Another consequence of climate change: dinky little trees

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As environmental conditions kill old trees and make it harder for new trees to survive, we may never see forests like we had before. And that, in turn, creates a new set of environmental problems. Anyone who has stood at the base of a redwood or visited Sequoia National Park knows the beauty of giant, old trees. But future generations may not get to experience that same sense of wonder. We’ve already lost a minimum of 30% of the world’s old-growth forests since 1900, and as trees face a host of environmental threats, their forests may be made up exclusively of younger, shorter trees. Read Full Story

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Reddit’s former CEO is now in the forest-planting business

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Yishan Wong is building a system that can transform desert land into fertile ground for the trees we need to help stop climate change. Until recently, a remote corner of the Big Island of Hawaii was barren. The area was originally an ancient sandalwood forest, but hundreds of years ago, when the trees were cut down to sell the wood and cattle started grazing on the land, it became what is now essentially desert. Today, a startup is piloting a new system to bring the forest back on a 45-acre plot—and to demonstrate an approach to reforest the planet quickly enough to fight climate change. Read Full Story

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The planet is full of land holding ‘irrecoverable carbon’—and it’s at risk

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If we keep cutting down trees or destroying marshes, it won’t matter how many emissions we stop: The planet won’t be able to reabsorb the carbon we’ve released in time. Fossil fuels get the most attention in the fight to reduce carbon emissions, but preserving nature is also critical. Even if we drastically cut our emissions, it won’t do much good if we release the carbon that’s stored in living plants and soil. How much carbon is that? A new study found that there are more than 260 billion tons of carbon in “living carbon reserves,” including mangrove forests and peatlands, that are at risk of being lost. If it’s released now, planting trees won’t recapture it quickly enough for the world to reach the target of zero net emissions by 2050. Read Full Story

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These drones can plant 40,000 trees in a month. By 2028, they’ll have planted 1 billion

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We need to massively reforest the planet, in a very short period of time. Flash Forest’s drones can plant trees a lot faster than humans. This week, on land north of Toronto that previously burned in a wildfire, drones are hovering over fields and firing seed pods into the ground, planting native pine and spruce trees to help restore habitat for birds. Flash Forest , the Canadian startup behind the project, plans to use its technology to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month. By the end of the year, as it expands to other regions, it will plant hundreds of thousands of trees. By 2028, the startup aims to have planted a full 1 billion trees. Read Full Story

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This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

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If firefighters have a totally accurate picture of what will burn, they can predict how fires will move—and work to prevent them from exploding ahead of time. If you zoom in on a new map of California, you’ll start to see that the fields of green that represent the forest are actually made up of individual green points, and each point represents a real, individual tree. The tool, called the California Forest Observatory , uses AI and satellite images to create an ultradetailed view of the state’s forests—aiding work to prevent the type of catastrophic megafires that the state is experiencing now. Read Full Story

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Trump says he wants to plant a trillion trees, but mostly is focused on cutting them down

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The administration’s new executive order on tree planting seems toothless. Its logging expansions are very real. In late September, the Trump administration finalized a plan to allow logging in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest—the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest. A little more than two weeks later, on October 13, he issued an executive order calling for a new council to “implement a strategy” for the Trillion Trees Initiative, a global effort to grow and conserve a trillion trees within the next decade. Read Full Story

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Lab-grown wood could let us grow furniture in a lab instead of in a forest

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Why cut down trees when you can grow wood in the exact shape you need? Scientists have already figured out how to grow meat in a lab, nurturing animal cells to multiply into chicken cutlets and burger patties . Now, MIT researchers are hoping to do the same with wood, to quickly produce in a lab what would take decades to grow in nature. From there, they could even coax wood tissue to grow into fully-formed shapes—like, say, a table—in order to mitigate the environmental harm of the logging and construction industries Read Full Story

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The world’s most beautiful corporate campus is about to be turned into warehouses

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The Weyerhaeuser campus paved the way for environmentally conscious corporate buildings. Now it’s under threat. Within eyesight of drivers on I-5 in Federal Way, Washington, a celebrated exemplar of modernist landscape architecture and building design peeks out from a forest of evergreens. Like a skyscraper turned on its side, the building appears to be a low concrete bridge stretching across the landscape. The long horizontal tiers of its five floors are draped in ivy and overlook a pond and a meadow. It’s surrounded by lush gardens of wildflowers, and threaded through with walking trails that disappear into the maples and pine trees beyond Read Full Story

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Map: Here’s where we could plant 68 billion trees in the U.S.

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There’s a lot of former forestland in the country. What if we planted trees on it again? The U.S. was once covered in around 1 billion acres of forest. While much of that land has been developed, a recent study led by the Nature Conservancy found that there are still as many as 127 million acres of former forestland in the lower 48 states—an area about twice the size of Oregon—that could feasibly be reforested. In that space, we could plant 68 billion trees, which could capture more than 300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, roughly as much as the pollution from 67 million cars. Read Full Story

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West Elm’s newest line is upholstered in your recycled jeans

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A circular economy partnership lets the Eileen Fisher get a second use out of its old clothes, and gives the furniture company a new option for covering its products. A new line of pillowcases and a lounge chair at West Elm may look new, but they actually have a long history. That’s because they originally started life at Eileen Fisher clothing. The two companies are working together on a circular economy project to help both reduce their environmental impact. Read Full Story

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