An estimated 31% of the world’s oak species are threatened with extinction according to data compiled in a new report by The Morton Arboretum and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Tree Specialist Group, The Red List of Oaks 2020. The report details for the first time the distributions, population trends and threats facing the world’s estimated 430 oak species, and will serve as a roadmap for conservation action.
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Conservation / Tree Health
MORONGO BASIN — Evolutionary biologist Jeremy Yoder will spend time this spring collecting tissue samples from 300 Joshua trees across the desert, hoping to produce a genetic map of them.
The goal is to allow scientists to identify genetic variances in the species.
Scientists need that information to provide insights into which of the trees are more adaptable to climate change. The genetic data would be the first of its kind for the desert species, and could serve as a model for genetically informed desert conservation.
One in four hardwood trees in the eastern United States was once an American chestnut. But no one today can take a walk in these woods beneath the once towering chestnut trees because the species is functionally extinct.
Researchers at Leipzig University and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) have compiled the world's most comprehensive list of known plant species. It contains 1,315,562 names of vascular plants, thus extending the number by some 70,000—equivalent to about 20%. The researchers have also succeeded in clarifying 181,000 hitherto unclear species names. The data set has now been published in Scientific Data. This marks the culmination of ten years of intensive research work.
By Gabriel Popkin
On a weekday morning in August, just one pickup truck sat in the sprawling visitors’ parking lot here at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Forestry Sciences Laboratory. A decadeslong decline in research funding had been slowly quieting the place—and then came the pandemic.
Of all the things you might amass, trees would have to be one of the most unwieldy. They take up space and they soak up time. It's not a pursuit for the restless. But it's hard to keep a good tree collector from grouping trunks and canopies, foliage and flowers. Their plantations spill over hectares and change with the seasons.
In 1838 the pioneering Scottish botanist and garden designer John Claudius Loudon came up with a name for such a collection: "arboretum". The term stuck.
Once upon a time, in early-19th-century America, people didn’t frequent parks; they recreated at cemeteries. Thanks to the so-called rural cemetery movement, expansive “groves of the dead” were filled with curated collections of flowering bushes and magnificent trees. Sprawling across hundreds of acres just outside cities, they were designed as naturalistic oases to simultaneously help strolling urbanites commune with dearly departeds and connect with their lost country roots.
Have you ever wanted to get a sample from the top of a tree, without having to climb it or shoot it out with a shotgun? Would it be cool to place a sensor or trap in the canopy of a tree to gather data or insects?
Societal Impact Statement
Will black cottonwood poplars, balsam poplars or their hybrids grow and thrive this far south?
That’s a question Lockerly Arboretum hopes to help North Dakota State University answer in the coming months and years through a research project that recently put its roots in the ground. Lockerly is one of 18 arboretums and universities across the country participating in the project that will determine where these trees can be grown and later broken down for uses like biofuel. The effort is being funded by the National Science Foundation’s plant genome research program.