This is part of our new weekly plant news roundup, brought to you thanks to our partners at Earth.com.
Though it might seem paradoxical, deeper snow can actually help keep trees warmer by insulating them from air temperatures. Snowpack also helps replenish local watersheds when it melts in the spring. Global climate change is resulting in less snowpack. That snowpack also tends to melt earlier, exposing the tree roots to deeper frost.
Researchers from the Advanced Science Research Center at the City University of New York artificially removed snowpack on several tree plots in Hubbard Brook’s Forest each winter from 2008 to 2012. Their findings, published in Global Change Biology, show the frost penetrated much deeper in the plots with removed snowpack. Those trees, in turn, had growth that declined by as much as 40%.
Truffles are delicious, expensive, and very hard to grow. Truffles don’t grow well in heat and drought – two things that are expected to come about with global climate change.
Paul Thomas, the author of a study published in Science of the Total Environment about the truffle industry, said that truffle cultivation could decrease by 78% to 100% by 2100.
Researchers compared data from past growing seasons for the truffles with predictions for how growing seasons will change with climate change to make their predictions.
A recent report from the Center for Tropical Agriculture found that many of the plants we consider important for consumption – including the firs used for Christmas trees, cacao for chocolate, and vanilla – aren’t sufficiently protected.
The report, published in Ecological Indicators, found that less than 3% of the 7,000 plants evaluated were “low priority” or “sufficiently protected.” While this doesn’t mean that all of the plants are in immediate danger, it highlights how vulnerable these plants (and our food systems) are to global climate change. With changes in climate, many plants could quickly start to struggle in the wild.