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Global warming: Can we save our forests?

Scientists explore forest adaptation, mitigation at forest pow-wow in Aspen

Dead lodgepoles mixed with healthy aspen trees near Dillon, Colorado are part of the climate change-forest health puzzle.

*Click here to see the Summit Voice archive of forest health stories.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Given the importance of forest ecosystems worldwide as carbon-absorbing areas, as wildlife habitat and sources of water, leading scientists this week called on policy makers to start considering how to address the impacts of climate change, which is killing trees on every continent at a distressing pace.

While there aren’t many clear answers on what can be done, some of the researchers speaking at the Feb. 18 For the Forest symposium in Aspen suggested at the very least that managed fire must play a role in trying to avert more destructive and deadly uncontrolled wildfires.

Others suggested starting to explore the idea of assisted species migration — which basically means planting trees in new areas to make forests more adaptable and resilient in the face of climate change. Read a story about a whitebark pine restoration here. Continue reading

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Scientists detail forest, climate links at Aspen event

Former Vice President Al Gore: “Climate change is a moral issue … and a fundamental challenge to our civilization”

Evidence for links between climate change and forest health is growing.

Former VP Al Gore says it's an 'insult' to suggest that climate scientists are in it for the money, as he discusses climate change politics and science with NPR Morning Edition cohost Renee Montagne.

By Bob Berwyn

*Click here to see the Summit Voice archive of forest health stories.

Like our coverage? Click here to learn how you can support independent environmental journalism.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Scientists from across all disciplines said climate change is devastating Earth’s forests at an alarming rate, and former Vice President Al Gore capped the Feb. 18 series of presentations at the Aspen Institute at with a call to action, calling global warming a moral issue that demands a response. Click here to read a story about some of the global research.

“What right does our generation have to impose this burden on future generations,” Gore asked in his keynote talk at a forest symposium aimed at showing the link between building concentrations of greenhouse gases and alarming reports of dying trees from every continent.

“Global warming is a challenge to the existence of our civilization, and we have to address the root cause,” he said. “Scientists are unanimous worldwide. They are screaming from the rooftops, that this is unprecedented and we have to act, he said,” adding that it’s an insult to suggest that researchers have a financial motive for ringing the global warming alarm bells. Continue reading

‘Canadian approach’ protects forest around Aspen

Dead and dying lodgepole pines in Frisco, Colorado.

Summit Forest Health Task Force gets update on beetle battle in Aspen; preview of next week’s Forests At Risk symposium

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — An intensive — and expensive — treatment option for protecting lodgepole pines from beetles is showing some promise on a small test plot near Aspen, said For the Forest director John Bennet, speaking Thursday at a luncheon meeting of the Summit forest health task force.

“I’d call it a classic Canadian approach,” Bennett said, describing how groups are trying to preserve some live trees on Smuggler Mountain by removing brood trees and scattering verbenone to try and disrupt the breeding cycle of the pesky bugs that are tearing up huge swaths of Colorado forests. Continue reading

Global warming is killing our forests

An upcoming symposium in Aspen will highlight the links between forest health and global warming.

Former VP Al Gore to headline upcoming symposium that will highlight the link between climate change and forest health

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — An Aspen-area nonprofit group will explore the connections between global warming and forest health by bringing a group of experts and political heavyweights — including Nobel laureate and former Vice President Al Gore — together for a February 18 symposium.

The Forests at Risk conference will look at some of the underlying causes to systemic forest threats that have emerged in the past few years, including more wildfires, sudden aspen decline, unnatural insect epidemics, and tree diseases. Get a full description of the conference here.

“Our forests are changing — and quickly,” says John Bennett, executive director of For The Forest.  “While different superficial causes exist, the bottom-line common denominator appears to be the warmer forest temperatures we’re seeing across the West.  Increased forest mortality is another calling card of climate change.” Bennett said an important goal of the symposium is to reframe the national dialogue about climate change in personal terms that people can relate to. Continue reading

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