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March 4, 2010

Forest change topic of first-ever College of the Environment dean’s lecture

From wildfires to wild flowers — Pacific Northwest forests appear to be changing. New ways of thinking and managing forest lands are needed, says forest resources’ Dave Peterson, who will speak Thursday, March 11, about Climate, Forests and Future: A View from Treeline.

The presentation is part of forest resources’ annual series “Sustaining Our Northwest World” and is the inaugural College of the Environment’s dean’s lecture. The college plans to have two dean’s lectures a year in the future.

The talk is at 7 p.m. in 120 Kane. It’s free and open to the public by registering at http://www.washington.edu/alumni/learn/events.html.

The size of insect infestations and wildfires appears to be increasing, says Peterson, who is with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory and a UW professor of forest resources. There have also been changes in forest composition and biodiversity. Peterson, for example, was the first to report changes seen in subalpine meadows in places such as Mount Rainier. Trees are regenerating more readily in what people have come to expect to be open meadows, areas sometimes rich with wildflowers.

Predicting and adapting to forest changes require that scientists and land managers work together, Peterson says.

The event is being conducted in collaboration with the UW Alumni Association. It will be broadcast on UWTV later this spring.