"Natural forest devastation"?

P van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at wanadoo.nl
Sun May 30 04:00:11 EST 2004

Larry Harrell <lhfotoware at hotmail.com> schreef >
> >     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.

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Actually the second sentence worries me more, especially the
"how much of the West's forests will die"
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> 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.

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"decades" seems overly optimistic. Apparently we are still dealing with the
aftereffects of the Ice Ages, which were more than "decades" ago. Any
adjustment will need generations at least and for a big tree species
"decades" does not mean several generations.
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> 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.

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Yes, it could. It is hardly news: This has been known for decades
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>     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.

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Give or take a few centuries/millennia and an indifference as to what these
lands will look like. Note that the phrase used is "growth" which will
replace "forests"

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