Experts say forests need to be thinned to be saved
Written bySCOTT CONDON, Aspen Times
Experts at the Forests at Risk conference in Aspen on Monday said they view thinning trees on large expanses of public lands as the only way to stop the increase of catastrophic wildfires afflicting the West.
Drought and higher temperatures are taking a toll at forests just about everywhere on the globe, said Craig Allen, a research biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He is stationed in northern New Mexico but worked on a study of climate change and forests with scientists in several other countries.
“All forest types are at risk,” he said at the conference presented by the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.
Fire season in the western U.S. already has grown by two months over the past 25 years, Allen said. Global-warming models indicate hot, dry conditions will reach a level by the 2040s and 2050s that haven't been seen in the past thousand years, he said. Forests will face unprecedented stress.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE