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Forests and climate change

Photo credit: Nature World News

Climate change related disturbances weaken temperate forests. (Photo : U.S. Forest Service photo by Constance Millar.)

Climate Change Causes Megadisturbances in Temperate Forests

By Samantha Mathewson

Temperate forests are vulnerable to worsening droughts, diseases, and massive wildfires, and the USDA Forest Service, warms that if actions aren’t taken, some forests could be transformed into shrublands or grasslands in the near future.

While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease these conversions,” Constance Millar, lead author and forest ecologist with the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, said.

Their study, recently published in the journal Science, explains that forests have been resilient in the wake of logging, and while they have been re-growing, they are being stressed by hotter, drier air temperature that overheat their leaves and steal all their moisture. It also doesn’t help that snow, which would be stored for emergencies, is instead falling as rain. As a result, trees are experiencing a much higher mortality rate.

Read the full article: Nature World News

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.