NYTimes Green blog: Burning Colorado forests may not regenerate

That’s the takeaway from a NYTimes Green blog post today. The blog reports that Dr. Craig Allen, a USGS research ecologist, says fire pattern has changed from frequent and large ground fires to infrequent crown fires that utterly destroy the landscape. And climate disruption plus natural climate cycles are combining in such a way that grasses and shrubs are replacing the forests.

In related news, the InciWeb site (the interagency site that collects wildfire information in one place to help track and fight wildfires) reports that parts of the High Park fire area near Ft. Collins, CO have been so hot that “mosses and lichens are burning on granite rock.”

According to InciWeb, the origin of the fire is beyond the second knoll in the image above. If Allen is right, this is what the area may well look like once it’s recovered – a Colorado sagebrush shrubland.

Image Credits:
Incident Information System InciWeb
Colorado Natural Heritage Program

4 replies »

  1. I recall years ago reading that California’s golden-brown hills used to be green all year with native grasses, and the brown are invasive Spanish pasture grasses that came with the missionaries — and that the redwoods are a remnant from long ago and that where they were clearcut, in many areas, they have not come back.