Study: Yosemite Losing Large Trees

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Scientists with the US Geological Survey say there are fewer large-diameter trees growing in the park than in years past.

Jim Lutz is a researcher at the University of Washington who led the study. He says warmer temperatures and smaller snow packs mean fewer Ponderosa and sugar pines are flourishing.

“We examined forest conditions in the ‘30s and forest conditions in the ‘90s and what we found was a difference. Some of the patterns in the data do help us make inferences and certainly one of the factors we think could be important are changes in climate."

Animals like the spotted owl and plants like moss need the habitat that large trees provide to live. Lutz says it's not yet known if fewer big trees will threaten other plants and animals.