WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Forest Service says it has created an online database to help land managers understand the interactions of climate change, pathogens and forests.
The service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said changing climate alters patterns of forest disturbance. The searchable database is designed to explain how forest diseases will respond.
Officials said the U.S. forested area now annually infected by insects and pathogens is approximately 45 times the area affected by fire, with an economic impact nearly five times as great. The literature review shows climate change generally will lead to reductions in tree health and will improve conditions for some highly damaging pathogens.
The Forest Service said citations and summaries for more than 1,000 records of journal articles and working papers on forest pathogens and climate are retrievable at the Web site by author, topic, species or geographic area.
“This collaborative effort is the first of its kind to synthesize the information known about the interactions of climate change, pathogens and forests in a systematic and useful way for land managers addressing climate change,” officials said in a statement.
The database is available at http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/topics/insect_disease/.
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