Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Expansive stands of standing dead trees, called “ghost forests,” are becoming more common on the low-lying Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in North Carolina. Photo: Paul Taillie
When saltwater inundates coastal forests as sea levels rise, it kills salt-sensitive trees, leaving “ghost forests” of bare snags behind. A new study from North Carolina State University revealed that changes in vegetation as salt water moves further inland posed very different outcomes for different varieties of coastal bird species. Surprisingly, species of high conservation value responded positively to the ghost forests— for instance, the northern bobwhite quail, which has been doing poorly across most of its range in recent years.
However, other species that live in closed-canopy forests not affected by saltwater intrusion, such as the hooded warbler, lost habitat when ghost forests formed.
The mid-Atlantic is sinking faster than nearly anywhere else. The Gulf Stream has been shifting northward, bringing warmer water to the region, accelerating sea level rise. Meanwhile, groundwater pumping and natural geological processes are causing lands to sink.
High tides rose here by several inches during a recent decade. That was more than three times faster than the average rate of sea level rise worldwide, simulating conditions expected globally during decades to come.
This means that we are just beginning to understand how this accelerated sea level rise will affect plant and animal species.
Why This Matters: The researchers explained that overall, ghost forests supported a different group of bird species than the forests they replaced. There’s still so much we don’t know about how climate change will affect our planet and how it might shift entire ecosystems. While these ghost forests may soon welcome an entirely new group of bird species, we can’t yet say how this will affect all other animals in the ecosystem. What we do know is that a shift from verdant woodlands to ghost forests/marshes will mean that this land will be far less able to absorb and store carbon dioxide as forests are one of the best weapons we have to fight climate change.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer In a news conference on Tuesday, France’s Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, announced the country will be banning the use of wild animals like lions, and tigers, and bears in circuses. The ban will also prohibit the import and breeding of dolphins and orcas in marine parks, as […]
This morning a major global effort to finance nature gets a huge “deposit” as Ministers from Germany, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Canada, and Norway, as well as business leaders, UN leaders, and major philanthropists, promise to spend billions to safeguard biodiversity.
Why This Matters: Last week was Climate Week and this week it is nature and biodiversity’s turn at center stage.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer Monday, Botswanan officials announced their findings following an investigation into the sudden and mysterious deaths of 356 elephants. The investigation found that neurotoxins caused by an algal bloom in a large rain puddle poisoned the animals. However, many conservationists remain skeptical, largely because the government has yet to release […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.