2011-11-03

Researchers say climate change is changing Pacific Northwest forest structure as well

A new study by forest researchers suggests some types of trees will lose ground to other species as climate change raises temperatures and tweaks precipitation patterns.

That could be bad news for lodgepole pine forests in southern Oregon, which have been devastated by bark beetle infestations and now may have a tough time making a comeback. Douglas fir and ponderosa pine, which are more adaptable, may move into the pine's territory.

The study predicts "large scale disturbances" in Pacific Northwest forests as temperatures rise 5 to 9 degrees by 2080, with more rain in winter and spring, reduced snowpacks and dryer summers.