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Trees in Trouble: Wildfires, Infestations, and Climate Change

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A troubling story of the devastating ripple effects of climate change told through forest ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, fire bosses, and activists Climate change manifests in many ways across America, but few as dramatic as the attacks on our western pine forests. In Trees in Trouble, Daniel Mathews tells the urgent story of this loss, a A troubling story of the devastating ripple effects of climate change told through forest ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, fire bosses, and activists Climate change manifests in many ways across America, but few as dramatic as the attacks on our western pine forests. In Trees in Trouble, Daniel Mathews tells the urgent story of this loss, accompanying burn crews and forest ecologists as they study the myriad risk factors and refine techniques for improving forest health and saving this important, limited resource. Mathews transports the reader from the exquisitely aromatic haze of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine groves to the fantastic gnarls and whorls of five-thousand-year-old bristlecone pines, from genetic test nurseries where white pine seedlings are deliberately infected with their mortal enemy to the desertlike expanses at the heart of the hottest megafire sites and neighborhoods leveled by fire tornadoes or ember blizzards. Highly personal and scrupulously researched, Trees in Trouble explores not only the devastating ripple effects of climate change, but introduces us to the people devoting their lives to saving our forests. Mathews also offers hope: a new approach to managing western pine forests is underway. But in order for our forests to adapt, this approach needs a wider understanding and bipartisan political support. Trees in Trouble explores how we might succeed in sustaining our forests through the challenging transition to a new environment.


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A troubling story of the devastating ripple effects of climate change told through forest ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, fire bosses, and activists Climate change manifests in many ways across America, but few as dramatic as the attacks on our western pine forests. In Trees in Trouble, Daniel Mathews tells the urgent story of this loss, a A troubling story of the devastating ripple effects of climate change told through forest ecologists, professional forest managers, park service scientists, fire bosses, and activists Climate change manifests in many ways across America, but few as dramatic as the attacks on our western pine forests. In Trees in Trouble, Daniel Mathews tells the urgent story of this loss, accompanying burn crews and forest ecologists as they study the myriad risk factors and refine techniques for improving forest health and saving this important, limited resource. Mathews transports the reader from the exquisitely aromatic haze of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine groves to the fantastic gnarls and whorls of five-thousand-year-old bristlecone pines, from genetic test nurseries where white pine seedlings are deliberately infected with their mortal enemy to the desertlike expanses at the heart of the hottest megafire sites and neighborhoods leveled by fire tornadoes or ember blizzards. Highly personal and scrupulously researched, Trees in Trouble explores not only the devastating ripple effects of climate change, but introduces us to the people devoting their lives to saving our forests. Mathews also offers hope: a new approach to managing western pine forests is underway. But in order for our forests to adapt, this approach needs a wider understanding and bipartisan political support. Trees in Trouble explores how we might succeed in sustaining our forests through the challenging transition to a new environment.

30 review for Trees in Trouble: Wildfires, Infestations, and Climate Change

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    At times this was a bit of a slog but it was generally very interesting. I had trouble keeping up with the different kinds of western pines and their various adaptations or problems. The overall message of climate change is loud and clear though and it exacerbates all the other problems of fires, beetles, and forest mismanagement - both by folks who don't think we should put any fire out, start any fires or log any trees and the others who would over-harvest the trees. Fire management is fascina At times this was a bit of a slog but it was generally very interesting. I had trouble keeping up with the different kinds of western pines and their various adaptations or problems. The overall message of climate change is loud and clear though and it exacerbates all the other problems of fires, beetles, and forest mismanagement - both by folks who don't think we should put any fire out, start any fires or log any trees and the others who would over-harvest the trees. Fire management is fascinating - some fires are left to their natural progression - those in Yosemite spring to mind, whereas others should be intentionally started, and others should be put out. What should be done depends on a lot of things none of which always work out as intended. I was also fascinated by the lodgepole cone that needs fire to germinate. I did think it got in the weeds a bit sometimes and I didn't know what kind of pine tree or what kind of beetle we were talking about.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Barney Mann

    Daniel Mathews writes in great depth about devastating challenges facing our forests. He treats this complex subject with a compelling narrative. He does describes all the damage we've done, he is not all gloom and doom. And the book is populated with so many rich people stories, about those on the ground, facing these challenges every day. For a long time I will remember what he wrote in the final paragraph: "For us to continue enjoying forests in the ways we count one, we'll have to change." T Daniel Mathews writes in great depth about devastating challenges facing our forests. He treats this complex subject with a compelling narrative. He does describes all the damage we've done, he is not all gloom and doom. And the book is populated with so many rich people stories, about those on the ground, facing these challenges every day. For a long time I will remember what he wrote in the final paragraph: "For us to continue enjoying forests in the ways we count one, we'll have to change." Thank you Daniel Mathews for writing this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Edroy Parker

    The book is comprehensive in its description of the challenges to our pine forests on the drier side of the mountains, from the Southwest to British Columbia. It helped me understand why, 5 1/2 years after the Twisp River Fire, we are still losing Ponderosa pines that survived the fire. The information about beetle attacks makes the survival of our pine forests seem unlikely, but learning that there are are researchers with some level of optimism is helpful. The notes include references to Ted T The book is comprehensive in its description of the challenges to our pine forests on the drier side of the mountains, from the Southwest to British Columbia. It helped me understand why, 5 1/2 years after the Twisp River Fire, we are still losing Ponderosa pines that survived the fire. The information about beetle attacks makes the survival of our pine forests seem unlikely, but learning that there are are researchers with some level of optimism is helpful. The notes include references to Ted Talks by researchers, and those suggestions for followup are much appreciated. I would think this book would be helpful information for all who live in or near the pine forests. Certainly, the information makes it possible to look at Forest Service plans for thinning with an informed perspective, and make knowledgeable comments that might be viewed more seriously. I found it to be informative and written in an engaging style as Mathews introduces the reader to the people working on forest issues in a personal way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    The focus is indeed on current policies for managing tree damage by bark beetles and wildfires in light of climate change; it is almost a brief for and explanation of these policies. Each chapter uses a different species of pine to bring out an aspect of the problems facing coniferous trees in the West. When bark beetles have been in the US for time out of mind, why are they destroying whole forests now? Why are we having such huge forest fires? What can we do about it? This book seeks to answer The focus is indeed on current policies for managing tree damage by bark beetles and wildfires in light of climate change; it is almost a brief for and explanation of these policies. Each chapter uses a different species of pine to bring out an aspect of the problems facing coniferous trees in the West. When bark beetles have been in the US for time out of mind, why are they destroying whole forests now? Why are we having such huge forest fires? What can we do about it? This book seeks to answer these questions.

  5. 5 out of 5

    TyWilliams

    Very interesting and informative account of the challenges western pine forests face. This book provides solid insight on how the West will change in the coming century and describes several solutions to help ease the pains caused by climate change, disease, and forest mismanagement. Highly recommended if you want to better understand the mega-fires and massive tree die-offs happening each year.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Interesting to learn a little bit more about what the forest service has to deal with, and of course wonderful for me to read about the efforts in my native state of Montana! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for nature, wanting to know what we can do to help. We must take care of our trees! All the fires that have happened this last year are heartbreaking, yet hopefully communities will rally together and plant seedlings to replace!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

    An in-depth exploration of the big pine forests of the West-- so much interesting information in here and great writing. Saw other reviews that mentioned that some of the book was too dry for them-- but I don't really find that to be the case. Very interesting information-- while it is dense, Mathews does a great job of laying it all out there and presenting many different possible futures for our big pine forests. An in-depth exploration of the big pine forests of the West-- so much interesting information in here and great writing. Saw other reviews that mentioned that some of the book was too dry for them-- but I don't really find that to be the case. Very interesting information-- while it is dense, Mathews does a great job of laying it all out there and presenting many different possible futures for our big pine forests.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Juliet

    I learned a lot about pines and all their modern ailments. However the book is a bit disorganized and dry. I found myself wishing there were more illustrations on the topics written about for us non tree scientists.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason Hoepker

    Author took too much liberty with his voice from my liking. Give me the data and the science not your opinions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Somewhat academic book about increasing fires, and deaths of trees by many reasons, birth acerbated by climate change.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael Nichols

    Very interesting; I earned a lot I didn't know. Very interesting; I earned a lot I didn't know.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Stewart

    Dude made trees interesting. Really engaging.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra B

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joel Aaltonen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dustin Kurtz

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amy Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Engebretsen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erika

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fay

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan Ostermiller

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lee Barry

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jerrilyn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna Craig

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kirk Astroth

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tabby

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Swenson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

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