"Beetles, Wildfire: Double Threat in Warming World"

"HAINES JUNCTION, Yukon Territory (AP) — A veil of smoke settled over the forest in the shadow of the St. Elias Mountains, in a wilderness whose spruce trees stood tall and gray, a deathly gray even in the greenest heart of a Yukon summer.

'As far as the eye can see, it's all infested,' forester Rob Legare said, looking out over the thick woods of the Alsek River valley.

Beetles and fire, twin plagues, are consuming northern forests in what scientists say is a preview of the future, in a century growing warmer, as the land grows drier, trees grow weaker and pests, abetted by milder winters, grow stronger.

Dying, burning forests would then only add to the warming."

Charles J. Hanley reports for the Associated Press August 19, 2009.

Thursday, August 20, 2009