Lessons from Mount St. Helens Being Applied Today

Article ID: 564211

Released: 4-May-2010 12:00 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of Washington

Newswise — May 18 marks the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens and scientists to this day use what’s being learned there to challenge established thinking about how landscapes evolve and rebound – even from something so bleak that University of Washington biologist John Edwards, who visited St. Helens within weeks of the eruption, said, “The sky was overcast, gray and everywhere you looked was gray. It felt like your color vision had been turned off.”

And what is being learned at Mount St. Helens helps us better understand such things as the behavior of the ash cloud that spewed out of the volcano beneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland.

The University of Washington has created an experts list at UWNews.org with eight Pacific Northwest researchers. They can talk about what’s been learned from Mount St. Helens, including findings published just last month in “Frontiers in Ecology and Environment” concerning the underappreciated value of ecosystems that develop between the time trees are removed – by natural processes such as eruptions or fires, or by harvesting – and when they again dominate. These so-called “early-successional” forest ecosystems attract and sustain numerous species and are characterized by highly productive plant species that thrive without a tree canopy above.

See experts list at http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=57570.


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