Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A major spruce beetle outbreak has been spreading across forests of southwest Colorado, but that hasn’t been a big factor in recent wildfires in the region, according to CU-Boulder research.
Climate, topography likely more significant, researchers say
Colorado researchers have added another chapter to the long-running debate over beetle-kill and wildfires, finding that spruce beetle infestations haven’t increased the severity of wildfires in southwestern Colorado.
Spruce bark beetles have affected roughly half a million acres of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir forests across the state in recent years, with infestations documented across an additional 87,000 acres in 2014. Continue reading
Filed under: forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, spruce beetles, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
What’s up with maple trees?
Study documents widespread growth slowdown
An extensive tree-ring study in the Northeast suggests a widespread and steady decline in the health of sugar maples, one of most economically and ecologically important trees in the eastern United States and Canada.
The decline started showing up in the 1970s a decline in the growth rate of of sugar maple trees, but the reasons are still unclear, according to the State University of New York researchers who recently published their findings in the open-access journal “Ecosphere.” Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Environment, Forest health, forests, maple trees | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Climate models may be overestimating the carbon-capturing capacity of forests. @bberwyn photo.
Loss of nitrogen a key factor in forest equation
Forests may grow faster as atmospheric CO2 increases, but that doesn’t mean they’ll absorb more of the heat-trapping gas. Instead, a shortage of nitrogen means plants won’t be able to fix as much carbon as projected by some climate models.
“Forests take up carbon from the atmosphere, but in order for the plants to fix the carbon, it requires a certain amount of nitrogen,” said researchers Prasanth who took a close look at the chemistry of secondary forests that are regrowing after deforestation, wood harvest and fires.
“If that ratio of carbon to nitrogen isn’t right, even if you add many times more carbon than it gets currently, the forests cannot absorb the extra carbon,” Meiyappan said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, forests, greenhouse gases | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The magenta-flowered fireweed, which springs up after a burn, dominates a landscape once covered in black spruce in Alaskas Yukon Flats. Credit: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
‘Fire is not destroying our forests, rather, it is restoring these ecosystems …’
A group of scientists has weighed in on the political tug-of-war over forest policies by writing a letter to the U.S. Senate and President Obama, warning that two bills currently on the table would be destructive to forest ecosystems and wildlife
At issue are House Resolution 2647 and Senate Bill 1691, both proposed in response to ongoing concerns about forest fires. But the measures won’t improve forest health or reduce fire risks, the scientists said. Instead, the laws are aimed at short-cutting environmental studies, reducing public involvement and preventing courts from enforcing environmental laws.
The role of the timber industry in federal forest management would also unfairly increase under the deceptive guise of promoting decision-making by “collaborative” groups, the scientists wrote.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Congress, Environment, forest, forest fires, forest policy, public lands | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 25, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
There have been significant die-backs in Colorado aspen forests during recent hot droughts and the stands may never regenerate in some areas because of global warming. @bberwyn photo.
Giant fires, insect outbreaks could be ‘game-changer’ for some forests
FRISCO —Forest Service researchers say “mega-disturbances” like giant wildfires and insect outbreaks are likely to hasten the slow demise of temperate forest ecosystems in the coming decades.
Even without those large-scale events, some forests appear to be transitioning to shrublands and steppe, and big disturbances could speed that process, according to a new study published this month in Science. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, extreme weather, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: climate change, drought, Forest health, forest regeneration, forests, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘We expect to see widespread declines in forest productivity’
Red beetle-killed lodgepole pines in the White River National Forest near Frisco, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.
FRISCO — The vulnerability of the world’s forests to global warming has been widely underestimated, a group of scientists concluded after taking a hard look at all the scientific data on forest mortality.
“We expect to see widespread declines in forest productivity, changes in the species composition and dominance patterns of forest trees, a shift to smaller-sized trees, and reductions in forest extent in some regions,” said U.S. Geological Survey researcher Craig Allen, adding that, even forests in wetter parts of the world are going to be affected by rapidly warming global temperatures. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, Environment, Forest health, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, drought, Environment, forest die-offs, Forest health, forests, global warming | Leave a comment »