Some Trees Are Better Than Others (but They're All Pretty Good)

A weekly roundup of the best in science journalism, doodled.

The New England Aquarium is known for its seals and amazing location in Boston Harbor, but its lesser-known offerings include conservation micro grants to marine researchers around the world. The funding enables small projects in sometimes politically controversial places—everything from Iran’s first cetacean study to recording the knowledge of elders who can, for instance, navigate an archipelago off western India by the reflection of the clouds. This New York Times piece makes for a hopeful conservation-science read.

Credit: Photo: Scott Ableman

Hakai Magazine, a new science publication out this week, reports on the environment, focusing on coastlines as a microcosm for how humans interact with the natural world. What I like best so far is that it’s featuring great character writing about the environment. For instance, there’s a video on what happens to an island ecosystem when raccoons are fearless and a story of how one scientist spent 35 years witnessing cheating, murder, and fratricide committed by blue-footed boobies.

Credit: Big Blue Marble Explorer

As you might remember from grade school, trees take in carbon and produce oxygen via photosynthesis, which is why, in wonky environmental terms, they are considered carbon-storage resources. Here’s some great reporting from Climate Central on a new study that shows how 1 percent of trees in the Amazon rainforest are responsible for 50 percent of its carbon-holding capacity. Scientists knew Amazonian trees store more carbon than any other ecosystem on earth, but now they’ve found that some are doing more heavy lifting. Thanks, Iriartea tree! You’re the best.

This article was originally published on onEarth, which is no longer in publication. onEarth was founded in 1979 as the Amicus Journal, an independent magazine of thought and opinion on the environment. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. This article is available for online republication by news media outlets or nonprofits under these conditions: The writer(s) must be credited with a byline; you must note prominently that the article was originally published by and link to the original; the article cannot be edited (beyond simple things such grammar); you can’t resell the article in any form or grant republishing rights to other outlets; you can’t republish our material wholesale or automatically—you need to select articles individually; you can’t republish the photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should drop us a note to let us know when you’ve used one of our articles.

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