Tech & Science: How climate change affects Christmas trees - - PressFrom - United Kingdom

Tech & Science How climate change affects Christmas trees

12:55  03 december  2019
12:55  03 december  2019 Source:

Oz towns have just six months of water left as droughts hit

  Oz towns have just six months of water left as droughts hit Millions of Australian dollars have been set aside to transport supplies to parts of the country which have just six months worth of water left. Forty towns, all in the state of New South Wales (NSW), have been identified to have low supplies of water, ten of which have populations of more than 500.The water supplies for other communities in the state have been categorised as "high risk", with local government having already committed $2m (£1.1m) to local councils to move water.But, with demand expected to increase as the water level drops in towns across the region, the NSW government has set aside another $16.

Deforestation, and especially the destruction of rainforests, is a hugely significant contributor to climate change .

Deforestation is an important factor in global climate change . By cutting down huge areas of forest, therefore, without replacing the trees that we remove, we are causing an inadvertent change in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which can have a huge impact on the rest of the world.

If you’re shopping for a live Christmas tree this year, you may have to search harder than in the past. Over the last five years Christmas tree shortages have been reported in many parts of the US.

One factor is that growers sold off land and planted fewer trees during and after the 2008 recession. In the lifespan of Christmas trees, the decade from 2008 to the present is roughly a single generation of plantings. However, in my research on the human dimensions of farming and food systems, I also see other factors at play. 

a boy in a yard: Pedro Cardenas throws a Christmas tree after it has been bailed in the field prior to being shipped out at Omni Farm in West Jefferson © Provided by Quartz Pedro Cardenas throws a Christmas tree after it has been bailed in the field prior to being shipped out at Omni Farm in West Jefferson

Christmas trees take 6 to 12 years to mature, and consumer preferences often change more quickly than farmers can adjust. Climate change is altering temperature and rainfall patterns, which severely affects growers’ ability to produce high-quality trees and the varieties that customers seek. And like the overall US population, Christmas tree growers and shoppers are aging.

Prince Charles: Millions of young people 'desperately' want action on climate change

  Prince Charles: Millions of young people 'desperately' want action on climate change The Prince of Wales said he hoped the UK and Japan would work together on the issuePrince Charles has said millions of young people are “desperately demanding” urgent action to tackle climate change in an apparent acknowledgement of Greta Thunberg’s global campaign.

Here's how manmade climate change has affected our planet during the past 20 years. The effects of climate change can be seen in harsher fire seasons. Wildfires in the western United States burned an average of 2.7 million acres each year between 1983 and 1992; now that's up to 7.3 million acres

But choosing a Christmas tree is no easy task. And it brings up a debate that is almost as old as the commercialized version of the holiday itself: Is it more sustainable to buy a natural tree every year Natural Christmas trees hold a certain appeal, especially when they're in a winter wonderland setting.

Collectively, these trends don’t bode well for Christmas tree lovers, the growers, or the industry. However, there are opportunities for younger farmers to enter this market, either full- or part-time. If new and beginning growers live in an area with appropriate environmental conditions, Christmas trees are a high-quality complementary crop that farmers can use to diversify their operations and provide off-season income.

Evolving consumer preferences

As of 2017, there were about 15,000 Christmas tree farms across the US Most are around 23 acres in size, and nearly half of them gross less than $25,000 annually. A great number of Christmas tree ventures are part of larger farm operations, and many growers hold off-the-farm jobs.

Flooding from warm springs leading to 'drastic' change in Europe's landscape

  Flooding from warm springs leading to 'drastic' change in Europe's landscape Warmer springtimes are coinciding with rivers flooding and could change the European landscape, scientists warned. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Researchers from the University of Glasgow and Umeå University in Sweden analysed data collected since the 1960s on flood peaks and daily temperature in locations across Europe.It showed that climate change is disrupting the rhythms of spring growing and river flooding across Europe - which could pose new problems for biodiversity and food security in floodplains.

According to Dr Martin Sommerkorn, climate change advisor for the World Wildlife Fund’s International Arctic Programme, ‘Human-induced climate change has brought humanity to a position where we shouldn’t exclude thinking thoroughly about this topic and its possibilities. ’

And climate change is happening too quickly for many species to adapt. Here are just a few examples of how climate change may increase the challenges we’re Impacts vary in different kinds of forests. Sub-Arctic boreal forests are likely to be particularly badly affected , with tree lines gradually retreating

Our team recently sent a survey to 1,500 randomly selected Indiana residents to see how consumer behavior could affect the state’s tree farmers. Christmas tree shoppers told us that they predominantly seek short-needle trees, such as firs and spruces (38%), followed by medium-needle varieties like Scotch pines (24%).

Over 42% of respondents purchased their tree from a Christmas tree farm, while nearly 32% bought them from a tree lot or other small business, and approximately 20% got their tree from large chain or retail stores such as Home Depot or Lowes.

A national consumer survey conducted by the National Christmas Tree Association found that shoppers equally purchased trees from Christmas tree farms (28%) and large chain retailers (28%), followed closely by retail lots (23%).

According to the association’s data, from 2004-2017 the number of real Christmas trees sold stayed relatively steady, while the number of artificial trees sold more than doubled. Real tree growers have lost market share to increasingly popular artificial trees, and may have trouble seriously competing for the foreseeable future, due to climate change and an aging population. 

MrBeast, YouTubers Band Together to Plant 20 Million Trees to Fight Climate Change

  MrBeast, YouTubers Band Together to Plant 20 Million Trees to Fight Climate Change The #TeamTrees initiative has gone viral, racking up millions of dollars in donations so far. "Planting trees helps the environment in so many ways," Lambe said. "Trees clean the air, clean the water and help to create a habitat for birds and other animals. Trees are critical today and they're helping to remove pollutants from our air and help to improve the quality of life for people across the United States and around the world." #TeamTrees has set a deadline of Jan. 1, 2020, to raise the $20 million.

Know what is Climate Change . Find information, Reasons, Causes, Effects , Consequences and Solutions of Climate Change . Climate change has emerged as the greatest danger of the 21st century. This danger is believed to be greater than the third world war or the collision of any asteroid

Planting new forests can help absorb CO2 from the air but only at a rate sufficient to offset a small proportion of current emissions.

Weather woes

Climate change is directly and indirectly affecting Christmas tree growers across the US. Droughts in 2012 and 2014 and spring floods in 2019 have taken a toll on plantings, particularly young saplings. A farmer in southern Indiana recently told me that 2019 was the wettest spring and the driest summer and fall he could recall over the past 29 years.

Related Slideshow: Christmas trees made of unusual materials (Provided by Photo Services)

These extreme conditions decrease sapling success rate, which contribute to tree shortages when the planted stock would have matured for harvesting. In addition, higher average summer and winter temperatures are increasing tree mortality by worsening disease and pest pressures, making trees less resilient.

In a 2018 survey that our program distributed to 95 Indiana Christmas tree growers, 60% of respondents said that environmental conditions were challenging their operations. Among the growers, over 70% highlighted droughts as a major challenge. More than 50% of respondents reported having problems with disease, insect pressure, and heat waves. About 30% indicated that consumers were searching for trees that were difficult or impossible for them to grow, such as Fraser firs, which are native to higher-elevation areas of the southern Appalachian mountains.

Aging farmers and shoppers

US farmers are getting older, and Christmas tree growers are no exception. Across the farming industry, the average farmer’s age rose from 56.3 in 2012 to 57.5 in 2017.

In our survey of Indiana Christmas tree growers, we found that their average age was 64 and that 62% of farm operations did not have a transition plan in place. Additionally, 28% of growers intended to stop planting trees in the next five years. These results suggest that many new Christmas tree farmers will need to enter the business just to maintain current production levels.

Buyers are also aging. In our consumer survey, shoppers buying either real or artificial trees were in their mid-50s on average, while those who did not purchase trees were 64 on average. Written comments suggested that people were less likely to put up a tree when fewer people, particularly children, were in the house and the work fell to one or two individuals.

Planting for the future

For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible. They may have to settle for a Scotch pine instead of a Fraser fir, or for buying a harvested tree rather than cutting their own. This is particularly true for buyers who wait until late in the season or want a tree variety that cannot be grown in their local environment.

Who will grow the next generation of trees? The good news is that for potential growers, competition is sparse and demand is stable. Aspiring Christmas tree farmers should consider working with aging local growers who are seeking to slow down or transition out of the industry. Farmers in other sectors, such as fruit and vegetable producers selling locally, might consider Christmas trees as a way to bolster off-season income.

The allure of a fresh-cut tree is unlikely to fade, so Christmas tree farming could be a gratifying venture for growers who are patient enough to plant now for customers in 2027.

James Robert Farmer has collaborated with the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association on research concerning u-cut/real Christmas trees. He received funding from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture through a United States Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant to conduct research on Christmas trees in Indiana.

Scientists scour past for future climate clues .
As the pace of global warming outstrips our ability to adapt to it, scientists are delving deep into the distant past, hoping that eons-old Antarctic ice, sediments and trees chart a path to navigate our climate future. "What interests us is to understand how the climate works," says Didier Roche of France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 4
This is interesting!