秋天的影子 Shades of autumn
Birch trees, Drammen, Norway
Surrounded by forests and embraced by fjords, the Norwegian port city of Drammen is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Birch trees flourish at high altitudes, making them a natural fit for the mountainous region. When autumn arrives, their leaves transform into a mosaic of gold and crimson, in stark contrast to their pale, slender trunks. Long associated with new beginnings and renewal, birch trees don't just look good, they provide a home and sustenance for wildlife, and can be used for firewood and in construction.
和这些耐盐植物问好！ Say hello to these halophytes!
International Day of Mangrove Conservation
Natural vegetation is sparse in the United Arab Emirates, due to its hot and dry desert climate. But along its coast, mangroves have taken root. These hardy trees and shrubs are halophytes, salt-tolerant plants that can filter 90% of the salt from the seawater they live in. Despite their resilience, mangroves are threatened globally, largely due to human activity. Mangrove coverage is thought to have halved over the past 40 years, and they are dwindling much faster than forests overall. The UN has established the International Day of Mangrove Conservation, scientific funding, Global Geoparks, and World Heritage sites to try to reverse these trends. These efforts are vital; mangroves help prevent erosion and protect against storm surges, as well as providing a home for fish, crustaceans, and other wildlife.
被白霜覆盖的山毛榉林 Beech forest covered in hoarfrost
Cranborne Chase, England
If this looks to you like the setting of a fairy tale, you're not alone. These surroundings have long inspired writers and painters alike. Naturally, Cranborne Chase, England, has been designated a national protected area because of its natural beauty. It may be especially beautiful in winter, when the trees and shrubs can be coated with hoarfrost, an uncommon type of frost that forms when water vapor turns directly into ice, skipping the liquid stage.
Cranborne Chase is a plateau in southern England touching the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. These 380 square miles of diverse countryside include rolling grasslands, river valleys, hillsides, and ancient woodlands. The area has been inhabited since the stone age, and for centuries was a royal hunting ground—in fact, the word 'chase' derives from these hunts. Today, while Cranborne Chase is protected from most new development, it's not a wilderness—nearly 90% of the land is used for farming and more than 30,000 people live here.
Misty Pine Forest
The woods are a tranquil place, but can be scary for a lone wanderer. Out here, you could suddenly find yourself running from the big bad wolf, escaping a witch's clutches, or just plain old lost. Though often in the old stories, scary places like this are also where the hero overcomes a great obstacle or finds a valuable treasure. Could you be in luck?
The spindly pine forests of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, shown here, are the setting for many traditional tales of evil spirits and spells. But even if you don't believe in all that magic stuff, a forest can still feel enchanted when twilight bathes the misty air. Just don't lose your way out here…
Four Sisters, thousands of trees
You'll find this wintery, sylvan scene on the slopes of Mount Siguniang, the tallest summit of the Qionglai Mountains in Western China. Its name, which translates as 'Four Sisters Mountain,' is inspired by the local Tibetan legend behind its four distinct peaks. According to the story, four sisters saved their people using a magic mirror to turn themselves into the mountain to imprison the devil. The tallest peak, peak of 'the youngest sister,' stands at 20,500 feet and is an extremely challenging climb– it's rarely attempted and wasn't summitted until 1981. The surrounding park includes three valleys flanking the mountain and is part of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to giant pandas, the sanctuary is home to the red panda, the snow leopard, the clouded leopard, and between 5,000 and 6,000 species of plants.