And Now The News …

Washington, DC, Counterpunch, May 13, 2021: Emergency Federal Protections Sought for Imperiled Joshua Tree

WildEarth Guardians has submitted emergency petitions (here and here) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to immediately provide federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for both the eastern and western species of Joshua tree, icons of California’s Mojave Desert. Guardians submitted these petitions to list the Joshua tree on an emergency basis under the ESA, while simultaneously challenging the Service’s 2019 decision under the Trump administration to deny Joshua trees protected status as a “threatened” species in federal court—a listing decision that was prompted by a previous petition submitted by Guardians in 2015. Guardians’ emergency petitions were submitted in advance of what is expected to be yet another severe fire season in Southern California. Last summer, the Mojave Desert reached a record-breaking 130 degrees while enormous wildfires like the Dome Fire also decimated thousands of acres of Joshua tree habitat, destroying an estimated 1.3 million Joshua trees. Joshua trees have existed for over 2.5 million years, but multiple published, peer-reviewed climate models show that climate change will eliminate this beloved plant from the vast majority of its current range, including its namesake National Park, by century’s end without robust efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and address threats from invasive grass-fueled wildfires…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 13, 2021: When it comes to sucking up carbon, not all trees are equal

This newsletter has often looked at the part trees can play as part of the climate change solution, with their ability to suck carbon out of the atmosphere and store it. As with so much else, however, there is nuance — we need to be careful about assuming trees alone can save us. With wildfires and natural die-off, trees sometimes give off more carbon than they absorb. And when it comes to sequestration, some trees and their ecosystems appear to be more effective than others over time. With that in mind, it is noteable to see a new tree-related carbon project finding favor with some high-profile corporations. Proctor and Gamble, Apple and Gucci have all announced projects to protect and restore the mangrove, a woody tree or shrub living in salty coastlines in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves (like the one being repopulated in the photo above) hold a particular allure as carbon sinks. “At a high level, [mangroves] are salty and wet, and that keeps the carbon from breaking down,” Jen Howard, senior director of the blue carbon program for the American non-profit Conservation International, told GreenBiz. Conservation International says mangroves, which have been in decline in recent years, can sequester up to 10 times as much carbon compared to terrestrial forests…

Toronto, Ontario, Star, May 13, 2021: Mature trees are ‘carbon-capture heroes.’ This community program helps them live even longer

A lot of big old trees could use some fixing, and there’s a group of honest-to-goodness tree huggers trying to come to their rescue. My recent columns about mature trees that stand out for their size and place in neighbourhoods prompted lots of email about local trees that readers love or are trying to save from development or other predations. One that jumped out came from Toni Ellis, manager of an Elora-based group called Tree Trust, which raises money to pay arborists to work on old trees that wouldn’t otherwise get the care needed to extend their lifespan. Toronto and other municipalities put substantial resources into maintaining trees on city property, even pruning and removing limbs. That leaves trees on private property to fend for themselves, unless the owner maintains them. Ellis, an environmentalist and former co-manger of the old borough of East York’s recycling program, founded Tree Trust in Elora in 2019, as a way to preserve mature trees that she describes as “ecological workhorses.” A mature tree captures and stores tonnes of carbon, releases oxygen into the atmosphere and provides shade for people and habitat for birds and animals, making them far more valuable than it might seem, she said. “What we’re doing is stalling the inevitable,” she said. “Trees are living things. They only last so long. But you can give them a lot more time to do their job by taking care of them…

Houston, Texas, Chronicle, May 13, 2021: Texas veteran defends right to fly flag from tree after HOA cites him for violation

A Texas-based Navy veteran has flown his American flag in the same spot for the past 17 years, but he’s now being told to change it. Gary Pirics said the flag has always been displayed on a tree in the front yard of his Avery Ranch neighborhood home in Austin, per Fox News’ Audrey Conklin. It’s been up for so long, the bark of the tree has started growing around the bracket, per CBS Austin’s Walt Maciborski. But in December, Pirics received a letter from the homeowner’s association saying the placement violates U.S. Flag Code and Texas Flag Regulations.””The flag’s important to me for several reasons. One is both my father and my wife’s father were World War II veterans,” said Pirics, as reported by Conklin. “I served in the United States Navy as an officer in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Vietnam War. So that flag does several things.” Kirsten Voinis, a neighbor of Pirics’, also received a violation letter over her flag, which she’s flown in her yard since 2003, according to Maciborski. These violations inspired Jim Dufner, another neighbor, to fly an American flag in solidarity. Dufner has since been served with two violations, per Maciborski. According to the HOA, the residents were never asked to remove the flag — just to fly it in accordance with local and national codes…

Vancouver, British Columbia, The Guardian, May 13, 2021: Chainsaw massacre: tree poaching hits Canada amid lumber shortage

Two tree stumps signaled to Larry Pynn that something was wrong. Jutting from a mossy forest floor in western Canada, the fresh stumps were the final remnants of two western red cedars that had been chopped down by chainsaw. Nearby, a set of deep tire tracks ran for nearly a kilometer in the mud before terminating at the main road. “I immediately suspected that this is the work of poachers,” said Pynn, a journalist who lives nearby. “These are clearly valuable trees and they were likely cut because of that.” Since January, local officials on central Vancouver Island say at least 100 trees have been illegally chopped down. As lumber prices across the continent soar – prompting a flurry of memes and conspiracy theories – ecosystems full of valuable old growth trees have increasingly become a target for poachers. The section of forest Pynn found the stumps in is part of a municipally owned 5,000 hectare swath of woods known locally as Six Mountains. The area, popular with hikers and mountain bikers, is also home to the endangered coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is on the verge of vanishing after centuries of logging and urban development…

Georgetown, South Carolina, Post & Courier, May 10, 2021: Georgetown tree ordinance update could protect more trees from development

In light of the heavy development happening around Georgetown, specifically in the Waccamaw Neck, county planning director Holly Richardson is proposing updates to its tree ordinance to ensure more of the region’s beloved forestry is preserved. One of the main changes to the ordinance is a site inspection requirement before any ground is broken. Richardson said previously, tree site inspections would sometimes occur in tandem with stormwater site inspections, but not because of any written requirement. Making it a requirement to have specific tree site inspections will ensure less foliage is cut down sooner, Richardson said. Other amendments include adding in a tree fund, which would fund landscaping, public parks and the replanting of trees in the county from fines developers pay for various violations, such as cutting down unapproved trees…

Popular Science, May 12, 2021: Trees need wind to reproduce. Climate change is messing that up.

Trees may seem sedentary, but movement is a big part of their lives. To reproduce, many trees rely on wind to move their pollen and seeds around, says Matthew Kling, a postdoctoral researcher in plant biogeography at the University of California, Berkeley. A study led by Kling, published on April 27 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines how wind patterns affect the exchange of DNA between populations of trees. Their findings suggest that factors such as wind strength and direction can help mold the genetic makeup of forested landscapes. As the climate heats up, some plants won’t thrive as well in their current environments, and will need to be in historically cooler locations to stay within a comfortable temperature range, says Kling (for many plants, this is already happening). But plenty of questions remain around precisely how the plants will get there, he says, “and one of the biggest areas of uncertainty in plant movement is related to wind,” because wind dispersal can be tricky to measure at large scales. Kling and his coauthor David Ackerly, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley used 72 previously published scientific papers to gather genetic data on nearly 2,000 populations of trees belonging to nearly 100 different tree species around the globe. The researchers took this genetic data and compared it to a “windscape” model they developed, which pulls from three decades of hourly wind data. The wind model provides a prediction for the way we would expect dispersal of seeds and pollen to take place across large geographic scales and long time periods, says Kling. “And the genetic data provides a measured estimate, totally independent of the wind data, of the way that the seeds and pollen have dispersed across large landscapes in the past.” The authors then compared the predictions made by the wind model to the observed genetic patterns, allowing them to test whether the wind was actually driving them…

Phys.org, May 12, 2021: Earliest forest fires evidence of ancient tree expansion

The Earth’s first forest fires appear to have occurred earlier than previously thought, pointing out a link between widespread wildfires and ancient tree evolution, according to researchers at The University of Alabama. Although small wildfires of primordial vascular plants without leaves, branches or a developed root system, and sparked by lightning or lava occurred as early as 420 million years ago, these are not believed to be widespread because the plants needed water or a wet climate to survive. However, using fossil charcoals and geochemical signals from ancient rock layers, UA researchers found the early forest fires started to spread about 383 million years ago. This is also evidence that more mature plants of trees and shrubs spread through forestation into relatively arid and inland environments. The study was an invited submission and published recently in a special issue of the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. It demonstrates the methods used to find evidence of these ancient forest fires are useful to discover more about paleoecological and paleoclimate indicators…

Boston, Massachusetts, Globe, May 10, 2021: Mass Audubon promised to preserve wildlife. Then it made millions claiming it could cut down trees

The Massachusetts Audubon Society has long managed its land in western Massachusetts as crucial wildlife habitat. Nature lovers flock to these forests to enjoy bird-watching and quiet hikes, with the occasional bobcat or moose sighting. But in 2015, the conservation nonprofit presented California’s top climate regulator with a startling scenario: It could heavily log 9,700 acres of its preserved forests over the next few years. The group raised the possibility of chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees as part of its application to take part in California’s forest offset program. The state’s Air Resources Board established the system to harness the ability of trees to absorb and store carbon to help the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The program allows forest owners like Mass Audubon to earn so-called carbon credits for preserving trees. Each credit represents a ton of CO2. California polluters, such as oil companies, buy these credits so that they can emit more CO2 than they’d otherwise be allowed to under state law. Theoretically, the exchange should balance out emissions to prevent an overall increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. The Air Resources Board accepted Mass Audubon’s project into its program, requiring the nonprofit to preserve its forests over the next century instead of heavily logging them. The nonprofit received more than 600,000 credits in exchange for its promise. The vast majority were sold through intermediaries to oil and gas companies, records show. The group earned about $6 million from the sales, Mass Audubon regional scientist Tom Lautzenheiser said…

Seattle, Washington, KIRO-TV, May 10, 2021: Olympia homeowner loses fight to save ‘boundary tree’ from chainsaws

An Olympia homeowner who challenged the city of Olympia and a builder lost his struggle to save a 150-foot Red Cedar tree, which stood on the boundary between his property and a construction site, where a housing development is being built. On Monday morning, the tree was cut down on the development side while the homeowner and several neighbors leaned against the other side in protest. Nearby, five Olympia police officers looked on, warning the protesters not to cross the property line. “They cut the tree over the top of our heads,” said Andrew Hannah, the homeowner who owns the property. He admitted only a small fraction of the tree was on his side. “The majority of it is on his property, and only a portion of it is on my property,” said Hannah, while pointing out state law, which states if two property owners share a part of a tree, then they own the tree equally. This time, the city of Olympia settled the dispute. Below the tree, the city of Olympia posted a sign, stating the city’s urban forester, engineer, and certified arborist determined the tree could not be preserved in a healthy condition because the construction project would damage the tree’s critical root structure. A city spokesperson told KIRO 7 the building permit allowed the developer to legally take the tree down…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 10, 2021: Tree experts stumped by case of ‘elephant trunk’

While out in the woods at Murphys Point Provincial Park near Perth, Ont., in late April, chief park naturalist Mark Read stumbled across a tree unlike any he’d seen in his seven years on the job. “I thought it looked very much like a palm tree,” Read said. Though a common local species, the trunk of the American beech Read was looking at had an uncommon wrinkled appearance. “I did pass the photos around and I had comments back that said, ‘That looks like an elephant’s trunk,'” he said. “[The discovery was] totally new for me. Quite amazing.” The consensus among both Facebook sleuths and more seasoned tree experts seems to be that “rippled beeches,” while documented and possibly more common in the United Kingdom, aren’t well understood. While Read isn’t sure what’s creating the effect, he believes it likely occurred during the tree’s earlier development. Paul Sokoloff, a botanist at Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature and a member of the board of directors of the Field Botanists of Ontario, confirmed it’s a rare find, and a first for him, too. “My first impression was, oh, the bark is slipping off, which is of course not what’s happening,” Sokoloff said…

Houston Texas, Chronicle, May 10, 2021: Houston-area oak trees are still recovering from the winter storm

More than two months following the record cold temperatures of Winter Storm Uri, Texans are noticing that some oak trees are still struggling to recover. This has left many of our state’s experts wondering why. Even Neil Sperry, a Texas gardening and horticulture expert known across the country, has been stunned by the variability, and the scope, of damage left behind by the freeze. Followers of his Facebook page have submitted over 2,000 photos of struggling oak trees, including all varieties of species and from every single region of the state. “I have been in this business professionally since 1970, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sperry. “We think of oaks as permanent as concrete and steel, and for them to selectively be affected by this freeze is particularly odd.” After spending weeks responding to residents and landowners who are concerned about the health and condition of their trees, Sperry decided to pull together a blue-ribbon panel of certified arborists, foresters, extension specialists, nursery leaders, horticulturists and garden communicators to send out a unified message. Their advice to those wondering what they should do, and whether they should cut down their valuable trees, is simple: just wait…

Portland, Oregon, The Oregonian, May 9, 2021: Oregon’s post-fire logging is taking trees that may never be hazards, experts say

Tree No. 252256 is a 95-foot Douglas Fir that stands south of Oregon 22 east of Mehama, one of dozens of trees in this patch of the Santiam Canyon that has been tagged to be cut as part of the state’s troubled hazard tree removal program. The massive undertaking is slowly creeping westward, leaving swaths of denuded highway and private properties in its wake. This particular tree, one of nearly 143,000 that officials estimate needs to be removed statewide, was inspected March 21, and its removal was approved by a certified arborist from Pennsylvania who is now working in Oregon. Details about the tree come from a mapping database that CDR Maguire, the contractor monitoring the program under a $75 million contract, is maintaining to document the work for reimbursement by the federal government. The data includes pictures of every tree, some basic measurements, and the names of the inspectors and arborists who evaluated it. But there’s not much information on the call to cut No. 252256. “Condition: Poor; Recommendation: Remove” Yet the owner of the land and two independent tree experts who toured the forest patch Monday raised concerns about this tree and others tagged in this tiny portion of the immense project. “Light to moderate” bark char extends only 15 feet up the trunk of the tree, they said, and the crown – the top branches – look healthy. “There is just very light cosmetic damage to the tree,” Rick Till, a certified arborist and qualified tree risk assessor from Portland, said after shaving off a bit of blackened bark with his hatchet. “If it did fall, it would fall into the woods. It is a very low-risk tree, yet it’s marked for removal, and someone’s going to get paid a few thousand bucks for cutting down this tree, which should take about 10 minutes work…”

New Orleans, Louisiana, Times-Picayune, May 8, 2021: What if trees covered half of New Orleans? City teams with nonprofit to try

Walking along Nunez Street, Old Algiers native Alex Selico Dunn Sr., 65, waves his hand toward nearby rooftops. “When I was young, that would all be trees,” he said, recalling how leafy giants once towered above and between houses. There are still trees in Old Algiers. But as in much of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina’s vicious winds and prolonged flooding laid much of its canopy to rest. About 100,000 trees were lost citywide, earning New Orleans a spot among the nation’s most deforested cities. Under then-Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Hall in 2010 set an ambitious goal in its master plan to increase the tree canopy to cover 50% of the city by 2030. Now, 11 years later, city officials have taken the next step, signing an agreement last week with a local environmental nonprofit to develop a $140,000 reforestation plan. Founded by Susannah Burley, Sustaining Our Urban Landscape, or SOUL has led volunteer plantings in several neighborhoods since 2016, including one that added almost 900 trees in Old Algiers. Next, it will plot the city’s plans toward reestablishing the canopy…

Southern Living, May 10, 2021: We Love the Yellow Flowering Magnolias for Small Yards

While white- and pink-blooming magnolias blanket the South, there’s something wonderfully unexpected about yellow magnolia blossoms, and every year, we’re seeing more of them planted in lawns and gardens. Best of all, some of them grow compactly, making them ideal for small yards and tight spaces. Many different sorts of magnolias produce yellow blossoms, but two of our favorites are ‘Daphne’ and ‘Golden Gift.’ ‘Daphne’ magnolia is one of the most vividly yellow bloomers. It produces big, long-lasting flowers in deep yellow hues. The blooms are held above the foliage. The tree itself has a narrow, upright form, which is great for tight spaces, and it grows from 10 to 20 feet tall. It can thrive in many climates, from the coastal south through the lower, mid-, and upper south regions. Another magnolia that produces beautiful deep yellow blooms is ‘Golden Gift.’ This is a smaller magnolia that grows from 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide. The deep yellow blooms are 2 to 5 inches wide and appear throughout the spring. It can also thrive in a variety of areas and has been grown successfully from the coastal south all the way through to the upper south. There are several other members of the magnolia genus that grow compactly and produce yellow blooms. Some of our favorites are… Magnolia figo, also known as banana shrub, is an evergreen shrub planting that grows slowly. It will typically reach 6 to 8 feet tall, sometimes 15 feet tall in the right conditions. It has glossy leaves and blooms heavily in spring. This magnolia produces blossoms that are small and creamy yellow, as well as a strong fruity fragrance…

Reuters, May 8, 2021: Mexican president pushes trees-for-visas plan in call with Harris

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pitched a tree-planting jobs program in Central America that he said should lead to U.S. work visas, in talks with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday about root causes of migration. At the start of the call, Harris said the United States and Mexico must fight violence and corruption together, to help diminish migration from Central America. “Most people don’t want to leave home and when they do it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there are no opportunities,” said Harris. Lopez Obrador, 67, said he had a specific proposal he wanted to discuss with Harris. He did not give details, but told reporters minutes earlier that the tree planting idea was at the top of his mind. “We agree with the migration policies you are developing and we are going to help, you can count on us,” he said. The Mexican leader told reporters at a news conference Friday morning that legal routes were the best solution to migration. “If there’s a regular, normal and orderly migratory flow, we can avoid the risks migrants take who are forced to cross our country,” he said. The trees-for-visas proposal was met with some surprise when Lopez Obrador previously raised it at a Washington climate summit in April…

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 6, 2021: Tree poaching on Vancouver Island prompts spike in forest patrols

The municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., is stepping up patrols of the region’s forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. “I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher,” he said in an interview with CBC News. “Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It’s a valuable tree.” Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks…

Washington, D.C., Post, May 6, 2021: Pipeline tree stand protesters get jail time, fines

Two Mountain Valley Pipeline protesters have been sentenced to months in jail and ordered to repay the cost of removing them from tree stands they were chained to along the pipeline’s path. The Roanoke Times reports that Montgomery County General District Court Judge Randal Duncan convicted Alexander Lowe, 24, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and Claire Fiocco, 23, of Dorset, Vermont, on Wednesday of obstructing justice and interfering with Mountain Valley’s property rights. Fiocco, who occupied a tree from early January until March 23, was sentenced to 158 days. Lowe was sentenced to 254 days after occupying a tree from November until state police removed him on March 24. Later in the day, the pair appeared before Circuit Court Judge Robert Turk, who ordered them down from the trees. Turk fined Lowe $17,500 and Fiocco $10,000 for defying his order. He also ordered them to pay more than $140,000 to Mountain Valley to cover the cost of extracting them. A crane hoisted two state police officers to where the protesters were chained on wooden platforms about 50 feet above the ground. “I appreciate the passion you had in your protests,” Turk told them before they were taken away. “You just did it the wrong way…”

New York Magazine, May 6, 2021: Suzanne Simard Changed How the World Sees Trees

Suzanne Simard has given her life to the study of trees. She sweated for them. Bled for them. Damn near died for them — once at the claws of a grizzly, and once from the invisible clutch of cancer. (Working with toxic herbicides and radioactive isotopes in the course of her research likely contributed to her breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy.) But Simard’s sacrifices as a forest ecologist have paid off. Her work with herbicides uncovered the fact that denuding tree farms doesn’t help them grow faster — a finding that overturned the forestry industry’s prevailing logic for half a century. Later, upending basic Darwinian logic, she showed conclusively that different trees — and even different tree species — are involved in a constant exchange of resources and information via underground fungal networks, known technically as mycorrhizae and popularly as the Wood Wide Web. Her long fight against the twin patriarchies of the logging industry and the scientific Establishment has yielded startling discoveries about tree sociality — and even, some believe, about tree sentience. Now Simard, a professor at the University of British Columbia, has published a memoir, Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest — which is being adapted into a film, with Amy Adams set to star. We spoke recently about what studying trees has taught her about how to live in our increasingly tenuous world, and how forests can help fix our compounding problems…

Discover, May 6, 2021: 10 Golden Rules For Reforestation Show How To Plant Trees The Right Way

Large-scale tree planting is often presented as a simple solution to conserving the environment and preventing climate change through carbon capture. But reforestation is more complicated than it looks. “It’s very easy to say, you’re going to plant a tree,” says Erin Axelrod, the program director for Jonas Philanthropies’ Trees for Climate Health initiative. “It’s very, very complex, to actually follow that pledge through to the outcome of having a tree that is not only effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also effective from the standpoint of doing all the other great things that trees can do.” In recent years, massive reforestation efforts have included shockingly high numbers of tree-planting goals linked to them as a low-cost, high-impact solution to climate change. In 2019, Ethiopia claimed to have planted 350 million saplings in under 12 hours, breaking the world record for trees planted in a day. China is on course to plant 87 million acres of trees by 2050 to make a “Great Green Wall” the size of Germany. And just last year, the World Economic Forum began its 1t.org project, aiming to conserve, restore or grow one trillion trees by 2030…

Santa Rosa, California, Press-Democrat, May 5, 2021: Giant sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park still smoldering from 2020 Castle fire

A giant sequoia has been found smoldering and smoking in a part of Sequoia National Park that burned in one of California’s huge wildfires last year, the National Park Service said Wednesday. “The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle fire demonstrates how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, assistant fire management officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in Central California. “With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer.” The smoldering tree was found recently by scientists and fire crews surveying the effects of the blaze, which was ignited by lightning last August and spread over more than 270 square miles (699 square kilometers) of the Sierra Nevada. It took five months to fully contain. Most of California is deep in drought, with severe to extreme conditions in the mountain range that provides about a third of the state’s water. On April 1, when the Sierra Nevada snowpack is normally at its peak, its water content was just 59% of average, according to the state Department of Water Resources. The dryness could set the stage for a repeat of last year, when wildfires, many of them ignited by thousands of dry lightning strikes, burned a record 6,562 square miles (16,996 square kilometers) in the nation’s most populated state…

Ashland, Oregon, Daily Tidings, May 5, 2021: Hazard tree logging should stop temporarily

There is plenty to debate about salvage logging of burned trees after wildfires. The timber industry says it’s important to cut down and remove still-usable trees before they rot and become worthless for lumber, and then replant to replenish the forest for future generations. Environmentalists say cutting down burned trees does more harm than good, damaging fragile soils and making logged areas more vulnerable to future fires, not less. But some burned trees must be removed because they pose a hazard to human life and property. But there are rules about how many can be cut and where, and those rules should be followed. It appears unscrupulous contractors may be ignoring those rules, and that should stop. So-called hazard trees, if left standing after a fire, can fall across roads and highways, potentially causing injury or death to motorists, and those standing near homes can pose a danger as well. The Oregon Department of Transportation has contracted with companies to remove hazard trees left standing after last year’s wildfires. But in testimony before the Senate Natural Resources and Wildfire Recovery Committee in Salem last Wednesday, whistleblowers, landowners and others told lawmakers the program lacks oversight and is plagued by unqualified staff, disputes over what trees should be cut and even outright fraud. If confirmed, the allegations could jeopardize funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is reimbursing the state for the work…

New York City, WNBC-TV, May 5, 2021: NY’s Attempt to Cut Down Thousands of Trees for Snowmobile Path Blocked By Court

New York cannot cut down thousands of trees for a 27-mile snowmobile trail in the Adirondack Park without voters approving an amendment to the state constitution, the state’s top court ruled Tuesday. The 4-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals is a victory for environmentalists who sued over the partially built snowmobile trail, a wide “Class II” connector trail that was to be part of a larger network. Opponents claimed the Class II trail violates the “Forever Wild” clause of the state constitution, which protects state-owned forest preserve land. Lawyers for the state Department of Environmental Conservation argued that the number of trees affected per-mile would be relatively small and that any impact would be justified by increased recreational opportunities in the popular winter tourist destination, according to the decision. But the court wrote that the Class II trail, which requires rock removal, grading and cutting down 25,000 trees, is “constitutionally forbidden” without a voter-approved amendment…

Phys.org, May 5, 2021: Trees may work together to form resource-sharing networks with root grafts

A length of steel pipe and a heart monitor are the unlikely tools underpinning new research which suggests that trees may work together to form resource-sharing networks, helping the group collectively overcome environmental challenges. The findings, laid out in a paper published today in Communications Biology, offer fresh insight into how forests around the world might adapt to the increasing environmental stresses of climate change. Researchers from universities in the UK, Germany, France and Mexico partnered on the project, which investigated how mangrove trees form networks of root grafts in a Mexican coastal lagoon. Root grafts are physical connections between tree roots which can allow them to exchange water, carbon and mineral nutrients. Trees with less access to sunlight have been shown in previous studies to survive by sharing resources supplied from root grafts with better positioned neighboring trees. Very little research has been conducted into resource-sharing in more extensive networks, however, because mapping root grafts between trees requires costly, time-consuming and difficult excavation work…

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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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