Forests At Risk

"This is a call to action. If you love forests, if you think for a moment about the obligation we have to those who come after us, then you'll see, this is a forest issue, it's a political issue, it's an economic issue, it's a national security issue, it's a jobs issue, but at bottom it is a moral issue."
~ Al Gore

Across the American West, forests are imperiled. Recent studies reveal that the death rate of the West’s old growth forests has doubled, that dying forests in British Columbia are releasing 990 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, and that the western wildfire season is 78 days longer now than two decades ago. Some scientists now predict the loss within this century of half the West’s old growth forests.

What’s going on with our forests – and what’s the connection to climate change? What happens when forests transform from carbon sinks into carbon sources?  How do warmer temperatures affect forests, and does increased forest mortality feed back into climate change? Are forest ecosystem changes affecting the intensity of wildfires? Do tipping points exist that could accelerate the rate of change? And will our grandchildren enjoy the same healthy forests across the West that we have taken for granted?

To address these issues, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) convened two educational symposia of distinguished scientists from around the U.S. and Canada to explore the critical connection between forest health and climate change. The first Forests At Risk symposium was held on February 18, 2011 in the Aspen Institute’s Doerr-Hosier Center. Over 500 people attended the symposium, which examined the rapid changes occurring in today’s forests, the origins of these changes, and what we can expect for the future. The second Forests At Risk symposium was held on June 24-25, 2012 in partnership with the Aspen Environment Forum.

ACES created an EBook from the original Forests At Risk symposium, which is free to the public and can be downloaded here:

 To view videos from ACES' June 2012 Forests At Risk event vist our Youtube channel.