‘Scariest tree pathogen in the world’ spreading rapidly in California

Author: David McNew/Getty Images

Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a deadly disease for oak trees, is on the rise in California. According to a survey conducted by UC Berkeley scientists, the number of infected trees has almost doubled since 2018.

Matteo Garbelotto, the director of the UC Berkeley Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory, has been involved in conducting the survey of 14 California counties (stretching from Humboldt to Monterey) for the past 12 years. This year, two aspects of the results stood out to him.

“We found this year the most sharp increase ever in the number of trees affected,” said Garbelotto. However, this was expected due to the wet winters we’ve had in California for the past two years — the spores spread faster with significant rainfall.

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Emergent crowns and light-use complementary lead to global maximum biomass and leaf area in Sequoia sempervirens forests

Sequoia sempervirens forests set global records for biomass, leaf area, and carbon.

Decay-resistant heartwood allows Sequoia to repair damage to crowns and flourish.

Sequoia forests develop trees with emergent crowns that live for millennia.

Emergent crowns facilitate biomass and leaf area maxima in perpetuity.

Whole plant equations (180) were generated to quantify aboveground biomass.

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New Threats Put Wildfire Fighters’ Health on the Line

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — As fires spread across Northern California last year, Capt. Matt Alba and Strike Team 2253A found themselves wading through a smoldering jungle of plastic and metal in search of bodies.

As they worked through charred auto shops and trailers, Mr. Alba kept thinking about the poisons they were kicking up, and that they did not have a single mask or hazmat suit among them.

For generations, firefighters fought mostly in desolate forests, where most of the dangers were fatigue and falling trees. But a confluence of modern factors — namely America’s rapid suburban expansion into the wilderness, combined with the growing ferocity of wildfires — is posing a host of new health threats to the men and women who fight these blazes.

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 Proforestation Mitigates Climate Change and Serves the Greatest Good

  • Authors :William R. Moomaw1*, Susan A. Masino2,3 and Edward K. Faison4
  • 1Emeritus Professor, The Fletcher School and Co-director Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University, Medford, MA, United States
  • 2Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, United States
  • 3Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Research, Harvard Forest, Petersham, MA, United States
  • 4Senior Ecologist, Highstead Foundation, Redding, CT, United States

Climate change and loss of biodiversity are widely recognized as the foremost environmental challenges of our time. Forests annually sequester large quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and store carbon above and below ground for long periods of time. Intact forests—largely free from human intervention except primarily for trails and hazard removals—are the most carbon-dense and biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems, with additional benefits to society and the economy. Internationally, focus has been on preventing loss of tropical forests, yet U.S. temperate and boreal forests remove sufficient atmospheric CO2 to reduce national annual net emissions by 11%. U.S. forests have the potential for much more rapid atmospheric CO2 removal rates and biological carbon sequestration by intact and/or older forests. The recent 1.5 Degree Warming Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies reforestation and afforestation as important strategies to increase negative emissions, but they face significant challenges: afforestation requires an enormous amount of additional land, and neither strategy can remove sufficient carbon by growing young trees during the critical next decade(s). In contrast, growing existing forests intact to their ecological potential—termed proforestation—is a more effective, immediate, and low-cost approach that could be mobilized across suitable forests of all types. Proforestation serves the greatest public good by maximizing co-benefits such as nature-based biological carbon sequestration and unparalleled ecosystem services such as biodiversity enhancement, water and air quality, flood and erosion control, public health benefits, low impact recreation, and scenic beauty.

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