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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS has new book to help identify North and Central Florida trees

Topic(s): Announcements, Forestry, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Want to know what that weird palm is growing in your backyard? How about that scraggy tree? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has a new book coming out that will help: “Trees: North and Central Florida,” a photographic field guide of 140 native, introduced and invasive trees and palms in North and Central Florida.

Andrew Koeser , a co-author and assistant professor of urban tree and landscape management at UF’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, said he wrote the book as an ID guide for people to be able to take with them into the field.

“I want this to be a book where people can just take it out with them. Any tree they see in North and Central Florida, there’s a high probability that it will be in that book,” Koeser said. “We tried to get the most common trees in North and Central Florida.”

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UF/IFAS study: Forest managers hindered in efforts to use prescribed burns to control costly wildfires

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Forestry, Green Living, IFAS

BURNS2 03XX15 (file photo)

See cutline below

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Forest managers would prefer to use prescribed burns every few years to help prevent costly wildfires and rebuild unhealthy ecosystems, but hurdles like staffing, budget, liability and new development hinder them, a new University of Florida study shows.

Fighting wildfires is costly. The U.S. government now spends about $2 billion a year just to stop them, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. That’s up from $239 million in 1985.

Leda Kobziar, an associate professor of fire science and forest conservation in UF’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation, led a web-based survey of 523 public and private land managers across Region 8 of the U.S. Forest Service, which consists of 13 Southern states, including Florida. She and her colleagues wanted to see whether front-line experts think prescribed burns prevent wildfires and maintain vegetation and healthy ecosystems. And if they do, what are the circumstances under which such burns work best.

As it turns out, prescribed burns should be done every few years to prevent wildfires or reduce their severity, depending on weather and the type of ecosystem land managers are trying to protect, according to the survey.

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UF/IFAS experts to share research at global symposium on urban tree economics

Topic(s): Announcements, Conservation, Economics, Environment, Forestry, IFAS

 

ED GILMAN

UF/IFAS Professor Ed Gilman

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Global experts, including three from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will share knowledge at an international symposium focused on the economics of urban tree management, March 18-19, in Tampa, Florida.

The meeting brings together experts from around the world and innovative professionals working with some of America’s largest and longest-standing urban forestry programs: New York and Milwaukee.

Those attending the conference will explore the value of trees as part of urban green infrastructure, try to quantify the costs associated with poor urban forest management practices and examine the potential benefits that can be reaped from proper planning and maintenance.

Once these costs and benefits have been evaluated, urban foresters, utility vegetation managers and elected officials can make effective management decisions, according to the program’s website, http://www.isa-arbor.com/events/eventsCalendar/index.aspx?ID=2077.

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Middle School students return to woods for tree study

Topic(s): Forestry, IFAS

Michael Andreu and Rob Northrop discuss urban forestry Robert Northrop, Michael Andreu, Hillsborough County, extension, extension agent, UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Michael Andreu

GAINESVILLE, FLA ─ Westwood Middle School will return to woods near their campus next week as part of a tree study they’re doing with University of Florida scientists.

The sixth graders began the second of three studies in the Kids in the Woods program last week.

The study, led by Michael Andreu, an associate professor in the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation, focuses on tree benefits ─ including pollution control and energy savings through shade ─ at the school/Westside Park and in Loblolly Woods Nature Park.

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UF/IFAS study: Florida’s climate boosts soil-carbon storage, cuts greenhouse emissions

Topic(s): Biocontrols, Conservation, Environment, Forestry, Green Living, IFAS, Pollution

Sabine Grunwald. Associate Professor, Ph.D.  Soil and Water Science.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Warm temperatures and a wet landscape increase soil’s ability to store carbon, which in turn helps mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new University of Florida study covering 45 years of data.

Soil-stored carbon can slow the build-up of carbon-based gases in the atmosphere, a phenomenon believed to be a cause of global climate change. So it’s vital to preserve soil carbon, said Sabine Grunwald, a UF soil and water science professor who led the research.

“The conservation of the ‘black gold’ below our feet, which is not only a natural part of Florida’s soils but also helps to improve our climate and agricultural production, is a hidden treasure,” said Grunwald, a member of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty. “Soils serve as a natural container to hold carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases that accelerate global climate change.”

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Good results from Florida’s urban tree-planting program, UF/IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Forestry, Green Living, IFAS

URBAN TREE planting

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida’s urban tree-planting program works well: 93 percent of the trees planted were still alive up to five years after they were planted, a new University of Florida study shows.

UF researchers attribute the high survival rate to the state’s rules for projects funded as part of its Urban and Community Forestry Grants program.

Run by the Florida Forest Service, the program began in 1990 to encourage cities to plant more trees for such benefits as energy savings, air and water quality and higher property values. For the current fiscal year, program officials approved $307,000 in federal money for 20 Florida cities, counties and nonprofits to help support trees.

Under the program, local entities must match the federal grants. And one year after trees are planted, the Florida Forest Service conducts on-site inspections to be sure trees, which are planted on public properties or rights of way, are alive and healthy.

For the study, scientists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2010 surveyed 2,354 trees planted at 26 sites, including Orlando, Tampa, Ocala, Lakeland and Vero Beach.

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UF/IFAS strategies give forest owners, managers disaster-coping methods

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Forestry, Pests, Weather

Forest strategies

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Scientists believe climate change means more erratic weather patterns for the future, and that doesn’t bode well for forests in the Southeastern U.S.

Two things trees don’t need are damaging hurricane-force winds and wildfires, and they believe those climate change-related weather patterns portend more of both.

University of Florida researchers, including postdoctoral research associate Andres Susaeta, built a computer model that simulates various climate scenarios in hopes of minimizing the potentially cataclysmic damage to forests on privately owned forest land.

“Climate change is likely to affect forest productivity and exacerbate the impacts of big disasters on forest ecosystems in the South,” Susaeta said.

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UF/IFAS scientist helps write national ‘roadmap’ for natural resources

Topic(s): Forestry, Honors and Appointments

 

timm

A UF/IFAS forest biologist is among the authors of a new Association of Public and Land-grant Universities report that outlines six “grand challenges” facing the U.S. in the areas of sustainability, water, climate change, agriculture, energy and education.

The report, called “Science, Education and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources,” recommends a series of research, education and outreach activities to meet the challenges over the next decade.

(more …)

The new Austin Cary Learning Center to be dedicated Saturday

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Forestry, IFAS
Artist's Concept of the new Austin Cary Research Center at Austin Cary Forest

Artist’s Concept of the new Austin Cary Research Center at Austin Cary Forest

GAINESVILLE ­– Three years ago, a fire destroyed the Austin Cary Learning Center, a university and community resource used by students, alumni, professionals and the community. On Saturday, its newly built replacement will be dedicated by the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation. (more …)

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