Environment/Gardening news No 1.

Here are some of the Garden/Nature/Science headlines which have caught our eye this week :

Tree growth doesn’t slow : It has long been assumed that as trees mature, they lose vigour. But recent research shows that the larger a tree gets, the more carbon it puts on. The trees that are adding the most mass are the biggest ones. There may be implications here for forest management and the effect on climate change.

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An early spring? The unusually mild winter (so far) for parts of northern Europe is creating confusion amongst flora and fauna who suspect that Spring has arrived after the warmest December for 25 years.  Butterflies, ladybirds, swallows have made an appearance and the Woodland Trust have had a surge of reports of shrubs in bud and birds nesting. If temperatures plunge, many may not survive.

 099 Meanwhile, research by the University of Cambridge suggests that flowers have bloomed up to 12 days earlier over the past 25 years.

World’s largest vertical farm is about to open in Scranton, Pennsylvania which will house 17 million plants in racks stacked six high, using hydroponic systems and LED lighting. … a way to feed a global population which is urbanising fast?

Backpacking bees. Australian researchers are monitoring the movements of 5000 bees by fitting them with tiny backpack radio tags. They are hoping to gain information which will lead to greater pollination on farms. So how do they fit these backpacks? The bees are popped in the fridge to sedate them and the hairiest ones have to be shaved in order for the tags to stick … the mind boggles!

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On a related topic, a University of Reading study into ‘Cox’ and ‘Gala’ apples has shown that apple trees produce bigger, better, more rounded fruit if pollinated by insects. The annual contribution of insects to these fruits is estimated at over £35 million.

Head for the hills.  Scientists in Switzerland have been studying how plants and wildlife there are adapting to climate change by moving higher up the mountains. Between 2003 and 2010, plants have scrambled uphill by 8 metres, butterflies 38 metres and Alpine birds 42 metres, showing that animals and plants are already adapting at a surprising pace. 100_1400

 (All photography mine. Feel free to use any of Jardin’s photos but please credit and link back)

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