DNR weekend reading: Urban trees save lives; Purple sea urchins may outwit ocean acidification; and more

Douglas fir burn scars
Older Douglas-fir trees (center) still show scars from the massive Yacolt Burn wildfire of 1902 in southwest Washington state. Photo: Florian Deisenhofer/DNR.

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

US Forest Service, Northern Research Station: Study Finds Urban Trees are Removing Fine Particulate Air Pollution, Saving Lives
The ability of trees to remove fine particulate air pollution — associated with premature mortality, pulmonary inflammation, accelerated atherosclerosis, and other illnesses — saves an average of one life every year per city, concludes a U.S. Forest Service study of urban forests in 10 major U.S. cities.

UC Santa Barbara: Rapid Adaptation Is Purple Sea Urchins’ Weapon Against Ocean Acidification
In the race against climate change and ocean acidification, some sea urchins may still have a few tricks up their spiny sleeves, suggesting that adaptation will likely play a large role for the sea creatures as the carbon content of the ocean increases.

Bonn University: The contribution of particulate matter to forest decline
Air-bourne pollution containing large amounts of particulate matter appears to attack the protective wax-like coating on tree leaves and needles — a factor that lowers a tree’s resistance to drought and which may be a cause of forest decline around the world.  

Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences: When Will the Next Megathrust Hit the West Coast of North America?
A new study presents our most complete glimpse back in geologic time at the recurrence interval of large and megathrust earthquakes that have an impact on the vulnerable outer coastline of British Columbia.

Nano Letters (American Chemical Society): Tin Anode for Sodium-Ion Batteries Using Natural Wood Fiber as a Mechanical Buffer and Electrolyte Reservoir
Taking inspiration from trees, scientists have developed a battery made from a sliver of wood coated with tin that shows promise for becoming a tiny, long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly energy source.

Los Alamos National Laboratory: Less is more: Novel cellulose structure requires fewer enzymes to process biomass to fuel
Improved methods for breaking down cellulose nanofibers are central to cost-effective biofuel production and the subject of new research. Scientists are investigating the unique properties of crystalline cellulose nanofibers to develop novel chemical pretreatments and designer enzymes for biofuel production from cellulosic — or non-food — plant-derived biomass.

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