Dead trees could bring new life to SE Alaska lumber mills

 

January 2, 2020

Photo courtesy of Allison Bidlack

The grey "ghost" trees visible in this aerial image of Kupreanof Island are dead yellow-cedar stands.

JUNEAU – As climate change rapidly alters conditions in southeast Alaska, lower snowpack levels have caused a massive decline of yellow-cedar trees. Without an insulating blanket of snow, the shallow roots of yellow-cedar trees freeze during late spring cold snaps. Left behind is a growing expanse of "ghost forests" of dead yellow-cedars, affecting roughly 678,000 acres (nearly the area of Yosemite National Park). The decay-resistant properties of yellow-cedar allow the trees to remain standing for decades after death. ACRC director Allison Bidlack, and collaborators Brian Buma, Sarah Bi...



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