Friday, January 23, 2009

TREE DEATH RATE DOUBLES

Dan Shapley, Daily Green - Trees are dying at more than twice the rate they were just a few decades ago, and rising temperatures is most likely to blame, according to a new report published in Science by scientists with the U.S. Geologic Survey. The death rate is not limited to a single species or region, but was described as "pervasive" across all forest types, all elevations, in trees of all sizes. Pines, firs, hemlocks and other kinds of trees all showed the same "worrying" decline.

The end result could be "substantial changes in Western forests," according to the report's lead co-author, Phil van Mantgem: more wildfires, fewer wildlife species and forests as sources of the atmospheric carbon that causes global warming, not sinks.

In other words, the very problem causing these trees to die will be enhanced by the fact of their dying. That is what scientists cause a positive feedback loop, and it's one of the most terrifying aspects of global warming. Force too many of these feedback loops, and you get a runaway global warming scenario that no carbon taxes or energy efficiency improvements will counteract.