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TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)- The trees at the fairgrounds have officially come down.

The trees are believed to have stood for more than 200 years. When the fairgrounds took over the land of image of Mike Saunderswood, it caused damage to the tree’s growth. Now these trees are being re purposed to teach us some history of the land. Mike Saunders is a hardwood expert and Natural Resource Professor at Purdue. He says it’s sad that the trees had to come down but he’s making this a positive situation by using it to look at what may have happened years ago on the land. “I think there’s a story to tell both scientifically and to the public on what these trees are here and how they came into being and give them their life story of the trees,” said Saunders. Saunders uses a scanner that can determine the lands history by looking at the length and width of each ring. “We can look at what past climate was. We can also determine whether or not the trees grew in a closed canopy forest or if it grew out in the open based on the patterns we see in the growth in the rings,” said Saunders. Some community members have expressed sadness seeing these trees go. But Saunders said the neck of woods just down the road by Central Catholic are similar trees still standing. He says those are worth preserving. The tree reading process can take months. But Saunders plans to share all his findings in one way or another. “It would be nice to put up a sign out here at some point to talk about what happened with these trees and how old the stand was,” said Sanders. Click here for the link

U.S. forests’ changes are double-edged sword for environment

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Climate change, nitrogen deposition and fire suppression are leading to shifts in the types of trees that dominate American forests. These changes will have environmental consequences, potentially positive and negative, according to a Purdue University study. Image of Dr. Fei

Songlin Fei, a forest ecologist in Purdue’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, with colleagues from the U.S. Forest Service and Indiana University, developed a mycorrhizal tree map of the contiguous United States. The map, developed based on more than 3 million trees, shows the abundance of trees associated with mycorrhizal fungi, which have symbiotic relationships with tree roots.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi grow inside the tissues of roots and are more common on trees such as maple, ash and yellow poplar. Ectomycorrhizal fungi live on the outside of a plant’s roots and are often found on pine, oak, hickory and beech trees. The fungi act as extensions to a tree’s root system, allowing them to reach more water and nutrients. In return, the trees provide needed carbon for fungi survival.

Over the last three decades, the authors find, forests dominated by ectomycorrhizal trees have given way to those dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal species. That’s due in large part because arbuscular mycorrhizal trees are better suited for the conditions associated with climate change. Click here for more.

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