Thursday, December 1, 2022

Play

Access to medication is key to HIV prevention, a Florida university uses a religious exemption to disband its faculty union, plus Nevada tribes and conservation leaders praise a new national monument plan.

Play

The House passed a bill to avert a crippling railroad strike, Hakeem Jefferies is chosen to lead House Democrats, and President Biden promises more federal-Native American engagement at the Tribal Nations Summit.

Play

The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Restoring WV Spruce Means Cleaner Air for the Region

Play

Monday, July 11, 2016   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Restoring highland Appalachian spruce forests could help reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. All healthy forests take CO2 out of the air and trap carbon in the trees and the ground. But, according to soil scientist Stephanie Connolly who works in the Monongahela National Forest, spruce trees do this very efficiently. She said it helps to think of the soil as a sponge, and for example, when a spruce tree drops its needles on the forest floor, more of the carbon stays and migrates below the surface.

"The soil acts as a sponge for water, but it also acts as a sponge for nutrients, and it stores carbon beneath the red spruce ecosystems," she said.

Folks running spruce restoration efforts in the Monongahela recruit volunteers to plant thousands of the trees every year. They plan to eventually connect those woods with areas of restored spruce in southern Virginia, and over time, in Tennessee and North Carolina as well.

Connolly said it's a different process, but similar to how the veins of coal that run through the same mountains were laid down. And she said carbon from the spruce is also visible to the eye.

"If you open up a soil profile, you can see it in a road cut, or any kind of construction," she added. "You can actually see it like you think of soot, or the carbon that we know to be coal."

She explains the carbon percolates into the ground more easily because spruce trees make the soil more acidic, compared to the mixed hardwoods common to the Appalachians.

"Species that we're familiar with in central App, like oaks and hickory and cherry and maple, versus a forest that's dominated by conifers, such as primarily the red spruce," she said.

Most of the Appalachian highland spruce were cut down a century ago. The Forest Service estimates restoring only the West Virginia portion would take the carbon equivalent of nearly 60 million barrels of oil out of the atmosphere and bury it in the forest floor, within 80 years.


get more stories like this via email

Around 56% of those surveyed by Pew Research view climate-change policies as good for the environment. However, Americans are split on whether those policies help or harm the U.S. economy. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

The gold dome on the Iowa Capitol has been gilded five times. The gold leaf covering the dome is 250,000th of an inch thick and is 23.75 karats. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

2022 was a banner year for women elected as governor. Nearly one-third of America's governors will be women next year, which is a record. Iowa …


Environment

Residential water rates in Michigan are soaring, with an estimated one out of ten households without access to or unable to afford clean water…

Environment

Fracking is a very water-intensive industry, and a new study dives into the impact of unconventional oil and gas drilling on aquatic ecosystems in …


Tom Oliver, center, receives the 2022 Washington Andrus Award for Community Service. (Bruce Carlson/AARP Washington)

Social Issues

A Bellingham man who supports people with dementia has received one of the most prestigious awards for volunteerism in Washington state. The …

Social Issues

Native American tribal communities and conservation groups got a big win Wednesday as President Joe Biden announced he intends to create a new nationa…

The 2020 Iowa caucuses were beset with tabulation problems, which set off a discussion on whether to shake up the Democratic primary process. (Scoutori/Adobestock)

Social Issues

A decision could come today on Nevada's bid to become the first state in the nation to hold a Democratic primary in 2024. The Democratic National …

Environment

Snow is on the ground in much of Minnesota, but the state is coming off another warm season with notable drought conditions. Those who monitor …

Environment

By Ray Levy Uyeda for Yes! Magazine.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Greater Dakota News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021