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Climate change affects Nebraska forests

Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 7:24 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) -Over the past 10 years, Nebraska forests have seen some significant changes.

“We see our Ponderosa Pine forests in the northern tier of the state declining from wildfires,” said John Erixson, State Forester and Director for Nebraska Forest Service.

It is estimated that we lost a third of the forest population in 2012 from wildfires. Climate change plays a significant role in our forests.

“Projections are for hotter summers, more high heat days than what we used to see. The longer grower seasons which end up with more fine vegetation and grass is growing in early spring,” said Erixson.

The conditions of hotter temperatures and strong winds can lead to wildfires.

‘We do have an opportunity to make some changes, to what happens with those wildfires,” said Erixson. “We cannot fully stop them from occurring. We can do some activities on the ground that make those fires less severe.”

Our Nebraska trees make our state unique and provide us with more than just shade on a hot day.

“There are many environmental benefits that our trees provide for us,” said Erixson. “Like slowing the wind down on days like today, and keeping heating and cooling costs in check, or even it if its the recreational value of the trees like going out on a walk. We are big fans of trees here.”

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