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Are We Having Fungi Yet? Helping Young Trees Grow

This article is from Issue Rocky Mountain - Vol. 2 No. 1.

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In the Western United States, shallow, rocky soils and a dry climate often make it hard for new trees to grow on areas that have been harvested of older trees. Sometimes, areas that have been harvested grow back quickly in other types of plants. These plants compete with young trees for moisture and nutrients. The scientists in this study wanted to test a different way of reducing the competition for soil nutrients and moisture. 

Note to Educators

Education Standards Correlations

Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

"Science Topics" covered in this article:
  • Earth Science
  • Life Science

"Environmental Topics" covered in this article:
  • Using Forests (Students)
  • Vegetation Management (Educators)

Regions covered in this article:
  • Rocky Mountain

"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
Scientists work in a variety of settings, and are employed by different organizations. Scientists work for universities, business and industry, hospitals, and the government. Scientists work in many different settings, such as laboratories, classrooms, factories, oceans, forests, in space, or on farms. The scientist in this study works for the USDA Forest Service, a Government agency that manages many of our Nation's forests. She collected branches from pine trees in the Rocky Mountain forests of Colorado. Then, she took the branches into a laboratory, took measurements of the branches and pine needles, and used a computer to compare her results. You can see that scientists work in a lot of different settings. What setting would you like to work in?
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • The Scientific Process

"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
Organisms must be able to live in a constantly changing environment. (Think about yourself. Don't you need to do that too?) If an organism is to survive, it will try to keep its internal environment stable, regardless of the external environment. This means that organisms will try to adapt over time to survive in changing environments. The scientist in this study wanted to know why lodgepole pines can survive at very different elevations in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. This shows that the pines can live in very different environments. The scientist was interested in discovering how lodgepole pines adapt to living in such different environments.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Mutually beneficial organisms

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Diversity and adaptations of organisms (C)
  • Nature of science (G)
  • Populations and ecosystems (C)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)

Science Benchmarks covered in this article:
  • Habits of Mind: Communication Skils
  • Habits of Mind: Critical-Response Skills
  • Habits of Mind: Values and Attitudes
  • The Nature of Mathematics: Mathematics, Science, and Technology
  • The Nature of Science: The Scientific Enterprise
  • The Nature of Technology: Issues in Technology