April 16, 2019 • Fred Pearce • Yale Environment 360
Nations around the globe have pledged to increase their forest cover by planting millions of trees. But new research shows much of this growth would be in monoculture plantations that would be quickly cut down and do little to tackle climate change or preserve biodiversity.
March 11, 2019 • Margaret Renkl • The New York Times
The future of this country’s wild spaces may depend on changing the way suburban Americans think about plants.
January 15, 2019 • Tara Mitchell • Ecological Landscape Alliance
Wood-inhabiting fungi are at the core of forests’ ability to regenerate and provide habitat for wildlife. Yet, in the realm of the managed landscape, we focus solely on the destructive aspects of decomposers. We have been conditioned to believe that the traditional aesthetic and all the inputs to support it are necessary. But if we take the time to look at natural systems, evidence to the contrary is all around us. If we simply take a walk in the forest, the function and value of wood-inhabiting fungi and the dead and decaying wood they leave behind is readily visible.
November 27, 2018 • By Brooke Jarvis • The New York Times Magazine
What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?
PDF • October 23, 2018 • Liam McNiff
The city of Portland is currently undertaking the first major rewrite of its Land Use Code in forty years. The rewrite represents a major opportunity for the city to drastically improve the ecological infrastructure of the city through several no- and low-cost changes that would improve life in Portland for plants, animals, and people.
October 6, 2017 • By Andy McGlashen • Audubon
A manicured lawn might look nice, but messy is better for birds and bugs.
October 6, 2017 • The Xerces Society
One of the next most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need in the the form of fall leaves and standing dead plant material.
October 20, 2015 • By Eric Jaffe • City Lab
An annotated, chart-filled look at the scientific evidence.
May 10, 2018 • By Naomi Larsson • The Guardian
Scientists warn of environmental threats rising from trend that is ‘likely to continue unless policies are altered’
Book • By Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe
This book provides natural history and growing information for 100 native perennial and woody plant species specifically for gardens and landscapes. Pick up a copy and support the New England Wild Flower Society.
June 9, 2016 • The Green City
Green Roofs are key for cooling urban temperatures and capturing and storing rainwater.
February 6, 2018 • By Arthur Melville Pearson • Center for Humans & Nature
The pond I built in my backyard enjoyed a good run. Fifteen years. But in the end, the raccoons won. The pond is no more. So it is with nature in the big city. The grief is almost gone. But it lingers. Let me explain.
September 2017 • By Naoko Ishii • TEDGlobal Video
We all share one planet—we breathe the same air, drink the same water and depend on the same oceans, forests and biodiversity. Economist Naoko Ishii is on a mission to protect these shared resources, known as the global commons, that are vital for our survival. In an eye-opening talk about the wellness of the planet, Ishii outlines four economic systems we need to change to safeguard the global commons, making the case for a new kind of social contract with the earth.
January 3, 2018 • By Richard Conniff • Yale Environment 360
Efforts to protect biodiversity are now focusing less on preserving pristine areas and more on finding room for wildlife on the margins of human development. As urban areas keep expanding, it is increasingly the only way to allow species to survive.
Book • By Lynda V. Mapes
The oak is a living timeline and witness to climate change. While stark in its implications, Witness Tree is a beautiful and lyrical read, rich in detail, sweeps of weather, history, people, and animals. It is a story rooted in hope, beauty, wonder, and the possibility of renewal in people’s connection to nature.
November 9, 2017 • By Janet Marinelli • Yale Environment 360
With bees threatened by habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change, researchers are finding that planting flower patches in urban gardens and green spaces can help restore these essential pollinators
June 21, 2017 • By Courtney Humphries • Anthropocene, published by Future Earth
Although we tend to dismiss urban and suburban nature as a diminished version of the real thing, research shows that these areas are more biologically active than assumed. Cities can have greater biodiversity than surrounding natural areas, Groffman says, because people tend to keep native vegetation while introducing other species.
October 18, 2017 • By Damian Carrington • The Guardian
Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts.
PDF • September 24, 2017 • By Russ Cohen
There’s an increasing inclination to utilize more native species in home landscaping, to support pollinators, birds, etc. Yet, for some property owners/managers, this alone may be insufficient motivation to “go native”. The “you can eat it too” characteristic of many native plants provides an additional powerful incentive for people to plant them. This PDF covers over two dozen tasty species native to Maine.
August 9, 2017 • By Suki Casanave • Cool Green Science published by The Nature Conservancy
The quest to restore the American elm has been underway for more than half a century. Today, with help from The Nature Conservancy’s Christian Marks, success is closer than ever—which is good news for our floodplain forests, as well as our urban communities.
August 9, 2017 • By Brandon Keim • Anthropocene Magazine, published by Future Earth
Development’s consequences are not limited to impacts on the environment and biodiversity. The concept of harm should include harm caused to the welfare of individual wild animals.
July 11, 2017 • By Janet Marinelli • Yale Environment 360
The population of North American monarch butterflies has plummeted from 1 billion to 33 million in just two decades. Now, a project is underway to revive the monarch by making an interstate highway the backbone of efforts to restore its dwindling habitat.
June 16, 2017 • By Paul Bogard • The New York Times
Why do we consider a neatly trimmed lawn the pinnacle of what the ground should be?
March 2, 2017 • By Nancy Lawson • The Humane Gardener
What’s to love about native plants that spread like crazy? Everything! Enlist these hardy troopers to help reclaim habitat from invasive species.
By Russ Cohen
If you scratch and sniff a black or yellow birch twig, you’ll smell the aroma of oil of wintergreen. You can taste it too.
May 23, 2017 • By Sarah DeWeerdt • Anthropocene
To really understand the effects of cities on wild species, it isn’t enough to simply calculate the proportion of pavement—you have to consider an area’s human and socioeconomic history, too.
April 30, 2017 • By Margaret Roach • The New York Times
Thomas Rainer’s work is a revelation: It turns out that plants are social, and have a body language that explains what they need.
March 15, 2017 • By Mike Gaworecki • Mongabay
According to the authors of a paper published last month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, even as evolutionary studies have come to the fore in many fields of conservation, “road ecology” is rarely examined from an evolutionary perspective — yet “neglecting evolutionary change in response to habitat modification prevents critical insights.”
2015 • By Louie Psihoyos/Mark Monroe • Film
A documentary that follows undercover activists trying to stave off a man-made mass extinction. Scientists predict we may lose half the species on the planet by the end of the century. They believe we have entered the sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history. Number five took out the dinosaurs. This era is called the Anthropocene, or ‘Age of Man’, because the evidence shows that humanity has sparked this catastrophic loss.
February 17, 2017 • By Tom Phillips • The Guardian
Stefano Boeri, the architect famous for his plant-covered skyscrapers, has designs to create entire new green settlements in a nation plagued by dirty air
January 13, 2017 • By Robbie Blackhall-Miles • The Guardian
Saving seeds of plant species, both rare and common, is one of our most important backup plans for the planet, argues Robbie Blackhall-Miles.
Video • By Jeanne Gang • Ted Talk
A skyscraper that channels the breeze . . . a building that creates community around a hearth . . . Jeanne Gang uses architecture to build relationships. In this engaging tour of her work, Gang invites us into buildings large and small, from a surprising local community center to a landmark Chicago skyscraper. “Through architecture, we can do much more than create buildings,” she says. “We can help steady this planet we all share.”
Winter 2016-2017 • By Heather McCargo • MOFGA
Ramps are a delicious wild edible food beloved by chefs and locavores. Also known as wild leeks (Allium tricoccum), they are a member of the onion family and are a perennial woodland wildflower native to the eastern deciduous forest from Canada to Georgia and west to the prairie states.
Book • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A Native Plants Reader is a departure from the typical BBG handbook. Rather than offering a toolkit of growing tips and practical instructions, this book presents a collection of narratives extolling the virtues of natives, outlining their fundamental contributions to our natural ecosystems, detailing our connections with them, describing the perils they currently face, and advocating for their preservation in the garden and larger landscape.
Video • BBC
In this series Professor Iain Stewart tells a stunning story about our planet. He reveals how the greatest changes to the earth have been driven, above all, by plants.
November 23, 2016 • By Dave Taft • The New York Times
Where conditions are right, masses of the plant’s yellow flowers can be found well into late November.
November 16, 2016 • By Richard Schiffman • Yale Environment 360
In his bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben argues that to save the world’s forests we must first recognize that trees are “wonderful beings” with innate adaptability, intelligence, and the capacity to communicate with — and heal — other trees.
Video • By Film-Truth Productions
Polly Hill Arboretum Executive Director, Timothy Boland, Curator, Thomas Clark and Horticulturist/Arborist, Ian Jochems, explain the intricate relationship of Martha’s Vineyard’s ecosystems, the MV Wildtype nursery and the importance of supporting local wildlife and biodiversity by growing indigenous plants sown from wild seed collected on Martha’s Vineyard.
October 17, 2016 • By Eloise Gibson • BBC
Around the world, botanists are battling to find rare wild seed strains before they die out – helping ensure food supplies that can survive the perils of climate change.
October 13, 2016 • By Lisa Feldkamp • The Nature Conservancy
Turning your yard – or other small outdoor space – into a wildlife haven is easier than you think. Get started with Habitat Network, an online community of citizen scientists working together to build habitat to support wildlife.
Guide • By Stahnke + Kitagawa Architects
Newly published by Wild Seed Project is the Katahdin Alpine Plant Community Explorer by Stahnke + Kitagawa Architects. This easy-to-carry, moisture-and tear-resistant guide is perfect to take along on your next hike. Learn to identify which plant community you’re in as you progress through Katahdin’s alpine elevation.
Book • By Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher
This lushly-photographed reference is an important moment in horticulture that will be embraced by anyone looking for a better, smarter way to garden. Larry Weaner is an icon in the world of ecological landscape design, and now his revolutionary approach is available to all gardeners. Garden Revolution shows how an ecological approach to planting can lead to beautiful gardens that buck much of conventional gardening’s counter-productive, time-consuming practices.
August 29, 2016 • By Benjamin Vogt • Houzz
Come late August, the new generation of monarch butterflies in southern Canada and New England is starting to gather for migration south to central Mexico, which lasts into mid-October for the southern U.S. Along the way, the monarchs will make countless pit stops to recharge on a tiring journey.
Summer 2016 • By Ian Leahy • American Forests
The idea of actively managing trees in cities and towns goes back to some of the world’s oldest civilizations; ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, Japanese and Romans all invested in green spaces within the expanses of their bustling cities. They created groves around their places of worship and planted trees around buildings, each in their own way recognizing the inherent value of engaging with nature, not just on great excursions but on a daily basis.
August 2016 • By Heather McCargo • UMAINE: Maine Home Garden News
The seeds of wild plants have a different set of needs than those of common garden and vegetable species. Most gardeners think of spring as the time to sow seeds, but for most native plants in Maine fall to early winter is the best time.
July 23, 2016 • By Sarah O’Malley • The World Around Us
Ecosystems are like salad bars, you fill your plate with lots of leafy greens and then sprinkle lesser amounts of more concentrated food items on top (nuts, olives, bacon bits). Ecosystems have a similar food or trophic structure, at the bottom are the primary producers, the plants and other photosynthetic organisms, as you move up at each level there are fewer and fewer non plant individuals ( herbivores, omnivores and carnivores).
July 6, 2016 • By Christian Schwägerl • Yale Environment 360
Insect populations are declining dramatically in many parts of the world, recent studies show. Researchers say various factors, from monoculture farming to habitat loss, are to blame for the plight of insects, which are essential to agriculture and ecosystems.
June 27, 2016 • By Meghan McCarthy McPhaul • Northern Woodlands
The Karner blue, New Hampshire’s state butterfly, is a wisp of a thing, a tiny fluttering of silvery-blue wings. Unless you happen to be wandering through a pine barren or black-oak savannah, however, you’re unlikely to spot one. Even then, it would be a challenge, as the butterflies have been listed as federally endangered since 1992.
June 21, 2016 • By Sarah DeWeerdt • Conservation Magazine
A massive cross-disciplinary analysis suggests that altering the planet is something very close to fundamental to the human condition.
June 10, 2016 • By Dave Taft • The New York Times
These butterflies are not shy, and with a little practice, observers can learn the basics of how they communicate.
May 10, 2016 • By Lisa Palmer • Yale Environment 360
As they investigate the factors behind the decline of bee populations, scientists are now eyeing a new culprit — soaring levels of carbon dioxide, which alter plant physiology and significantly reduce protein in important sources of pollen.
March 30, 2016 • The Trust for Public Land
Super-slides and wave pools? Try bioswales and rain gardens. Across the country, city parks are doing double-duty to help control stormwater—and infrastructure’s rarely looked so good.
April 5, 2016 • By Christine Peterson • Cool Green Science
Monarch butterflies are in the media a lot lately, and it’s not good news. What’s really going on? Are the butterflies facing extinction? Our blogger breaks down the issue, including how you can make a difference.
Book • By Ted Elliman and The New England Wild Flower Society
Wildflowers of New England is for hikers, naturalists, gardeners, and anyone wishing to learn more about the region’s diverse wildflowers, or just wanting to know the answer to “What’s that plant?” Ted Elliman, a plant ecologist for the New England Wild Flower Society, describes and illustrates more than 1,000 species commonly encountered in the region, including perennials, annuals, and biennials, both native and naturalized.
March 24, 2016 • By Nicholas St. Fleur • The New York Times
A digital simulator helps visualize how a variety of factors, including carbon dioxide levels and drought, may affect tree ecosystems over 1,000 years.
March 12, 2016 • By Edward O. Wilson • The New York Times
It is not too late to halt the alarming loss of species and biodiversity threatening the planet.
PDF • Spring 2015 • PopClock
When most of us think about spring phenology, our image is of warm spring days, encouraging leaves to expand and flowers to open. What might be surprising to learn is how important winter (and even autumn) temperatures are to the timing of these springtime events.
Feb. 3, 2016 • by Adele Peters • Fast Company
Vacant lots, city squares, a former highway, and even regular city streets are going to be filled up with trees and plants—everywhere you look.
September 2015 • Audubon
Grow a beautiful garden that provides a safe haven for birds in the face of climate change.
PDF • 2015 • By Michele Richmond • arnoldia
I’ve always wondered why we use the word parking to describe a place to leave a car. For me the word evokes images of my neighborhood park, playgrounds, or New York’s Central Park: lush green spaces, not places easily reconciled with a patch of asphalt.
July 2015 • By Monica Tan • The Gaurdian
Having on average 10 more trees in a city block improved how someone rated their health by a level comparable to an increase in annual income of $10,000.
Video • 2010 • By Charles Davis
“The Nature Of Cities” follows the journey of Professor Timothy Beatley as he explores urban projects around the world, representing the new green movement that hopes to move our urban environments beyond sustainability to a regenerative way of living.
Dec. 11, 2015 • By Dave Taft • The New York Times
The northern bayberry, a large shrub growing in coastal woodlands from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, has a peppery scent that must be experienced up close.
Dec. 8, 2015 • By Adam Frank • NPR.org
Some of the five mass extinctions Earth experienced in the past were driven by climate changes. Future Earth will be just fine. It’s us humans we need to worry about, says astrophysicist Adam Frank.
Dec. 3, 2015 • By Susan Sharon • MPBN News
A century ago American chestnut trees dominated the eastern woodlands from Georgia to Maine. Growing straight and tall they were prized for timber.
Podcast • October 26, 2015 • Dr. Jonathan Foley• KQED Radio
The world is growing smaller in more ways than one—while the global population increases, covering more and more of the planet, the amount of livable, arable land diminishes in the face of a changing climate. How can we meet the needs of nine billion people while protecting the natural resources necessary for growth and prosperity? We will focus on this delicate balance and discuss ways to ensure a sustainable future, starting with our own backyard, in California.
PDF • November 2015 • By James K. Boyce • Harper’s Magazine
A little more than a hundred years ago, a bird named Martha, the last surviving passenger pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo. Her death was remarkable in the annals of extinction not only because we know its precise date — September 1, 1914 — but also because only decades earlier the passenger pigeon had been the most abundant bird on earth.
PDF • September 2015 • By Andrew Cockburn • Harper’s Magazine
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer.
Oct. 2, 2015 • By Dave Taft • The New York Times
If there is ever a time to admire poison ivy, it is in the fall, when the plant turns brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.
Summer 2015 • By Michael Snyder • Northern Woodlands
Last fall when acorns were falling out of the oak trees by the thousands, a neighbor said we could expect a hard winter. Presumably the deer needed lots of acorns.
Video • Sept. 30, 2015 • By E. O. Wilson • PBS.org
An exploration of the remarkable life and groundbreaking ideas of biologist E.O Wilson, founder of the discipline of sociobiology.
May/June 2015 • By Nancy Lawson • The Humane Society of the United States
More thoughtful plant choices can sustain wildlife and entire life cycles of biodiversity.
July 31, 2015 • By David Montgomery • The New York Times
A showdown over a songbird’s status is part of a continuing national dialogue about the Endangered Species Act.
July 26, 2015 • By Lisa W. Foderaro • The New York Times
Two new sections of the park are set to open in August, one a floral meadow on Pier 6, the other a reminder of the area’s industrial past.
June 30, 2015 • By Adele Peters • Co.Exist
If one Dutch architect gets his way, we might soon be living in car-free urban forests where the buildings look like trees. “Imagine living with nothing but green around you,” says architect Raimond de Hullu. “Imagine growing flowers or tomatoes on your façade.”
July 9, 2015 • By Adam Vaughan • The Guardian
Scientists shocked at bees’ failure to relocate north to cooler areas as southern climes in Europe and North America become too hot for the species to survive
May 22, 2015 • The Local
The Norwegian capital has inaugurated the world’s first ‘bumble bee highway’, a corridor through the city pollen stations every 250 meters.
May 15, 2015 • By Francesca Perry • The Guardian
Taking a look at plans for an elevated park in the South Korean capital, the issue of heritage preservation in Calcutta and the death-defying leaps of urban explorers on the rooftops of Paris.
May 29, 2015 • By Catherine Winter • PRI’s The World
Honey bees and other pollinators are in big trouble. President Barack Obama wants to help save them with a new protected bee habitat corridor along I-35 spanning the US from Laredo, Texas to Duluth Minnesota. Catherine Winter, who lives in Duluth and keeps bees herself, tracked down some other bee enthusiasts to talk about the president’s plan and their own efforts to protect the pollinators that help feed us all.
March 26, 2015 • By David Abel • The Boston Globe
Nearly a quarter of all native plant species in New England are now either extinct, rare, or in a state of decline, while about a third of all the region’s plants are from elsewhere and an increasing number are considered invasive, according to a landmark report released Thursday by the New England Wild Flower Society.
April 17, 2015 • By Mark Kurlansky • The New York Times
“Oh, no!” I thought as I gazed at Thor Hanson’s book with pictures of seeds all lined up on the jacket in boring, well-spaced symmetry. If “The Triumph of Seeds” had really been about how the little acorn makes the mighty oak, I might have screamed. But the genius of Hanson’s fascinating, inspiring and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves.
March 11, 2015 • By Douglas W. Tallamy • The New York Times
I grew up thinking little of plants. I was interested in snakes and turtles, then insects and, eventually, birds. Now I like plants. But I still like the life they create even more.
Yale Environment 360
By making the recording and sharing of environmental data easier than ever, web-based technology has fostered the rapid growth of so-called citizen scientists — volunteers who collaborate with scientists to collect and interpret data.
May 6, 2014 • By Liza Lester • Ecological Society of America
Our planet is already changing. Current climate trends are bringing great disruption to ecosystems and the many species that share this planet—including people, because this is our environment, our home, our life support system. The economic costs of wildfire, drought, storms, fishery losses to ocean acidity, and the inundation of our coastal cities by sea level rise are clear.
October 5, 2014 • The Nature of Cities
It depends on what we want them to do. What ecological and/or social functions can we realistically expect green corridors to perform in cities? What attributes define them, from a design and performance perspective?
September 19, 2012 • by Claire Thompson • Grist
Sarah Bergmann does not see herself as a political artist. Promoting social causes, raising awareness — that stuff doesn’t appeal to her. But she likes asking questions. Doing so, she says, “allows me to learn about the world and respond to it, and do something physical based on what I learn.”
January 6, 2014 • by Richard Conniff • Yale Environment 360
As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity. It just may be the start of an urban wildlife movement.
October 7, 2014 • by Tom Levitt • Ecologist
How just five biotech giants have increased their control of the global seed market, promoting monoculture farming and making it harder for farmers to find alternative sources of seeds.
October 31, 2014 • by Emma Marris and Greg Aplet • The New York Times
A SCHISM has recently divided those who love nature.
“New conservationists” have been shaking up the field, proposing new approaches that break old taboos — moving species to new ranges in advance of climate change, intervening in designated wilderness areas, using nonnative species as functional stand-ins for those that have become extinct, and embracing novel ecosystems that spring up in humanized landscapes.
October 19, 2014 • by Bill Lascher • The Guardian
As the Nature Conservancy works to help Minnesota’s North Woods adapt to climate change, other environmentalists worry “assisted migration” may end up changing the forest’s very nature.
July 23, 2014 • by Jason Bittel • On Earth
If the key to saving monarchs is growing more milkweed, why aren’t we walking around with pockets full of seed?
I’m here to tell you about a weapon that could change the world. It’s small, inexpensive, and easy to conceal. Discharging it in public wouldn’t harm any living creature; it wouldn’t even land you in jail. What it would do, believe it or not, is save millions of lives.