The ‘Lost Forty’: how a mapping error preserved an old-growth forest

A 19th-century surveying mistake kept lumberjacks away from what is now Minnesota's largest patch of old-growth trees.

Credit: U.S. Forest Service via Dan Alosso on Substack and licensed under CC-BY-SA
  • In 1882, Josias R. King made a mess of mapping Coddington Lake, making it larger than it actually is.
  • For decades, Minnesota loggers left the local trees alone, thinking they were under water.
  • Today, the area is one of the last remaining patches of old-growth forest in the state.
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'Ghost forests' visible from space spread along the coast as sea levels rise

Seawater is raising salt levels in coastal woodlands along the entire Atlantic Coastal Plain, from Maine to Florida.

Photo by Anqi Lu on Unsplash
Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged.
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How your daily coffee can help tropical forests grow back

Researchers find that the coffee pulp is valuable in its own right.

Credit: Rebecca Cole/British Ecological Society
  • When coffee is harvested, the skin and pulp surrounding the bean are often discarded.
  • Costa Rica, which had much of its tropical forests chopped down for agricultural use, is testing coffee pulp as a way to help reforest the country.
  • A new study finds that coffee pulp can help reforest land in just two years.
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    By the age of 3, children appreciate nature's fractal patterns

    Fractal patterns are noticed by people of all ages, even small children, and have significant calming effects.

    Credit: MNStudio on Adobe Stock
    • A new study from the University of Oregon found that, by the age of three, children understand and prefer nature's fractal patterns.
    • A "fractal" is a pattern that the laws of nature repeat at different scales. Exact fractals are ordered in such a way that the same basic pattern repeats exactly at every scale, like the growth spiral of a plant, for example.
    • Separate studies have proven that exposure to fractal patterns in nature can reduce your stress levels significantly.
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    AI reveals the Sahara actually has millions of trees

    A study finds 1.8 billion trees and shrubs in the Sahara desert.

    Credit: bassvdo/Shutterstock
    • AI analysis of satellite images sees trees and shrubs where human eyes can't.
    • At the western edge of the Sahara is more significant vegetation than previously suspected.
    • Machine learning trained to recognize trees completed the detailed study in hours.
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