Deforestation can wipe out trees and cause habitat loss that leads to the extinction of animals like birds and mammals. Some of the impacts of massive, sudden tree loss in places like the Amazon, though, may have been too small to notice until now. Reporting this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an international team of researchers found that deforestation can profoundly change the makeup of bacteria in soil, wiping out microbial communities that help to make ecosystems unique.
Remember how we had all those droughts all over the country last summer, and all over the world the summers before that? Well, it turns out rather than "economically crippling worldwide drought," you may just want to start referring to that situation by its new name: "Summer." According to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change, the droughts of the last several years could just be the new normal if climate change predictions pan out. If that's the case, say researchers, forests could become a thing of the past. So, y'know, if those are your thing, I guess take a picture now?
NASA has used three laser-equipped satellites to create a map that shows the heights of forests worldwide as has never been done before. Forest heights have been mapped previously, but this map, which consists of data from 250 million measurements taken over the course of seven years, uses LIDAR technology to give us a unified, worldwide picture of Earth's forests using a common methodology.
NASA: "The new map shows the world’s tallest forests clustered in the Pacific Northwest of North America and portions of Southeast Asia, while shorter forests are found in broad swaths across northern Canada and Eurasia. The map depicts average height over 5 square kilometers (1.9 square miles) regions), not the maximum heights that any one tree or small patch of trees might attain."
Forest heights in the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia below: