Citizen science, social impact data, human rights, agriculture saving & planning, and more - check out the inspiring work the newly announced 2013 PopTech Social Innovation Fellows are up to.
“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said the study’s lead author, David Lindemayer, a professor at Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management. The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes – Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. […]
The die-off of these 100-to-300-year-old trees raises concern, the researchers say, because they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”
Big trees also supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar, noted Bill Laurance, another co-author, from James Cook University in Australia. “Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals” and “their loss could mean extinction for such creatures,” he said. […]
The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles. […]
A new fungal disease that is attacking Britain’s beloved ash trees has been front-page news there. It is feared that the fungus could claim more than 90 percent of Britain’s ash, as it has elsewhere in Europe.
The Science Barge greenhouse is a prototype of sustainable urban farm floating on the Hudson River. The greenhouse grows an abundance of fresh produce including tomatoes, melons, greens, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero pesticides, and zero runoff.
More at Groundwork Hudson Valley
Architecture for Humanity Chicago helps improve food access and eating habits in inner-city areas by buying up an old Chicago Transit Authority bus and retrofitting it into a single-aisle grocery store. Dubbed the Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market, it travels through the Windy City’s “food deserts,” selling fresh produce and offering classes on cooking and nutrition.
See more smart ideas for fixing cities: 12 Innovative Ways to Rethink Our Cities.
Inspiring start for the Wangari Community Gardens in Washington, DC.
Black Revolution is a soilless growth media for plants containing biochar, coconut husk and compost. Biochar is a charcoal soil amendment made from waste that improves nutrient retention, offsets CO2 and has the potential to help feed our growing planet. Black Revolution is the world’s first carbon-negative replacement for soil made entirely from waste. It’s lighter than traditional soil, so it works great in rooftop or urban environments. The potting soil and chemical fertilizer industries are traditionally some of the most environmentally destructive in the world. Chemical fertilizers require massive amounts of fossil fuels and pollute our rivers and streams. Potting soils contain peat moss and vermiculite: non-renewable resources mined from endangered areas around the world.
2009 PopTech Fellow Jason Aramburu launched re:char in 2005 to develop low-cost technologies that fight climate change while improving the quality of degraded soils. re:char’s systems convert agricultural waste into renewable fuel and into biochar, sequestering atmospheric carbon and improving soil quality.