City replacing ash trees before destructive insect’s arrival

Northfield news reports that Northfield city will start replacing ash trees to avoid the devastation from the emerald ash borer – Agrilus planipennis.

City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess said the move is an attempt to avoid a mass die off like that which occurred when Dutch elm disease sickened trees across the state.

To find out more about Northfield read the Northfield News article

There are quantines going into effect in numerous counties in states such as Wisconsin due to the spread of the emerald ash borer. Check with your state’s Department of Agriculture Trade about quarantines and what nursery stock and wood products can be moved.

Birlingham wetland to double in size

Planners have agreed to a proposal to double the size of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust wetland to 34 hectares. The wetland in Birlingham is set to increase biodiversity and increase water flora and fauna. The water will be supplied by a wind pump the river Avon into the wetland of four ponds. The land to be used for the wetland is currently a meadowland that was flooded regularly and attempted cultivation for farming has failed.

SOURCE: Eversham Journal

NASA launches ‘Sustainability Base’

Yesterday, NASA’s Ames Research Center held a ground breaking ceremony for its new ‘Sustainability Base’ – a high performance Platinum LEED Rated building in Moffett Field California. The building will feature near zero net energy consumption, use 90 percent less potable water than conventionally built buildings of equivalent size and reduce building maintenance costs.

To help achieve the building’s sustainability objectives, the company will install approximately 72 geothermal wells featuring ground-source heat pumps, and will provide parking and landscaping with California-native plants.

The $20.6 million building  is designed by AECOM and William McDonough + Partners and Landscape Architects – Siteworks.

You can also watch a video about NASA’s Sustainability Base

SOURCE: NASA
IMAGE SOURCE: NASA

Governors Island – Useless Beauty – The New Yorker

Wondering what’s happening to Governors Island after the International Design competition was won by the design group led by WEST 8. Well, the August 31, 2009 edition of the New Yorker (subscription only) on p. 56 has an article titled Useless Beauty’ by local correspondent Nick Paumgarten, who discusses plans for a park on the island designed by the Dutch architecture firm West 8. A section of the abstract(shown below) gives a hint of the discussion that takes place with Adriaan Geuze.

Writer discusses the proposed park area with Adriaan Geuze of West 8. Briefly compares the Governors Island to the development of the High Line. A risk of a project like the High Line or Governors Island is that the place may pass from one kind of elitism, in which virtually nobody is allowed, to another, in which ambitious restoration introduces esoteric or refined tasted and uses. (SOURCE:THE  NEW YORKER)

Sounds like an interesting read for those lucky enough to have a subscription or able to buy a copy.

Another incentive to buy a copy is the article by Ian Frazier Ian Frazier, Parks Dept., “Treepocalypse,” The New Yorker, August 31, 2009, p. 26 which looks at the about trees in Central Park destroyed by a recent severe thunderstorm.

The New Yorker has also posted a video – Tour of Governors Island.

In this video, Paumgarten tours the island with Leslie Koch, the president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, who explains how this former military base is being converted into parks and other public spaces. (SOURCE: THE NEW YORKER)


SOURCE: The New Yorker

Seeing the tree from the forest

SERA Simulation of Tree Canopies - Credit: Sean T. Hammond

Sean Hammond and Karl Niklas have published a paper in the August 2009 edition of  American Journal of Botany presenting an algorithm that could be used to predict plant communities. The algorithm known as spatially explicit, reiterative algorithm, or SERA explores whether changes occurring in plant communities, such as self-thinning and the competitive displacement of one species by another, can be attributed to the characteristics of the individual plants that comprise the community.

“Remarkably, our model predicts the behavior of real plant populations, and thus suggests to us that many ‘complex’ ecological interactions emerge as a result of a few very ‘simple’ processes,” commented Dr. Niklas. SERA may be very useful in predicting changes in community development and composition as environmental and climatic variability increases.

The full article is available for until the 20 September 2009 at www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/8/1430. The SERA program can be accessed at www.botany.org/downloads/HammondandNiklas.zip.

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