How trees send out news bulletins

Like humans, trees warn each other of danger, look after sick family members and thrive in communities. Welcome to the real enchanted forest.

According to the dictionary definition, language is what people use when we talk to each other. Looked at this way, we are the only beings who can use language, because the concept is limited to our species. But wouldn’t it be interesting to know whether trees can also talk to each other? And how? They definitely don’t produce ...

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New modelling on bushfires shows how they really burn through an area

Bushfires in Australia can have a devastating impact on an environment and destroy homes and lives, so any effort to prevent them is a welcome move.

But the way that we have traditionally understood bushfires and forest flammability in Australia is not up to the challenges of our changing climate. Thankfully, a new approach is making sense of the confusion by looking at the plants themselves.

Unfortunately though, time is running out. Years ago I could stand on a ridge in the ...

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The ‘ecosystem canaries’ which act as warning signs of collapse

The coal miner’s canary provided a warning of dangerous levels of toxic gases. Photograph: Don McPhee for the Guardian

The Earth’s biodiversity is under attack. We would need to travel back over 65 million years to find rates of species loss as high as we are witnessing today.

Conservation often focuses ...

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Burning off our biodiversity

The Clarence Environment Centre is also witnessing and questioning the arson being carried out in their local area. The immense damage being done to wildlife and ecosystems, under guise of ‘public safety’ is galling. So many of our rare and threatened wildlife are dependent on large old trees with hollows for nesting ...

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The Role of Old-Growth Forests in Carbon Sequestration

Protection of remaining forest and reforestation in areas where it has been lost is vital for global climate stability. Old-growth forest can be defined as mature forest where human disturbances are negligible. In terms of age, old-growth can broadly be defined as from 120 to as much as 500 years old with individual trees estimated to have reached 1,000 years old. Old-growth forest has an important role to play in efforts to halt and reverse climate change. It has the ...

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Book review – Flying Dinosaurs: How fearsome reptiles became birds

From the Wombat Forestcare Newsletter – June. With thanks to Tanya Loos

“As you read this, an estimated 400 billion individual feathered dinosaurs, of 10,000 species, can be found on earth, in almost every habitable environment. You need only step outside and look up into the trees and the wide blue skies to find them.” John Pickrell is the editor of Australian Geographic and an accomplished journalist who ...

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Ongoing unraveling of a continental fauna

Decline and extinction of Australian mammals since European settlement

The island continent of Australia harbors much of the world’s most distinctive biodiversity, but this review describes an extent of recent and ongoing loss of its mammal fauna that is exceptionally high and appreciably greater than previously recognized.

With the dwindling abundance, range, and diversity of so many species, we see now only a faint shadow of the richness and abundance of the Australian mammal fauna that existed at the time of European ...

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Large trees under threat: researchers

While much of the focus lately has been the impact humans are having on the largest, and most spectacular reef in the world, slightly inland we are hurting one of our other greatest natural beauties.

Scientists from James Cook University and the Australian National University have released a paper detailing the threat to large, old trees.

Clear-cutting destabilizes carbon in forest soils, Dartmouth study finds

HANOVER, N.H. – Clear-cutting loosens up carbon stored in forest soils, increasing the chances it will return to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and contribute to climate change, a Dartmouth College study shows.

The findings appear in the journal Soil Science. A PDF is available on request.

Soil is the world’s largest terrestrial carbon pool. In northern hardwood forests in the United States, mineral soil pools store up to 50 percent of total ecosystem carbon. Logging and other land-use changes are a ...

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