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Climate Change and the Nation's Forests: Challenges and Opportunities

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Bosworth, Dale; Birdsey, Richard; Joyce, Linda; Millar, Constance

Year Published



Journal of Forestry 106(4):214-221


Climate change is already affecting America's forests. The fires of 2000 shocked the Nation, the fires of 2006 burned an area greater than in any year since 1954, and the 2007 fires in southern California forced the evacuation of more than a million residents. Some of the largest individual fires ever recorded in the Western United States and Alaska occurred in the first 5 years of the 21st century. Scientists have linked growing fire season severity with warming temperatures and earlier snowmelt (Westerling et al. 2006). Higher temperatures and drought also are blamed for unprecedented bark beetle outbreaks and tree mortality across the West (Breshears et al. 2005, Logan and Powell 2005). However, forest productivity is increasing in some temperate areas because of warmer temperatures, a longer growing season, and the "fertilizer effect" of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (Nemani et al. 2003).


Bosworth, Dale; Birdsey, Richard; Joyce, Linda; Millar, Constance. 2008. Climate Change and the Nation''s Forests: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of Forestry 106(4):214-221

Last updated on: August 25, 2008