Forests at Risk

trees2By Lee Anna Sherman

“The margin between life and death in the forest can be rather small,” says Oregon State climate scientist Philip Mote. As wildfires widen, insects invade and drought deepens, the razor-thin margin for tree survival becomes ever thinner.

A five-year, $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will speed the search for answers — and solutions — to the ever-growing threats to forest health. Researchers at the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, which Mote directs, will use enhanced computer models to project forest vulnerability to fire and disease across Western forests. Their work will help inform forest management practices and minimize tree mortality as temperatures rise in coming decades.