This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
In forests, climate change ramps up stress already occurring from extreme weather events, disease and insect outbreaks, catastrophic wildfires, and invasive species. Resilient forests are better able to absorb stress without compromising the services they afford. In the same way that good sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise make a person resilient (though not immune) to illness, forests can be helped towards resiliency by management practices that focus on sustaining or restoring ecological integrity in relation to future conditions. While neither the many threats to forests nor the management approaches available to abate them are new to forest managers, climate change introduces additional pressure and the need for the rapid translation of emerging science into forest management practice. Read more »
These past months have brought tough times for folks across the nation. Unusual weather patterns – too much water in some places, not enough elsewhere – have driven thousands of Americans from their homes, and threatened their livelihoods.
Other families have seen their lives turned upside down by tornados or threatened by historic wildfires.
In these difficult times, my heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by these disasters. And I want folks to know that at USDA – and across the federal government – we are we are doing our best to serve all those who have been affected. Read more »
USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist’s Climate Change Program Office has released the “U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Greenhouse Gas Inventory: 1990-2008” report. This report provides detailed estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration from the management of livestock, croplands, and forests, as well as from energy use in agriculture that will be useful to states and localities. In 2008, agricultural greenhouse gas sources accounted for about 6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
It was prepared collaboratively with contributions from the USDA Agricultural Research Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses, USDA Climate Change Program Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and researchers at Colorado State University. Read more »
In a scientific achievement that is important in planning for future climate scenarios, and for protecting some endangered animal species, U.S. Forest Service research geneticist Bryce Richardson and research ecologist Michael Schwartz, have sequenced more than 40 billion base pairs of DNA from 130 samples of plant, animal and fungal species. The tree species were as diverse as tan oak, sugar pine and sagebrush.
This DNA sequencing is more than 12 times the amount of information in the human genome, which has about 3.3 billion base pairs. The massive undertaking, known as the Western Forest Transcriptome Survey, is a collaborative effort between four U.S. Forest Service research stations and four universities. Read more »
Bedford, Ind., May 5, 2011 -- A group of Hoosier National Forest employees plant chestnut trees in a timber sale area of the Hoosier to return the American chestnut to its native range (Photo Credit: US Forest Service).
Once a prominent phenomenon in southern Indiana, Bedford just experienced the first re-planting of American chestnut trees on the Hoosier National Forest in partnership with Purdue University and the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. Read more »
The hidden beauty of a mangrove forest.
Mangroves have declined by nearly half in the last 50 years. This is disconcerting to scientists because the hardy brackish tidal tree in an important bulkhead against climate change, according to findings is a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Read more »