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

‘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

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