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Central Coast Researcher Works To Help Prevent Global Problem Of Dying Forests

Photo by Kerri Frangioso
Sudden oak death in Big Sur. Tree mortality increases dead fuels which can increase wildfire intensity.

A researcher on the Central Coast is leading an international group of scientists to help prevent the global problem of dying forests.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Richard Cobb says forests worldwide are dying at an accelerated pace mostly due to drought and heat from climate change. So, he collaborated with 20 researchers around the world to develop a framework to help minimize future forest mortality rates.

“The first step is to ask questions, 'What do you know about your forests?’ The next part is to ask 'What kind of management responses can we do that reflect our knowledge about the system and will help reduce the ecological impacts of tree mortality?'” he said.

He says the new framework can be used by land management officials in county, state and federal roles as a roadmap when dealing with forest die-offs globally.​