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Feb 18, 2012 12:20 PM by Matt Stafford

Researchers: climate warming causing yellow cedar death

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A U.S. Forest Service study confirms that climate warming is the culprit in the extensive deaths of valuable yellow cedar trees in southeast Alaska and British Columbia.

The trees can live more than 1,000 years and defend themselves against bugs, disease and injury to their bark, but their shallow roots are vulnerable to freezing if snow is not around to provide insulation.

As snow patterns have shifted, yellow cedar has been hit hard. Forest Service researchers say yellow cedar has died on nearly a half-million acres in southeast Alaska and another 123,000 acres in British Columbia.

The researchers say the study underscores the increasing importance that climate change will play in managing forests.

The study appeared this month in the journal BioScience.

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