Smoke from forest fires might contribute to more than half of certain gritty air pollution events in the continental U.S. during the summer, and as much as 20 percent of those events throughout the year, according to new research.
A new study examined the relationship between the availability of nature near city dwellers' homes and their brain health. Its findings are relevant for urban planners among others.
With warm, dry summers comes a deadly caveat for the western United States: wildfires. Scientists say the hot, dry climates found west of the Mississippi, along with decades of fire suppression efforts, are creating a devastating and destructive combination -- leading to fires like the ones currently burning in California. Now, new research is giving forest and fire management teams across the country the upper hand in reducing the severity of these events.
Newly published research focuses on the link between cocoa exports and deforestation in developing nations.
Sprawling mining operations in Brazil have caused roughly 10 percent of all Amazon rainforest deforestation between 2005 and 2015 -- much higher than previous estimates -- says the first comprehensive study of mining deforestation in the iconic tropical rainforest. Surprisingly, the majority of mining deforestation (a full 90%) occurred outside the mining leases granted by Brazil's government, the new study finds.
Conservationists can be 'cautiously optimistic' about the prospect of sustainable subsistence hunting by Amazonian communities, according to new research. The research team spent over a year working with 60 Amazonian communities and hiked for miles through trackless forests to deploy nearly 400 motion-activated camera traps -- in a bid to understand which species are depleted by hunting and where.
Reptile and amphibian communities exhibit a promising level of resilience to agricultural lands. In a new study, herpetologists compared forested areas to manicured citrus orchards and reclaimed orchard forests in Belize. Further intriguing discoveries were made when the Category 1 Hurricane Earl hit the study site.
In the early days of the profession, a dependable chain saw was probably about the most that any tree care pro dreamed of owning. That’s still a must-have, but advances in technology and safety mean there are now many more types of equipment (including tools, gear, etc.) on the market to help get tree work done more effectively, efficiently and safely. With this in mind, Tree Services asked several tree care pros what equipment they wish they had in their arsenal and how it would help them on the job. Their answers provide an interesting look at what’s hot at the moment (knuckle booms and tracked lifts) and general trends in how companies are approaching tree care work these days.
1. “I would just love to have a knuckle boom.”
“There are always things that we are eying!” says Noel Boyer, owner of All About Trees in Springfield, Missouri. “One thing that I would just love to have is a knuckle boom — that would be incredible,” he says, noting that it’s probably not a realistic purchase, at least for the next couple of years because of his business philosophy of paying cash for equipment. “I could go to the bank today and get the money to go buy one, but that’s not how we run,” he explains.
Boyer says that, for whatever reason, he’s been doing more removals lately than he typically handles, so a knuckle boom crane would be a tremendous help. “We have a couple of grapple trucks, a couple of mini skid-steers and last year we bought a bigger chipper with a winch, so we’re set up for removals … but a knuckle boom would sure make tree removal work easier, and also storm work where trees have fallen on houses — we could just back up to the house and start picking pieces off of it.” Boyer currently subcontracts a crane for removals, “and this year we’ve used a crane more than we ever have in the past. Some of the jobs that we used the crane on could have been done with a knuckle boom, if we had one,” he notes.
One thing that Boyer is in the market for this year is a new chip truck. “I’m looking for a little bit higher-capacity chip truck to go with the higher-capacity chipper that we bought last year,” he explains. That is in keeping with his strategy of constantly upgrading his equipment. “Every year what I try to do is to get just a little bit nicer, newer, better, stronger, faster stuff,” he says. Case in point, the Vermeer SC852 stump grinder that he purchased this year: “It’s cutting our stump grinding time in half, which is awesome,” says Boyer.
2. “I could see putting it to use every day.”
David Raines, owner of Raines Tree Care in Rogers, Arkansas, has the same major wish as Boyer: Raines says he’d love an Effer-articulated (knuckle boom) crane, as that company offers models designed specifically for arboriculture. “Something like that would be amazing,” Raines explains. “Just the efficiency that they provide is amazing, [along with] the access they offer.” Raines says his company does a fair number of crane jobs, but contracts with a service to bring in a standard crane and operator for those projects. The cost of purchasing an articulated crane would be substantial, though, he says. “The companies I’ve seen that own those, if they’re not doing tree jobs, someone is using it to set trusses on buildings, or for some other purpose. They’re renting it out — you don’t want something like that sitting around,” he says.
Raines says he has also been eying a tracked man lift; he’s examined several models at conferences and trade shows, noting that there are many good models on the market, though a CMC 83HD unit (from All Access Equipment) stood out to him. Raines says this is something he could envision purchasing in the near future. Particularly because he says that the heavily wooded communities where his company works have seen a lot of tree decline in the past five years, due to drought and construction damage. “A lot of them have a fungus called Hypoxylon, which is a very fast-decaying, rotting disease,” he explains. “So, a lot of trees are pretty unsafe to climb. The cool thing about the tracked man lifts is that you can get them though 36-inch gates. You can also get them in small areas, level them and … they’d make for pretty quick work, and safer work. That’s the main reason that I would like to have one — for the safety of working on trees that are so sketchy to climb.”
He’s also interested in the reach (height) this equipment can offer, which is why the 83-foot model caught his attention. “I could see putting it to use every day,” he says. It wouldn’t replace climbing for Raines Tree Care, but would improve efficiency and safety on certain jobs. “We love climbing. We’re a very strong climbing crew; we train, we’re progressive in our climbing styles and we compete,” says Raines, admitting that some people might see the use of a tracked man lift as a less “macho” way to work. “Well, we could be efficient that way, we could be safe that way. When you’re running a business, you need to think about things like efficiency and better profit margins instead of just focusing on climbing cool trees.”
3. “We would love to have a spider lift.”
Vincent Debrock, co-owner of Heritage Tree Care in Buda, Texas, has a similar item on his list, and for the same reasons as Raines. “We would love to have a spider lift. It would help so much with so many situations,” says Debrock. “It would cut down on the wear and tear on the climbers, but more importantly, reduce the risk of an accident. These machines are incredible pieces of equipment.” Also on Debrock’s wish list, given the amount of wood that his company generates, would be a portable sawmill.
4. “It would be nice to have a four-wheel drive bucket truck.”
Judd Hart, owner of J.H. Hart Urban Forestry in Sterling Heights, Michigan, says he’s been fortunate in the last few years to be able to check off a number of pieces of equipment on his running wish list, including the recent purchase of a Boxer (from Morbark) compact utility loader and a track lift. “And we just bought three elevators,” he adds of some other equipment that he had long wanted. “I want our crews to have the best stuff that the industry has to offer,” Hart explains of his dedication to keeping up with equipment purchases and trying to constantly invest in equipment that will improve efficiency and safety.
Hart does still have a few pieces of equipment he’d like to add to his fleet, some of which aren’t even on the market. One would be an insulated track lift. He’s seen only one manufacturer offering these, Altec, and would like to see other manufacturers add insulated track lifts to their lineups. Specifically, the current models are substantially heavier than the lifts his company now operates, so he’d like to see technology advance to the point where lighter insulated models are possible. “When you’re going through a 36-inch gate opening on a sidewalk, and you’ve got [all that weight] over two tracks, that’s a big impact,” Hart notes.
Another tool Hart would love to see introduced, and one that’s much lower-tech, is a super high-quality (i.e., durable) pole saw blade. “We go through pole saw blades constantly — breaking them, bending them. And we’ve tried them all; we’ve spent $30 a blade and we’ve spent $12 a blade,” he says. A blade that really held up to the tough environment of tree work would help keep jobs moving, he notes.
Hart has one more piece of equipment that he says would help his crews do their jobs more efficiently: a four-wheel-drive bucket truck. “We do a lot of golf course work in the winter time, and we always have to chain up the tires, and that’s problematic,” he notes. Cost is the one concern he has about purchasing one of these. “Obviously, you can order these, they’re just very expensive. But it would be nice to have a four-wheel-drive bucket truck. That would be very cool.”
5. “If I had a crane it would definitely open up a lot of opportunities.”
Tyler Burkett, who with his wife, Amy, runs Burkett Arbor Care in Boerne, Texas, would love to have a remote-controlled Altec crane unit with a grapple/saw (like the company’s EC175-5S-FG). He says doesn’t know much about this type of machine, and he hasn’t researched it yet, but he recently saw information about it for the first time “and it blew my mind.” Currently, Burkett Arbor Care rents cranes on an as-needed basis. “If I had a crane it would definitely open up a lot of opportunities,” says Burkett. “I have built a lot of good relationships with other arborists and tree/landscape companies in town. I could envision being subbed out on crane removals if we owned one.”
He’d also love a 72-foot track lift, which Burkett says “would be awesome for clearing cedar (ash juniper) out on rough terrain where we don’t have adequate access with a truck.” He’s been shopping for such a unit for several years now. “So far, our bucket trucks have been adequate, but I could see a day where we want to purchase a track lift sometime in the future to access backyards. Again, being the only, or one of the only, companies in town to have one, I could see us being subbed out regularly if we had one, on top of it helping us to meet our clients’ needs.”
6. “For safety and efficiency, I don’t know that there’s anything better.”
Rob Kruljac, owner of Arborel Tree Service in Pennsylvania, jokes that the top item on his equipment wish list would be a teleportation device. “That way I could instantly go from job site to sales appointment to the office, and back again!” he jokes. On a more serious note, Kruljac says he feels like he has all of the tools he needs to do his job, but would like to upgrade some of them. “For example, we have a knuckle boom crane, but I’d like a bigger one,” he says. “That’s an awesome tool; they’re very versatile.”
Switching to a much smaller scale, Arborel Tree Service crew members already have helmet communication systems, but Kruljac would like the latest version of this technology. “The ones that we’re using are actually motorcycle communications models,” he explains. “They clip on to the back of the helmet and there’s a little bit of wiring you need to do to wire it into your earmuffs.” He says that they work great, but there are next-generation systems on the market (both his existing communication system and the new one are from Sena) with Bluetooth communication capability integrated into a hard hat. “They are actually built directly into the hearing protection system,” says Kruljac.
Regardless of the generation, he says that these on-the-job communications tools offer huge benefits for the tree care industry. “For safety and efficiency, I don’t know that there’s anything better,” Kruljac explains, noting that he knew the technology would be helpful when he first invested in it, but he didn’t realize then how many uses it has. At first, it was mainly for communication during crane operations, where the operator can’t see the climber. Now, it’s being used to allow employees to communicate on just about every job. “Everything from being able to ask, ‘Hey, is this cut going to match up on the other side of the tree?’ to getting direction when you’re backing a truck up with a chipper — you can just talk back and forth in a normal volume,” he explains. “Or if you’re in the backyard and someone else is in the front yard, you can tell them you need a rope.” If Kruljac sees a crew member doing something incorrectly, he can talk to them from across the job site. He can also train them in the proper way to run a piece of equipment, like a chipper. “It’s pretty amazing — it’s a huge advancement,” says Kruljac.
Estimates of the carbon stored by tropical forests rarely take tree roots into consideration. Scientists report that almost 30 percent of the total biomass of tropical trees may be in the roots.
A team of researchers is continuing an effort to research how climate influences wildfire frequency. The group developed the Physical Chemical Fire Frequency Model just a few years ago. The model focuses on two variables -- temperature and precipitation -- to understand how climate drives wildfire across the world.
As devastating wildfires rage in California wine country, a team of environmental engineers have made a new discovery about wildfire smoke, and its effect on the atmosphere.
In the summer of 2002, America came face to face with the emerald ash borer (EAB) for the first time. The larval form of this insect has been absolutely devastating to all 17 North American species of the Fraxinus genus. The natively Asian invasive species, Agrilus planipennis, was discovered in southeastern Michigan and has since spread to 30 of the 48 continental states. Most recently, in 2016, EAB was found in Delaware, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Because it’s the larvae of EAB that kills a tree from the inside out, not the adult beetle, it’s difficult to detect an infestation until the damage has already been done. EAB larvae feed on the tree’s water and nutrient transporters, dooming the tree before an infestation is even visible. The adult beetle’s tendency to fly long distances, along with accidental movement from humans, has created an infestation that’s quickly spreading throughout North America.
EAB has not only become an ecological disaster, but also an economic one. It is known to have killed over 100 million trees in the U.S. and is approaching an estimated $10 billion in damages. This is a serious threat to the very lucrative ash timber industry.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates America’s ash trees to be worth approximately $282 billion in timber. Even if no more trees were to become infested, the damage would continue for years to come, as EAB takes one to five years to kill a tree. With EAB multiplying and spreading, the damage is projected to grow.
Researchers have found that trees that go untreated have a 99 percent mortality rate.
In many states, ash trees are a very common street tree. This means that a large majority of these costs land on the backs of homeowners and municipalities. With the average removal cost of a street tree being $5 per diameter inch, it’s very expensive to remove and replace such a large quantity of trees in a short period of time. States around the country have stopped planting ash trees until further notice. Dead ash trees will be replaced with a variety of other species. Urban foresters emphasize diversity in street tree species for maximum protection against invasive species and large-scale losses.
Life cycle monitoring
The majority of the forestry community agrees that EAB is here to stay. No matter what, the pest will most likely never be completely exterminated — but it’s still crucial to stabilize the population and slow the spreading of the pest.
Growing degree days (GDD) are a commonly used and reliable way to monitor pests and can be useful in planning population management efforts. GDD account for temperature, rather than the simple calendar date. Because EAB — like most insects — depends on higher temperatures to develop more quickly, GDD can be used to track its life cycle. To track GDD per day for EAB, a base temperature of 50 is subtracted from the average of the daily high and low temperatures.
An average temperature below 50 degrees will simply be zero GDD.
EAB tends to emerge, creating a D-shaped exit hole, as an adult between 450 and 550 GDD. This is useful to set a target time for population management efforts. EAB does its damage before it’s mature, so if using pesticides, it’s important to treat the tree using injection before the 450 GDD mark.
Because EAB is so difficult to protect against, new methods of detection and population control must be developed. With the mortality rate of infested trees so high, early detection is a vital step.
In Boulder, Colorado, drones are being used in early detection efforts. The drones, while expensive, have a variety of uses. They can assist in mapping infected areas as well as finding infested areas more quickly than a human on foot. An early sign of EAB infestation is the dieback and thinning of the tree’s upper canopy. The drones are able to keep track of and detect this issue very early in an infestation and in a timely manner.
GIS professionals can use the information from the drones to create heat maps and help forestry professionals decide where to focus their efforts.
While it’s always a good idea to track and detect an invasive species, it’s useless without also finding ways to kill it. Pesticides are considered a short-term, but immediate, solution for individual trees. Alternatively, biological pest control can be used for long-term population control.
EAB has very few known predators, especially in the U.S. Fortunately, the Russian wasp Spathius galinae has been approved for release by the USDA. It works alongside three other similar wasps that have already been released. These small wasps don’t sting humans. The larvae of the parasitoid wasps feed on EAB eggs and larvae.
The idea is that each year, the population of these wasps will grow with EAB population and will keep them in check. Because this is such a slow, natural process, along with the quantity and long life cycle of ash trees in the U.S., it will be years before researchers can decide if these wasps are able to adequately manage the EAB population. This type of biocontrol can only be used in forested areas and is ineffective for urban or suburban settings.
Urban forestry control
In urban communities, the use of pesticides and traps has long been the main way to combat EAB infestation. Pesticides are injected into an infested tree through the phloem. In some instances, if the beetle has been present for too long, the phloem may have already been destroyed, making it impossible for the pesticides to travel through the tree properly. Multifunnel and prism traps are also used to detect EAB in preparation for the use of pesticides. Multifunnel traps are newer and have been found to be generally superior to prism traps. The green color of the multifunnel traps attracts more beetles and collects EAB easily and more efficiently. These traps capture the beetles without the hassle of glue and can be reused.
Even with the help of traps and pesticides, EAB continues to be devastating to residential communities. It’s very likely that the use of ash as a residential street tree is coming to an end.
One way to create an organized and useful tree inventory for the purposes of managing EAB is by using Purdue University’s EAB Cost Calculator, which can be downloaded for free online. This free, web-based calculator allows users to input tree categories based on size and class, which then projects growth in trees over time, the cost of treating trees, removing trees and replacing trees over a 25-year period. The cost calculator is driven by an EAB invasion wave model that assumes it takes eight years for EAB to kill all the ash trees in a given city after it has been detected in a given county. Essentially, you can stage your response to an EAB invasion based on the percentage of ash trees that are dying.
Even with various population management efforts being implemented around the country, the outlook for the future of ash trees in the U.S. looks bleak. Pam Zipse, outreach coordinator of Rutgers Urban Forestry Program of NJAES, offered her projection for EAB in New Jersey: “Individual trees can be protected through ongoing chemical treatment, but we will not be able to get rid of EAB,” she says. “Researchers continue to study resistant individuals, but EAB is spreading at a fast pace. In New Jersey, it has been confirmed in 50 municipalities spanning 12 counties. I think that in New Jersey, the next couple years are going to be quite devastating.”
The rapid spread of EAB is not exclusive to New Jersey. This ecological and economic disaster has made its way across the country and is continuing to expand. Although the pest will most likely never be completely killed off, researchers will continue to develop methods to keep the EAB population in check.
Past experiences with hemlock wooly adelgid and Asian ambrosia beetle, among others, have taught us that once an invasive species establishes itself, it’s here to stay. The best we can do is manage it and control the population as effectively as possible.
With abundant data on plants, large animals and their activity, and carbon soil levels in the Amazon, research suggests that large animal diversity influences carbon stocks and contributes to climate change mitigation.
New research uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region's protected area network. In the study, a total of 4,243 reports of illegal use of natural resources were evaluated and mapped. These reports generated US $224.6 million in fines.
Planting trees can reduce flood risk, but a high intensity forest land use, such as grazing, can counteract the positive effect of the trees, a recently published study suggests. The study investigated the rate that water infiltrated the soil under trees at an experimental agroforestry site in Scotland.
Accurate weather information is crucial for those working in the tree care industry. Trees, like all plants, must be suited to exist within the range of weather conditions at a given location. Although there’s some adaptability, a particular tree species can generally thrive in certain environments but fail in others. In addition, coping with tree damage is a major component of tree care. Severe weather conditions produce much of this damage. There’s also the human factor — in outdoor work, conditions need to be favorable and safe for people to get the job done.
A variety of weather information sources are available, including from several private firms. The official source of all weather information is the federal government, more precisely the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — much of its information is free and readily available online. For the U.S. and much of the rest of the world, the NOAA collects pertinent weather information and produces useful resources and timely forecasts.
Keep in mind, there’s a difference between weather and climate — and each is important. Weather refers to the current conditions, for example temperature, humidity, etc. We use weather predictions out as far as one year (for example, the weather of 2016). Beyond that, we use climate, which refers to past conditions. Typically, we talk about averages over longer periods of time; 30 years is the standard. But beyond just averages, climate data also highlights the weather extremes that have occurred in the past. Often, it’s the extremes that are useful in future planning.
Tree care specifics
The type of trees that naturally occur in a region are compatible with the climate; in particular, the temperature and moisture conditions. In fact, climate types are often defined by the type of trees that grow there, if trees occur at all.
If you’re selecting tree types, you need to know their climatic tolerances. Then you need to know as much about the climate of your location as possible — not just the average conditions, but also the extremes that may well exceed tree tolerance.
Climate data for the U.S. and many other countries is collected and processed at the Center for Weather and Climate, which is part of the National Centers for Environmental Information located in Asheville, North Carolina. For your location, you can look up the average temperature and precipitation. You can also see seasonal differences. How hot does it get in summer? How cold in winter? Are there wet and dry seasons? You can also check on record temperatures. What extremes may a perennial plant face? If frost is a concern (say for fruit trees), there are several products that give you dates and probability of occurrence. All of this information can be compared to tree requirements.
If you’re a local, you probably have a good idea of your climate. But this data gives you specific values you can use. If you’re new to a region, a look at climate data gives you a good idea of what you’re dealing with.
Climatology can help with planning, but in terms of dealing with tree damage or doing outdoor work, you’re concerned with the current weather and the forecast. The official source of weather in the U.S. is the National Weather Service (NWS). If you go to its website and click on your location on the interactive map, it will take you to your local NWS office. There you can find all types of information on the weather from the past, present and future. The standard forecast will include temperature, wind direction and speed, sky condition (sunny, cloudy, etc.) and precipitation (if any is expected). Although the standard written forecast covers 12-hour periods, there are digital and graphical displays that depict expected hourly changes in these variables.
For outdoor work, the occurrence of precipitation is a major factor. The precipitation forecast has two components: the probability of precipitation (PoP) given as a percentage, and the expected amount of precipitation during a given three- or 12-hour period. A couple of things to keep in mind about the PoP — it has no relation to the expected amount of precipitation and no relation to real coverage of precipitation. A PoP of 40 percent means that any one location has a four in 10 chance of precipitation, not that 40 percent of the forecast area can expect precipitation.
Dealing with extremes
Worker safety is a major concern as inclement weather poses a variety of risks. Temperature extremes can cause illness, which can be serious in some cases. In the winter, a combination of low temperatures and wind can cause a dangerous amount of heat loss from your body. Anything from frostbite to fatal hypothermia can occur. The wind chill factor combines these two elements into a single apparent temperature — one that you feel. A wind chill warning can be issued if conditions warrant, typically with wind chills of minus 20 degrees or lower (specific criteria vary by state).
In summer, it’s the combination of high temperatures and humidity that causes concern. The heat index combines these two factors into one apparent temperature. A heat advisory is issued typically if the heat index is 100 degrees or more. An excessive heat warning is issued when the heat index exceeds 104 degrees. Again, these values will vary somewhat by location.
The greatest threat in the spring and summer comes from thunderstorms, which bring weather issues including strong winds, large hail, flooding rains and even tornadoes. Dangerous lightning is inherent with all thunderstorms. The possibility of thunderstorms will be highlighted in any forecast. A NWS severe thunderstorm warning implies the immediate potential for damage.
The best tool for following thunderstorms is weather radar. In today’s world, finding this data is simple using computers, tablets or smartphones. There are also numerous apps that have weather radar. Thunderstorms typically show up as bright red and can be tracked. The tried-and-true rule on thunder still works: if you see lightning and start counting until you hear the thunder, the strike was a mile away for every five seconds that pass. If a storm approaches, get indoors as quickly as possible. A house or substantial structure is safe; something like a shed isn’t. The inside of the cab of a car or truck is safe; an open-cab vehicle like a tractor isn’t. Certainly, stay away from trees. Taller objects make a shorter and easier path for lightning bolts. Side bolts can jump from the trunk of a tree and dangerous electrical current can travel under the ground.
Wind is especially important for those working above ground. The standard forecast will give you expected wind direction and speed with peak gusts. The NWS can issue a wind advisory, or a high wind warning, for unusually strong winds.
In terms of tree damage, strong winds are also a major factor. Typically, most large-scale wind events occur with fronts or winter storms. If you’re in an area that may be impacted by tropical cyclones, these strong winds are infrequent but can occur in the late summer or fall. Check the National Hurricane Center for the latest forecast.
Helpful Weather Resources
The post Use Weather Information For Safety And Efficiency In Tree Care appeared first on Tree Services.
UF scientists synthesized and examined data from prior studies that had looked at how many pathogen-carrying mosquito species made their homes in forested lands vs. non-forested lands in 12 countries worldwide, including the United States.
When rampant white-tailed deer graze in forests, they prefer to eat native plants over certain unpalatable invasive plants, such as garlic mustard and Japanese stiltgrass. These eating habits lower native plant diversity and abundance, while increasing the proportion of plant communities made up of non-native species, according to a new study.
The Boreal forest is essential to Canada and the world, storing carbon, purifying water and air and regulating climate. But keeping tabs on the health of this vulnerable biome has proven to be a painstaking and time-consuming undertaking - until now. Cutting-edge DNA metabarcoding technology can help speed up and improve the monitoring process, according to a new study.
After 26 years, the world's longest-running experiment to discover how warming temperatures affect forest soils has revealed a surprising, cyclical response: Soil warming stimulates periods of abundant carbon release from the soil to the atmosphere alternating with periods of no detectable loss in soil carbon stores. The study indicates that in a warming world, a self-reinforcing and perhaps uncontrollable carbon feedback will occur between forest soils and the climate system, accelerating global warming.
Fecon recently introduced the FRS10 rotating tree shear. This excavator tree shear provides 360 degrees of rotation, allowing operators to save time and be more efficient with less repositioning of the excavator, according to Fecon. The FRS10 also provides much-needed safety, due to the shear being able to load chippers, the company says. The FRS10 is for 12- to 18-ton excavators and can cut up to 14 inches of material. The FRS10 can also be equipped with an accumulation arm, allowing users to bunch smaller material, according to Fecon.
The Optima TC55 from Terex Utilities is a 55-foot, non-overcenter aerial lift with up to 42.8 feet of side reach — 3 feet longer than the legacy model, the company says. This longer reach helps with truck positioning at the job site, according to Terex. In addition, increased boom speeds and responsiveness also help to increase productivity. The platform can be lowered near the ground, making it easier for operators to access and handle tools/ equipment passed from the ground crew, Terex says. The company also reports reduced and simplified maintenance on the Optima TC55. A new pedestal design allows for easier access for torqueing lower rotation-bearing bolts. Also, O-ring face seals allow for improved hydraulic connections and are used on hoses and fittings above rotation, Terex says.
STIHL recently introduced its AR 2000 backpack battery, part of the STIHL Lightning Battery System line of products. The AR 2000 features run times that allow users to work up to 11 hours on one charge, according to STIHL. “The STIHL AR 2000 is an integral part of a complete pro package, as it powers a full day’s work on the job,” says Brian Manke, product manager at STIHL. “Compatible with all battery products in the STIHL AP Series, users are buying into a family of products that offer quality performance comparable to gasoline-powered products.” As the replacement to the STIHL AR 900 backpack battery, the AR 2000 offers improved comfort, according to the company. It features an ergonomic hip belt and chest strap that evenly distributes the weight of the battery, reducing operator fatigue. The AR comes equipped with built-in sensors and microprocessors that monitor temperature and automatically shut down the battery if it overheats, the company says.
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A new study outlines the mechanisms and points to the importance of both sunlight and the right microbial community as keys to converting permafrost carbon to CO2.
Remote sensing technology has detected what could be a win for both spotted owls and forestry management, according to a study.
One third of the giant panda habitat in China's Wanglang National Nature Reserve has been degraded and lost to livestock grazing, a new study finds. Livestock numbers in the park have increased ninefold in the last 15 years.
Scientists in Panama exposed a key to understanding tropical tree diversity by studying how fungi interact with seeds that linger in the ground. Despite a smorgasbord of species available to choose from, tropical fungi and seeds are picky about associating with one another. Early pairings with a particular fungus may influence whether a seed survives and also may help explain how tropical forests remain so diverse.