Volume 7, Issue 3 - May/June 2014
Eastern Threat Center Highlights
Climate Change Science Rocks the Cradle of Forestry
The Cradle of Forestry, a historic site in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, is so named because it marks the birthplace of forest conservation in America. Now, the Cradle is celebrating a new first with the unveiling of an exhibit offering interactive opportunities for visitors to learn about climate change in the southern Appalachian region. The likenesses of Eastern Threat Center scientists Steve McNulty, Ge Sun, and Erika Cohen are featured as life-size cutouts and in videos describing their work and offering practical ideas for children and their families to conserve resources and lessen the impacts of climate change. As part of the exhibit’s opening day, the scientists themselves visited the exhibit at the Cradle’sForest Discovery Center and shared their enthusiasm for forest science with students from the nearby Schenck Job Corps Center. Some of the students requested autographs on collectible scientist cards—a rare "rock star moment," according to McNulty. Read more in CompassLive…
Above: Center scientists Steve McNulty, Erika Cohen, and Ge Sun stand with their likenesses at the Cradle of Forestry. Photo by Michael Robinson, Southern Research Station. (Click to enlarge.)
International Symposium Addresses a Critical Piece of the Hydrologic Puzzle
Evapotranspiration--the combination of evaporation and transpiration, or plant water use--is a process that can be difficult to assess, but its role in the hydrologic cycle provides important information about water supplies, ecosystem productivity, and climatic changes. In April, scientists, natural resource managers, and other experts from around the world gathered in Raleigh, NC, to share knowledge and best practices during an international symposium, "Evapotranspiration: Challenges in Measurement and Modeling from the Leaf to the Landscape Scale and Beyond." Eastern Threat Center research hydrologist Ge Sun, a co-chair of the symposium's technical committee, presented research findings and led a tour of a Center research site. Read more in CompassLive...
When It Rains, It Pours...and Increases Soil Erosion Potential in a Changing Climate
Beyond its messiness, water-caused soil erosion can have far reaching impacts. When nutrients and organic matter in soils are washed away during a rain event, decreased soil fertility affects food production, sediment entering streams and rivers threatens water quality and wildlife, shifting soils create unstable land conditions in ecosystems and communities, and disturbed soils with reduced carbon storage abilities can contribute to global warming. In a changing climate with altered precipitation patterns, some areas in the United States may be particularly vulnerable to increased soil erosion and these related problems. Eastern Threat Center researchers and partners at North Carolina State University have identified these areas in a recently published study. Read more in CompassLive...
Right: Roots are exposed due to soil erosion during a flooding event. Soil erosion can create unstable land conditions in ecosystems and communities. Photo by Randy Cyr, Greentree, Bugwood.org. (Click to enlarge.)