Climate: NASA satellites see thinning forest cover

Summit County Voice 2/28/2013
Excerpt:     ”

SUMMIT COUNTY — Between mountain pine beetles, sudden aspen decline, spruce beetles and ips beetles that attacked southwest Colorado piñon pines in early 2000s, a significant chunk of the state’s forests have changed significantly in the past decade.

But climate change is also driving more subtle changes in forests around the country, and on the ground, those changes may not be as easy to see as a stand of dead lodgepoles.  Using satellite images, to track vegetation patterns, NASA scientists say warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation have resulted in a significant decline in forest canopy cover.
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Colorado: Research suggests last summer’s heat wave is likely to result in another wave of aspen mortality

Summit County Voice 2/16/2013
Excerpt:       “
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s aspens could take another big hit in the next few years as the after-effects of last summer’s heat wave take a toll on the state’s iconic trees. Recent research suggests that aspens damaged in previous droughts are more likely to die during subsequent heat waves.

Overall, Colorado reported one of its hottest summers on record in 2012, and even though researchers didn’t see excessive aspen mortality last year, it may take a few years before the full impact becomes apparent.   …”
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Global warming: Yet another threat to Southwest’s iconic pinyon pine?

Christian Science Monitor 2/13/203
Excerpt;      “
Over the past decade, researchers have documented the increased vulnerability of large stands of a Southwestern forest icon – the pinyon pine – to the dangers associated with a warming climate: drought, insects, and wildfires.

Now, it appears that rising temperatures could also put a damper on pinyon reproduction, potentially limiting the ability of trees that survive the other scourges to recolonize disturbed areas, a recent study says.    …….”
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Earth Talk: Biomass not necessarily better than fossil fuels

Poughkeepsie Journal 2/12/2013
Excerpt:     “
Biomass is plant matter that is burned as a source of energy. Fallen or cut wood that is burned for heat is one primary form of biomass, but another includes plant or animal matter that is converted into biofuels.  According to the International Energy Agency , which was formed during the oil shocks of the early 1970s to help ward off future energy shortages, biomass combustion is a carbon-neutral process because the carbon dioxide released at burning has previously been absorbed by the plants from the atmosphere.  ….”

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Climate impact to be felt

Press Republican 2/10/2013
Excerpt:      “For many of the region’s maple-syrup producers, the 2012 sugaring season was unlike any they’d ever experienced. Several of the smaller producers I spoke with last year told me that it was their worst season ever. A few said it lasted literally one, or less than one week. A few didn’t even bother to tap.

According to the Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, syrup production in New York State decreased by more than 36 percent, from 564,000 gallons with a value of just over $22 million in 2011 to 360,000 gallons with a value of just under $12.3 million in 2012.  …..”

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Report: Warming bringing big changes to forests

Associated Press 2/6/2013
Excerpt:          “
Big changes are in store for the nation’s forests as global warming increases wildfires and insect infestations, and generates more frequent floods and droughts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns in a report released Tuesday.

The compilation of more than 1,000 scientific studies is part of the National Climate Assessment and will serve as a roadmap for managing national forests across the country in coming years.    It says the area burned by wildfires is expected to at least double over the next 25 years, and insect infestations often will affect more land per year than fires.   …”

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Wolverines Threatened By Climate Change, Officials Propose Endangered Species Act Protection

Huffington Post 2/1/2013
Excerpt:        “
BILLINGS, Mont. — The tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the “mountain devil,” could soon join the list of species threatened by climate change – a dubious distinction putting it in the ranks of the polar bear and several other animals the government says will lose crucial habitat as temperatures rise.

Federal wildlife officials Friday proposed Endangered Species Act protections for the wolverine in the Lower 48 states. That’s a step twice denied under the Bush administration, then delayed in 2010 when the Obama administration said other imperiled species had priority.    ……”

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Report: Climate change a threat to wildlife

USA Today 1/30/2013
Excerpt:     “
From birds in the Plains to bighorn sheep in California to caribou in Alaska and moose in Minnesota, a new study says animals are struggling to adapt to the new climate conditions caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which produces the carbon dioxide that warms the atmosphere.

“Climate change is the biggest threat wildlife will face this century,” says the report released today by the National Wildlife Federation, an environmental group based in Reston, Va.   ….”

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Climate change’s effects on temperate rain forests surprisingly complex

Environmental Research Letters 1/29/2013
Excerpt:     “
Science-based strategies help managers to adapt to general warming trend.

Longer, warmer growing seasons associated with a changing climate are altering growing conditions in temperate rain forests, but not all plant species will be negatively affected, according to research conducted by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.   ….”

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Climate, not beetle-kill, the biggest factor in wildfire equation

Summit County Voice 1/28/2013
Excerpt:        “
SUMMIT COUNTY — While many forest managers and politicians are still broad-brushing the wildfire danger associated with beetle-killed forests, a new report once again suggests that the fire hazard linked with beetle-kill has been overstated.

After reviewing some of the latest research, the authors of the paper concluded that, “To date, the majority of studies have found no increase in fire occurrence, extent, or severity following outbreaks of spruce beetle … and mountain pine beetle … in Colorado, Wyoming, and other areas.”       …”

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