"Natural forest devastation"?

John A. Keslick, Jr. treeman214 at comcast.net
Sun Jun 6 05:49:31 EST 2004



John A. Keslick, Jr.
Tree Biologist
Beware of so-called TREE EXPERTS who do not understand TREE BIOLOGY!
"Larry Harrell" <lhfotoware at hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:7a90c754.0405271045.2a3f9b04 at posting.google.com...
> May 27, 2004  The Salt Lake Tribune
> Western forests are in danger, scientists say
> by Don Thompson o the Associated Press
> KINGS BEACH, Calif. -- Western forests may be on the brink of epochal
> change, driven to permanent retreat in lower elevations by years of
> drought and decades of fire suppression that has made them vulnerable
> to a scourge of insects, scientists warned Wednesday.
> The die-off in turn is resulting in uncontrollable wildfires of the
> sort that swept Southern California last fall, and Arizona and
> Colorado the previous summer.
>   A hundred of the West's top scientists are gathered for a three-day
> Lake Tahoe conference to share the latest studies on global warming
> and its impact, and to plot what research is needed over the next five
> years.
>     "There's stuff dying all across the montane forests of the Western
> U.S.," said Craig Allen of the U.S. Geological Survey. "It's a big
> deal -- socially, environmentally and economically."
> Other researchers compared the current drought and rising temperatures
> to a similar episode 13,000 years ago. Mountain forests died off or
> were wiped out by fire, to be replaced by woodlands, grasslands and
> desert scrub that had been prevalent at lower elevations or farther
> south.
>     "Yet another spate of disturbance-driven plant migrations may be
> looming in the West," the researchers reported.
>     Scientists still don't know how much climate stress forests can
> withstand before massive die-back kicks in. Without that knowledge,
> researchers can't begin to realistically predict how much of the
> West's forests will die, nor gauge the resulting effects on the
> environment or society.
> Comment by poster: These two sentences bother me. We've seen recent
> examples of massive die-off in the West. The scientists just might be
> able to piece together the puzzle if they factor in man's impacts on
> our forests. Is this article "buffering" the public so that when our
> forests do (temporarily) disappear, it will appear to be from
> "natural" causes.
> The effects of drought are compounded by the ravages of tree-eating
> beetles that are killing entire forests from Alaska to Arizona. Not
> only may a lack of water weaken trees, but warmer temperatures may
> help the bugs survive and multiply into what Jesse Logan of the U.S.
> Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station called widespread and
> intense outbreaks.
> While forests have survived insect onslaughts for millennia, the bugs
> can adapt quickly -- as little as a year -- to changing conditions,
> while it can take forests decades to adjust, Logan said.
> Rapid climate change can thus trigger "catastrophic disruption" of
> what usually is a natural battle between forests and insects. Rising
> temperatures may let pests survive in areas where they once could not,
> leaving trees in those areas suddenly vulnerable.
>     But the overall cycle is part of nature. Beetles eventually die
> after consuming the vulnerable trees and new, sometimes radically
> different, growth replaces lost forests.
> Comment from poster: Good forestry can mitigate many of the impacts of
> drought through thinning, fuels reduction projects and controlled
> burning. Nowhere in the article does it even mention active
> management. Do these "scientists" really ever get out there in the
> woods (this decade)?
> Larry,    in the woods, everyday

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