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As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; Israel and Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in a last-minute deal; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

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An expulsion vote looms for Rep. George Santos, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuits against district maps and the Supreme Court hears a case which could cut the power of federal agencies.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Healthy Homes Needed for Endangered NC Birds

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018   

WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Fourth National Climate Assessment released by the federal government outlined the impacts of severe weather on the nation. North Carolina isn't immune to the risks that climate change is creating - but there are plans to help some species make a comeback.

During Hurricane Florence, southeastern North Carolina suffered damage to long-leaf pine forests. Zach West, Southeastern Coastal Plain land steward with The Nature Conservancy, said that, in turn, created problems for another species - the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. He said these woodpeckers are the only ones in North America that create nesting cavities in live pines - a process that takes years.

"Red-cockaded woodpeckers also nest in live long-leaf pine trees, and so, that creates a weak point in the bole of a tree,” West said. “With increased storms and increased winds, those trees can kind of snap off at that weak point."

Starting in January, West said, Nature Conservancy crews will drill cavities into healthy trees, taking care not to harm the trees, to give more North Carolina birds the shelter they need faster than than they can create it themselves.

West said the birds prefer to nest in mature long-leaf pines, since the trees are very dense. These types of trees used to make up 92 million acres of southern U.S. forestland, but now, it's less than 4 million.

"Originally it was used for naval stores. So they'd take turpentine, they'd collect the sap from these trees and create a host of different products, including tar used for shipbuilding,” he explained. “You know, once the shipbuilding industry kind of waned, then they started cutting it for timber value, and it was never really replanted."

West said controlled burning in some southeastern forests also will start in January, to help improve growing conditions for new trees. The southeast once had at least 3million red-cockaded woodpeckers, but the bird has been endangered since the 1970s. According to recent federal estimates, close to 15,000 birds remain.


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