There is increasing interest in tree planting as a nature-based solution to climate change. Many countries around the world have made pledges to the Bonn Challenge to bring millions of hectares of degraded land under restoration. However, there is growing concern in the biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration community that there is too little attention paid to which species are planted and where.
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Conservation / Tree Health
For Madagascar farmer Edmond, who goes by one name, it was a breakthrough. In 2019 he perfected a complicated technique to grow a rare species of tree known as Dalbergia normandii.
The plants hail from a valuable, and difficult-to-propagate family of trees known as rosewoods, which have been felled near to the point of extinction in many parts of Madagascar.
When thinking of tree conservation, sprawling forests generally come to mind. But cities, although covering only 2% of land globally, could harbour a sixth of the world’s tree diversity, according to Australian researchers.
And among the more than 4,700 tree species they counted, one in 10 faces conservation risk in the wild. Six are even thought to be extinct.
“Urban areas represent an overlooked opportunity for plant conservation globally,” says lead author Alessandro Ossola from Macquarie University.
In collaboration with ArbNet, Dr. Jill Hamilton, assistant professor at North Dakota State University, and colleagues at Virginia Tech, University of Vermont and University of Maryland have recruited 18 universities and arboreta nationwide to plant ‘mini’ common garden experiments of black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa), balsam poplar (P. balsamifera), and their hybrids as part of a new garden-based research network, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Plant Genome Research program.
The Himalayan mountains are known as a treasure trove of medicinal plants, many of which have not even been scientifically studied. But one rare tree with proven anti-cancer property is on the verge of extinction, and needs urgent protection.
Areas with low tree coverage and poor soil quality are more likely to experience flood and drought, as the soil is less able to retain excess rainwater writes Jacqueline Skalski-Fouts.
Humanitarian crises have recently been declared in Sudan, Yemen, Niger, Mali, and Somalia—affecting at least 450,000 people—due to flash floods and landslides.
The City of Cape Town has completed South Africa’s first ever tree mapping project. This project identified all the trees within the city, providing clear data on the development of the city’s urban forest.
Cape Town has not quite reached the definition of an urban forest according to the United Nations. Rather than the required continuous 10% of tree canopy cover required, the city currently has 7%.
Researchers have found a way to tackle a disease that threatens thousands of hectares of Alpine forests each year.
Needle bladder rust causes Norway spruce needles to yellow and fall out, causing a significant reduction in growth.
Scientists in Austria have unlocked a natural defence mechanism that the species can use to fend off the potentially fatal pathogen.
The findings have been published in the BMC Genomics journal.