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Rising Carbon Dioxide and Plant Communities

Category(-ies): Climate Change

Scientists from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service are finding that rising carbon dioxide levels can have a wide range of impacts on plant communities. Their findings suggest that some weedy invasives may benefit from higher CO2 levels. Forest species such as the longleaf pine may have increased drought tolerance and higher survival rates from rising CO2 levels. The scientists also found that greater CO2 levels cause chemical changes in pine needles that may translate to a lower nutritional content for smaller organisms. These findings suggest altered carbon and nutrient cycling in forests.


Thanks again to Claire Thompson for researching and writing this entry.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 12:00 PM


Assisted Migration - the Answer to Climate Change?

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Other Botanical Gardens , Plant Conservation

Thank you to Claire Thompson, UBC BG work-study student, for writing this entry.

Scientists at the Chicago Botanic Garden are sending teams of people out across the Midwest and northern Great Plains of America to collect seeds from 1500 prairie species before 2010.

The collections are part of a project to preserve species and investigate assisted migration of plants as a response to climate change. Researchers are planning to test this idea with Pitcher's thistle, a native plant to sand dunes along several of the Great Lakes.

Assisted migration is a controversial issue among scientists, as it has risks associated with interfering with complex habitats and uncertainties surrounding climate change. Scientists at the botanic gardens in favor of assisted migration have recently finished a paper outlining a strategic framework for collecting and prioritizing seeds from species that are most likely to go extinct under climate change, and for predicting where species should be relocated.


Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 7:00 AM


Climate Change and Gardening

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Plant Conservation , Plants in the Landscape

What will be impact of climate change on gardening? A New York Times article addresses both the good and the bad. The good: different plant choices due to warmer weather & a longer growing season and raising awareness about environmental issues. The bad: increased pests and new weedy invaders, a changing native flora (and for some US states, the potential extirpation of state flowers and trees), and all of the associated cultural and biological consequences.

Feeling Warmth, Subtropical Plants Move North via the New York Times

Gardener's Guide to Global Warming (US-based) from the US National Wildlife Federation

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 9:47 AM


Climate Change and Migration

Category(-ies): Climate Change

Along with human climate refugees, global warming is expected to prompt the movement of many plant populations as they struggle to survive under the new climatic regime. The role people may play in trying to reduce the number of extinctions is discussed in “When Worlds Collide”, an article by Douglas Fox for Conservation Magazine.

Thanks to Peter Wharton for suggesting this article.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 1:24 PM


Ice Caps Not The Only Thing Heating Up

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Plant Discoveries

A recent study from UC Irvine suggests that plants with frequent generational turnover (such as annual weeds) may be more resilient to the effects of global warming than slower-growing plants. The ability to evolve rapidly to keep up with climate change is cited as the reason.

Rapid evolutionary change may help annual plants cope with global warming better than long-living species via the University of California, Irvine

Profile for Dr. Arthur Weis of the Center for Evolutionary Genetics at UC Irvine

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 9:24 AM


Climate Change and Plant Extinctions

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Plant Conservation

Plants in some areas of the world are at extreme risk of extinction due to climate change. Those confined to small areas, such as islands or the South African fynbos, have no hope of colonizing new areas, since environmental conditions in nearby areas (where the plants could theoretically find a refuge) are either unsuitable or are too distant.

Climate Change Seen Pushing Plants to the Brink

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 2:41 PM


Wildfires and Climate Change

Category(-ies): Climate Change

“A new study led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, implicates rising seasonal temperatures and the earlier arrival of spring conditions in connection with a dramatic increase of large wildfires in the western United States.”

Warming Climate Plays Large Role in Western U.S. Wildfires

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 11:18 AM


Ripe for Change: Agriculture's Tipping Point

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Plants, Food and Medicine

“Conventional and sustainable agriculture have long debated the question: what kind of agriculture works best for both people and nature? Then suddenly, as in any good drama, while the forces of good and evil are having it out, something happens to raise the stakes. Now, lumbering onto center stage comes a real monster, global warming, and the conflict shifts from being about how we feed ourselves to whether we survive at all.”

Ripe for Change: Agriculture's Tipping Point, an essay from Claire Hope Cummings for World Watch Magazine

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 11:16 AM


Global Dimming

Category(-ies): Climate Change , Snippets

“Each year less light reaches the surface of the Earth. No one is sure what's causing global dimming – or what it means for the future.”

Goodbye Sunshine from The Guardian.

Posted by Daniel Mosquin at 12:31 AM



Category(-ies): Climate Change

At a recent dinner party the topics of global climate change, species loss and sustainability came up again and again. The thing that perplexed everyone was, "Why is no one taking the issue seriously?" Evidence of global warming has been mounting steadily for years and the general consensus of the scientific community is that the climate is warming, due at least in part, to humans releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Many people, this author included, feel that the issues of climate change and species loss are the most important ones before us today. We are risking our future by not actively addressing the unsustainable nature of human activities on earth today.

Continue reading "DeSmogBlog"

Posted by Eric La Fountaine at 2:01 PM