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Warmer temperatures destroy forests faster

Posted by feww on January 26, 2009

Warmer temperatures are destroying trees in the western United States and Canada twice as fast as they did in the 1980s

1. Researchers from the U.S. and Canada say prolonged droughts and warmer temperatures, which  help pine beetles and other organisms to destroy trees, seem to be quickening the pace of the forests death.

2. “Average temperature in the West rose by more than 1 degree F [1.8ºF=1ºC] over the last few decades,” said Phillip van Mantgem of the U.S. Geological Survey, who participated in the study.

Gray, needleless limber pine, the likely victims of drought, interspersed with orange, dead limber and ponderosa pine killed by Rocky Mountain pine beetles in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park are seen in this undated  photo. REUTERS/Jeremy Smith/University of Colorado

3. “While this may not sound like much, it has been enough to reduce winter snowpack, cause earlier snowmelt, and lengthen the summer drought.”

4. The study, which was published in the journal Science reports that different species of trees of varying ages and sizes are dying quicker, regardless of forest elevation.

5. The reports findings are consistent with  other research and observation, including the destruction of about 1.5 million hectares of pine forest by mountain pine bark beetles in northwestern Colorado, Reuters reported.

6. “We need to consider developing land-use policies that reduce the vulnerability of people and resources to wildfires,” Thomas Veblen of the University of Colorado said.

7. “Activities include reducing residential development in or near wildland areas that are naturally fire-prone and where we expect fire risk to increase with continued warming.”

8. “We may only be talking about an annual tree mortality rate changing from 1 percent a year to 2 percent a year, an extra tree here and there,” Mark Harmon, a professor of forest ecology at Oregon State University said.

9. “Forest fires or major insect epidemics that kill a lot of trees all at once tend to get most of the headlines. What we’re studying here are changes that are much slower and difficult to identify, but in the long run extremely important.”

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This post:  385 words, 9 paragraphs, 1 image, 1 caption, 7 links

One Response to “Warmer temperatures destroy forests faster”

  1. CS said

    [REALLY? Moderator]

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