EWF Blog



Thanks for Making a Difference


by Susan Laszewski
Photo: Megan Higgs/American Forests

Tomorrow is Make a Difference Day and reading the many stories of people volunteering their time and effort to help improve their corner of the world has got me thinking about the many American Forests supporters who have pitched in to help us in our mission of protecting and restoring forests. So, today a note of thanks: Here are just a few of the ways you have made a difference for our forests over the past 12 months:

In mid-December ... (Read More)




Tiny Beetles, Huge Consequences


by Susan Laszewski
Whitebark pine cone.

We’ve written before (here and here, for example) about the effect that mountain pine beetles have had on carbon storage — and, consequently, on climate change — in the western United States. As winters become warmer, these beetles are able to thrive later into the year and at higher elevations. Populations have exploded and that’s been bad news for pine trees, including the whitebark pine, an important foundation species upon ... (Read More)




Here, But Functionally Gone


by Susan Laszewski
Sea otters play at Moss Landing Harbor, California.

A recent study published in Nature suggests, though, that we may want to pay a bit more attention to something called “functional extinction” — the point at which a species has too few members to continue filling its ecological role, even though it may still have a way to go until traditional “numerical extinction.”

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden ran a number of analytical models to determine how often and ... (Read More)




Getting Our Hands Dirty


by Loose Leaf Team
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyo.

By Michelle Werts

If you’re a regular reader here on Loose Leaf, you know that our forests and ecosystems, while very good self-regulators, sometimes need a helping hand — and a helping hand is what they’re going to get en masse tomorrow.

Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day, the largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands each year. On this, the 20th anniversary of the event, more than 2,0... (Read More)




Charred Forests, Melting Snow


by Susan Laszewski
Credit: fortherock/Flickr

A study, conducted by Oregon State University researchers, funded by the National Science Foundation and published in Geophysical Research Letters, found that snowpack melts faster in forests which have been charred by wildfire. The researchers explain that as the charred particles are shed from the tree throughout the winter, they darken the snow, reducing its reflectivity.

How much of a difference could a few burned bits make? The... (Read More)