Fire on the Mountain: 2 Forests Offer Clues to Yellowstone’s Fate in a Warming World

Second, the fires could burn up larger sections of forest. Small islands of forest often survive even within otherwise burned areas, said Brian Harvey, an ecologist at the University of Washington, and seeds from these preserved areas often blow into the surrounding burned forests or are carried there by animals. This reseeding method is especially important at higher altitudes where lodgepoles don’t produce serotinous cones.

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Photo illustration by Claire O’Neill/The New York Times; photo by Mike Price

“But what we’re seeing now is more homogeneous burning throughout the forests, with fewer islands of unburned areas,” Dr. Harvey said. “When that happens, there are fewer seed sources to…

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