Category: forests

Global warming to cut water yield from forests and grasslands

Forests will grow faster, suck up more moisture

Forests will produce less water as global temperatures warm.
Forests may grow faster but will produce less water as global temperatures warm. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

After taking a big-picture look at the water cycle, U.S. Forest Service researchers say global warming may decrease the amount of water produced by forests and grasslands across the country — even with increases in precipitation.

National forests and grasslands contribute about 14 percent of the national water supply. Global warming may spur growth on those lands, while water yield simultaneously decreases, as forest water use (through evaporation and transpiration) increases dramatically with higher air temperatures, according to a new study. Continue reading “Global warming to cut water yield from forests and grasslands”

Morning photo: Countryside …

Spring landscapes

The Lower Austrian landscape encompasses everything from wild beech forests and deep river canyons to manicured fields — not to mention acres and acres of vineyard, but that’s another story! Austrians are still getting used to the concept of national parks. Thayatal was founded in 2002, so some local visitors still don’t quite understand why the park managers simply leave downed trees on the ground. It’s considered a waste by some, and the park features signs explaining how it’s a deliberate effort to recreate landscapes where natural processes are left to function without much interference. In this small country, nearly every acre of land is spoken for, most of it outside towns and cities dedicated to agriculture, but slowly, resource managers are making some headway in restoring natural ecosystems in a few areas, to the benefit of native species.

So how, exactly, does global warming kill forests?

Global warming has killed half a billion trees across the U.S.

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Global warming is killing forests around the world. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Scientists tracking massive forest die-offs say a new study may help forest managers learn how to predict which trees will succumb to global warming — and what the implications are for the global carbon balance.

“There are some common threads that we might be able to use to predict which species are going to be more vulnerable in the future,” said University of Utah biologist William Anderegg, explaining that recent tree-killing droughts in the western U.S. were marked more by elevated temperature than by a lack of rainfall.

“These widespread tree die-offs are a really early and visible sign of climate change already affecting our landscapes,” Anderegg said.

More stories on global warming and forests:

Continue reading “So how, exactly, does global warming kill forests?”

Forest Service eyes camping ban along Montezuma Road

The U.S. Forest Service wants to ban camping along the Snake River between Keystone and Montezuma.
The U.S. Forest Service wants to ban camping along the Snake River between Keystone and Montezuma.

Long-term camping, littering and wildfire danger cited as reasons for proposal

Staff Report

A popular free camping zone between Keystone and Montezuma could be shut down by the U.S. Forest Service. According to the agency, the informal campsites have become a nuisance, with long-term campers damaging natural resources and littering the area with human waste and trash.

As a result, the Forest Service wants to ban overnight camping  year-round in the areas within 0.25 miles of Montezuma Road. The closure cover an area about four miles long and a half mile wide. The area would remain open to day-use activities. Continue reading “Forest Service eyes camping ban along Montezuma Road”

Forest Service rejects development bid near Grand Canyon

The U.S. Forest Service has rejected a proposal that would have enabled a sprawling real estate development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The U.S. Forest Service has rejected a proposal that would have enabled a sprawling real estate development near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Conservation groups, Native Americans united in bid to oppose real estate speculation near national park

Staff Report

The U.S. Forest Service has nixed a tentative plan to develop a new mega-resort near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

As proposed in April 2015, the the plan would have resulted in major real estate sprawl around the village of Tusayan, with up to 2,100 residential units and 3 million square feet of retail space along with hotels, a spa and conference center.

The Forest Service had to decide whether to permit road and infrastructure improvements on publicly owned lands near the Grand Canyon that would have facilitated the development. Last week,  Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provencio rejected the plan. Continue reading “Forest Service rejects development bid near Grand Canyon”

Biological bridges key to sustaining Costa Rica’s biodiversity

From rainforests to mangroves …

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International partnerships help sustain Costa Rica’s biodiversity. Photo courtesy Dr. Jessica Young.
Costa Rica is home to an incredible variety of avian species, including some that migrate between Central America and Colorado. Photo courtesy Dr. Jessica Young.
Costa Rica is home to an incredible variety of avian species, including some that migrate between Central America and Colorado. Photo courtesy Dr. Jessica Young.

By Cassidy Brush

It’s 5:30 a.m. and already the cacophony of birdsong is deafening. But then again, it may be the howler monkeys we saw when we arrived — a tough distinction for someone new to the rainforest. Today is day two of a ten-day graduate course in Costa Rica entitled “Building Bridges and Creating Corridors.” The racket outside the shuttered doors is calling, and sleep seems pointless, so I acquiesce to the excitement of the day. Someone from my cohort is already awake and exploring the grounds close by. I wonder if she is thinking the same thing I am. What, exactly, made that noise? The mysterious creature remains hidden behind a lush wall of bush, taunting our curiosity.

And so begins my journey of exploring biological corridors in Costa Rica- from the cloud forests of Monteverde to the costal mangroves of San Antonio. Our group is made up of five environmental management students, an intern of permaculture, and Western State Colorado University’s global coordinator-cum-graduate faculty. We are supported by several Costa Rican organizations and professionals who infuse us with local knowledge. But importantly, we experience firsthand the international reach of these projects. Corridors live both within and beyond Costa Rica’s borders. Continue reading “Biological bridges key to sustaining Costa Rica’s biodiversity”

Forest Service eyes permits for Vail Pass bike haulers

Agency considers expansion of downhill bike activity

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More downhill biking eyed at Vail Pass, Colorado.

Staff Report

In the age of instant gratification, it’s probably not surprising that coasting downhill on a mountain bike has become a popular pastime in Summit County. As a result, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing to authorize several ten-year special use permits to different individuals and organizations to serve up to a total of 20,000 downhill cyclists during the summer season.

Up to now, the shuttle service has been authorized under temporary permits serving up to 16,000 people, served by as many as 12 different local businesses, all hauling tourists to the top of Vail Pass so they can zoom back down on the bike path. Continue reading “Forest Service eyes permits for Vail Pass bike haulers”