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Changing Planet: Survival of Trees - Windows to the Universe

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Science, Evolution, and Creationism, by the National Academies, focuses on teaching evolution in today's classrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store.

Changing Planet: Survival of Trees

Trees contain some of nature's most accurate evidence of the past. Their growth layers, appearing as rings in the cross section of the tree trunk, record evidence of floods, droughts, insect attacks, lightning strikes, earthquakes and even changes of carbon dioxide levels that occurred during the lifespan of the tree. Subtle changes in the thickness of the rings over time indicate changes in length of, or water availability during, the growing season.

Analyzing growth periods from the past lends insight into how carbon dioxide levels and climate might have affected tree populations.  Testing trees on a genomic level furthers understanding of tree evolution and their reactions to the variables of carbon dioxide level and temperature.  Finally, laboratory testing of plants and trees in controlled climate conditions rounds out the picture of how these valuable, living resources will fare in a future that includes a warming climate.

Click on the video at the left to watch the NBC Learn video - Changing Planet: Survival of Trees.

Lesson plan:  Changing Planet:  Survival of Trees

 

Last modified September 23, 2011 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Traveling Nitrogen is a fun group game appropriate for the classroom. Players follow nitrogen atoms through living and nonliving parts of the nitrogen cycle. For grades 5-9.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF