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Conservation / Tree Health
LONDON — Britain is to help protect Australia's biodiversity in the emergency collection of plant seeds following the country's devastating wildfires.
Scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London will help with emergency seed-collecting in areas devastated by the bushfires and store specimens at its Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) in Britain.
Kew’s MSB works as an insurance policy against plant extinction so they can be protected for the future.
According to Dr. Dave Kendal from the University of Tasmania, in the next 50 years, 20-50% of current plant species in botanic gardens and urban landscapes will likely confront temperatures those species have never experienced before.
Last month, as the State closed on one of its hottest and driest years on record, a giant White Oak (Quercus alba), that had stood for over 150 years on the famous Oak Lawn at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, simply collapsed, leaving a gaping hole in the City's most iconic landscape.
Faced with deforestation, climate change, invasive pests, and new diseases, many trees are in trouble. Foresters and conservationists are scrambling to save them, but can’t protect every stand of woods. And prioritizing which places—and even which individual trees—warrant preservation has been a challenge. For example, “You want a lot of genetic diversity in a conservation area. … The higher the diversity, the more the chances that the population will survive,” says F. A. (Phil) Aravanopoulos, a forest geneticist at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Long-lived humans having nothing on trees. Some forest giants, like the Ginkgo biloba, can live more than 3000 years. Now, in the most comprehensive plant aging study to date, researchers have revealed the molecular mechanisms that allow the ginkgo—and perhaps other trees—to survive so long.
The new study provides the first real genetic evidence for something scientists have long suspected: “The default condition in plants is immortality,” says Howard Thomas, a plant biologist from Aberystwyth University who was not involved in the work.
A potential ally for one of North America’s most embattled trees has passed its first big test. A tiny predatory beetle that researchers have been rearing and releasing into forests appears to be doing damage to an aphidlike pest that poses a deadly threat to ecologically important eastern hemlock trees, a 5-year study has found.
Little red buds poke through the bark of burnt eucalyptus trees in the Blue Mountains. It's been just over a month since the Gospers Mountain fire tore through, but regeneration has begun.
The early signs of recovery are positive, but ecologists are preparing for "a lot of loss" as they begin the challenges of conserving, managing and studying bushfire affected ecosystems.
Firefighters have saved the only known natural stand of Wollemi pines, so-called “dinosaur trees” that fossil records show existed up to 200m years ago, from the bushfires that have devastated New South Wales.
The state’s environment minister, Matt Kean, said a specially deployed team of remote air firefighters helped save the critically endangered trees from the giant Gospers Mountain fire.
WAIPOUA FOREST, New Zealand — Two arborists, chest-deep in underbrush, secured a rope slung over a branch in the Waipoua Forest, close to the northern tip of New Zealand.
Scott Forrest pumped his fist. “Yeah, great stuff,” he said. He recently won the world championship for tree climbing.
But the job this day was a special privilege.
He was about to ascend a 148-foot-tall, 2,000-year-old kauri tree known as Tane Mahuta, a tree so sacred to the indigenous Maori people that even touching it is taboo.
The earliest fossilised trees, dating back 386 million years, have been found at an abandoned quarry in New York.
Scientists believe the forest they belonged to was so vast it originally stretched beyond Pennsylvania.
This discovery in Cairo, New York, is thought to be two or three million years older than what was previously the world's oldest forest at Gilboa, also in New York State.
The findings throw new light on the evolution of trees.
What did they find?