Ponderosa pine

The Scotty Brown Fire, seen on August 11, 2015.

July of 2015 was the warmest month on record in the history of our planet, 2015 is on trend to be our warmest recorded year, and in much of the American west that warmth has been coupled with moderate to extreme drought conditions.

With emissions of greenhouse gases showing no sign of decreasing, these records will probably not last long. For Montana, it means that our overall climate is likely to get warmer and drier.

Lycogala epidendrum, also known as "wolf's milk slime".
Benny Mazur (CC-BY-2.0)

Slime molds are stubbornly mysterious. They are usually lumped in with fungi, but exhibit several traits ordinarily attributed to animals. One of these stands out above the others: slime molds travel.

View of a treated ponderosa pine plot in 2009, twenty-five years after selection cutting and prescribed burning.
Courtesy Carl Fiedler

A new book about ponderosa pine trees, written by a pair of Montana forest researchers, offers insight into past mistakes and current policies.

Ponderosa pine bark
Flickr user Tim Jones (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The bark of any tree is more than just a good-looking facade. Even the most graceful aspen or stately ponderosa requires bark to protect its sensitive inner flesh from disease, parasites, and other environmental stresses, such as fire.

Tree Bark

Jun 20, 2014
Jami Dwyer

6/22/14 & 6/23/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Tree Bark," written by Peter Lesica, read by Anne Garde.