2019 Water Research: Can our Forests Survive the Next Drought?


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 15 January 2019

FORESTS, TREES, PLANTS, & PEOPLE

Bleak Current Status of Sierra Tree Mortality
Dead Trees Everywhere
 UC Merced.
Many trees in the Sierra have died in the past few years because of drought. Photo & Caption Credit: UC Merced.

 

Understanding Tree Mortality

Can our forests survive the next drought?
UC Merced, January 9, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Understanding Tree Mortality

“Each year our forests, grasslands and shrublands depend on water stored underground to survive the dry summers, but during multiyear dry periods there is not enough precipitation in the wet winter season to replenish that supply.”

“If the drought is long enough and especially hot, as was the case from fall 2011 through 2015, large numbers of trees run out of water and die.”

Goal
“...delved into data from sites across the semi-arid West to determine the amount of water storage available in the root zones of different areas.”

“...how dependent different areas in the West are on that subsurface water storage and how many dry years the plants can survive.”

Results
“Some areas will be able to tolerate one or two years, while others can weather five or six. However, when the weather is hotter, the plants need more water to live, and the climate is getting warmer.”

The Situation
“Our wet seasons are getting shorter, which means that the dry seasons are getting longer and drier — we’re getting less snow than rain — and the wet seasons are warmer, meaning the stored water gets used earlier in the year, leaving less for the hottest parts of the year.”

What we Are Doing
Stuffing in as many consumers into the Southwestern Deserts of the United States as possible, growing population and consumption as quickly beyond our sustainable limits as humanly possible...

Root of the Issue
California
“In California, more than half of the water use by forests, grasslands and shrublands comes during the dry season, and it comes from water stored in the root zone after rainfall and snowmelt end in spring.”

The Southwest
“...less than one-third of water used by vegetation at sites they studied in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona was drawn from subsurface storage during dry periods.”

The Research Goal
“This will provide a projection of relative drought vulnerability, which is especially of interest to land managers who need to prioritize where to thin overstocked forests before they suffer further widespread tree mortality during the next multiyear drought.”

 

 

The Bottom Line

We Need A New Environmentalism

 

 

Recent Tree Mortality News & Research

Tree News, Widespread Pinyon Pine Mortality Throughout Much of the Southwestern U.S.

 

Dead Tree Count Increases: Tree Mortality Momentum Carries On

Tree News 2018, Tree Mortality Continues: The Drought "Gone but not Over?"

ECO-CRASH NEWS: Tree Mortality, High Sierra Carnage

 

2018 Tree Mortality Mitigation: Feds To Remove Millions Of Dead-Dying Trees From California’s Forests

 

 

 

Groundwater News & Research

Climate Change News: Groundwater Changing in the American West

Groundwater Double-Wammy, Two Stories; Groundwater depletion adds CO2, & Groundwater recharge Declines

American Groundwater Overestimated, at Risk from Fracking and Climate Changes

Drought Never Ended? Groundwater loss Sinking San Joaquin Valley

 

 

The Situation Continuing to Drive Tree Mortality Forward

41% Sierra & Rocky Mountains Snow Pack Loss since ‘82

Sierra Snowpack Could Drop 79% by End of Century

High Sierra & Great Basin Transforming from Seasonal to Ephemeral Snow Pack

 

 

 

Tree, Forest, & Plant News, 2019

 

January 2019 General Nature News

 

 

 

News Of Nature

 

Climate Destruction News

 

Trees

Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News

 

Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History

 

Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish & Water News

Anthropocene

 

 

 

Top 

 

 groundwater, drought, and, tree mortality

 

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