Mississippi River BasinPhoto Gallery

Headwater Forests in Yellowstone National Park


Forests in tributary headwaters are natural mechanisms for accumulating and retaining snow pack on windy ridges. As well, their shade and water-retentive roots create a more gradual release of snowpack melt downstream. However as climate change, mountain pine beetle attacks, high-intensity fire and timbering reduce forest acreage, downstream stakeholders will experience higher flooding with more intense spring snow melt followed by less water available thereafter when there’s no snow pack remaining to be released.

Burned pine bark from 1988 fire
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Burned pines, 1988 fire
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Dead pine trunk from 1988 fire
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Rotting, lichen-covered trunk
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Windbreak of pines on ridge
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Like fallen matchsticks after fire
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Elk browse and fire threaten pines
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Aspen tree
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Higher elevation whitebark pine dying
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Dead whitebark pine, likely beetle attack
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Cottonwood copse in river valley
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Pine silhouetted against cottonwood
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