The mysterious "sudden aspen decline" that is decimating many western forests also seems responsible for a spike in deer mouse populations that is hastening spread of the sin nombre virus, a still-rare hantavirus that kills some 40 % of the humans it infects.
Two recent studies — one examining problems in urban and natural forests, and the other on microbial pests in various settings — reveal the latest knowledge on insect and microscopic invasive species.
"Three decades ago the Zapotec Indians here in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico fought for and won the right to communally manage the forest. Before that, state-owned companies had exploited it as they pleased under federal government concessions."
Center for Health Reporting editor-in-chief David Westphal writes about the impact of the Center's four-day series “Burning Issue: Gasping for Breath,” which examined the scientific links between woodstove/fireplace smoke and asthma, chronic lung disease and heart problems and highlighted the state's failure to regulate wood smoke pollution.
"Here in the vast wilderness surrounding Peru's Alto Purús National Park, the locations of [mahogany] trees, worth tens of thousands of dollars in the United States, have become closely guarded secrets among members of indigenous tribes."
The coffers of wildland fire-fighting agencies are depleted in places like Colorado, even as property-damage figures are hitting record highs. That's partly because more and more people are building houses in the high-risk wildland-urban interface.
Sudden aspen decline, a disease that has killed many aspens in the mountain West, seems to be slowing enough that some stands can hold their own.
The American chestnut, which was virtually wiped out by an exotic blight, may be making a comeback.
"New government data show forests play a key role in offsetting U.S. industrial emissions, but the ability of Western lands to sequester carbon is shrinking as the planet warms."
"A proposal to designate more than 300,000 acres of wilderness in central Idaho appears to be in a political tailspin, dashing hopes among wilderness advocates that the Gem State could soon resolve a decades-long debate over management of its public lands."