"Climate Change Killing Yellow Cedar Trees In Alaska"

"ANCHORAGE -- U.S. Forest Service researchers have confirmed what has long been suspected about a valuable tree in Alaska's Panhandle: Climate warming is killing off yellow cedar."

"The mighty trees can live more than 1,000 years, resisting bugs and rot and even defending themselves against injury, but their shallow roots are vulnerable to freezing if soil is not insulated by snow. And for more than a century, with less snow on the ground, frozen roots have killed yellow cedar on nearly a half-million acres in southeast Alaska, plus another 123,000 acres in adjacent British Columbia.

The detective work on the tree deaths will help forest managers decide where yellow cedar is likely to thrive in the future. But the yellow cedar experience also underscores the increasing importance that climate change will play in managing forests, said Paul Schaberg, a USFS plant pathologist from Burlington, Vt., one of five authors of a paper on the tree that appeared this month in the journal Bioscience."

Dan Joling reports for the Associated Press February 18, 2012.

Source: AP, 02/22/2012