Articles on Forests

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A regenerating stand of rainforest in northern Costa Rica. Matthew Fagan

Restoring tropical forests isn’t meaningful if those forests only stand for 10 or 20 years

Many nations are restoring degraded tropical forests to slow climate change, protect endangered species and improve rural life. But those forests often are cleared again soon afterward.
A worker marks timber logs at a concession area in Sarawak, Malaysia. Rainforest logging in Asia feeds much of the world’s thirst for timber. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

How to keep conservation policies from backfiring in a globally connected world

In a global economy, passing laws to conserve forests, fisheries or other natural resources can simply shift demand for those goods to other countries or regions where they aren't as well protected.
Ash tree killed by the invasive emerald ash borer. K Steve Cope

Can genetic engineering save disappearing forests?

Forests in the US face many threats: climate change, invasive species, pests and pathogens. Could genetically engineering trees make these plants more resilient?
Smoke billows from the High Park wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on June 11, 2012, a year of historic drought across much of the western United States. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

Climate change is driving wildfires, and not just in California

Some observers have blamed recent wildfires on poor forest management, while others point to climate change. In fact, a climate scientist explains, reducing fire risks means tackling both issues.
President Donald Trump and other federal and state officials tour a mobile home and RV park on Nov. 17, 2018 in the wake of the Camp Fire. Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool

Better forest management won’t end wildfires, but it can reduce the risks – here’s how

Forest management is not a cure-all for wildfires, although it can help reduce the chances of massive burns. Making this happen will require broad collaborative efforts and more money.
The 2016 Maple fire (photographed in July 2017) reburned young forests that had regenerated after the 1988 Yellowstone fires. More frequent high-severity fires are expected in the future as climate warms, which may change patterns of forest recovery. Monica Turner

Here’s how forests rebounded from Yellowstone’s epic 1988 fires – and why that could be harder in the future

Huge fires roared through Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988, scorching one-third of the park. Since then the park has been a valuable lab for studying how forests recover from fires.

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