Maya Dutta & Paula Phipps: Miyawaki Forest

Learn about the Miyawaki forest we planted in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Miyawaki method was invented by Dr. Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist, and it involves planting native species in urban areas. View the slideshow, created in collaboration with SUGi, here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OfVy4DJfG9P_vMnxCzAL5F_Ndu807JcX/view Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem…

How Biodiversity Loss Fuels Pandemics – with Felicia Keesing

Dr. Felicia Keesing joined our Life Saves the Planet lecture series to discuss biodiversity loss and its impacts on health. As a biologist at Bard College, Keesing studies the consequences of interactions among species, particularly as biodiversity declines. She described what we know about the sources of new human diseases, and the potentially surprising role…

Native plants article summaries

The following articles lay out a few key ecological concepts and terms that may be helpful to become familiar with for the growing number of biodiversity-conscious people and organizations that are beginning to plant more native plants on their land. Native plants, native ecosystems, and native landscapes: an ecological definition of “native” will promote effective…

Native plants, native ecosystems, and native landscapes: an ecological definition of “native” will promote effective conservation and restoration, Wilson, Hibbs & Alverson 1991

Produced by the Native Plant Society of Oregon, this article argues that, while the use of native species is an accepted tenet of conservation, the term “native” is not necessarily well understood; they attempt to clarify the term. “Any definition of a native species, native ecosystem, or native landscape requires an historical benchmark” [Wilson 1991:…

Vegetation Ecology: Historical Notes and Outline, van der Maarel & Franklin 2013

These authors define the concept of a plant community through discussion of its evolution. They start by defining the term ‘vegetation’ in a way that may surprise some readers because it excludes plants growing in certain situations. To be considered vegetation, plants need to emerge spontaneously. Vegetation, the central object of study in vegetation ecology,…

Vegetation types and their broad-scale distribution, Box & Fujiwara 2013

A vegetation type, or plant community, is identifiable by its distinct appearance compared to other landscape types within a landscape. For example, a grassland and a wetland differ in appearance from each other and from a forest, while a wetland-forest is yet another visibly different vegetation type. Plant species are recognizable by their form, which…

Predictive modeling of the potential natural vegetation pattern in northeastern China, Liu et al. 2009

This study uses the concept of Potential Natural Vegetation (PNV), developed in the mid-1900s by German botanist Reinhold Tüxen. Described by the authors as “one of the most successful novelties in vegetation science over the last decades” [Liu 2009: 1313], PNV can be defined as a projection of the natural vegetation that would exist in a…

Interactions among plants and evolution, Thorpe et al. 2011

This review explores the question of whether plant-plant interactions drive evolutionary changes. “If such evolution is common, plant communities are not random assemblages of species.” The topic is under-studied compared to plant interactions with other groups. Research on plant–consumer, plant–pollinator and plant–disperser interactions has been central to understanding the complex mutualistic and co-dependent interactions among…

Non-native plants reduce abundance, richness, and host specialization in lepidopteran communities, Burghardt et al. 2010

This research evaluates the impact of the invasion of non-native plants in the distribution of lepidopteran (butterfly, skipper, and moth) communities. The authors assert that although the introduction of non-native plants has not resulted in a “global extinction”, they have had a considerable impact on how ecosystems function—they often result in significant bottom-up reductions of…

Impact of Native Plants on Bird and Butterfly Biodiversity in Suburban Landscapes, Burghardt, Tallamy & Shriver 2008

In this study, the insect and bird populations of six pairs of suburban yards were measured. Each pair contained one conventionally landscaped yard containing native canopy trees and a mixture of native and non-native shrubs, grasses and understory trees; and one yard with native species only (canopy, understory, shrub and grasses). The level of plant…

Native plants improve breeding and foraging habitat for an insectivorous bird, Narango, Tallamy & Marra 2017

This study examined whether non-native plants in residential Washington DC limited the presence of the Carolina chickadee, a local breeding insectivore. We predicted that areas with more native plants would support more chickadees, and chickadees would forage more often in the most insect-producing native plants [Narango 2017: 43]. The authors had also considered the possibility…

Do non-native plants contribute to insect declines? Tallamy, Narango & Mitchell 2020

The widespread distribution of plants outside of their native range due to human activity is a significant yet underrecognized cause of global insect decline, according to this article. To illuminate the issue, the authors: “examine the evidence for and against the hypothesis that long term changes in the species composition of plant assemblages have contributed…

Global exchange and accumulation of non-native species, van Kleunen et al. 2015

The ecological, economic, and social damage of human-mediated dispersal of species into new regions, where they possess the ability to naturalize (become self-sustaining their new homeland), is one of the defining features of the Anthropocene Epoch. Globally, human activity has led to the naturalization of nearly 13,168 plant species (equal in size to the native European…

Linking Restoration and Ecological Succession, Walker, Walker & Hobbs (eds) 2007

This book draws lessons from ecological succession theory to inform ecological restoration, stating that: “restoration is fundamentally the management of succession” [Walker 2007: vi]. The latter is the natural process by which plants first colonize “new” land (post landslide, glacial retreat or volcanic eruption, for example) or degraded land, and over time develop into mature…

Near-Natural Silviculture: Sustainable Approach for Urban Re-naturalization Assessment Based on 10 Years Recovering Dynamics and Eco-Benefits in Shanghai, Guo et. al 2015

As one of China’s major cities, Shanghai’s natural sub-ecosystem[5] has suffered drastic damage due to human activities and urbanization. Although urban re-naturalization has gained attention from city leaders, urban tree planting has largely consisted of two methods with limited ecological potential. One favors fast-growing monocultures to produce timber products and other benefits, while the other approach…

Tree planting is not a simple science, Holl & Brancalion 2020

Well-planned tree-planting projects are an important component of global efforts to improve ecological and human well-being. But tree planting becomes problematic when it is promoted as a simple, silver bullet solution and overshadows other actions that have greater potential for addressing the drivers of specific environmental problems, such as taking bold and rapid steps to…

Characterizing multispecies connectivity across a transfrontier conservation landscape, Brennan et al. 2020

Connectivity conservation pays attention to landscape connectivity to support animal species’ movements, keep ecological processes intact, and promote biodiversity. While the strategy of conserving connected, non-fragmented areas and respecting animals’ movement patterns is sound, in practice these plans are usually designed around a single species and its needs. Brennan et al. looked at the limitations…

Steve Weinberg and Cynthia Contie: Eco-Municipalities

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Eco-Municipalities – a walk through a world-wide movement of communities undergoing systemic sustainable transformation. We will share the story of how these Eco-Municipalities evolved starting in the country of Sweden and how Eco-Municipalities use a powerful shared framework…

Steve Weinberg and Cynthia Contie: Eco-Municipalities Workshop

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ This workshop follows Steve and Cynthia’s talk “Eco-Municipalities” Eco-Municipalities – a walk through a world-wide movement of communities undergoing systemic sustainable transformation. Steve Weinberg: organizerCynthia Contie: author Presented at Blessed Unrest conference via online, extending across weekends in…

Anna Gilbert- Muhammad: Youth, Gardening and Food Security Workshop

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ This workshop follows Anna’s talk “Youth, Gardening and Food Security” Anna Gilbert-Muhammed: Food Access Coordinator of NOFA/Mass Presented at Blessed Unrest conference via online, extending across weekends in April & May of 2020 #foodsecurity #gardening #nutrition

Tribute to Elizabeth Adams, founder of the Massachusetts Forest Rescue Campaign

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Brief tribute to Elizabeth (Beth) L. Adams (1946-2019) of Leverett, MA. Beth was co-founder of the Massachusetts Forest Rescue Campaign and a life-long activist for peace, social justice and environmental conservation. She truly exemplifies the “Blessed Unrest” that…

Jan Lambert: Soak Up the Rain! Workshop

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ This workshop follows Jan’s talk: Soak Up the Rain! What We Can All Do to Reduce Drought, Floods, Heat Waves and Severe Storms Jan Lambert: environmental writer and editor of The Valley Green Journal Presented at Blessed Unrest…

Jan Lambert: Soak Up the Rain! What We Can Do to Reduce Drought, Floods, Heat Waves & Severe Storms

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Did you ever stop to think about what happens with all the water that goes down the storm drains in your town or city every time it rains? Jan Lambert, even though a lifelong nature advocate, never gave…

Sven Phil: Edible Landscaping Workshop

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ This workshop follows Sven’s talk “Edible Landscaping” Edible landscaping is the use of food-producing plants in the residential and public landscape. It combines fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, along with functional ornamental plants…

Ronnie Cummins: Via Organica and Ecosystem Restoration Camps

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Ronnie Cummins focuses on what individuals and small groups have done and continue to do, things about which we each might be inspired to say , “I could do something like that too!” He will tell us some…

Holly Paar: The Community-led Movement for Forests, Climate and Justice in the Southern US

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Across the South in the United States, frontline communities facing the devastation wrought by industrial logging are leading a movement calling for the protection of forests. Hit hardest by the effects of increasingly intense storms and flooding as…

B. Lorraine Smith: Listening to Trees Here and Gone

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Trees share a wealth of information to the willing listener, well beyond aesthetics, recreation or “natural resource.” They offer details about the connections above and below ground – from birds and insects, to parasites and fungi, to humans…

Fred Magdoff: The Heart of Life- Soils, Microbes, Plants and Insects

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ The diversity of soil organisms is stunning. Their interactions among themselves and with plants are at the center of healthy soils. Plants (as with humans and other animals) have associated microbiomes that can stimulate defenses against disease and…

Film Showing of Symbiotic Earth with Panel Discussion

Saturday, September 22, 2018, 1-5 p.m.Cambridge, Massachusetts Film showing of Symbiotic Earth with panel discussion Symbiotic Earth is a documentary of the life and work of revolutionary evolutionary biologist  Lynn Margulis, a scientific detective story of scope and beauty that will leave you breathless! More information and registration here!

Maggie Booz: Neighborhood Tree Stewardship

Learn more about Biodiversity for a Livable Climate: https://bio4climate.org/ Please donate to our ecosystem restoration work: https://bio4climate.org/donate/ Transforming public spaces Maggie Booz: Cambridge Committee on Public Planting Presented at Revitalizing Ecosystems in Greater Boston to Survive Climate Change conference at Harvard University on March 31, 2018 #tree #community #greenspaces

Natural climate solutions, Griscom 2017

This is one of the most comprehensive mainstream studies to date of a broad spectrum of natural climate solutions by thirty-two co-authors and supported by The Nature Conservancy. The report examines “20 conservation, restoration, and/or improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural…

Agroforestry strategies to sequester carbon in temperate North America, Udawatta & Jose 2012

This meta-analysis estimates total carbon sequestration potential in the US from various agroforestry practices to be 530 TgC/year (530 million metric tons), equivalent to about 1/3 of annual US carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Based on their literature review, the authors estimate per-hectare sequestration rates (based on aboveground and belowground carbon accumulation) for each practice…

Earthworms

Although often overlooked, ignored or taken for granted, earthworms are nevertheless keystone soil species, mediators and moderators for rebuilding healthy, biodiverse, high carbon and moisture rich topsoil [Darwin 1881; Blakemore 2016c]. We depend on soils for more than 99% of our food and 100% of our timber and natural fibres [Blakemore 2012, Pimentel 2013].  As…

Croplands

Cultivated land covers 1.6 billion hectares globally [FAO 2011]. About 62% of cropland produces food directly for human consumption, while 35% is dedicated to producing animal feed, and 3% to biofuel feedstock, seed and other industrial products [Foley 2011: 338]. Agriculture is a major source of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous…

Grasslands

Grasslands have been estimated to cover approximately 40% of global land surface area, approximately 5.25 bn ha (~13 bn ac ), except for Greenland and Antarctica [Suttie 2005; White 2000:12].  Their deep soils are rich repositories of nutrients, especially carbon and water.  Many grasslands are anthropogenic, i.e., resulting from various land management techniques to maintain…

Forests

Note: As mentioned in the Release notes, we have a small staff, and therefore have had to postpone some important material for the next release, scheduled for January 2018.  This is particularly true of forests and we will include a more thorough examination of their importance in addressing climate moving forward.  Nonetheless, we felt that the…