DNR weekend reading: Plants keeping us cooler but watch out for tundra

Starvation Lake Campground
Starvation Lake Campground is located just 15 miles from Colville in Stevens County and is managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Photo: DNR

Here are links to articles about recent research, discoveries and other news about forests, climate, energy and other science topics gathered by DNR for your weekend reading:

Princeton University: Without plants, Earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon

Researchers based at Princeton University found that land ecosystems have kept the planet cooler by absorbing billions of tons of carbon, especially during the past 60 years. The study is the first to specify the extent to which plants have prevented climate change since pre-industrial times.

Aarhus UniversityThe Tundra: A Dark Horse in Planet Earth’s Greenhouse Gas Budget

New research findings indicate that the huge amounts of organic carbon in the soil beneath the tundra that covers the northernmost woodless areas of the planet may become a source of CO2 as the climate becomes warmer.

University of Sussex: Flower Research Shows Gardens Can Be a Feast for the Eyes – And the Bees

Researchers at the University of Sussex have completed one of the first scientific studies to put the business of recommending pollinator-friendly garden flowers on a firmer scientific footing — they were able document clear differences in the mix of bee and insect types attracted by different varieties, indicating that careful plant choice can not only help insects in general, but also help a range of insects.

University of Witwatersrand–Johannesburg: New evidence on lightning strikes

Lightning strikes causing rocks to explode have for the first time been shown to play a huge role in shaping mountain landscapes in southern Africa, debunking previous assumptions that angular rock formations were necessarily caused by cold temperatures, and proving that mountains are a lot less stable than we think.

Ecological Society of America: Consequences of climate change for biotic disturbances in North American forests

A review of nearly 500 scientific papers concludes that although climate change is having negative affects on forests across North America, the warmer temperatures are also making many forests grow faster, and in the process making some less susceptible to pests, which could boost forest health and acreage, timber harvests, carbon storage, water recycling and other forest benefits in some areas.

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