Forests at Risk: Climate Change and the Future of the American Westby Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Across the American West, forests are imperiled. Recent studies reveal that the death rate of the West’s old growth forests has doubled, that dying forests in British Columbia are releasing 990 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and that the western wildfire season is 78 days longer now than two decades ago. Some scientists now predict the loss within this… See more details below
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Across the American West, forests are imperiled. Recent studies reveal that the death rate of the West’s old growth forests has doubled, that dying forests in British Columbia are releasing 990 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and that the western wildfire season is 78 days longer now than two decades ago. Some scientists now predict the loss within this century of half the West’s old growth forests.
What’s going on with our forests – and what’s the connection to climate change? What happens when forests transform from carbon sinks into carbon sources? How do warmer temperatures affect forests, and does increased forest mortality feed back into climate change? Are forest ecosystem changes affecting the intensity of wildfires? Do tipping points exist that could accelerate the rate of change? And will our grandchildren enjoy the same healthy forests across the West that we have taken for granted?
To address these issues, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) convened an educational symposium of distinguished scientists from around the U.S. and Canada to explore the critical connection between forest health and climate change. The Forests At Risk symposium was held on February 18, 2011 in the Aspen Institute’s Doerr-Hosier Center. Over 500 people attended the symposium, which examined the rapid changes occurring in today’s forests, the origins of these changes, and what we can expect for the future.
This ebook is a compilation of the presentations from the ACES Forests At Risk Symposium, which featured Nobel laureate and former vice president Al Gore, Under Secretary of Agriculture Harris Sherman, as well as leading researchers from universities and scientific agencies. The Symposium was moderated by National Public Radio’s Renee Montagne, and former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter acted as master of ceremonies.
The Symposium was an event that no participant will soon forget.
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