Low-snow freezes blamed for killing vast stands of culturally and economically important trees in Alaska
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Forest Service scientists say huge Alaska tracts of yellow-cedar trees have been dying because their roots are freezing during cold weather in late winter and early spring, when there’s no snow to protect the roots.
Most climate models suggest that coastal Alaska will less snow but a persistence of periodic cold weather events in the future.
Yellow-cedar is a culturally and economically valuable tree in southeastern Alaska and adjacent parts of British Columbia. The slow-growing trees can reach 700 to 1,200 years in age. The tree has long been culturally significant to Native Alaskans who use it to make paddles, masks, dishes, and woven items. The wood is also very valuable commercially (for home and boat building) because of its straight grain, durability, and resistance to insects. (more…)