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Scientists Study How Drought Affects Trees

Amy Quinton/Capital Public Radio
 

Amy Quinton/Capital Public Radio

Forests can experience large scale die-off or die more slowly in a process called “background mortality”. The Sierra Nevada is already experiencing accelerated background mortality. Scientists are studying whether drought causes trees to die sooner than normal. It’s a huge concern as California deals with its third straight year of drought.

“From what I can tell, drought is a major player in that,” says Phil van Mantgem, a research ecologist with USGS.

“We’re not 100 percent on that, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing that direction, " he says. "You can convict on circumstantial evidence, and its getting strong enough where I think management needs to start taking a look at how we can combat these drought effects.”

Drought is a focus of conversation at the national Ecological Society of America conference being held in Sacramento this week. 

 droughttrees

Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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