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Is out-of-state firewood a threat to Colorado trees?

Trees? Or toothpicks?

Beetle-killed trees near Frisco, Colorado.

State Forest Service warns against transporting firewood

Staff Report

FRISCO — It may be a little like the Dutch boy putting his finger in the leaky dike, but Colorado Forest Service officials are warning that transporting firewood from place to place may increase the spread of invasive tree-killing bugs.

Moving firewood even short distances increases the risk to Colorado’s native forests and urban trees. With the 2013 detection of the highly destructive emerald ash borer in the City of Boulder, and ongoing bark beetle epidemics in the state’s mountain forests, the Colorado State Forest Service wants to be sure people are aware of the risks associated with moving firewood. Continue reading

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Environment: Trees cause pollution — but not on their own

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Isoprene, a chemical emitted by trees interacts with manmade nitrogen oxides to create particulate pollution. Bob Berwyn photo.

Tree chemicals combine with nitrogen oxides to form potentially dangerous particulates

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — President Ronald Reagan might have been on to something when he infamously claimed that trees cause pollution. While he was widely ridiculed for his statement, scientists later confirmed that a certain chemical emitted by trees also contributes to the production of particulate matter in the atmosphere.

The chemical in question is isoprene, an abundant molecule in the air that protects leaves from oxygen damage and temperature fluctuations. But those chemical processes have not been well understood, so researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill set out to look for answers. Continue reading

Morning photo: Trees

See the forest …

Florida oak.

Florida oak.

FRISCO —Interviewing scientists about forests and climate change the past few days made me realize how forest ecosystems are incredibly diverse and dynamic. We generally think of forests as this static thing that’s always there — something that we take for granted, but we’ve seen, in the past 10 years, how that isn’t really true. In just the blink of an eye (on a geological timescale) our forest landscapes were changed by a tiny bug, and they won’t be the same again in our lifetimes. Even though many people tend to see that as a catastrophe of sorts, the reality is that forests are always changing, just sometimes, they change faster than we expect. Continue reading

Climate: World’s biggest, oldest trees dying fast

Global trend concerns leading ecologists

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Ancient Colorado lodgepole pines have been killed by pine beetles, Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado ‘s old lodgepoles aren’t the only forest giants that are dying. Around the world, the biggest, oldest trees that harbor and sustain countless birds and other wildlife, are meeting the same fate.

Three of the world’s leading ecologists say they’ve documented an alarming increase in the death rate of trees between 100 and 300 years old in many of the world’s forests, woodlands, savannahs, farming areas and even in cities.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said lead author Professor David Lindenmayer, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and Australian National University. Continue reading

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