Western forests three times the size of Yellowstone could be transformed by midcentury

Read the full story at The Hill.

Hotter and drier conditions are destroying the ability of many Western conifer forests to spring back after wildfires, a new study has found.

The onslaught of destructive fire and climate change risks turning an area of Western forests three times the size of Yellowstone National Park — about 2.2 million acres — into ecosystems where pine, spruce and fir seedlings cannot grow, according to the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

But deliberately set, lower-intensity fires offer a way out, researchers noted — and added that this is a method that the U.S. Forest Service had embraced after a long history of fighting all wildfires.

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