Trees dying in the West at record rate

Trees are dying faster than ever in the old-growth forests of California and the mountains of the West, a phenomenon scientists say is linked to rising regional temperatures and the destructive forces of early snowmelt, drought, forest fires and deadly insect infestations brought on by global warming.

Over the past 17 years in some regions – and 25 to 37 years in others – the death rates of mature trees have doubled, the scientists said, raising concerns that the problem goes well beyond tree deaths alone.

Of course global warming is blamed. How about the effects of clear cutting and bad forest management? Could that have something to do with it? Nah.

  1. Paddy-O says:

    # 57 MikeN said, “Let’s just start up some nuclear power plants, and problem solved.”

    Silly rabbit. Solutions aren’t eco nuts.

  2. Lou says:

    Trees die and fall.
    The sun hits the ground and new trees grow.

  3. Sorry for the bad link in my prior post. The article link is not created successfully by tinyurl. I tried again. So, unfortunately, here’s the long link to the article that shows that the Permian/Triassic extinction 250 million years ago was caused by global warming. It is also an interesting article because it discusses medical uses for the information based on our evolution from species that survived the hydrogen sulfide poisoned atmosphere of the time.

    Apologies for the WWW, it is necessary here. You’ll have to copy and paste the long link. It’s really worth it though; the article is fascinating and important.

  4. #61 – Paddy-O,

    # 56 Misanthropic Scott said, “So, perhaps it’s clear that the results will be unpredictable.”

    Unless, you study the history of the planet. ALL past periods of warm climate have coincided with a wetter, lusher one… Cold, the opposite.

    Utterly false. As both this article and the book Under a Green Sky show, the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet was caused by global warming. Of course, 250 million years ago, it was not caused by humans. However, it was global warming nonetheless. Further, after the comet took out the non-avian dinosaurs 65.3 million years ago, it was not until 55 million years ago when the planet cooled that species started to come back.

    Book Link:

  5. Paddy-O says:

    # 64 Misanthropic Scott said, “the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet was caused by global warming. Of course, 250 million years ago, it was not caused by humans.”

    The P/T? Oh, poor, brainwashed Scotty,

    Although paleontologists are in agreement that the P/T extinction was the largest in magnitude, it is a matter of contention concerning the hypothetical causes of this major event.

    Impact theorists proposed the idea that an extraterrestrial object collided with Earth at that time, leading to global devastation. In her 2001 Science paper, “Impact Event at the Permian-Triassic Boundary: Evidence from Extraterrestrial Noble Gases in Fullerenes,” Luanne Becker of the University of Washington cited the presence of helium and argon gases found in complex carbon molecules called fullerenes. These gases, she explains, are evidence of an impact comparable to the one that would exterminate the dinosaurs almost 200 million years later.

    However, Doug Erwin, a paleontologist with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, disagrees with the impact scenario. “There simply isn’t any evidence for impact,” he says. “Hammond and Zare in Geochimica earlier this year [2008] showed that the fullerene data may be the result of an artifact of analysis. In any event, no one has produced any replication of the evidence which has been provided in favor of impact.”

    Rather, Erwin says, “the most likely cause of the extinction is the effects of the eruption of the Siberian Traps, based on the magnitude of the eruptions and the (increasingly) close coincidence in time.” The Siberian Traps are a large area of volcanic activity in Russia, created by the presence of a mantle plume. The massive eruptions that produced an approximated one to four million cubic kilometers of lava, would have led to extreme changes in climate as well as possible sea level fluctuations. But, Erwin says, “the causal connection to extinction I think remains obscure.”

  6. Pat M says:

    #63, Lou

    Only the new trees aren’t growing as fast as they should. Also, a mature tree consumes much more CO2 than a sapling.

  7. #65 – Paddy-O,

    The P/T? Oh, poor, brainwashed Scotty,

    I fail to see how I am brainwashed on the subject when you soundly defeated the impact hypothesis in your own post.

    Further, you obviously once again failed to click through the link, which is understandable since it was a bad link. Though the fact that you did not point that out shows that you really do type just for the hell of it without actually reading any of the links posted, even when they are directed at you.

    Please copy and paste the link in post #66. I think you’ll find that the existence of data to support the global warming theory for the P/T extinction is quite sound and is further backed up by predictions it made about its effects on human medicine that have proven true.

    Additionally, please note the fact that the book Under a Green Sky was written by the very scientist who proved the impact theory for the K/T extinction. So, impact would have been a fine outcome for him. Unfortunately, as he searched for data, it pointed to global warming, rather than impact. It is also the likely cause of most other extinction events and is the cause of the delay in evolution of new species following the K/T extinction. 10 million years of low species count until the planet cooled enough for a rapid burst in evolution to fill the new niches.

    In short, a warm planet is a relatively lifeless one.

  8. Paddy-O says:

    # 68 Misanthropic Scott said, “In short, a warm planet is a relatively lifeless one.”

    Yes, like when Antarctica was a tropical paradise and the planet was covered in vegetation…


  9. Montanaguy says:

    Don’t drink too deeply of this KoolAid my friends. If stands of trees in B.C, for example, are dying due to ‘one degrees worth’ of average temperature gain, wouldn’t it follow that tree stands further to the south for example, in Washington, should have died decades ago , as their average temperature exposure has been much higher than the trees in B.C. And likewise the trees in Oregon should have all died centuries ago, by this shaky theory, as their average temperature exposure is even higher. And so on, all the way to California. Experts or not, lazy people will always hang their hats on a trendy fad to avoid having to think things through. In Montana, tree death is a complex topic ranging from forest fire management/suppression to the spread of various bark beetle species. Environmentalists here sue to stop every attempt to log burnt out or living forests, so there is no management at all now it seems. Isn’t it odd that nobody can accurately predict the weather even one day or week ahead, but some cabal of wizards, calling themselves climate scientists claim to be predicting exactly what will happen to our climate decades from now. Meanwhile, our winters in Montana – and from what I hear, the South, the East and the West- just keep getting colder. I spend an enormous amount of time actually going outside into the wilderness areas around here and the snowpack has been stupendous lately, lasting late into the summer and fall. Lets ignore common sense and listen to the trendy wizards who sit in front of computers and their faulty forecast sheets, based on poor data collection and even shakier ‘theories’. Hopefully, the next fad or trend in ‘climate science’ will come along soon, before these people do too much damage to our economy. After all, 30 years ago, the same group of experts were predicting a new ice age.

  10. #69 – Paddy-O,

    # 68 Misanthropic Scott said, “In short, a warm planet is a relatively lifeless one.”

    Yes, like when Antarctica was a tropical paradise and the planet was covered in vegetation…

    Link please. And remember, Antarctica was warm and lush when it was a lot closer to the equator. But, go ahead, provide a link regarding your warm lush planet. When you find it, check how much warmer global temperature actually was and what the forecast is for current warming.

    Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    Oh, and stop laughing like an idiot when people present you with real scientific information and links to back it up. Try reading the damn links instead. Otherwise, we just imagine you sitting there misunderstanding everything and laughing and drooling on yourself. Oh wait. You probably are.

    Note that the editors have fixed my link back in post 66 [thanks eds.] so that you no longer need to figure out how to copy and paste. You can just click now. Go ahead. Put the little arrow over the link and hit the left mouse button. You can do it. Really. Go on.

  11. Jokko says:

    Bobbo- You sir are the exact reason there is a problem. Global warming or climate change- whatever you want to call it – is a naturally accuring non-man-made event. Did you notice we have 4 seasons? (Except in California, you lucky bastards.) That big bright ball in the sky that comes up and brightens our day and then goes away has more to do with our climate than anything you or any person could do. Have you noticed how it gets warmer during the daytime and colder at night?

    So lets put 2 and 2 together and make 4. Not 5 zillion. You should realize that changes in our sun have a direct effect on our climate. Our climate is not constant. It changes. It will always change. It will get hot and get cold.

    In fact, new reports are coming out that because of the reduced solar activity happening by our sun that we will be experience a cooling period for our climate.

    Also the scientist don’t all agree with you. In fact a growing number of climatologists are voicing their opinions that man’s activities have very little effect on the climate, if any. The graphs you have seen by former VP Al Gore do not show that CO2 causes higher temperatures. (BTW all plants love CO2.) In fact if you analytically look at the CO2/temperature graph the CO2 levels follow the rise of temperature, not vice versa as Al Gore opined.

  12. bobbo says:

    #72–jokko==read casually and loosely, in this thread I have posted on both sides of the climate change issue.

    If by “love” you mean most plants generally respond to higher concentrations of CO2 than we currently have now by producing more growth, why I certainly agree.

    If by “love” you mean they write poems to CO2, then I disagree.

    Did you have anything other than anthropomorphizing in mind?

  13. #74 – Mister Mustard,

    When I typed that, it looked fixed to me. It does now as well. If it didn’t at the time you looked, I’m sorry. My tinyurl plugin did not create a valid link.

    More importantly, I’m curious what you thought of the article.

  14. bobbo says:

    Interesting short read that skewers several popular opinions about global warming by the guy that invented the Gaia concept. PS–we are all going to die.

  15. Mr. Fusion says:

    #75, Scott,

    I read the link and am inclined to discount it. While there were several valid points made the largest problem I thought is that the hibernation theory would work only for a short time. Longer than a few weeks and the sleeping would start to die off from lack of substance.

    While I think some small populations might survive, in most cases the sterilization would also wipe out the food sources for those that survived.

    BUT, as a caveat, I am not a biologist and have only the article (which is really just a summary of the author’s study) to judge by. Interesting read though; especially the potential for life saving applications.

  16. bobbo says:

    Correcting Post #76—Link to the specific article is on the bottom of the page at the link but here is the one directly to it:

  17. #76 – bobbo,

    Both of those New Scientist articles were very interesting. Oddly, the links didn’t work on either and I had to search. Then, while reading the articles, the links up top looked just like the ones you posted. Strange site they have.

    Anyway, Lovejoy is a bit optimistic for my taste. He completely ignores the possibilities of A) going extinct completely and B) greater than a 5 degree rise in temp as happened in the P/T extinction.

    Further, he fails to discuss the damage we will do to the millions of other species with which we share this planet.

    That said, I agree with his assessment that a 90% die off of humans is in the near future. I just question whether that will be the end of it or whether the decline will continue long after the 90%. I think after the first 90%, half of the remaining will die over a longer period of time, resulting in a 95% die off. After that, I make no prediction whether we will survive at all or how many other species we’ll take with us.

    I will say though that we have already caused a mass extinction greater than the K/T extinction 65.3 MYA that took out the non-avian dinosaurs. And, I would add that large, warm-blooded species fare very poorly in mass extinction events. Humans are both large and warm-blooded.

  18. RBG says:

    50 bobbo. #48–RBG==organisms do need to evolve if they are going to survive competition especially in a changing environiment. I can see science using the convention of that formulation.

    Organisms do not “need,” want, crave, covet or demand to evolve. Better equipped competitors are simply more likely to facilitate reproduction. But we say “need” none-the-less as a simple shorthand.

    A professor is similarly just as likely to lecture that “plants love C02” because without it, the plant could not survive. I love to breath 02. No one … most people … do not think the plant is actually developing an emotional attachment for the CO2 molecule.



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