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Biodiversity

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Journalism


Just as new research shows that aspen forests are a fountain of biodiversity, Aspen’s namesake trees in the Roaring Fork River watershed are battling warming temperatures, drier conditions, climate disruption, and unchecked herds of deer and elk. Although local aspen forests are currently still healthy, they face serious challenges.

 

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy


Development and climate change are top threats to wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and in the arid west, water supply is a consistent concern for all kinds of life. But ecologists see a simple, natural way for ecosystems to be more resilient: beavers. 

When local ecologist Delia Malone walks along the Crystal River in Carbondale, she sees something missing. This footpath runs through an area that used to flood during spring runoff, but with the combination of development and climate change, it doesn’t anymore. Malone said it’s also in part because there are no beavers on this stretch of river. 

Courtesy of Robert Hinch

Researchers are seeing red flags in the health of Colorado’s elk herds, and new research aims to understand the role that recreation plays in declining wildlife numbers. Reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy broke down the details of that research with Aspen Public Radio’s Zoe Rom. 

 


Courtesy of Will Cardamone

 

A United Nations report in May warned that a million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, worldwide. The biggest cause of that threat, it said, is the way humans have destroyed or modified the lands and oceans where these species live. Aspen Public Radio is collaborating with Aspen Journalism to produce a series of stories centered on local biodiversity and efforts to identify the Roaring Fork Valley’s best remaining wild lands for our wild creatures.

 

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County has committed to using science to protect wildlife and habitat on the 5,000 acres of open space property it owns, and last week, the Open Space and Trails Board recommended spending more than $200,000 studying area wildlife.

 

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails officials are facing one of their biggest years yet. Elizabeth Stewart-Severy details on the 2018 budget.