How Midwestern Forests Adapt to Climate Change, Keep Fires at Bay

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December 17th, 2018

Management for Midwest national forests are taking steps to keep forest fires at bay and prepare for climate change, reports Jonathan Ahl for Harvest Public Media.

The trees are spaced far apart and are a diverse mix of species, which will help them withstand warmer weather and shorter winters brought on by climate change in the Midwest. It will also help prevent forest fires, very much on the minds of foresters in the wake of devastating blazes in California.

“I can drive around, and see small fires through the trees from the road, sometimes up to a mile away,” says firefighter Mike Kelly, based in Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest. And he says that if common yard tools like leaf blowers are too small to put out the fire, the trees are far enough apart to accommodate modern equipment, like bulldozers.

The final version of the farm bill also provided more tools to manage forests in coming years, allowing counties, tribal governments, nonprofits and private landowners groups to assist with management.

For more on this story, visit Harvest Public Media.

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