Climate change is reshaping forests locally almost overnight, transforming them even where there are policies to protect them. “It’s happening so fast we can’t discern the consequences,” Craig Welch writes in May’s eye-opening National Geographic cover story.
Deforestation is even worse.
How can we fight back?
A Nat Geo team examined several solutions: Plant certain trees farther north to keep up with the Earth’s warming (pictured above, a study using heat lamps in Minnesota). The right trees in the right places make a huge difference. Another idea: genetically engineer tougher trees. Or, in some cases, it may be best to let a forest grow back on its own.
Read the full story on ways to help the world’s forests.
Saving the bristlecones: A pale moon shines through the skeletons of bristlecones in Nevada. Twenty-one years earlier, a wildfire—made rare and more intense by years of fire suppression—ripped through 1,650 acres. Some bristlecones are about 5,000 years old, making them the longest-lived individual organisms on Earth. Seedlings have sprouted among the dead, offering hope that this species might be one of the best equipped to endure a warming climate.
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STORIES WE’RE FOLLOWING
• Mild COVID can cause your brain to shrink, age prematurely
• Explore one of the world’s first forests
• How a warming climate threatens forest elephants
• What happened to America’s first ‘murder hornet’ nest?
• Interactive: The changes in the world’s forests
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Setting an example: Where did China want to show its commitment to solar energy? On the hills outside a northern coal-mining center. As solar panels blanket the hillsides (pictured above), solar capacity in northern Shanxi province has been expanding at 63 percent per year—and wind power at 24 percent. But while China has grown renewable resources, it hasn’t yet made the investments needed to meet its commitment to reduce its rapid rise in carbon emissions, Nat Geo reports.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
‘Gimme a kiss’: Kilifi, an orphaned 18-month-old rhino, is seen with his keeper, Kamara, who hand-raised him and two other baby rhinos at Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Kilifi had to be taken from his blind mother since she couldn’t protect him from the dangers he'd face in the wild, photographer and Nat Geo Explorer Ami Vitale says. Kenya’s black rhino population had plummeted to near extinction, but their numbers are again rising because of the efforts by the people and the government to protect them.
IN A FEW WORDS
How you can help: The first step in caring and acting to help the world’s forests is simply to get out and spend time around trees. That’s advice from biologist, author, and Nat Geo Explorer Meg Lowman (pictured above). She helps create jobs in developing nations by promoting sky-high walkways and tree canopy tourism. She suggests budding tree lovers consider learning to climb trees, perhaps stay in tree houses or fire towers, explore a canopy walkway, and start recording observations about trees, she tells Nat Geo.
Finally, for history buffs: What is Patriots Day? Remembering ‘the shot heard round the world’