16 Oct 2012:
Increasingly Severe Droughts
Could Transform U.S. Forests, Study Says
Severe drought conditions in the southwestern U.S. in recent years could become normal in the years to come, a shift that could trigger increased tree mortality and ultimately transform the region’s forests
, a new study says. In an analysis of tree-ring data from conifer trees dating back to A.D. 1000, a team of scientists concluded that while the region endured several “mega-droughts” over the last 1,000 years, the long-term drought that began in the late-1990s could end up being the worst yet and may portend even drier periods in the future. After modeling the level of stress caused by droughts on forests — and considering other factors caused by these changes, including bark-beetle outbreaks and wildfires — the researchers calculated that tree mortality over the next four decades will be worse than at any time over the last 1,000 years. “With increasing drought stress, our forests of tomorrow will hardly resemble our forests of yesterday,” said Henri Grissino-Mayer, a geography professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and one of the authors of the study
published in the journal Nature Climate Change
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.