California’s Coastal Redwoods May Be Threatened by Vanishing Fog
With conflicting research, scientists should proceed with caution, says Water Researcher and Advocate Sharon Kleyne.
Grants Pass, OR (PRWEB) October 01, 2013
In 2010, a Scientific American article by Michael Tennesen reported that recent declines in coastal fog could endanger California’s beloved coastal redwoods, including the world’s tallest tree (Dec. 9; “Fog that Nourishes California Redwoods Is Declining”). In 2013, a Los Angeles Times article by Bettina Boxall reported that in fact, the coastal redwoods are in the mist of a growth spurt (Aug. 14; “Climate change may be speeding sequoia growth”). Water researcher and radio commentator Sharon Kleyne recently entered the controversy with a warning to wait until all data is in before jumping to conclusions or making dire prediction.
Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio Logic Aqua Research, a water and health research and product development center. Natures Tears® EyeMist® is the company’s global signature product for dry eye and dry facial skin. As part of an ongoing commitment to educating the public about water and health, Kleyne hosts the globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes.
The Scientific American article noted that redwoods receive approximately 35% of the water required for summer growth from the condensation and drip from fog. The article noted that the amount of fog has been declining in recent years, possibly due to a long-term warming trend. In many redwood stands, the article reports, many of the largest trees are in the process of dying from the top down.
Kleyne’s own investigation notes that most of California’s coastal redwoods are in protected stands with harvesting and fire excluded. The apparent die-back, Kleyne suggests, may simply be due to the fact that these are old growth stands whose largest trees are reaching their maximum growth.
The Los Angeles Times article reports that the growth spurt has been going on for several decades and includes giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as coastal redwoods. According to the article, this enhanced growth also may be the result of less fog and a long-term warming trend. Declining fog, says the article, increases the trees’ daily exposure to sunlight, necessary for photosynthesis, and also lengthens the annual growing season.
Sharon Kleyne has long advocated careful consideration of both sides in a dispute, and finding a middle ground when possible. Kleyne believes that in the case of the redwoods, both studies could be correct. Speed up growth, according to Kleyne, could eventually prove harmful to redwoods because the old growth trees could reach their growth maximum more quickly. On the other hand, the death of a giant releases the younger, more vigorous trees that had been languishing in the understory, enables them to replace the ancient giant.
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