Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Quick hits: Hemlocks quickly dying and Duke Energy gives $1 million to N.C. coast

Study: Hemlocks dying quickly
"A tiny insect may be killing Eastern hemlocks across the Southern Appalachians even faster than expected, U.S. Forest Service researchers said Thursday.

"Most of the evergreen trees, called a 'keystone species' for their important ecological role, could be gone within a decade," says the Charlotte Observer. "Hemlock forests shelter dozens of species of birds and shade mountain streams, cooling the water for trout.

"The rapid death of the trees may also disrupt the way carbon cycles through the forests and into the atmosphere, said the research published by the Forest Service's Southern Research Station in Asheville. ..."

Duke set to give $1 million to N.C. coast

"Duke Energy will donate $1 million to help a fragile coastal N.C. peninsula adapt to climate change, the Nature Conservancy will announce today," according to the Observer.

"The money from one of the United States' largest utility sources of carbon dioxide, the gas linked to global warming, will help the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge cope with rising sea levels.

"The refuge sits on the 2,100-square-mile Albemarle Peninsula, just inside the Outer Banks. The peninsula has very high vulnerability to sea-level rise, one of the hallmarks of climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency said in a January report. ..."

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