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Forest & trees

  • Dying trees in cities? Blame it on the pavement - A new study of urban tree life in the Southeast shows pavement and concrete may have a bigger effect than longitudinal warming.
  • Tree rings tell climate stories that technology can't - A new study shows how information revealed by a new method of analyzing tree rings matches the story told by more high-tech equipment over the short-term. Because trees are long-lived, looking back in their rings with this new approach may add decades or even centuries to our understanding of carbon storage and climate change in forests.
  • The paper mulberry coevolved with soil microbes to humanity's benefit - The paper mulberry evolved its uniquely fibrous inner bark around 31 million years ago, long before the woody tree was first used for bookmaking during China's Tang dynasty. This adaptation, which makes the nutrient-rich plant easy to pass through foraging animals, may have been its way of feeding nearby soil microbes. Botanists in China discovered this connection in the first analysis of the Broussonetia papyrifera genome.

News & articles

  • Plants and microbes shape global biomes through local underground alliances - Researchers report that the distribution of forest types worldwide is based on the relationships plant species forged with soil microbes to enhance their uptake of nutrients. These symbioses could help scientists understand how ecosystems may shift as climate change alters the interplay between plants, microbes and soil.
  • Amazonian soils mapped using indicator species - Understanding the ecology and distributions of species in Amazonia is hampered by lack of information about environmental conditions, such as soils. Plant occurrence data are typically more abundant than soil samples in poorly known areas, and researchers have now developed a method that uses both plant and soil data to produce a map of soil properties.
  • Scientists crack the code to regenerate plant tissues - A group of scientists have discovered a new way to regenerate flowering plant tissues, opening possibilities of mitigating global food shortage problem.