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Volume 608 Issue 7923, 18 August 2022

Forest forecast

The cover captures the morning mist at Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand. Like every other aspect of life on Earth, forests are facing increased challenges posed by climate change. A collection of papers in this week’s issue probes the vulnerabilities and potential resilience of forests in a warming world. Three studies focus on North America: one examining the response of boreal species to warming and drought, another analysing the timing of stem growth in temperate deciduous forests, and a third revealing migration of white spruce (Picea glauca) into the Arctic tundra. In the tropics, one paper investigates the impact of phosphorus availability in the Amazon, while another assesses the reasons for increased mortality of tropical trees. Finally, a sixth paper shows how satellite imaging can be combined with machine learning to identify declining resilience in the world’s forests.

Cover image: Bule Sky Studio/Shutterstock.

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • News & Views

    • Analysis of when and how fast temperate deciduous trees in North America grow suggests that the earlier onset of the growing season induced by climate change does not result in extra carbon sequestration from wood production.

      • Cyrille B. K. Rathgeber
      • Patrick Fonti
      News & Views
    • Electrons in a pure-carbon material display properties that are reminiscent of those in heavy-element compounds. A model inspired by this link hints at how a single-element material can exhibit complex electronic behaviour.

      • Aline Ramires
      News & Views
    • Understanding the processes that affect carbon storage in tropical forests is crucial for assessing the effects of climate change. An experiment reveals that a nutrient shortfall is hampering such carbon capture.

      • S. Joseph Wright
      News & Views
    • An analysis of the distribution of the elementary particles that make up the proton provides evidence that it contains a type of quark known as an intrinsic charm quark — verifying a proposal made four decades ago.

      • Ramona Vogt
      News & Views
    • A process called A-to-I RNA editing helps to prevent unwanted immune responses. Associations between genetic variants and this type of RNA editing now provide mechanistic insights into the genetic basis of autoimmune diseases.

      • Kaur Alasoo
      News & Views
    • Variations in ocean oxygen levels during Earth’s history have been linked to evolution and mass extinctions. Simulations now suggest that the configuration of the continents has a substantial impact on ocean oxygenation.

      • Katrin J. Meissner
      • Andreas Oschlies
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Through machine learning analysis of a large set of collider data, a study disentangles intrinsic from radiatively generated charm, and finds evidence for an intrinsic charm quark within the proton wavefunction.

      • Richard D. Ball
      • Alessandro Candido
      • Juan Rojo
      Article Open Access
    • Rabi dynamics between the ground state and an excited state in helium atoms are generated using femtosecond extreme-ultraviolet pulses from a seeded free-electron laser, which may allow ultrafast manipulation of coherent processes at short wavelengths.

      • Saikat Nandi
      • Edvin Olofsson
      • Jan Marcus Dahlström
      Article Open Access
    • A mechanism for self-oscillating pumping in a quantum gas is demonstrated using a Bose–Einstein condensate coupled to a dissipative cavity, where a particle current is observed without external periodic driving.

      • Davide Dreon
      • Alexander Baumgärtner
      • Tobias Donner
    • Multidimensional time- and angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy is used to determine the interlayer exciton formation process, reveal a direct hallmark of the superlattice moiré modification, and reconstruct the real-space wavefunction distribution.

      • David Schmitt
      • Jan Philipp Bange
      • Stefan Mathias
    • A compute-in-memory neural-network inference accelerator based on resistive random-access memory simultaneously improves energy efficiency, flexibility and accuracy compared with existing hardware by co-optimizing across all hierarchies of the design.

      • Weier Wan
      • Rajkumar Kubendran
      • Gert Cauwenberghs
      Article Open Access
    • This work introduces lightweight, leaf-like photoelectrochemical devices for unassisted water splitting and syngas production, which could be used in the fabrication of floating systems for solar fuel production.

      • Virgil Andrei
      • Geani M. Ucoski
      • Erwin Reisner
    • The survival of southern boreal tree saplings decreases in response to even modest warming and reduced rainfall, which,together with species-specific growth responses, could lead to regeneration failure of currently dominant tree species.

      • Peter B. Reich
      • Raimundo Bermudez
      • Artur Stefanski
    • A boreal conifer is advancing northwards into Arctic tundra, with this treeline advance facilitated by climate warming together with winter winds, deeper snow and increased soil nutrient availability.

      • Roman J. Dial
      • Colin T. Maher
      • Patrick F. Sullivan
      Article Open Access
    • Nutrient manipulation of low-phosphorus soil in an old growth Amazon rainforest shows that phosphorus availability drives forest productivity and is likely to limit the response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

      • Hellen Fernanda Viana Cunha
      • Kelly M. Andersen
      • Carlos Alberto Quesada
    • A new elpistostegalian from the Late Devonian period has been discovered that shows disparity in the group and represents a previously hidden ecological expansion, a secondary return to open water, near the origin of limbed vertebrates.

      • Thomas A. Stewart
      • Justin B. Lemberg
      • Neil H. Shubin
      Article Open Access
    • In mouse brain, neurotensin released into the basolateral amygdala by neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus assigns positive or negative valence during associative learning.

      • Hao Li
      • Praneeth Namburi
      • Kay M. Tye
    • Biochemical and structural studies of the interactions between antibodies and spike proteins from SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants indicate how these variants have evolved to escape antibody-mediated neutralization.

      • Yunlong Cao
      • Ayijiang Yisimayi
      • Xiaoliang Sunney Xie
      Article Open Access
    • Findings from a systematic antigenic analysis of these surging Omicron subvariants that this lineage of SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, successively yielding subvariants that are not only more transmissible but also more evasive to antibodies.

      • Qian Wang
      • Yicheng Guo
      • David D. Ho
      Article Open Access
    • The evolutionarily conserved RNA-binding protein GTSF1 and its homologues interact with members of the PIWI class of Argonaute proteins, increasing the efficiency of the RNA-cleaving activity of PIWI proteins, an essential function across the animal kingdom.

      • Amena Arif
      • Shannon Bailey
      • Phillip D. Zamore
      Article Open Access
    • Cryo-electron microscopy structures of the bacterial protein machinery that is involved in the production and function of nitrous oxide provide insight into the assembly pathway of this enzyme and the mechanisms of copper transport.

      • Christoph Müller
      • Lin Zhang
      • Oliver Einsle
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  • Across the planet, efforts are underway to make cities more livable and carbon-neutral.

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