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Showing posts from September 10, 2020

Ecology: Conservation and food system changes needed to bolster biodiversity

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Trees, shrubs and debris are burned on the Canadian prairies to make  way for more cropland. A  PinP  photo. Nature Declines in terrestrial biodiversity from habitat conversion could be reversed by adopting a combination of bold conservation methods and increases in the sustainability of the food system, a modelling study published in Nature suggests. Human pressures, such as the destruction of natural habitats to make way for agriculture and forestry, are causing rapid declines in biodiversity, and placing at risk the ecosystem services upon which we depend. Ambitious targets for biodiversity have been proposed, but it is unclear how these targets can be achieved whilst retaining the ability to feed a growing population. Using land-use and biodiversity models, David Leclère and colleagues show how this is possible.  Conservationists need to increase the amount of actively managed land, restore degraded land and adopt generalized landscape-level conservation plann

"Live fast. Die young!" Fast-growing trees could store less carbon

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Nature Communications Faster growth leads to a shorter lifespan in trees, according to a paper published in Nature Communications. The findings could have implications for predictions of how much carbon forests can store under climate change. A black spruce (Picea mariana) forest. Photo credit -  Western Arctic National Parklands A relationship between faster tree growth rates and shorter tree lifespan has been shown in some trees, particularly in cold-adapted conifers, but whether this applies across species and climates has been disputed. Such a trade-off would be at odds with the use of tree growth rates as a proxy for carbon storage, and cast doubt on Earth system model predictions of global forest carbon storage. Roel Brienen and colleagues analysed a large dataset of tree-ring data representing 110 tree species across all continents except Africa and Antarctica. They report that faster growth is linked to reduced tree lifespan both across and within tree species, an