Posted on November 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study examines nexus of forest, tourism policies
FRISCO — It may be Shangri-La no more if centralized government policies from Beijing continue to supplant community based management schemes for the incredibly diverse temperate forests of China’s northwest Yunnan Province.
Dartmouth scientists found in a recent study that China’s anti-logging, conservation and ecotourism policies are accelerating the loss of old-growth forests in the region, which symbolizes the tensions associated with China’s economic transformation. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, forests | Tagged: China, Environment, forests, Shangri-la, Tourism, Yunnan Province | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 6, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘Solely relying on public forest management to prevent homes burning by wildfire is simply barking up the wrong tree’
A wildfire burns through a western conifer forest. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
FRISCO — Aggressive firefighting and preventive forest treatments are not making people less vulnerable to wildfire impacts. Instead, government authorized and funded firefighting and land management policies may actually encourage development on inherently hazardous landscapes, leading to an amplification of human losses to wildfire, according to researchers with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Colorado.
Their recent study in Nature says an adaptive approach, including changes in land-use policies, are the key to reducing wildfire risks, according to researchers with the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Colorado.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, public lands, wildfire policies, wildfire risks, Wildfires, wildland-urban interface | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 4, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Spruce beetle populations are surging in the southern Rocky Mountains. bberwyn photo.
Study calls out inaccurate media reports about links between bugs and wildfires
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Dire warnings about how beetle outbreaks make forests more prone to fires are ringing increasingly hollow, as more and more forest research shows that other factors — especially weather — are more important drivers. In some cases, defoliation by bugs may actually lessen the the threat of disastrous crown fires.
In one of the latest studies, researchers with the University of Oregon and the U.S. Forest Service took a close look at the relationship between fires and spruce budworm infestations in the Pacific Northwest. They found that defoliation reduces both torching and crowning potential. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: crown fires, Forest health, forests, western spruce budworm, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
More wilderness in Southern California?
Roadless lands to be evaluated for wilderness qualities
FRISCO —In a rare administrative reversal, regional U.S. Forest Service officials told the Los Padres National Forest to reconsider its plans for seven roadless areas encompassing more than 220,000 acres in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Kern counties.
The decision directs forest planners to reevaluate the wilderness characteristics of seven areas and clarify how biologists will monitor and protect imperiled wildlife. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forests, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: Los Padres National Forest, national forests, public lands, roadless areas, wilderness | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Federal lands in the U.S. Courtesy Univ. of Montana.
New website offers glimpse of ongoing efforts to ‘de-federalize’ the West
FRISCO — On and off efforts to force the transfer of federally managed public western lands to individual states have grown beyond campaign rhetoric.
These days, there’s a semi-organized effort on the part of lawmakers in several western states to try and take over millions of acres of forests and rangelands. The history of the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, with roots in the Reagan era, is outlined in detail on this University of Colorado website. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, national parks, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: crazy ideas, public lands, sagebrush rebellion, states rights, West | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A new study finds that human disturbance drives forest changes in eastern U.S. bberwyn photo
Fire suppression, land-clearing outweigh climate factors, study says
FRISCO — Climate change may only be a secondary factor in the changing composition of Eastern forests. Changes in disturbance regimes have had a much bigger impact in the past century or so, according to Marc Abrams, a researcher in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Abrams says eastern forests are still in a state of disequilibrium resulting from massive clear-cutting and burning during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and aggressive forest fire suppression has also had a far greater influence on shifts in dominant tree species than minor differences in temperature. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, Forest health, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, Forest health, forests, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Predator restoration stirs the ecosystem pot
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Long term ecological monitoring in Yellowstone National Park shows a surge in aspen growth following the restoration of wolves to the ecosystem, with overall shifts in landscape conditions not seen in more than a century.
A series of studies show the recovery of vegetation as elk numbers drop, a decline driven by the return of the region’s apex predators. Biologists long hypothesized that wolves keep elk populations in check and also affect their grazing habits. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, forests | Tagged: aspen forests, trophic cascade, wolf restoration, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park | 3 Comments »