PSU research indicates climate may not be a factor in tree life. See story below.


Thursday’s high, 42; Overnight low, 18







 Theft of guns from Hector Township residence probed by state police at Coudersport….A criminal mischief in Fox Township investigated by state police at Ridgway…..Gov. Wolf vetoes bill to help gun owners….Penn State study says forests not affected by climate changes….

Potter County

A burglary on McCullough Lane  in Hector Township over the past few months is being investigated by state police at Coudersport. Sometime since October 1, thieves stole three guns owned by Gerald Brumbach. One weapon is a tan desert camouflage .308 scope/bipod in a black case and the two others are unknown make and model but were in a worn brown case. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 814.274.8690.

Coudersport Emergency Services responded to a tractor-trailer rollover on Route 872 near Jenkins Hill Thursday afternoon. It will likely be several days before state police release details.

Elk County

State police at Ridgway are investigating a criminal mischief taking place January 24 or 25 at 812 Shelvey Summit Road in Fox Township. A dark blue 2019/2020 Chevy Silverado went off the road and hit a black mailbox on a wooden post, a wooden painted  “angler” cutout and a utility pole. The mailbox and post owned by 82 year old Walter Beimel are valued at $250. The utility pole is owned by Windstream  of Brookville. Anyone with information is asked to call state police at 814.776.6136.

McKean County

A theft at a Liberty Township home Tuesday afternoon is being probed by state police at Lewis Run.  Thieves took 80 grit sanding pads belonging to a 50 year old Port Allegany man. They are valued at a total of $20.

A 56 year old Eldred man has been arrested for DUI. Troopers at Lewis Run arrested the suspect after stopping his 1998 Ford Fiesta on Route 46 in Keating Township Tuesday morning for traffic violations. His name was not released.

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation authored by Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) that would have better protected Pennsylvanians’ Second Amendment rights. Dowling says existing law is on the side of Second Amendment advocates, as municipalities across the Commonwealth are prohibited by law from enacting their own gun ordinances. However, some have chosen to defy that law.House Bill 979 would have helped to deter implementation of illegal ordinances by holding offending jurisdictions financially responsible for attorney fees and costs, as well as any lost income, for a person who successfully challenges such an ordinance. Dowling says, “We will continue this fight in the days ahead.”

Since the 1990s, scientists have been predicting that North American tree species will disappear from portions of their ranges within the next 50 to 100 years because of projected changes in climate. A new study led by Penn State forest biologists sheds doubt on such sweeping forecasts. In recent years, as the limitations of species distribution models have become more widely acknowledged, scientists have tended to temper their predictions of future extinctions. “Unfortunately” researchers say, “even if they are admittedly conditional and based on incomplete models, alarming predictions tend to become conventional wisdom because they get a lot of press attention.”

Because trees grow slowly, it takes decades to draw accurate conclusions about their ability to survive in an altered climate, added Steiner, who recently retired as director of The Arboretum at Penn State. He explained that this study focused on an experimental test of what happens when populations of two eastern North American tree species were moved to warmer or colder climates for an average of 35 years.

The researchers had access to two data sets, each based on multiple experimental plantations of ash. One of those sets of plantations was from an experiment Steiner started with green ash in 1975; the other was from an experiment with white ash started by the U.S. Forest Service two years earlier.

Instead of asking, “What happens to a species when the climate changes,” the researchers asked, “What happens to the offspring of a wild population when you move it to a new climate?”

In the plantations, which were scattered among six states from Maine to Kentucky to Kansas, scientists grew trees from 56 green ash populations and 46 white ash populations in environments that were to varying degrees warmer or colder than the trees’ native environments. The researchers “imposed” climate change by moving trees to novel environments, and then measured their response in survival and growth as a function of the climatic distance of the move.

The researchers, who recently published their findings in Diversity and Distributions, reported that they could detect no significant mortality associated with climatic displacements of as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit in either species — which is greater warming than expected in this century based on most climate models. Also, they found 40% or greater survival in most instances of ash populations exposed to warming levels of 12 to 18 F.

As expected, the amount of warming or cooling — “climatic distance” — was a significant predictor of survival and growth, researchers said, but other factors were more important. They could not predict reliably whether trees would live, or die, based upon the amount of warming or cooling.

No populations suffered 100% mortality at any location, researchers reported, and it appeared that this would continue to be the case until at least age 50. Results show, they concluded, that trees are much more capable of enduring 50-100 years of novel climates than is assumed in predictions based on species distribution models.

Ironically, the trees on which the research was based are almost all gone now. An invasive insect, the emerald ash borer, has since destroyed most plantations, but at the time of measurements it was either not present or present in such low numbers that its effect on survival and growth was negligible.

Emerald ash borer was unknown to Americans when these studies were begun Researchers say “We would have wrongly predicted the death of trees from climate change if people had been doing such research, but we would have completely missed the destruction caused by this insect.”

The  state Health Department reports the number of deaths in Pennsylvania now totals 41,359. Deaths  in the Black Forest Broadcasting Service area  to date are mostly  holding steady.

Cameron 18

Elk 86 (+2)

McKean 128 (+3)

Potter 87 (+1)

Tioga 186 (+1)