Forest ecologist sees climate consequences

Dr. Susan Prichard, a research scientist at the University of Washington, studies the effects of disturbances, like insect outbreaks and wildfires, on forests. More trees in western forests are being killed by bark beetles, and fires are on the rise. Is climate change playing a role? For more information, see the video produced by Climate Central that has been posted on Time magazine's Web site. Photo credit: www.climatecentral.orgLIMATE CENTRAL, Princeton, NJ — Many people worry about the link between rising bark-beetle infestations and an increase in western wildfires. But Dr. Susan Prichard, a Research Scientist at the University of Washington, adds another concern: what happens after the fires go out?

Prichard’s story is the latest in a series of video shorts featured on TIME.com and produced by Princeton, NJ-based nonprofit Climate Central, an authoritative, non-advocacy source for science-based information about climate change. The series introduces viewers to people from all walks of life who are studying or dealing with the impact of climate change today.

Climate Central’s Correspondent and Senior Research Scientist, Dr. Heidi Cullen, interviewed Prichard. Cullen says Prichard helps bring clarity to a climate change story that is not generally well understood. "Dr. Prichard can help all of us see the long-term risks that come from global warming. She’s looking at the next generation of seedlings that sprout up after these mega-fires. And her big worry is that they may not be able to survive in a warmer, drier climate."

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