Posted by: atowhee | October 1, 2011


The end of forests across parts of the arid West is partially due to insects, partially due to global warming.  A few years back I recall being stunned at how much of the once forested Yellowstone National Park had converted to sagebrush scrub.  Huge fires at the end of the 20thCentury killed mature trees.  Hotter and dryer weather now doesn’t enocurage reforestation so now the park is laced with swaths former forest now sagebrush.  Thus the earth adjusts its mantle to climate change.   Here’s a report today on dying evergreen forests in America.

As numerous scientific reports have pointed out, climate change is going to be hardest on mountain birds and other species with limited range or specialized food or nesting requirements.  It is likely the American Crow and American Robin will do just fine.  They are adaptable and have a broad range of suitable foods and habitats.  The same will not be true of Hermit Warbler or Clark’s Nutcracker.  In the Northwest the more adaptable Townsend’s Warbler is already crowding the Hermit in ther Cascades and even inter-breeding as the Hermit Warbler’s population drops and its range narrows.  Picture of Clark’s Nutcracker hiding from me on last June’s trip to Malheur.  This bird and its partner were in dry pine forest a few miles east of Klamath Marsh NWR.  Elevation there is about 4000′.

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