September 9, 2019: Exclusive: City agrees to take responsibility for sidewalks damaged by tree roots

Big Apple officials are offering homeowners some re-leaf. The city will announce Tuesday that it will no longer issue violations for sidewalk damage caused by city-owned trees, the Daily News has learned. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Mayor de Blasio reached a deal to address the growing backlog of sidewalks damaged by street tree roots and agreed that going forward, the city, not homeowners, will be responsible for fixing them. Heastie said residents of his Bronx district have been up in arms over liens and violations issued for cracked and uneven walkways in front of their homes. “This has been a huge quality of life concern for my constituents who have invested their savings in purchasing a home, only to be hit with this liability through no fault of their own,” Heastie told The News. Going forward, liens will no longer be imposed on one, two or three family properties where sidewalk damage is caused solely by city trees. The city is also ramping up its efforts to take care of problematic pavement across the five boroughs…

Daily Signal, September 9, 2019: Michigan Brothers Push Back Against Town’s Retaliation in Christmas Tree Farm Fight

When your favorite tool is a hammer, every project looks like a nail, and apparently, a similar rule holds true for local government. When said government’s favorite tool to get its way is threatening residents with ruinous, unconstitutional fines, its response to every problem is to threaten them with even larger, more ruinous—and more unconstitutional—fines. It’s time that the court puts a stop to it. Two years ago, brothers Gary and Matt Percy removed scrub brush from their property in order to plant Christmas trees for a Christmas tree farm. The township of Canton, Michigan, decided to fine the brothers almost $500,000—more than the property is worth—for removing “trees” (defined as anything with a 2-inch wooded stem) without a permit. The brothers fought back by going to the local news media, and eventually, filing a civil rights lawsuit arguing that Canton’s tree ordinance is unconstitutional. Canton responded with increasingly aggressive acts of harassment against the Percy brothers. Shortly after the Percys went to the media, Canton began sending threatening emails chastising them for talking to reporters. Canton also called in several frivolous complaints against the Percys’ business, A.D. Transport Express, with state and county agencies—all of which were dismissed. When that failed, Canton began sending local code-enforcement officers to A.D. Transport (which had operated safely there for 25 years) to search for potential code violations. Such blatant retaliation for the exercise of civil rights violates the First Amendment, so the Percy brothers filed a separate federal civil rights lawsuit to stop the ongoing harassment in hopes that they could operate their business in peace while they litigate the tree-ordinance claims…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, News 12, September 9, 2019: Hearing held over cutting down historic trees in Amagansett

A hearing was held Monday discussing whether old, historic trees can be cut down on a piece of land where development is not allowed. The hearing involves the Peconic Land Trust, a well-known and well-respected land preservation organization, and an Amagansett man named Randy Lerner. Lerner bought a 6-acre parcel of undeveloped land. Two days later, he started clearing the property of trees. The Land Trust got a court order stopping the cutting of the trees, arguing that it violates terms of the sale. But the property owner argues that the land is what’s called an “agriculture preserve,” and that he’s got the right to clear trees to farm the property. Attorney Anthony Pasca says Lerner farms other properties in Amagansett and cleared the trees so he could farm this land. “If you are a farmer and you have an agricultural reserve, you don’t have to notify anybody,” said Pasca. “So there’s no permission required to go ahead and farm the land, there’s no permission needed from the town. They want you to farm the land…”

Tampa, Florida, Tampa Bay Times, September 8, 2019: Clearwater announced it would cut down 155 trees. Most were sick, officials said. Residents are upset.

About an hour into the neighborhood gathering, Mayor George Cretekos had had enough. Cretekos strode to the front of the meeting area at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church while residents bickered loudly, and called for calm. The issue that had the crowd so riled up? Trees. More specifically, the city’s plans to remove about 155 trees from Crest Lake Park as part of a $6.4 million park redesign. The park is at its 60 percent plan stage; final design plans could be put before the city council as soon as this fall. Located at Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Lake Drive, untold numbers of vacationers headed to Clearwater Beach pass Crest Lake Park on their way. It’s near the gateway to downtown. But just a few years ago, citizens complained that the 38.5-acre park, which should be a display of the city’s natural beauty, had fallen into disrepair. In 2013, a few days after a 22-year-old man was stabbed to death near the park, one resident wrote a letter to the Tampa Bay Times calling Crest Lake a “refuge for the homeless and a hunting ground for the violent.” The park’s revitalization has become one of Cretekos’ signature initiatives. That was the context for the Aug. 28 Skycrest Neighborhood Association meeting, where residents asked officials a variety of pointed questions about the plans for the park: about its new bathroom, whether to add more benches and about the new sand volleyball court. Dozens attended the gathering, including the mayor, City Manager Bill Horne and at least three 2020 city council candidates. But in an era of rainforest infernos and bleak climate change assessments, the tree removals loomed largest at the meeting…

Denver, Colorado, Post, September 8, 2019: Boulder’s battle against emerald ash borer tree loss fueling local woodworking economy

Even as Boulder County foresters press on in their fight against the invasive emerald ash borer harming the local tree population, officials acknowledge it is a losing battle. But it is one lovers of ash trees don’t have to walk away from empty-handed, even as sickened trees are in line for removal or have already been sawed to stave off the infestation. Woodworkers like Evan Kinsley, who several years ago started the Boulder-based business Sustainable Arbor Works, have turned to ash trees to supply their furniture and art crafting practices as a way to maintain the local benefit provided by the species slated for a countywide death at the hands of the insect. Emerald ash borer has already dramatically altered the composition of forests across the middle and eastern regions of the country. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with a local hardwood like ash,” Kinsely said…

Washington, D.C., Post, September 8, 2019: This tool will show you exactly when fall foliage will peak across the country

The heat may still feel relentless in your town, but rest assured, fall is coming. Sweltering temperatures won’t stop you from dreaming in flannel. People posting “hot girl summer” photos can’t prevent the onslaught of pumpkin-spice-everything. Whether you’re ready for summer to be over or not, you must accept the passage of time, so might as well take a trip to see one of the planet’s most beautiful natural phenomena: the breakdown of chlorophyll. What’s essentially leaves starving has made way for the spinoff phenomenon known as leaf-peeping — a breed of tourism exclusively about finding fall foliage, admiring it and photographing it. Cue the 2019 Fall Foliage Prediction Map on SmokyMountains.com, a site promoting tourism in that region. The interactive tool is one of the most helpful resources to reference as you plan your autumnal adventures. “We believe this interactive tool will enable travelers to take more meaningful fall vacations, capture beautiful fall photos and enjoy the natural beauty of autumn,” data scientist and SmokyMountains.com chief technology officer Wes Melton said in a statement…

Wellington, New Zealand, Newsroom, September 9, 2019: The unpopular tree sucking carbon from our air

To measure how much carbon is in a tree, you first have to kill it. You slice up the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves and roots and dry the dismembered tree parts in an oven. Then you weigh them. “It takes a long time,” says Euan Mason, a professor at the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry. “I did some in 2012 with two students, and in six weeks I think we did 25 trees.” Sacrificing trees like this is expensive, but researchers need these measurements. Typically, about half a tree’s dry weight is carbon, which you can multiply by roughly 3.7 to work out how much carbon dioxide the tree has sucked from the atmosphere. Once enough trees of different ages and species have been dissected, the results are used to help build computer models estimating how much carbon is in a hectare of living forest, or an entire country’s worth of trees. Forest owners can use models like this to see how much money they can claim for carbon credits under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Similar estimates tell the Ministry for the Environment that New Zealand’s forests removed 24 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere in 2017, enough to offset 29 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this CO2 was absorbed by Pinus Radiata, a species much-loved by commercial foresters for its astonishing rate of growth, but seemingly little-loved by anyone in the general population…

Ft. Bragg, California, Advocate-News, September 5, 2019: The Camp Fire left a million trees dead. Can Butte County remove them all?

The Camp Fire left a staggering million trees dead or dying — at least — and the logs have almost nowhere to go. Because Butte County has a dearth of local sawmills and biomass power plants, the high costs of transporting logs hours away is hampering the removal of burned trees. That raises the hazard for those returning to the burn scar: there are at least 400,000 trees at a high risk of falling in Paradise and Magalia, according to a survey by Sierra Timber Services. So local officials are now considering a slate of options to process the trees locally, from restarting a biomass power plant in Oroville to building a wood-powered heating and cooling system in Paradise. “As a Fire Safe Council, we know that there has always been a hindrance in that you have to take the product somewhere,” said Jim Broshears, the Butte County Fire Safe Council’s treasurer. “And not only will this mass from the Camp Fire have to be dealt with, urgently, but so will the ongoing mass we need to get out to get the forest in a healthy condition.” The shortage of local tree processing sites is part of a statewide trend. The number of sawmills in California has gone down from around 100 a couple decades ago to 25, said Rich Gordon, the president and CEO of the California Forestry Association. That’s because there are fewer timber sales…

Bloomberg News, September 5, 2019: Cocoa Trees Are Being Ravaged By a Disease With No Known Cure

It’s a nightmare scenario for a cocoa farmer: walking through your plantation you spot some red-veined leaves. Maybe it’s a big lump on one of the branches. You know immediately the tree is doomed, infected by the deadly swollen-shoot disease. Even worse, the plants around it are probably contaminated too, but you can’t be sure because the symptoms can take years to appear. Swollen shoot is unique to West Africa, where about three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is grown. The disease was identified nearly a century ago, yet scientists say a cure is years away and early detection methods are only just being introduced. This year, a devastating outbreak in the world’s No. 2 cocoa grower is renewing urgency to find a solution. Ghana has cut its crop forecast by 11% this season because of the disease, people familiar with the matter said previously. About 16% of the country’s cocoa crops are infected, according to George Ameyaw, a senior scientist at the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana…

Dover, New Hampshire, Foster’s Daily Democrat, September 5, 2019: ‘It’s gigantic’: Tree clearing angers Dover neighbor

Local residents were upset about the clearing of trees and other greenery near the intersection of Fisher and Elm streets Thursday, but city officials say there’s nothing unlawful about the activity and the private property owner and contractor involved have all the necessary permissions. Sandra Cohen, who lives at 34 Fisher St., close to the site cleared, said she thought the work was “disgusting” and “ridiculous.” She and other residents of the neighborhood also expressed concern for wildlife that called the land home. “It’s gigantic, and those trees are never coming back,” Cohen said, describing the clearing. According to Assistant City Manager Chris Parker, less than an acre of land is being cleared in conjunction with an ongoing city project to reconstruct roads and sidewalks in the area of Belknap, Fisher, Elm, Summer and Hamilton streets. The project, tentatively slated for completion some time in 2020, is similar in scope and design to the 2015 reconstruction of Silver Street. However, Parker said, the city isn’t responsible for clearing the land off Fisher and Elm streets, nor did the city order it. Rather, Parker said, it’s the result of a private agreement between the land’s owner and the company performing the city’s project, Severino Trucking Co…

Montreal, Quebec, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, September 5, 2019: Quebec City to cut down 1,000 trees following surge of invasive beetle

Quebec City workers will be cutting down at least 1,000 trees in parks and along city streets because of an “unexpected” surge in the emerald ash borer population. Despite its efforts to control the spread of the green beetle, city officials said the insect has now been found in 32 of its 35 neighborhoods. Of those, around a dozen are now considered at an “epidemic” level, including Cap-Rouge, Montcalm, Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Vieux-Québec. Suzanne Verrault, the city’s executive committee member responsible for the environment, said the surge is pushing the city to “intensify its efforts” to not “lose control.” The ash borer, which has few natural predators in North America, lays its eggs under tree bark. The larvae then restrict sap circulation, killing mature trees. The city first discovered the presence of the Asian insect in 2017 and put in place an action plan for 2018-19 to limit its transmission, at a cost of about $1.5 million per year. But despite those efforts, the growing number of beetles in the area is forcing the city to cut down 1,000 trees by the end of 2019. Another 1,000 could be cut down in wooded areas by 2020…

Nassau, Long Island, New York, Newsday, September 4, 2019: Peconic Land Trust sues Amagansett property owner for $100M for cutting down dozens of trees

An Amagansett property owner caused at least $100 million in damages when he cut down about 100 trees last month on land that is protected for conservation, according to the Peconic Land Trust, which is suing him over the matter. The land trust holds an agricultural easement on the property and is asking the court for $1 million per tree felled. 341 Town Lane LLC, whose principal is Randy Lerner, an investor and a former owner of the Cleveland Browns, purchased the property on July 31, according to court filings. Days later Lerner hired a landscaping company to remove 75 to 125 mature white oak, American beech, holly and sassafras trees, some of which were 100 feet tall, the land trust claims. Peconic Land Trust said the clearing, reported by several residents including Alec Baldwin, violates the conservation easement placed on the property in 1995. The agreement prohibits the removal of trees, shrubs and vegetation, although there are exceptions, such as the removal of dead trees. “Defendant’s conduct was undertaken with such wanton recklessness and dishonesty as to imply a criminal indifference” to the obligations of the easement, reads an amended complaint electronically filed Aug. 28 in state Supreme Court. Lerner, who according to Forbes has a net worth of $1.1 billion, does not dispute that he had the trees cut down. But his interpretation of the easement states that he was within his rights to do so because he was clearing the land for farming. He said in court filings he was preparing the land to potentially farm fruit trees, crops like corn and potatoes, cover crops and “horticultural specialties…”

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, WBRZ-TV, September 4, 2019: Dead tree debate taking too long, could have saved homeowner money

A dead tree is a topic of debate between the city-parish and a property owner for more than two months. Kim Scarton’s records show that she called the city-parish’s 311 call center about a dead tree behind her fence line on June 26, 2019, and took down a work order. But it wasn’t until 2 On Your Side got involved did she receive an answer from the city-parish about who it thinks should take responsibility. “We requested removal, we got a work order number and they said they’d be in touch,” said Scarton. A couple of weeks went by. Scarton says her neighbor called the city-parish after a tree behind her house was damaged during Tropical Storm Barry. On July 15, 2019, she says a representative from the South Drainage Department came out to investigate and told her the trees were not on their properties, but in the city-parish servitude. On July 23, 2019, two city-parish arborists visited Scarton’s home. “We were told they’re on city property and they’ll be recommended for removal,” Scarton said. After following up a few times, Scarton said she didn’t hear anything. Then on August 24, 2019, a branch fell from the tree onto Scarton’s roof. Estimates to repair the damage exceed $3,500. “So we contacted the city the following Monday to let them know this is an urgent matter, we’ve been telling them the tree is a safety risk,” she said. “It’s damaging our home, it’s damaging our fence, no response…”

Science, September 4, 2019: Sturdy as they are, giant trees are particularly susceptible to these three killers

The biggest trees, standing tall through storms and harsh winters, may look invincible. But a series of recent studies analyzing the effects of lightning, drought, and invasive pests on forests indicates that for trees, size is not strength, and forest giants are disproportionately vulnerable. “There’s always been an underlying assumption that large trees are somewhat buffered from environmental stress,” says Andrew Barton, a forest ecologist at the University of Maine in Farmington. This new work “suggests that this might not be true.” And with all three stresses likely to grow, big trees could become a particularly weak point in beleaguered forests, says forest ecologist David Lindenmayer of Australian National University in Canberra, whose work has shown that the loss of large trees puts entire ecosystems at risk of collapsing. Large trees are also major storehouses of carbon—one estimate suggests they hold 50% of a forest’s carbon—and their deaths release it into the atmosphere, which could exacerbate climate change. It makes sense that lightning targets the biggest trees, but the extent of the toll has emerged only now, from a project on Barro Colorado Island, in the middle of the Panama Canal. In temperate regions, lightning blackens tree trunks or burns a tree down when it strikes, so it’s easy to see its effects. But in tropical forests like the Panama one, which has been studied for decades, lightning leaves no obvious marks, possibly because the trees carry more water, although a struck tree may still die weeks or months later. But Steve Yanoviak, an ecologist from the University of Louisville here, and colleagues recently outfitted the science station on the island with cameras and sensors, so they can triangulate lightning strikes and look for downed vegetation and other subtle signs a tree was struck. Yanoviak’s postdoc Evan Gora then keeps tabs on the struck tree and its neighbors to document any declines. To date, the project has pinpointed 70 lightning strikes, Gora reported last month at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America here. Each strike kills an average of five trees and damages 16 more as the bolt’s electricity hops from one tree to another…

Undark.org, September 4, 2019: Are We Overestimating How Much Trees Will Help Fight Climate Change?

Bob Marra navigated his way to the back of a dusty barn in Hamden, Connecticut, belonging to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station. There, past piles of empty beehives, on a wall of metal shelves, were stacks of wooden disks — all that remains of 39 trees taken down in 2014 from Great Mountain Forest in the northwest corner of the state. accounted for.” These cross-sections of tree trunks, known as stem disks — or more informally as cookies — are telling a potentially worrisome tale about the ability of forests to be critical hedges against accelerating climate change. As anyone following the fires burning in the Amazon rainforest knows by now, trees play an important role in helping to offset global warming by storing carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide — a major contributor to rising temperatures — in their wood, leaves, and roots. The worldwide level of CO2 is currently averaging more than 400 parts per million — the highest amount by far in the last 800,000 years. But Marra, a forest pathologist at the Experiment Station with a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell University, has documented from studying his fallen trees that internal decay has the capacity to significantly reduce the amount of carbon stored within. His research, published in Environmental Research Letters late last year and funded by the National Science Foundation, focused on a technique to see inside trees — a kind of scan known as tomography (the “T” in CAT scan.) This particular tomography was developed for use by arborists to detect decay in urban and suburban trees, mainly for safety purposes. Marra, however, may be the first to deploy it for measuring carbon content and loss associated with internal decay. Where there is decay there is less carbon, he explains, and where there is a cavity, there is no carbon at all…

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2 thoughts on “And Now The News …

  1. Rest In Peace Sweet Tripp Halstead. No more hurting. You can go play in the Lords garden. We love you. We will miss you. My heart breaks for a little boy I never met. Prayers for his family. 😭😭🙏🏻

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