Happy National Love a Tree Day!
Fun fact: a new study of 1000 forested areas shows that climate change has had a huge impact on the diversity and distribution of these tree species.
On National Love a Tree Day, we should turn our focus to the beings that give our lungs oxygen, our eyes wonder, and our hearts love. Trees are a beautiful entity to our world and need to be respected now more than ever. A survey was recently conducted by a collaborative research team at Aarhus University in Denmark, assessing how past climate change impacts have affected the composition of certain tree species across the six continents. The team combined their research together from five open databases pertaining to tree species and their specific distributions, pairing them with information on phylogenetic relations and their ecological morphology attributes. “Phylogenetic” pertains to the visual diagram of a tree's ancestral line and the interconnected generational genes–flowing into the ecological morphology, or the relationship roles between organisms such as trees.
The specific surveyed trees are angiosperms, a common species of tree that produces seeds from inside the female reproductive organ of a plant, or the carpel. Angiosperms make up 80% of the world's plant species. Some of these common trees may be in your backyard or lining your local park–oak, maple, birch, willow, palm, eucalyptus, and linden. They divided the researched attributes into two groups: turnover and nestedness, and found that these components influence shifts ranging from the equator to the poles.
According to their research, since the Ice Age era regions that experience higher temperature changes also experience lower replacement or turnover rates. They found in tropical areas that specie replacement is the most important factor in determining the changes in species composition between localities.
This term describes a pattern in which the composition of species found within a lower biodiversity local are also found within a higher biodiverse region plus more. But, another interesting factor is that habitats with these nested species may have lower diversity but also may be home to species not found in other habitats. In more temperate regions they discovered that nesting was higher and was a prime factor in determining species composition across the continents–the closer they surveyed to the poles, they found lower rates of species composition and nesting.
"Because the Earth's climate has changed enormously through geological time, exploring the effects of past climate change on current biodiversity provides an opportunity to understand the risks emerging from ongoing and future human-induced climate change," stated the study's first Author, Wubing Xu.
Trees are essential to life–taking in CO2 and expelling oxygen, that's why it is detrimentally important to reduce and eliminate deforestation, other methods of forest clearing, and carbon emissions. These negative external factors highly affect these vulnerable organisms, so respecting them as they respect us is essential for a clean and green future.
Happy National Love a Tree Day to all those hard working trees out there that make our lives brighter and more breathable. Everyone go outside today and hug a tree!