How Climate Change Could Wipe Out the Western Forests

The Atlantic; 1/24/2013
Excerpt:       “
If current trends continue, the landscapes of states like New Mexico and Arizona may soon be unrecognizable.

The fire that burned through Forest Canyon, a breathtaking stretch of wilderness ringed by snowy peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, started in October and burned long past the end of the fire season. Trees still smoldered in late December, and the smoke mixed with dry snow blowing in the air. Known as the Fern Lake Fire, the blaze tore through 3,500 acres of land the federal government set aside a century ago both to provide public enjoyment and protect it from human destruction.   ……”

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Feds publish candid draft report on global warming

Summit County Voice 1/14/2013
Excerpt:      “
FRISCO — Coming shortly after the National Climatic Data Center reported that 2012 was the warmest year on record for the U.S., a new federal report on global warming doesn’t mince words, starting with the first paragraph of the executive summary:

“Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heatwaves, heavy downpours, ain, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising oceans are becoming more acidic and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting.”   ….”

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The Public Eye: Environmental group opposes Placer biomass power plant

Sacramento Bee 1/13/2013
Excerpt:      “
An Arizona-based environmental group is challenging Placer County’s plans to build a small power plant near Truckee that would burn forest waste wood, questioning whether such biomass facilities warrant their reputation as producers of green energy.

As government regulators have mandated that more renewable energy sources be used to help combat global warming, the biomass power industry has pitched its power plants to communities as a cleaner, reliable alternative to coal.   …”

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Climate change already playing out in West, report says

Deseret News 12/18/2012
Excerpt:         “
SALT LAKE CITY  — A new report says the effects of climate change are already being felt in bug-infested forests of the Intermountain West, in reduced flows of the Colorado River basin and in the amount of snow that falls in the Rocky Mountains.

What is key, the report stresses, is how state and federal governments are responding and what land and natural resource conservation strategies can be embraced or expanded to counter the impacts.      ….”

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US Forest Service report forecasts natural resource management trends, challenges for next 50 years

Lake County News 12/19/2012
Excerpt:        “
A comprehensive U.S. Forest Service report released Tuesday examines the ways expanding populations, increased urbanization, and changing land-use patterns could profoundly impact natural resources, including water supplies, nationwide during the next 50 years.

Significantly, the study shows the potential for significant loss of privately-owned forests to development and fragmentation, which could substantially reduce benefits from forests that the public now enjoys including clean water, wildlife habitat, forest products and others.    …..”

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U.S. Wildfires: Burn Area Expected To Double By 2050

Huffington Post 12/17/2012
Excerpt:        “
Warmer and drier conditions in coming decades will likely cause the burned area from wildfires in the U.S. to double in size by 2050, according to new research based on satellite observations and computer modeling experiments. The research, which was first presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Dec. 4, provides insight into both recent wildfire trends and the sharp increase in dryness — and therefore wildfire susceptibility — in certain regions of the country.      …”

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Groups seek expansion of Wyo. coal mining lawsuit

San Fransisco Chronicle 11/15/2012
Excerpt:    “
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental groups asked a judge Thursday to expand the scope of a lawsuit they’ve filed against the U.S. Forest Service over plans to mine coal in northeast Wyoming.
U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson heard the groups’ arguments, and the Forest Service’s objections to the request, and said he would rule on the motion in a day or two. He didn’t hint which way he might decide.
The lawsuit is one of several that environmentalists have filed recently to contest Wyoming coal mining on grounds that include climate change.   …”

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Mountain Meadows Dwindling in Pacific Northwest, U.S. Due to Climate Change, Study Suggests

Science Daily 11/2/2012
Excerpt:     “ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2012) — Some high mountain meadows in the Pacific Northwest are declining rapidly due to climate change, a study suggests, as reduced snowpacks, longer growing seasons and other factors allow trees to invade these unique ecosystems that once were carpeted with grasses, shrubs and wildflowers.      ……”

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Study: High stream temperatures, low flow create potential “double trouble”

Corvallis Gazette-Times 11/1/2012
Excerpt:      “
CORVALLIS – A newly published study by researchers at Oregon State University and two federal agencies concludes that high temperatures coupled with lower flows in many Northwest streams is creating increasingly extreme conditions that could negatively affect fish and other organisms.

The study, published in the professional journal Hydrobiologia, was funded and coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey and the research branch of the U.S. Forest Service. It points to climate change as the primary reason for the extreme conditions.  …..”

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Larger, hotter wildfires the new norm in West

Missoulian 10/15/2012
Excerpt:       “The trend toward larger, hotter wildfires in this part of the country is rapidly becoming the new normal.

In the four decades between 1960 and 1999, wildfires in the United States scorched more than 7 million acres in a single year just once. Since 2000? Eight times, with 2012 at 8.8 million acres and still climbing.  ….”

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