"Such destruction, caused partly by warming, will itself cause more warming," reports The Economist. "Many American forests are growing denser, in part owing to a reduction in logging, which makes them a significant carbon sink. They suck in greenhouse gases equivalent to around 13 percent of what America emits by burning fossil fuels. Yet USFS predicts that within a couple of decades, because of slowing growth and climate-related blights, the forests will become an emissions source. That would have a commensurate impact on the climate; it would also be grim for America, whose long disdain for one of its greatest bounties, the forests on which its economy was built, is belatedly yielding to smarter, more collaborative sorts of forest management."
"Mismanagement is also fueling the flames," reports The Economist. "Ever since 3 million acres of Idaho, Montana and Washington went up in smoke in 1910, the government has suppressed fire zealously. It was said that any new blaze must be extinguished by 10 a.m. the next day. This has stopped some sequoias from reproducing for decades. It also removed the self-moderating effect of frequent fire from a landscape prone to burn. Logging, followed by dense modern tree-planting, reinforced the effect. Where most western woods were once dominated by well-spaced large trees, they are now a tangle of smaller specimens, fighting over too little water, atop rising mounds of brush." (Read more)