Massive Aspen Die-Off on the Wane

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Massive Aspen Die-Off on the Wane

Post by edfrank » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:42 am

Massive Aspen Die-Off on the Wane

By David Frey, 10-06-10 ... e/C41/L41/

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Aspens below Mount Sopris, on Colorado's Western Slope. David Frey photo.
Wetter, cooler weather seems to have halted the loss of one of the West's most iconic trees. What's the lesson? The effects of climate change are not simple, nor are the questions about how, or if, to react.

Leaf-peepers from across Colorado swarm to the Western Slope each fall to catch the golden swaths of aspen forests. In recent years, though, aspen groves in Colorado and elsewhere in the West have been in trouble. Massive stands have been dying off, part of a phenomenon called sudden aspen decline.

Things are looking up for the iconic tree of the West, though. Recent research shows sudden aspen decline is on the wane. Some areas where the trees have died, though, may never see aspens again. And researchers say the death of these aspens may offer a glimpse of the West as the climate warms.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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