Posted on August 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Climate zones in boreal forests are shifting northward ten times faster than the trees’ ability to migrate
More monitoring, adaptive management needed in crucial forest zones.
FRISCO — The world’s vast boreal forests, stretching around the globe at high latitudes, could reach a climate tipping during this century, according to a team of international researchers who said there needs to be more attention on climate mitigation and adaptation with respect to these forests.
Boreal forests make up about 30 percent of the planet’s total forest area and play a vital role in in the global climate system by capturing huge amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forests, global warming | Tagged: boreal forests, climate change, climate tipping point, ecosystem services, Environment, Forest health, greenhouse gases, IIASA | 2 Comments »
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 »
Posted on July 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Important mushroom species that help trees grow were wiped out by the mountain pine beetle epidemic, potentially leaving future forests more susceptible to renewed insect attacks. @bberwyn photo.
Widespread mushroom die-off dramatically lowers seedling survival rate
FRISCO — The recent pine beetle outbreak in western forests may have left the next generation of trees more vulnerable to future pests, Canadian researchers concluded in a new study that examined how the wave of tree deaths affected fungi that grow together with lodgepole pines.
Many trees, including lodgepoles, are partly dependent on certain fungi that enable a nutrient exchange at the cellular level. But the pine beetle outbreak was so widespread that many of the beneficial fungi disappeared. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, forests, mushrooms and fungi, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: Forest health, forest regeneration, forests, fungi, mountain pine beetles, mushrooms | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
State foresters say pine needle scale infestation may be linked with heavy use of pesticides in war against pine beetles
Pine needle scale is weakening and killing conifer trees in the Colorado mountains, possibly as a result of the earlier heavy application of pesticides used to try and kill mountain pine beetles. @bberwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado forest experts are documenting an unprecedented outbreak of pine needle scale on conifer trees in Grand, Summit and Eagle counties that may be linked with the widespread application of pesticides used several years ago to try and kill mountain pine beetles.
The intensive use of those pesticides may have wiped out beneficial insects like predatory wasps and beetles that keep pine needle scale in check, said Granby-based Ron Cousineau, district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service.
“Most of the concentrated spray for mountain pine beetle ended about three, four or five years ago. That’s when we started seeing the buildup of pine needle scale,” Cousineau said. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pesticides, pine needle scale | 2 Comments »
Posted on June 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study tracks shift in boreal forest.
‘This is not a scenario model, or a might, or a maybe …’
FRISCO — There’s little doubt that global warming will drive massive shifts in plant communities around the globe, and in Alaska, researchers have already been able to document those changes at the forest scale.
White spruce tree growth in interior of the state has declined to record low levels, while the same species in Western Alaska is growing better than ever measured before.
“For the first time across a major forest region, we have real data showing that biome shift has started,” said University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Extension researcher Glenn Juday.
“This is not a scenario model, or a might, or a maybe. The boreal forest in Interior Alaska is very near dying from unsuitably warm temperatures. The area in Western Alaska where the forest transitions to tundra is now the productive heart of the boreal forest,” Juday said. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, forests, global warming | Tagged: boreal forests, climate change, Environment, Forest health, global warming | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 6, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows regional variations in forest health equation
Annual aerial survey enable resource managers to map the spread of tree-killing bugs.
FRISCO — Warming winters across the western U.S. have had a nuanced effect on the severity of mountain pine beetle outbreaks, researchers said last week.
The absence of lengthy bug-killing cold snaps in some areas has helped fuel the growth of insect populations,, but milder winters can’t be blamed for the full extent of recent outbreaks in the region, according to a study by Dartmouth College and U.S. Forest Service. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: climate change, Forest health, forests, mountain pine beetles | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 24, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New CU-Boulder study has implications for forest managers and Red Zone communities
*More Summit Voice stories on beetle-kill and forests here.
FRISCO — Communities and resource managers looking to address the threat of wildfires should focus less on tree-killing beetles and more on the underlying forces driving the trend toward larger fires.
Warmer temperatures and increased drought are the key factors, said Colorado-based researchers who took a close look at patterns of beetle-kill and wildfires in recent years.
Their study found that western forests killed by mountain pine beetles are no more at risk to burn than healthy forests. Those findings fly in the face of both public perception and policy, the scientists acknowledged.
“What we are seeing in this study is that at broad scales, fire does not necessarily follow mountain pine beetles,” said CU-Boulder Research Scientist Tania Schoennagel, of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “It’s well known, however, that fire does follow drought.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires | Tagged: beetle kill, climate change, drought, Forest health, forests, global warming, Wildfires | Leave a comment »