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Gleanings from Headline News – January 2022

It’s 2022. Let’s Make it the Year of the Oak

Happy New Year. Let’s all plant oak trees in 2022. Oaks support more life-forms than any other North American tree genus, providing food, protection, or both for birds to bears, as well as countless insects and spiders, among the enormous diversity of species. Read more at The New York Times.

 Invaders For Sale

The sale of nonnative ornamental plants is a primary pathway of invasive plant introduction into the US. As a result, many nonnative plants have been identified as noxious weeds by federal and state governments or as problematic invasive plants by agencies and nonprofit organizations. However, it is unclear whether identifying a species as invasive has curtailed its sale as an ornamental. Read more at ESA Journals.

Protecting Earth: If ‘Nature Needs Half,’ What Do People Need?

The campaign to preserve half the Earth’s surface is being criticized for failing to take account of global inequality and human needs. But such protection is essential not just for nature but also for creating a world that can improve the lives of the poor and disadvantaged. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Treeline: A Story Written in Rings

Patagonia Films presents Treeline: A Story Written in Rings, available in full for the first time. Follow a group of skiers, snowboarders, scientists, and healers to the birch forests of Japan, the red cedars of British Columbia, and the bristlecones of Nevada as they explore an ancient story written in rings. Watch the film on YouTube.

Is Ocean Plastic a New Kind of Island?

Giant patches of plastic floating in the ocean have become home to an experiment in a new hybrid ecosystem made up of stowaway species from coastal environments and of organisms that dwell in the middle of the Pacific. Meet the “neopelagic” world. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Dawn to Dusk Beneath the Bird Feeder in Pictures

A former comedian and ventriloquist, Carla Rhodes’ life was transformed when she discovered a passion for wildlife conservation photography. Last winter, she placed a camera trap in her garden in the Catskill Mountains in New York, with heartwarming results. Enjoy the photographs at The Guardian.

Upgrade Energy Efficiency; Retrofit Old Buildings – with Plants

According to a new study, a living wall composed of pockets of greenery installed on the outside of a building can shrink the amount of heat lost through an un-insulated wall by nearly one-third. The findings suggest a new strategy for making older buildings more energy efficient. Read more at Anthropocene Magazine.

Monarch Butterflies Flock to California Coast

Monarch butterflies spend every winter along the California coast, clustering in groups on Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees, glittering orange as light filters through the forest. In recent years, their numbers dropped dangerously low, which is why their unexpected population boom this season is a welcome surprise. Read more at San Francisco Chronicle.

Too Many Palm Trees In Florida?

Florida is known for its beaches, sunshine and palm trees. But in communities that are responding to climate change, palm lovers are being forced to face an inconvenient truth. Palms, which really aren’t trees at all, don’t do well in capturing carbon or in providing shade in overheated urban areas. Read more at NPR.

Favorite Female Bird Photos!

Female birds are some of the more underappreciated and challenging birds to see – many eschew the showy plumage and attention-grabbing behaviors that bring others into the limelight. This stunning collection celebrates the beauty and ingenuity of 15 birds that do not often get the spotlight. Read more at The National Audubon.

San Diego Hermes Copper Butterfly Declared Threatened Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared one of Southern California’s rarest butterflies – the Hermes copper butterfly – as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. They also issued a special rule that will provide flexibility for our partners engaged in important wildfire prevention and species research activities while protecting this rare butterfly. Read more at KPBS.