Forests worldwide threatened by drought

Forests worldwide threatened by drought
Dr. Sarah Greenwood of the University of Stirling is pictured. Credit: University of Stirling

Forests around the world are at risk of death due to widespread drought, University of Stirling researchers have found.

An analysis, published in the journal Ecology Letters, suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

The study found a similar response in across the world, where death increases consistently with increases in severity.

Dr Sarah Greenwood, Postdoctoral Researcher in Stirling's Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: "We can see that the death of trees caused by drought is consistent across different environments around the world. So, a thirsty tree growing in a tropical forest and one in a temperate forest, such as those we find throughout Europe, will have largely the same response to drought and will inevitably suffer as a result of rising temperatures and changes in on Earth."

The biological and environmental scientists did find specific, varying features in different tree types can alter their resistance to drought. Species with denser wood and smaller, thicker leaves tend to fare better during prolonged, unusually-dry periods.

Stirling co-author and Professor of Ecology, Alastair Jump, said: "By pinpointing specific traits in trees that determine how at risk they are from drought, we can better understand global patterns of and how the world's forests are reacting to rising temperatures and reduced rainfall.

"As the temperature of the planet continues to climb, mass tree mortality will hit more forests than ever before. Forests store a substantial amount of the world's carbon and increased tree death will only propel future global warming.

"This has very significant implications for fully understanding the impact of climate change on our planet."


Explore further

How much drought can a forest take?

More information: Sarah Greenwood et al, Tree mortality across biomes is promoted by drought intensity, lower wood density and higher specific leaf area, Ecology Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1111/ele.12748
Journal information: Ecology Letters

Citation: Forests worldwide threatened by drought (2017, February 22) retrieved 15 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-02-forests-worldwide-threatened-drought.html
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Feb 23, 2017
"As the temperature of the planet continues to climb, mass tree mortality will hit more forests than ever before. Forests store a substantial amount of the world's carbon and increased tree death will only propel future global warming.


Except the earth has been much warmer in the past. We know there was much more vegetation. Let me guess, this was based on model projection and upcoming grant applications.

Feb 24, 2017
@FactsReallyMatter say
Except the earth has been much warmer in the past.
and like that really matters with our AGW situation today! And all of that CO2 from a warmer past took thousands of years to finally be sequestered underground as combustible fossils (ie: coal, oil, Nat/Gas). So the moron; @factsreallymatter repeats the REPUBLICAN BS talking points, which are flat out lies! Goons like Mr. Facts.. wouldn't know a model if it smacked him in the face like a wet fish.


Feb 27, 2017
@FactsReallyMatter say
Except the earth has been much warmer in the past.
and like that really matters with our AGW situation today!


No, I expect your type doesn't look to the past, that would mean looking at data. Data is no good when it disagrees with your faith.

Feb 27, 2017
As the CO2 levels increase the earth is getting greener. The only thing that is endangered is barren deserts.

Feb 27, 2017
Oh yea, https://polarbear...t-30000/

The polar bears are thriving despite all of the bogus "Scientific" claims to the contrary.


Feb 27, 2017
The facts sometimes suck don't they true believers? If only those damn polar bears would all die off and prove once and for all that the deniers are wrong.

Feb 27, 2017
Well as CO2 increases, so does the heat trapping functions of this green house gas. CO2 levels at 360ppm were the last time on could expect normal temperatures and weather features. We are just getting a taste of what to expect as both CO2 and methane increase from the over and excessive use and on fossil fuel combustion for energy. Go listen to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". How that plays out will depend on people like you all (the deniers and lovers of fossil fuels).

There is one true thing about fossil fuels is once they are burned, they don't come back. An its a limited resource that will go-way after your destroy the environment digging, fracking, pumping it out of the ground.

Science is pretty good at predicting things, contrary to the denier's ostrich-head-in-ground like claims. We know exactly, how much CO2 is emitted in chemical combustion of CO2 and we also know how much fossil fuel is consumed/yr. Do the math, and 1000ppm seems likely by 2100.

Feb 27, 2017
The impact that would have from the greenhouse gas effect globally would be extreme with average global temperatures in 30C range (1000ppm @ yr 2100 ). That is diabolic and evil to wish that upon the planet Earth. 30C is 86.6F, but to compare, the current global average temperatures is 13.7C (56.7F). The global rise in temperature over these past 50 years, correlates very well with the rise of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion.

I know the denier goons will always be the republicon twits they are because the get their facts from FOX, Rush Limpballs and other sources of disinformation. I don't expect any of them to listen to reason, logic, compassion, concern or any human trait outside of their own existence.
Science to the deniers is as far away from them as Mars.

So when we hear about Polar Bears doing so well, the point is they live on the Arctic Ice pack! That is disappearing and they are simply moving south. Easier to count.


Mar 01, 2017
Hot head - take a real look at CO2 and temp data. Hint, they don't match.

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