The future of our changing forests

By Jim Worrall

In 2002, an extreme drought quietly broiled southern Colorado. In some areas, this turn-of-the-century drought was the culmination of a 15-year drying trend.

In addition to very low precipitation, record high temperatures were common that summer. It was so hot and dry that aspen leaves were scorched. Scientists often use the term “climate-change-type drought” for a drought with extreme heat, which greatly increases drought stress. Across the interior West, the most recent drought that severe and widespread occurred over 800 years ago.

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