California’s carbon mitigation efforts may be thwarted by climate change itself

Irvine, Calif., July 22, 2021 – To meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, California’s policymakers are relying in part on forests and shrublands to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine warn that future climate change may limit the ecosystem’s ability to perform this service.

Bio-based coating for wood outperforms traditional synthetic options

Researchers have used lignin, a natural polymer abundant in wood and other plant sources, to create a safe, low-cost and high-performing coating for use in construction. The coating is non-toxic, hydrofobic, it retains wood’s breathability and natural roughness while being resistant to colour changes and abrasion.

Orangutan Finding Highlights Need to Protect Habitat

Wild orangutans are known for their ability to survive food shortages, but scientists have made a surprising finding that highlights the need to protect the habitat of these critically endangered primates, which face rapid habitat destruction and threats linked to climate change. Scientists found that the muscle mass of orangutans on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia was significantly lower when less fruit was available. That’s remarkable because orangutans are thought to be especially good at storing and using fat for energy, according a Rutgers-led study in the journal Scientific Reports.

“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

NASA Images Reveal Important Forests and Wetlands are Disappearing in Belize

Using NASA satellite images and machine learning, researchers with The University of Texas at Austin have mapped changes in the landscape of northwestern Belize over a span of four decades, finding significant losses of forest and wetlands, but also successful regrowth of forest in established conservation zones that protect surviving structures of the ancient Maya.

Rutgers Bat Researcher Can Discuss Iconic Halloween Animals

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Evan Drake, a bat researcher and doctoral student at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, is available for interviews on iconic Halloween animals and misunderstood wildlife, as well as bats and COVID-19. Halloween is known for…

Most Nations Failing to Protect Nature in COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Plans

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reset the global economy and reverse decades of ecosystem and species losses, but most countries are failing to invest in nature-related economic reforms or investments, according to a Rutgers-led paper.

Plant-Based Spray Could be Used in N95 Masks and Energy Devices

Engineers have invented a way to spray extremely thin wires made of a plant-based material that could be used in N95 mask filters, devices that harvest energy for electricity, and potentially the creation of human organs. The method involves spraying methylcellulose, a renewable plastic material derived from plant cellulose, on 3D-printed and other objects ranging from electronics to plants, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Materials Horizons.

Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Fall Foliage Outlook in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 23, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick climatologist David A. Robinson and tree expert Jason Grabosky are available for interviews on the outlook for the fall foliage season in the Garden State. “Seasonable temperatures, including some cool nights, and adequate rainfall during…

James Randerson, UCI professor of Earth system science, available to comment on western U.S. wildfires

Prof. Jim Randerson is a leading U.S. expert on human impacts on biogeochemical cycles, with particular empasis on climate and wildfires. A good summary of his research activities can be found here: https://sites.uci.edu/randersonlab/media/. Jim’s lab website: https://sites.uci.edu/randersonlab/. If you would…

Land Development in New Jersey Continues to Slow

Land development in New Jersey has slowed dramatically since the 2008 Great Recession, but it’s unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to fight societal and housing inequality will affect future trends, according to a Rutgers co-authored report. Between 2012 and 2015, 10,392 acres in the Garden State became urban land. That’s 3,464 acres a year – far lower than the 16,852 acres per year in the late 1990s and continuing the trend of decreasing urban development that began in the 2008 Great Recession.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Invasive Plants in N.J. and Alternatives

New Brunswick, N.J. (June 10, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Michele Bakacs is available for interviews on invasive exotic plants in New Jersey that are growing out of control, overrunning forests and other natural areas. She can discuss why this…

Mangrove Trees Won’t Survive Sea-Level Rise by 2050 if Emissions Aren’t Cut

Mangrove trees – valuable coastal ecosystems found in Florida and other warm climates – won’t survive sea-level rise by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Science. Mangrove forests store large amounts of carbon, help protect coastlines and provide habitat for fish and other species. Using sediment data from the last 10,000 years, an international team led by Macquarie University in Australia estimated the chances of mangrove survival based on rates of sea-level rise.

Study: Climate Scientists Create Model for Global Forest Growth Through 2060

In a new study, researchers at the University at Albany have turned to more than a century’s worth of data (from 1901 to 2012) in NOAA’s International Tree Ring Data Bank to both analyze historical tree growth at 3,579 forests around the world and create a model for future projections (from 2045 to 2060).

Native Americans did not make large-scale changes to environment prior to European contact

Contrary to long-held beliefs, humans did not make major changes to the landscape prior to European colonization, according to new research conducted in New England featuring faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York. These new insights into the past could help to inform how landscapes are managed in the future.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Climate Change Impacts on Land, Wildfires and Solutions

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 15, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Pamela McElwee is available for interviews on climate change impacts on land, including increasing wildfires such as in Australia and California, and solutions. She is scheduled to testify before…

Modern trees emerged earlier than previously believed, new research reveals

A research team led by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York has uncovered evidence that the transition toward forests as we know them today began earlier than typically believed.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Fall Foliage in New Jersey

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 17, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick tree expert Jason Grabosky is available for interviews on this year’s fall foliage season in the Garden State. “Generally speaking, the recent hot dry weather has muted some of the…

University of California, Irvine scientists available to speak about the impact of climate change on human health and wildfires

James Randerson, Chancellor’s Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine, is a senior researcher on the impact of climate change on the ecology, particularly with regard to wildfires in important forest ecosystems. He was a senior…

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Fires in Amazon Rainforests

New Brunswick, N.J. (Aug. 27, 2019) – With numerous fires raging in ecologically priceless Amazon rainforests, Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Laura C. Schneider can comment on current fire patterns (the number of fires and their location), linkages to tropical rain…