Study: Tree death-global warming tie found
Death rates among trees have more than doubled in recent decades largely because of global warming, Northern Arizona University research indicates.
offers data to show that there is a problem with tree mortality in the West and that climate is an important element in the problem, Pete Fule, NAU School of Forestry associate professor and research co-author, said in a news release.
The research was published Friday in Science journal
Eleven scientists provided long-term data sets taken from trees across the Pacific Northwest, California, Idaho, Colorado and Arizona, Fule said. The research concludes tree death rates more than doubled in recent decades in old forests largely because of regional warming.
The gist is that we now have these long-term data sets from old trees across much of the western part of the country and one thing those forests have in common is that the trees are dying increasingly fast, Fule said.
To determine when trees died because of climate change, scientists documented climate-related incidents that caused trees to die, such as bark beetle attacks or forest fires. The study analyzed tree measurements dating back to the 1920s. Fule and other researchers updated the data by revisiting trees and providing current measurements and codes for environmental occurrences.
There is strong empirical evidence that these actions improve the resilience of trees to drought and insect pathogens, and protect them from severe stand-replacing wildfires, Fule said.