Maps of tree cover in Europe

Fejetlenfej posted a set of maps of european forest cover to imgur, with posters available on Etsy. Though cover is distressingly spase in places such as Denmark and England, check out the places that seem picked clean, as if trees were a menace to be exterminated without remorse. Is there so much as a shrub in Italy's Po Valley?

Data: Global Tree Canopy Cover, 2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) High resolution map of all the forests of Europe. Color scheme goes from black as 0% forest to bright green as close to 100%, dense forest. After finally forcing myself to focus more on creating new things, this is my first new design in almost a year. I'm quite excited to show it to you guys, so please, any feedback welcome. Map made mostly with the open-source QGIS software.

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This handy site catalogs monumental trees from around the world

Looking for a monumental tree for a photo or just to enjoy in person? Check out Monumental Trees, a compendium of over 31,000 impressive trees, like this live oak in Virginia. Read the rest

A lovely scientific appreciation of trees

Over at The Last Word on Nothing, esteemed science writer Rebecca Boyle wrote a lovely appreciation of trees. "Apart from humans, maybe, trees are the best form of life on this planet," she writes. From Boyle's essay, titled "Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here":

Trees remain in one place, but reach elsewhere always. They stretch down into the ground, and they constantly strain toward the sun. They are the embodiment of our shared presence on a rocky planet that orbits a star. Hedgehogs and helminths may be interesting, but they don’t constantly remind us, simply by existing, that we are in a solar system.

Trees are also hosts for every other form of life. Their roots chew up the very crust, a process aided by microbes, and in doing so, trees remake continents. Their bark harbors fungus and lichen. Their branches and leaves shelter and feed insects, birds and mammals. Even now, when humans are capable of building machines that fly to Mars, we still use trees for shelter. We also cut them down and burn them for warmth. Some of us cut them down and bring them inside and festoon them, for a form of psychic warmth that lasts a few weeks and is the only reason I can tolerate December.

Trees are strivers. My pin oak is one of the fastest-growing species of hardwood trees, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. It can grow two feet per year. Trees also bide their time. The oldest living thing on Earth is a tree in Arizona, a bristlecone pine that sprouted from a seed a few years before the invention of writing, in 3200 BCE.

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Trees "sucking" on things

Trees Sucking on Things is my new favorite subreddit. It's dedicated to trees that have grown around unusual objects, thereby giving the impression of "sucking" on them. Pictured here is an example from getyerhandoffit. Read the rest

These giant contraptions can tie up pine trees as tall as 35 feet

Ever wonder how they tie up enormous trees for transport? One option is this three-armed model, though you might be distracted by the guy not wearing a hardhat as a giant metal arm spins near his head. Read the rest

WATCH: Tree topples in hurricane

There's so much Florida goodness in this footage.

Vertical video ✓ Stayed to enjoy the hurricane ✓ Big tree with 6 inch deep root system ✓ Vertical video of big tree with 6 inch deep root system 10ft from your house in Florida, where there are hurricanes ✓ Read the rest

I found the square root

The planter of this fir tree used railroad ties to create a deeply-embedded square border around it. As it grew, the roots took their shape, to be revealed after removing the now-rotten wood many years later. Read the rest

4 artists 1 tree

4 Artists Paint 1 Tree is a short documentary released by Disney in 1958, in which four of its best animators (then working on Sleeping Beauty) each paint the same old oak tree. An illustration of the depth of artistic brilliance and individuality informing the technical uniformity of an animated feature, it's well worth 15 minutes of your day.

They're all great, but my favorite is Eyvind Earle's, top, closely followed by Josh Meador's on the left. To the right, Walt Peregoy ("Walt Disney was a shit. We made Walt. Walt didn’t make Walt. Walt was an asshole.") holds his modernist rendering. At bottom is Mark Davis, whose technique seems delightfully contemporary. [Thanks, Wendy!] Read the rest

These incredible trees can "walk"

These are the "walking palm trees" of Ecuador. Each year, they could walk as much as 20 meters. Slower than the Ents from Lord of the Rings but, well, real.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” Peter Vrsansky, a palaeobiologist from the Earth Science Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Bratislava, tells the BBC. “Then, slowly, as the roots settle in the new soil and the tree bends patiently toward the new roots, the old roots slowly lift into the air. The whole process for the tree to relocate to a new place with better sunlight and more solid ground can take a couple of years.”

Tragically, the incredible Sumaco Biosphere Reserve where they live is being chopped down.

“This [cutting] is a shame, as Ecuador is one of the world countries with the highest partition of protected areas," Vransky says, But the trees can’t walk fast enough to escape the chainsaw and the machetes backed by current legislation." Read the rest

Scary robot lumberjack makes deforestation too easy

This deforestation machine slices and plucks trees at their base and then wipes off all the branches and foliage in just a few seconds. (Thanks, Dustin Hosteler!)

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Gorgeous oil paintings on tree slices

Alison Moritsugu paints beautiful landscapes, including some on slices of trees that make the logs resemble portals onto the natural scenes in which they grew. Her new work, a collection called titled "inconsequence / in consequence," will be exhibited at the Littlejohn Contemporary gallery in New York City from November 12 through December 12, 2015.

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Gentleman is suing a lot of people because a 16-pound pine cone fell on his head

A 16-pound pine cone fell on Sean Mace's head in San Francisco, and crushed his skull.

He is suing the U.S. government, the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park for $5 million.

(Image: Rodmunch99/Wikimedia. Bunya cone from Cumberland State Forest, Sydney, NSW, Australia on 28th January 2012)

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Tree trimming samurai in action!

Edward Scissorhands has got nothing on Chuck Berry's two-handed Christmas tree trimming at Berry's Christmas Tree Farm in Covington, Georgia. (via Digg)

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Beautiful video of the giant redwood trees of Northern California

More Than Just Parks (MTJP) immerses us in the Redwood National and State Parks to see the tallest trees in the world. What you see in this video is literally in my backyard and I feel so fortunate that I can immerse myself in such beauty just by stepping outside.

Redwood National and State Parks in Northern California are home to the tallest trees in the world, the mighty Redwood, which can reach staggering heights of over 360ft and weigh more than 500 tons. These parks feature magical forests, miles of spectacular beaches, stunning overlooks, and the largest herd of Roosevelt elk on the planet. This film was shot entirely in 4K.

(Vimeo)

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Crown shyness - when trees don't like to touch each other

This incredible photo is an example of "crown shyness," a phenomenon in which the crowns of trees maintain a little personal space between each other. Scientists have been trying to figure out why trees do this.

One hypothesis is that the gap forms when trees collide with each other in the wind, and to prevent damage, the crowns stop growing. Experiments support that hypothesis. When researchers physically restrain trees from colliding in the wind, the crowns will grow to touch each other.

Malaysian scholar F.S.P. Ng offers competing hypothesis. According to Wikipedia, he "found no evidence of abrasions due to contact in that tree. He suggested that the growing tips were sensitive to light levels and stopped growing when nearing the adjacent foliage. In Betula pendula (silver birch), fewer buds develop in parts of the crown that are already dense or where the crowns of different trees start meeting, possibly because of less light."

Another reason tree crowns are shy might be to slow the spread of leaf-eating insect larvae.

Image: Canopy of Dryobalanops aromatica in Forest Research Center - Kuala Lumpur

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Study: World has 8x the number of trees we thought

There are about 3.04 trillion trees on planet earth, rather more than the expected 400 billion, reports Nature. But it's not good news. Read the rest

Welcome to lumberjack YouTube

There's a wonderful little corner of YouTube where stoic burly men wander deep into the woods and chop down tall trees with chainsaws.

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