How Much Drought Can a Forest Take?
Aerial tree mortality surveys show patterns of tree death during extreme drought.
Why do some trees die in a drought and others don’t? And how can we predict where trees are most likely to die in future droughts?
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, and colleagues examined those questions in a study published in the journal Ecology Letters.
Using climate data and aerial tree mortality surveys conducted by the U.S. Forest Service during four years (2012-2015) of extreme drought in California, they found that when a drought hits the region, trees growing in areas that are already dry are most susceptible.
The research also showed that the effects of drought on forests can take years to surface, suggesting that such effects may linger even after the drought has ended.
Read more at UC Davis
Photo: Dead trees in the Sierra National Forest in April 2016. Credit: USFS Region 5