Category Archive: Blog


Palms From the Past

Imagine taking tropical vacations to Antarctica. While that might seem like a stretch, new studies reveal that around 52 million years ago, palm trees were growing along the edge of the now ice-covered Antarctica. On Antarctica’s eastern coast researchers drilled a kilometer deep into the ocean floor and found layers of sediment containing pollen grains […]

A Scary Picture

By Michelle Werts As the well-known saying goes, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Well, how about two pictures? First, there’s this satellite image released by the NASA Earth Observatory of lodgepole pine forests near Grand Lake, Colorado on September 11, 2005. Now, the exact same location just six years later. Where did the green go? […]

Where’s the Water?

The U.S. Forest Service estimates that the world’s forests sequester 2-2.8 billion metric tons of carbon annually. A new study published in Nature Geoscience indicates that evergreen forests ranging from northern Mexico to Canada took up a lot less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during a 2000-2004 drought period, dropping 30-293 million metric tons below […]

Volcanic Beauty

This Wednesday, marks the 96th anniversary of two of Hawaii’s most prized national parks: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and Haleakalā National Park, both of which were established decades before Hawaii was even a state. Back in 1916, only one park was actually created to represent the combination of volcanic areas on the islands of Maui […]

On Time Departures

By Michelle Werts I am fascinated by annual migrations. I find it remarkable that so many creatures around the world are able to make the same trek season after season, year after year, when most humans these days have trouble navigating without their smart phones or GPS units. However, the mind-blowing regularity of some species’ […]

The Oaks Are Moving Up

In a study published in 2011, researchers found that more than half of the tree species in eastern U.S. forests are not adapting to climate change as quickly or consistently as predicted. Only about 21 percent of the species studied appeared to be shifting northward. With warmer temperature zones shifting northward, scientist expected to see […]

Spying on Bears Live

By Michelle Werts A few years ago, I vacationed in Alaska, and while I was lucky enough to see some caribou and moose while in Denali National Park & Preserve, I must admit I was a bit disappointed not to encounter — from a safe distance — a bear. Well, on Tuesday, Alaska’s Katmai National […]

Clearing a Path for Illegal Logging

The Lacey Act was introduced more than a century ago and was the first piece of federal legislation to protect against wildlife trafficking. Today, because of a 2008 amendment, the Lacey Act is primarily used to protect against importing non-native plant species and illegal logging practices. This act has been an important part of protecting […]

Fire in the West – Part 1

Last week I had the tremendous opportunity to travel to Wyoming and learn more about American Forests’ work in some of our western forests. The trip was eye-opening to the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust. These two factors — along with the fire-suppression policy implemented by the U.S. […]

Restoring Forests to Help Prevent Wildfire

This June, more land burned from wildfires than in any other June in the last decade — more than 1.3 million acres. At the same time, there were actually fewer fires than usual. This pattern of fewer fires resulting in greater levels of destruction is getting more common each year. Across the U.S., we are […]