forests

A new study projects the spread of the destructive southern pine beetle through much of the northern United States and southern Canada. Darker colors here represent infestations in successively later decades. (Lesk et al., 2017)

Climate May Quickly Drive Forest-Eating Beetles North, Says Study

Over the next few decades, global warming-related rises in winter temperatures could significantly extend the range of the southern pine beetle, one of the world’s most aggressive tree-killing insects, through much of the northern United States and southern Canada, says a new study.

by |August 28, 2017
In a soaking rain, Pederson eyeballs a plot through an angle gauge, a forester’s tool for estimating forest density and species composition.

Photo Essay: High in the Hills, Climate May Challenge Forests

Forests in the south-central United States are some of the country’s most productive and diverse. They also sit in a warming “hole”—an area where the progressive rise in temperature affecting most of the continent hasn’t yet taken hold. A team from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is studying how these forests might shift—or even disappear—when climate change does catch up with them, as expected.

by |March 15, 2016
Williams extracts a core from a massive red oak. Specimens up to 400 years old can be found in isolated spots, but it is the last 80-some years the scientists are mainly after. Those are the years covered by modern instrumental record, and the rings can be closely correlated with those to paint a picture of how trees have fared under known conditions year to year. This will allow the team to project how they are likely to react under future scenarios.

How Will Shifting Climate Change U.S. Forests?

One foggy spring morning just after a hard rain, Park Williams was tromping through the woods deep in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountains. Toiling down a steep slope, he supposedly was keeping a simultaneous eye out for rattlesnakes, copperheads, poison ivy and big old trees. Williams seemed mostly focused on the trees, though; attention to the other stuff was just slowing him down. Williams studies how forests react to changes in climate, and the Ozarks’ deeply dissected hills and hollers—what some might refer to as typical hillbilly country—are a kind of ground zero for this.

by |March 15, 2016

Seeing the Amazon’s Future Through the Fog

Scientists have developed a new approach to modeling the water and carbon cycles in the Amazon that could lead to better climate forecasts and improved water resource management.

Executive

Certificate Program: Black Rock Forest Case Study

Forests are a vitally important habitat for much of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. During this class you will learn key issues in forest ecology and management through an all-day field trip to Black Rock Forest, and study how pathogens and other invasive species affect forest structure and function.

by |March 12, 2014
The cicada invasion of 2013 has left a wake of brown branch tips in their wake. Martin Stute, a hydrologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, shows off an example of the insects' work. (Kim Martineau)

Cicadas Leave Trail of Dead Leaves

As you travel through our region, you may notice stands of trees with branch tips covered in dead leaves. The damage is not from the hot and humid weather, but rather the aftermath of the cicadas.

by |July 17, 2013
A Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) is one of the myriad birds native to El Yunque National Forest. Photo provided by Jason Sturner.

Study Rainforest Ecology in Puerto Rico with SEE-U

The SEE-U Puerto Rico course provides students with a total immersion experience into the ecology and dynamics of a fragile and threatened environmental system.

by |March 13, 2012
Tree Rings to the Rescue! Image: Neil Pederson

Arboreally Speaking, the ‘Good Old Growth Curve Is a Delusion’

In the previous post, I outlined the argument lighting up parts of the New Jersey legislature and the human elements of its ecological communities. Briefly, one reason some people are using to promote logging on public lands is the perception that old trees and forests are dying of old age. While there are other arguments… read more

by |December 27, 2011
A truly old forest in New Jersey. Photo: Neil Pederson

Arboreally Speaking, Does Age Matter?

“There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees“…I will mostly spare you one of the more ecologically correct, forest ecology rock tunes (the next two lines, however, “For the maples want more sunlight, and the oaks ignore their pleas,” written in 1978, seem incredibly prescient given that one of the first… read more

by |December 20, 2011
A woody biomass harvest site in MN. Photo credit: Eli Sagor

Is Biomass Really Renewable?

Ninety percent of all existing biomass power plants use wood residue and there are currently 115 power plants in development that will burn biomass to generate electricity. But just how renewable is biomass energy?

by |August 18, 2011