Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Major Die-Off of Lodgepoles in WY and CO

I have been seeing these headlines but had not read the articles until a portion of a summary caught my eye:
"The Rocky Mountain News reported this week that every large, mature forest of lodgepole pines in Colorado and southern Wyoming will be dead in three to five years."
That sounds extreme. The conventional public and media "wisdom" is that it is caused by global warming. Warmer winters result in less mortality of pine bark beetles, causing more mortality of lodgepole pine.

But other factors are the drought (more stress on trees), and fire suppression (lodgepole stands are older and closer to their 200-300 year fire return interval and natural decadence).

But regardless of the reason, these stands are dieing now, and it could have a major effect on the resistance to control of fires in the area.

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