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Related to that is the impact of changing rainfall patterns on forests. Here in California the heavily forested Sierra Nevada is facing a devastating impact from climate change. Already we're seeing how drought has weakened Southern California forests and worsened fires there.

Dead forests burn, and burning surely contributes CO2 to the atmosphere...

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 01:44:35 PM EST
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Yeah. I think by preventing the forests from burning naturally and pumping CO2 into the atmosphere we've messed up the climate and the natural carbon capture function of forests.

Fire is part of the ecosystem. After years of preventing the forest fires, forestry practices have managed to weaken the forests themselves. I think the CO2 release from forest fire is part of the earth's carbon capture system, but I believe we've hijacked the forests - preventing them from burning and allowing to absorb the carbon dioxide we emit from fossil fuels.

The weakened forests have allowed pests to further damage and weaken the trees. For example, the pine beetle threatens Canada's boreal forest.

Mountain pine beetles began invading parts of Alberta four years ago. If the beetles jump from the lodgepole pine to the jack pine, an infestation could wipe out billions of trees all the way to the East Coast, he said.

Jasper National Park warden Dave Smith said because Canadians are so good at preventing fires, the forests are old, weak and susceptible to infestation...

Global warming has also helped the pine beetle along, as cold winters can help slow infestations.

by Magnifico on Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 03:18:24 PM EST
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