In the U.S. West, wildfires are wiping out major forests at alarming rates. In the past, after normal wildfire events, forests would regenerate. However rising temperatures driven by climate change is making it harder for new growth to survive. In some areas scientists say that pine and Douglas fir forests may never return.
Rising temperatures causes seedlings working to regrow forests to shrivel, leaving room for grasses and bushes to take over and consequently make it even more difficult for new tree growth.
“The earlier we start dealing with the root problem, climate change, the better chance we have,” Veblen said. “If you want to keep these forests, keep fossil fuels in the ground.”