California’s trees are dying. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than five years of drought in California has left 102 million dead trees across 7.7 million acres of forest. In fact, 62 million trees have died this year alone – a 100% increase from 2015.
Coastal floodplains across the southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States are at the leading edge of climate change’s effect on what were largely freshwater ecosystems. Because of the low elevation and flat or gently sloping characteristics of coastal forests in these areas, they are among the most vulnerable globally to saltwater intrusion.
A recent study has identified the steep decline of more than 300 species of mammals as a result of unregulated or illegal hunting. Humans are consuming many of the world’s wild mammals to the point of extinction.
Trees are the number one way in which carbon can be removed from the atmosphere and stored in vegetation over the long term. A single tree can absorb CO2 at a rate of 48 pounds per year. Because of this, the carbon footprints of 18 average Americans can be neutralized by one acre of hardwood trees. And it has been found that managed forests accumulate more carbon per acre than unmanaged forests.
Forests are a vital part of biodiversity and are one of the planet’s most important natural repositories for carbon dioxide. They are also continually under attack by multiple forces: more mouths to feed, more wood needed to burn and build with, more paper to manufacture, and more land needed to graze cattle.
In the Canadian province of Quebec, a study of more than 26,000 trees across an area the size of Spain forecasts winners and losers in a changing climate.
President Obama has set 2030 as the target for reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to comply with the Paris Climate accord. Unfortunately, the Senate’s new Energy Bill would allow states to count wood as a “carbon neutral” fuel when drawing up plans to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Pakistan has a terrible history of environmental degradation. Since it became an independent country in 1947, almost all of its primary forests have been cut down while its population has grown by an unbelievable 600 percent.
Each year, more than 25 million shipping containers enter the U.S. All too often, highly destructive forest pests are lurking among their imported goods. Wood boring insects arrive as stowaways in wood packaging, such as pallets and crates. Other forest pests and pathogens hitchhike in on foreign-reared plants bound for American nurseries.
The discovery of acid rain in North America was made possible by environmental data collected at a biological field station nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is just one of the many biological field stations located around the globe that are keeping a pulse on the health of our planet.