Tree Rings Reveal How Ancient Forests Were Managed

Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of […]

Large mammals make soil more fertile in tropical forests

A study conducted by scientists at São Paulo State University demonstrates that animals like peccaries and tapirs boost soil levels of nitrogen, an essential element to plant growth. A White-lipped peccary. Credit: João Paulo Krajewski The White-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) is a boar-like hoofed mammal found throughout Central and South America. These animals roam the […]

Leaf microbiomes are a neighborhood affair in northern forests — ScienceDaily

Forest leaves are teeming with bacterial life — but despite the vast extent of bacteria-covered foliage across the world, this habitat, known as the phyllosphere, remains full of mysteries. How do bacteria spread from tree to tree? Do certain types of bacteria only live on certain types of trees? A new paper published in the […]

High Climatic Response of High-Latitude Forests

Atmospheric CO2 rises and falls with the northern hemisphere winter and summer, respectively, and the amplitude of that seasonality is increasing. Is the vast boreal forest contributing to this trend, and, if so, why? Most models assume that increased CO2 stimulates photosynthesis, increased temperature stimulates respiration, and the difference between the two determines […]

In the Amazon’s ‘sand forests,’ birds play by different evolutionary rules

White sand ecosystem patch at the Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (RDS) do Uatumã, Central Amazonia. Credit: João Capurucho Picture the Amazon. You’re thinking lush rainforests teeming with animals, right? It turns out, the Amazon Basin contains other less-famous ecosystems that have been under-studied by biologists for years, including patches of habitat growing on white sands. […]

Finding Prehistoric Rain Forests by Studying Modern Mammals

The Amazon rain forest is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and plays a key role in the planet’s carbon and oxygen cycles. Despite its global importance, many aspects of this ecosystem’s history are still a mystery. Julia Tejada, who recently received her Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and […]

Healthy forests do more than just prevent wildfires

A mixed-conifer forest in the central Sierra Nevada after restoration, with unthinned forest in the background. (Roger Bales/) Roger Bales is a distinguished professor of Engineering at the University of California, Merced. Martha Conklin is a professor of Engineering at the University of California, Merced. This story originally featured on The Conversation. As California contends […]