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Current issues roundup: You’re not going crazy edition

3 Oct

It’s common enough to hear people jokingly refer to vegetarians as plant murderers. But today I present you with a study that may cast this notion in a strange new light. That’s right: plants can communicate using sound — and I’m not just talking about the Botanicals Twitter Kit.

Researchers from Britain, Italy and Australia recently found that plants not only respond to sound, but likely use clicking sounds to communicate with one another. The report, published in Trends in Plant Science, details experiments that used powerful acoustic equipment to record clicking sounds coming from the roots of corn plants. A simulated noise produced at the same frequency also caused young roots to grow in the direction of the sound.

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A tangle of trouble for forests

29 Jun

Today we can all benefit from good note taking.

It’s been a while since I posted about the synthesis report Fire in Oregon’s Forests, but I found some things I jotted down, and these ideas have been rattling around in my head along with things I’ve picked up through work.

My notes seemed particularly relevant now that I am out of the West Cascade Douglas-fir zone and in the mixed conifer and hardwood of Northern California — where fire is a major concern for the forest. Add to that the pinch of nostalgia that comes from rooming with a first-year firefighter, and out comes this post.

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Why I have not been writing: Tons of awesome field work!

17 Mar

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from my duties on this blog for a couple weeks. But never fear! I have only been digging my way out from under an avalanche of term projects and exams. It will all be over Wednesday, so I figured I’d take some time to post today and show you what I’ve been up to. This also means I have not been able to prepare the interview I have in store, but judging by the response I got to my field notes post, you’ll enjoy this more, anyway!

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been working on various term projects. My friends might say the projects have been working on me, but that’s another post. We gave presentations for GIS and silviculture this week, with watersheds on Monday. Since my field notes post dealt entirely with our watersheds project, I’ll share that first, with elements of our GIS projects thrown in.

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Current issues roundup

17 Jan

English: Must be climate change Magnolia flowe...Another feature I want to offer is periodic news-oriented posts wherein I can highlight some current issues in the worlds of botany and forestry.

This first story comes from the nomenclature conference held in conjunction with the recent International Botanical Congress. It was decided that as of this month, Latin descriptions will no longer be necessary when classifying new plants, algae or fungi.

The idea is to facilitate recording of the world’s biodiversity before it is lost to habitat degradation.It does not mean that Latin naming is going away, as some sources have mistakenly claimed (I’m looking at you, Daily Mail). Scientific naming remains useful and important, but now descriptions can be written in English.

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It’s OK if you’re not good at everything: A critical analysis

27 Dec

library image via Wikipedia

One of the things I want to do often on this blog is write about what I’ve learned from various forestry books that I’ve read. To kick this endeavor off, I wanted to start at the beginning. So, I found the oldest book on the subject that I could: Edward T. Allen’s Practical Forestry in the Pacific Northwest, apparently published for the first time in 1911.

Reading it was a disjointed experience, not only due to the writing style but also in terms of the massive gap between still-relevant information and material that seems much less worthwhile. Specifically, this book is fabulous for technical information and less-than-fully relevant for social/political argumentation. It’s part of the point, as the dual aims of Allen’s text are to to explain how to manage timber for eventual public profit, and also to drum up popular and government support for sustained-use forestry; however the only “failing” is that I am reading it more than a hundred years after its intended audience.

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