Magazine article Geographical

Giants Fall

Magazine article Geographical

Giants Fall

Article excerpt

Nearly a century ago, Albert Wieslander mapped out vegetation and forest resources across California. Now a study has revealed how the state's forests have changed for the worse since that initial survey took place

In the 1920s, Albert Wieslander worked for the US Forest Service from the University of California's Berkeley Campus to develop a map that covered about one third of the state, around 10,000 plots in all.

His team also prepared hundreds of hand illustrated maps, took thousands of photos, and collected numerous specimens. Once completed, his work was archived and largely forgotten. It almost ended up in the trash a few times.

However, a new study is using Wieslander's findings and a data set from the past decade to reveal that large trees are on the decline in the state, with around 50 per cent vanishing from the Sierra Nevada highlands since Wieslander's time.

'We focused on the plot data on forests since we could compare it to a modern data set from the US Forest Service between 2000-2010, called the Forest Inventory Analysis data set,' says Patrick McIntyre, a researcher on the project. …

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