DNR weekend reading: Trees and human health; habitat on roadsides; and, yes, there is more dust these days

Table Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area
Take in a weekend hike and view beautiful scenery such as this vista of the Columbia Gorge from a trail in the DNR-managed Table Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area. Photo: DNR.

Here are links to articles about natural resources, climate, energy and other topics published recently by universities, scientific journals, organizations, and other sources:

PBS Newshour: How Removing Trees Can Kill You
A comparison of human mortality in areas where vast ash forests have been decimated by disease suggests that the loss of trees increased mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory-tract illness. This finding adds to the growing evidence that the natural environment provides major public health benefits.

environment360: Green Highways: New Strategies To Manage Roadsides as Habitat
From northern Europe to Florida, highway planners are rethinking roadsides as potential habitat for native plants and wildlife. Scientists say this new approach could provide a useful tool in fostering biodiversity.

University of Colorado-Boulder: Amount of Dust Blown Across the Western U.S. Is Increasing
The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. Because dust storms cause a large-scale reorganization of nutrients on the surface of the Earth, the issue must be studied further. 

NC State University: Hairpin Turn: Micro-RNA Plays Role in Wood Formation
Scientists have found the first examples of how hairpin-shaped chains of micro-RNA regulate wood formation inside plant cells. The mapping of the process could reveal ways to control lignin, which gives wood its strength, and lead to advances in paper and biofuels production.

Science Daily: Pollinators Easily Enhanced by Flowering Agri-Environment Schemes
Agri-environment projects that aim to promote biodiversity on farmland also have positive effects on wild bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Organic farms, set-aside land or fields receiving reduced amounts of fertilizer and pesticides generally hosted more wild pollinators than conventionally farmed land.