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Latest Vegetation Stories

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2009-01-26 08:25:00

New technology deployed on airplanes is helping scientists quantify landscape-scale changes occurring to Big Island tropical forests from non-native plants and other environmental factors that affect carbon sequestration. U.S. Forest Service and Carnegie Institution scientists involved in the research published their findings this month in the journal Ecosystems and hope it will help other researchers racing to assess threats to tropical forests around the world. "Our results clearly show the...

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2009-01-22 11:12:14

Biological invasions are one of the major threats to biodiversity and in many cases they have considerable impact on economy and human health. For their effective management it is important to understand which areas and ecosystems are at the highest risk of being invaded. The first map of the level of alien plant invasions in European Union was published in the Wiley-Blackwell journal Diversity and Distributions. An international team of Czech, Spanish and British plant ecologists...

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2008-11-18 10:39:41

Marginal plants, particularly trees, play a crucial role in sustaining the biodiversity of Europe's big river systems, according to a recently held workshop organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF). This finding provides important clues for protecting Europe's rivers against a combined onslaught from human development and climate change, which are tampering with existing ecosystems and changing both the physical and biological forces acting upon them. Both aquatic plants (living in...

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2008-10-01 10:50:00

Reconstructing the climate of the past is an important tool for scientists to better understand and predict future climate changes that are the result of the present-day global warming. Although there is still little known about the Earth's tropical and subtropical regions, these regions are thought to play an important role in both the evolution of prehistoric man and global climate changes. New North African climate reconstructions reveal three "Ëœgreen Sahara' episodes during...

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2008-05-22 10:35:00

New map shows burning hotspots on EarthA geographer from the University of Leicester has produced for the first time a map of the scorched Earth for every year since the turn of the Millennium.Dr Kevin Tansey, of the Department of Geography, a leading scientist in an international team, created a visual impression of the fire scars on our planet between 2000 and 2007. The work was funded by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.The map reveals that between 3.5 and 4.5 million...

2008-02-20 03:00:34

By Archer, Jessica K Miller, Deborah L; Tanner, George W ARCHER, J. K. (Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611), D. L. MILLER (Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida West Florida Research and Education Center, 5988 Hwy 90, Bldg 4900, Milton, FL 32583), AND G. W. TANNER (Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611). Changes in understory vegetation and soil...

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2008-01-11 03:00:00

By McKenney, Daniel W Pedlar, John H; Lawrence, Kevin; Campbell, Kathy; Hutchinson, Michael F Currently predicted change in climate could strongly affect plant distributions during the next century. Here we determine the present- day climatic niches for 130 North American tree species. We then locate the climatic conditions of these niches on maps of predicted future climate, indicating where each species could potentially occur by the end of the century. A major unknown in this work is the...

2007-08-04 03:26:17

By Fortner, Allison M Weltzin, Jake F FORTNER, A. M. (Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6351) AND J. F. WELTZIN (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1610). Competitive hierarchy for four common old-field plant species depends on resource identity and availability. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 134: 166-176. 2007.-Competition is an important factor structuring plant communities. Competitive...

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2007-07-17 14:25:47

The first soil moisture maps with a spatial resolution of one km are available online for the entire southern African subcontinent. As soil moisture plays an important role in the global water cycle, these maps, based on data from ESA's Envisat satellite, will lead to better weather and extreme-event forecasting, such as floods and droughts. "Predicting when and where floods are likely to happen is becoming more and more important," Geoff Pegram of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South...

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2006-12-20 19:40:00

Data from NASA satellites is advancing efforts that may soon allow scientists to predict when and where wildfires occur. While information from satellites and instruments have recently let scientists more quickly determine the exact location of wildfires and to monitor their movement, this research offers a step toward predicting their development and could complement data currently used in calculating fire potential across much of the United States. By studying shrublands prone to wildfire...


Word of the Day
humgruffin
  • A terrible or repulsive person.
Regarding the etymology of 'humgruffin,' the OED says (rather unhelpfully) that it's a 'made-up word.' We might guess that 'hum' comes from 'humbug' or possibly 'hum' meaning 'a disagreeable smell,' while 'gruffin' could be a combination of 'gruff' and 'griffin.'