Posted on March 5, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Can forests evolve to survive global warming?
Research will inform forest planning efforts
FRISCO — Spanish scientists say they can use genetic data to help determine which pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, and which trees might be able to thrive in a warmer world. Their findings, published in GENETICS, could help forestry managers decide where to focus reforestation efforts and guide the choice of tree stocks.
The study focused on maritime pines, which grows widely in southwestern Europe and parts of northern Africa. But the tree’s important economic value and ecological roles in the region may be at risk as the changing climate threatens the more vulnerable forests and the productivity of commercial plantations. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, forests, genetics, global warming, pine trees | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Snowmobiles at Vail Pass, Colorado.
New policy requires designation of motorized winter use
FRISCO — With the recent huge growth in motorized winter sports, the Forest Service has been behind the curve in managing public lands, but last month, the agency released its final policy for managing snowmobile and other “over-snow” vehicle use.
As directed by court order, the policy requires that roads, trails and areas where over-snow vehicle use can occur be specifically designated by local Forest Service mangers. Previously, managers had the discretion to decide whether to designate specific areas for over-snow vehicle use. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, public lands, US Forest Service | Tagged: Environment, Forest Service, over-snow use, public lands, snowmobiling | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New study pinpoints climate-change threats to Pacific Northwest rainforests
FRISCO — Huge reservoirs of biodiversity in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are at risk as global warming reshapes climate conditions in the region.
Suitable habitat for majestic coastal redwoods could shrink by 23 percent, and other species like Alaska’s yellow cedars are already dying back as temperatures warm.
“In the Pacific Northwest, the glass is half empty as the climate may no longer support rainforest communities like coast redwood,” said Dr. Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist of Geos Institute, announcing the results of a recent study that focused on the future distribution of eight rainforest conifers across a 2,200-mile stretch of coastal rainforests in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, forests, global warming | Tagged: climate change, environent, forests, global warming, temperate rainforests | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Congressman Jared Polis.
Colorado lawmaker expected to be a pro-environment voice on a panel led conservative Republicans who often undermine federal efforts to manage public lands on the behalf of all Americans
FRISCO — A languishing proposal to create new wilderness areas in the Colorado mountains may get a boost in Congress this year, as U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CO-02) joins the House Natural Resources Committee.
In the last two years, the committee has been a bastion of anti-government rhetoric, in some cases considering bills that would significantly weaken protection for natural resources and public lands. As a member of the minority, Polis won’t be able to get any meaningful legislation passed on his own, but his pro-environmental voice will be a welcome addition for public lands advocates. Continue reading
Filed under: BLM, Colorado, energy, Environment, forests, Hidden Gems wilderness, national parks, public lands, US Forest Service, wilderness | Tagged: energy, House Natural Resources Committee, Jared Polis, public lands, wilderness | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A proposed resort development near Wolf Creek Pass and the nearby ski area would irrevocably change the character of the area for the worse.
Conservation advocates vow all-out battle to halt unwanted backcountry development
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — The U.S. Forest Service will take an extra 30 days to scrutinize a controversial land trade that would open the door for construction of a full-scale resort village near Wolf Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.
In November, Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas approved the swap, triggering a 45-day objection period. Now, Deputy Regional Forester Maribeth Gustafson is extending the objection resolution period for 30 days. Read a detailed story on the proposed trade here. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, US Forest Service | Tagged: Dan Dallas, Maribeth Gustafson, public lands, Red McCombs, Rio Grande National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, Village at Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek land trade, Wolf Creek Pass | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Drillers say restrictions will hinder exploitation of new shale plays to the detriment of local communities
Most oil and gas development on the White River National Forest is limited to the far western zones in areas where drilling is already common.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Even though the vast majority of public lands in the West are already open for fossil fuel exploitation, oil and gas companies want more.
In their latest push for more drilling, three fracking industry lobbying groups are challenging the White River National Forest’s oil and gas drilling plan, claiming that the agency’s analysis was marred by politics, as elected officials pushed to have the Thompson Divide area excluded from energy development.
In their formal objection to the plan, the groups ( Western Energy Alliance, West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Public Lands Advocacy) the groups said that, as written, the document could prevent the development of speculative new plays in Mancos and Niobrara shale formations in western Colorado. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, fracking, gas drilling, oil drilling, US Forest Service | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, fracking, public lands, U.S. Forest Service, White River National Forest | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Aerial surveys help track forest changes over time
Nearly every mature spruce has been killed by spruce beetle in this drainage on the Rio Grande National Forest.Photo: Brian Howell.
Spruce beetles are spreading quickly in southwestern Colorado. Graph courtesy USFS.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s good news and bad news from Colorado’s forests. Mountain pine beetle activity has faded to the lowest level since 1996, but spruce beetles continue to spread in the San Juans and in northwestern Colorado.
The spruce beetle outbreak was detected on 485,000 acres in 2014, compared to 398,000 acres across the state in 2013, according to the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service. The annual aerial survey by the two agencies shows that the spruce beetle outbreak expanded to 253,000 new acres. Continue reading
Filed under: agriculture, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, pine beetles and wildfires, US Forest Service | Tagged: aerial forest survey, Colorado, Forest health, forests, mountain pine beetles, spruce beetles | Leave a comment »