"Experts Pin Hopes on Cutting, Burning to Save West's Dying Aspen"

"Nothing signifies fall in the Rocky Mountains like the golden leaves of its aspen trees. And each spring, the return of the aspens' green leaves shimmering in the wind is a welcome sight, particularly after a long winter.

But for the last decade, these majestic, white-barked trees have been fading away, victims of what scientists have dubbed "sudden aspen decline," or SAD.

It took several years for scientists to identify the problem and its causes, but now foresters are determined to keep aspen from disappearing from the Western landscape. They are hopeful that timber harvesting and prescribed burns in aspen stands will lead the trees to regenerate, even in areas already affected by sudden aspen decline, although it is not known whether some stands are too far gone to be saved."

Eryn Gable reports for Greenwire in the New York Times October 15, 2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009