Forest Digest: January 14, 2018

January 14th, 2018|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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Gulf Hagas, Maine Credit: Lee Coursey

Find out what’s happened this past week in the world of forestry!

Forest Society of Maine announces completion of milestone conservation project near Gulf Hagas and Whitecap MountainThe Piscataquis Observer

After four years of collaboration with the land owner, this project secured conservation of thousands of acres, including views from The Appalachian Trail, recreation sites, and habitats of the Eastern brook trout and Atlantic salmon.

After 1,000 Years, Iceland Is Growing Forests Again – Science Trends

After millions of years of changing climates, volcanic activity and the introduction of human settlement, Iceland’s forests dramatically decreased in size. However, things are starting to look up.

P.S. – Read about our contribution to reforesting Iceland through our project with Alcoa Foundation!

How forests could limit earthquake damage to buildings – physicsworld.com

Physicists in France have shown that certain seismic waves, known as Love waves, could be diverted away from the Earth’s surface as they pass through a forest containing trees of a certain height.

Swing Big for Climate-Safe ConservationHuffington Post

Our VP of Conservation Programs, Jad Daley, examines how we can continue advancing conservation progress in an ever-changing climate.

Cataloguing primeval forests – DW

New technology is simplifying the process for taking inventory of biodiversity in ancient woodlands.

These Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests on Fire – Science Alert

For over 40,000 years, Australian ‘firehawk raptors’ have reportedly assisted the spread of wildfire by carrying burning sticks in their beaks. While scientists are still working to figure out exactly why the birds are doing this, researchers do believe it’s done with intention.

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Why I Am Here: Protecting My Sanctuary by Preserving Forests

January 10th, 2018|0 Comments

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By Emily Stringfellow, American Forests

After discovering how forests provide an escape from the daily pressures that life brings, they have become a sanctuary for me. Birds chirping, squirrels scrambling and deer tiptoeing all captivate my attention. Walking through a forest calms my mind and leaves me feeling refreshed. I have found that exploring forests has provided me with more peace of mind and stress relief than any other kind of exercise.

My hobby of walking through forests for mental benefits actually has a specific name: forest bathing. The term can be a little misleading when interpreted directly, as it does not involve taking a bath in the woods, but rather immersing yourself in a forest. Evidence from a study done by the Japanese government in the 1980s shows how forest bathing has many health benefits. Spending time in a forest reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of disease and stimulates creativity. Another study conducted in Japan found that forest bathing reduces depression. The health benefits from forest bathing are easy to obtain, as all it takes is a walk among the trees around you.

Because of how forests have positively impacted my mental health and can improve others’ mental health, American Forests quickly gained my interest. For these health benefits to remain easily obtainable, forests need to be preserved.

When I was younger, my family was fortunate enough to have a forest run along the side of our yard. I was always steps away from a completely different world full of a variety of plants and wildlife. The forest behind my house was a place to explore, imagine and escape after a day of sitting in a classroom. The neighborhood kids and I enjoyed playing in streams and hiding among the trees. I was heartbroken when we were informed that a neighborhood was being developed directly behind my family’s home and that our beloved forest would be lost to us. For years, I was accustomed to the excitement of seeing deer roaming close to our yard and the ability to escape from reality for a few hours. The trees slowly came down and houses were erected in their place. I had lost my sanctuary. This loss highlighted just how quickly a forest can disappear and gave me a greater appreciation for the next forest I found to escape to.

A few years later, I found a new sanctuary: Umstead State Park. Even though I am older and walk instead of play in these woods, they still have the same effect on my mental state. It is a place for me to relax and enjoy nature. My dog, Lily, usually joins me. She is the perfect hiking companion since she does not complain about the length of the hike or the weather, like my sisters do. As soon as I grab her leash, she runs around our kitchen in excitement. After a short drive, we turn onto a small road and are immediately surrounded by a forest. While hiking in this place, you would never know that there are multiple shopping centers less than a mile away. When it is time to leave, my dog always resists getting in the car. She wants to continue our journey through the forest.

Based on the peace of mind they afford and the joy they bring to me and my dog, I have come to the conclusion that protecting forests is a worthwhile cause of which I would like to be a part. Losing Umstead State Park would cause me to lose a place where I can receive the multitude of benefits that forests provide. American Forests presents the perfect avenue to advocate for forests and prevent my sanctuary — and those like it around the country — from being taken away again.

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Forest Digest: January 7, 2018

January 7th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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See what’s happened this past week in the world of forestry!

Does wildfire create home sweet home for bees?Crosscut

Previously, little to no data existed on the effects wildfire and forest management practices have on native bee species, but thanks to scientists and technicians at Oregon State University, that’s starting to change.

How to protect your yard in freezing temperaturesThe Florida Times-Union

The majority of the country is currently battling freezing temperatures, and southern states are seeing record lows. While a hard freeze can kill weeds and reduce pest problems, colder weather than normal puts plants at risk. Read these tips to find out how to take care of your plants before and after a freeze.

Eight New Year’s resolutions for a greener 2018GreenUP

Save money, feel healthier and be happier – all while helping the environment! These resolutions are the perfect way to boost your green power this year. Bonus: you’ll save money and feel healthier, too.

One million more dead trees in Calaveras – Recordnet.com

In California, bark beetle devastation continues even after droughts, bringing the total number of trees lost in Calaveras County since 2014 to about 3.3 million.

Good news for spotted owls – and thinning projectsPayson Roundup

Mexican spotted owls love the thickets of trees on the watershed of a reservoir in Payson, AZ. However, their dependence on the dense forests has delayed thinning projects necessary to prevent megafires in the area. A new study found that the owls do just as fine in thinner forests, as long as they still have groups of tall trees, making them (and the project) more adaptable.

Green space map to help preserve Olentangy River watershedThe Columbus Dispatch

As development pressure increases in Columbus, OH, the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed group want to make sure natural space around the river is protected.

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Sacred Roots: Trees in Folklore

January 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

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By Dylan Stuntz, American Forests

Humanity has understood the importance of trees for millennia — just look at the oldest forms of stories we have: folklore and myths. Trees have held sacred and important roles in many ancient theistic tales, and here are just a few culturally sacred trees in mythologies from around the world.

Acacia Tree (Egyptian Mythology)

The ancient Egyptians believed that the first gods were born under a sacred acacia tree, while other members of their pantheon emerged fully formed from the trunk. It was believed that life and death were decided by the gods under an acacia tree. The boat the sun god navigated the world on was made from palm fronds and acacias.

Yggdrasil the World Tree (Norse Mythology)

For the Vikings, this tree was so central to their mythology that they believed it held up the entire world! According to the Old Norse view of the cosmos, Yggdrasil was an immense ash tree that supported the nine realms, or the entire known universe. The gods lived at a realm at the center of the ash, with the branches stretching up supporting all nine of the existing worlds, including humanity.

The Sky-High Tree (Hungarian folklore)

Depiction of dragons at the top of the égig érő fa, found on Jacob’s Arch in Austria.

The égig érő fa is a tree from Hungarian folklore, and is featured in the story of a shepherd boy who ran into a tree that appeared to be without a top. He climbed and climbed, but the tree seemed to be endless. Once he reached above the clouds, he found himself in a magical realm full of fantastic creatures. It was believed that this endless tree reached all the way up into the heavens, while its roots intertwined with the deepest pits of the underworld.

Garden of the Hesperides (Greek Mythology)

In Greek mythology, a sacred apple grove found at the westernmost edge of the world was tended by nymphs, known as the Garden of the Hesperides. One bite of a golden apple found growing in the grove was said to grand immortality to anyone who dared to tread on this ground. Immortality did not come without a price, for guarding the grove was a hundred-headed dragon who never slept. According to myth, one of the apples from the grove was the source of the infamous Trojan War. The famous hero Hercules was commanded to steal an apple from the grove for one of his Labors.

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Forced Responses: Jan 2018

This is a new class of open thread for discussions of climate solutions, mitigation and adaptation. As always, please be respectful of other commentators and try to avoid using repetition to make your points. Discussions related to the physical Earth System should be on the Unforced Variations threads.