New research reveals that deforestation in the Amazon not only warms immediate surroundings but also impacts areas up to 100 kilometers away. Analyzing data from 2001 to 2020, the study links regional forest loss to a significant temperature rise—4.4 °C in areas with both local and regional deforestation. The findings emphasize the critical importance of understanding how Amazon deforestation contributes to climate change and highlight the potential benefits of reducing deforestation for local, regional, and national scales.
Urban environments have become hotspots for understanding how rapid evolution occurs in response to extreme environmental changes. These habitats exert selective pressures on resident organisms that impact their evolutionary trajectories. Recently, researchers from Japan investigated how the creeping woodsorrel plant might adapt in response to elevated temperatures that result from urbanization. Understanding these effects can help predict evolutionary traits to manage plant evolution in the face of shifting climatic conditions.
Retention of dead biomass by plants is common in the temperate herbaceous flora and can be related to certain plant traits, indicating relevance to ecosystem functioning. These are the main findings of an experimental study on more than 100 plant species jointly performed by researchers from the Germany and Czech Republic.
Plant species become exotic after being accidentally or deliberately transported by humans to a new region outside their native range, where they establish self-perpetuating populations that quickly reproduce and spread. This is a complex process mediated by many factors, such as plant traits and genetics, which challenges the creation of general guidelines to predict or manage plant invasions.
Many landscapes in the tropics consist of a mosaic of different types of land use. How people make use of these different ecosystems, with their particular plant communities, was unclear until now. When considering biodiversity, forests often get the most attention. But this research shows that rural households use a wide range of plant species and services provided by many nearby ecosystem types.
Paleobotanists have made an important breakthrough in understanding the origin and geographic distribution of cycads. By combining genetic data with leaf morphological data from both fossil and living species for the first time, the researchers created a phylogenetic tree of these fascinating and endangered plants.
Some southern beeches in the Andes have plumbed deeper for moisture as the surface has dried up. But doing so may deplete resources and undermine the trees’ future health.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are toxic compounds generated by living systems through aerobic respiration and photosynthesis. Now, researchers have studied the mechanism to regulate the activity of ROS-producing enzymes and revealed that ROS is involved in the growth of spruce and synthesis of lignin, a key cell wall component. The findings could help develop technologies for producing valuable timber-based materials and boost the growth of coniferous trees.
Using commercial, high-resolution satellite images and artificial intelligence, an international team mapped almost 10 billion individual trees in Africa’s drylands to assess the amount of carbon stored outside of the continent’s dense tropical forests. The result is the first comprehensive estimate of tree carbon density in the Saharan, Sahel, and Sudanian zones of Africa. The data are free and publicly available.
Trees living in conditions where the carbon dioxide (CO2) has been artificially elevated are likely to become more efficient in conserving water.