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Happy Arbor Day!

Cross-sections of Q. palmeri stems.

Today’s internationally recognized tree holiday was founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morton, former Secretary of Agriculture to US President Grover Cleveland, and avid tree enthusiast. The holiday is generally observed on the last Friday in April, and today marks over 135 years of tree planting and conservation efforts across the globe. Highlighted below are some of PLoS ONE’s arboreal related articles. Take a moment to read about the  critical role trees have in our global ecosystem.

Sudden Oak Death, caused by a pathogen introduced to California forests, continues to disturb local oak populations. This research explores the clonal reproductive behavior of the pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have collected samples from Panamanian rainforest tree species to estimate total carbon content in tropical ecosystems. Read more here.

The fascinating colonization of Juniper trees, Juniperus brevifolia, a native species to the Azores archipelago, has been explored in the following article.

Recent analysis indicates that although forested areas have declined globally, the overall tree density in such areas has increased. Read more about how this is important in the sequestration of atmospheric carbon.

Logging practices in wood-producing forests pose risks for many endangered flora and fauna. Managing these areas sustainably could help conserve such species, as well as increase carbon storage. Read more here.

To find ways to get involved, or to learn how to plant a tree in your community, visit www.arborday.org

Image source: Figure 2 (May MR, Provance MC, Sanders AC, Ellstrand NC, Ross-Ibarra J (2009) A Pleistocene Clone of Palmer’s Oak Persisting in Southern California. PLoS ONE 4(12): e8346. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008346)

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