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NAU research ties tree mortality trends to climate warming
Date:1/23/2009

ration Institute, the School of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, analyzed tree measurements dating back to the 1920s. Ful and other NAU researchers also updated the data by revisiting trees and providing current measurements and codes for environmental occurrences.

"Despite the impact of warming climate, in the Southwest we have an opportunity to lower tree mortality rates by thinning forests and restoring surface fires," Ful said. "There is strong empirical evidence that these actions improve the resilience of trees to drought and insect pathogens, and protect them from severe stand-replacing wildfires."

Ful, a big believer in thinning forests to protect the vigor of old growth trees and produce biomass fuels, admits the study is a "gloomy predictor of the future, but we still have the option of making a practical difference with forest management," he said. "If climate change is going to change vegetation, we can at least be thinking about what is coming next and how to manage it."


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Contact: Diane Rechel
Diane.Rechel@nau.edu
928-523-0611
Northern Arizona University
Source:Eurekalert

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