18 Jan '13, 8pm

Green Blog: After a Die-Off, Small Trees Protect Watershed

Josh Haner/The New York Times The red and brownish tones of this forest, photographed in 2011, reflect the advance of the mountain pine beetle. It doesn’t take an expert to understand that logging and violent storms cause massive damage to forests. What is less obvious, however, is the devastating effect that the removal of trees and vegetation can have on streams and lakes. Nitrate concentrations in waterways can soar by as much as 400 percent when the nitrogen cycle is disrupted by logging and the nitrate once tied up in organic matter washes into streams. Algal blooms and fish die-offs almost always follow this sort of nitrogen fertilization event. Scientists studying the mountain pine beetle epidemic in the West, which now stretches from Mexico to Canada, have worried for a long time that all of those dead trees would mean serious trouble for local water quality as wel...

Full article: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/after-a-die-off...

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