Things We Heart – December 2018

We’ve rounded up some of the best tree stuff on the web for your enjoyment. Check out this month’s highlights below:

Trees, art and climate change

Every year, trees develop a growth ring, hidden under the bark, which tell a detailed story of what they’ve lived through. This could include insect infestations, disease, fire, drought and general climate conditions. Dutch environmental artist Thijs Biersteker created Voice of Nature, an installation in southwestern China that takes one tree’s internal rings and, in a sense, projects them externally thanks to the sensors connected to its roots, leaves and branches. The sensors provide real-time monitoring of environmental conditions and project digital rings to communicate a beautiful, albeit sad, story because of pollution levels in the area. Watch a video of Voice of Nature.

Do trees talk to each other?

Speaking of trees communicating, according to research conducted by naturalist Larry Cornelius and environmentalist Brenda Lorenz, yes – trees do communicate with each other. At a recent presentation in Ontario, Canada, Cornelius and Lorenz spoke about how trees share information with others, warn their kin when danger is approaching, and discussed how forests are an interconnected social network. Read more about how trees talk to each other.

Planting trees for bees

We recently posted about bumble bee-friendly trees and shrubs in response to news that the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee is officially on the endangered species list, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Pollinators, such as bees, are very important – this fragile ecosystem provides us with food; oils, fibers and raw materials; prevents soil erosion and increases carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, the lack of bees isn’t limited to the United States. A study conducted by Dr. Philip Donkersley of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom argues that planting hedgerows and trees is more beneficial to helping bees survive than planting wildflowers. The research shows that trees are preferable to bees, and other pollinators, because they offer greater food density, provide physical landmarks and provide shelter. Dr. Donkersley proposes using artificial intelligence to redesign the landscape to support pollinators. Read more about Dr. Donkersley’s research and proposal.

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