Tree Mortality High a Decade After Drought

New Scientist reports:

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s not true for the US’s iconic aspen trees.

They appeared to survive a severe drought between 2000 and 2003, but it is now clear that it fundamentally weakened them. If the same is true for other tree species, climate change may be pushing many forests perilously close to a tipping point.

This is work by Anderegg et al, reported in PNAS: “The roles of hydraulic and carbon stress in a widespread climate-induced forest die-off”


  1. Er, yes. Plus see today's release of global results for big trees. The boreal is perhaps most worrying, but I think we know the state of things there.

    It's interesting how the recent reduction in apparent bark beetle activity in the US/Canadian west is being promoted as some sort of good news, whereas running out of food in some areas seems more likely to be the reason.

  2. Big trees.

    Had a look through the MPB lit and news, which I hadn't done for a while, and the incipient triumphalism I recall seems to have been pretty well tamped down by a very good year for the beetles. Extreme, expensive measures have worked somewhat in limited areas in southern AB and SK, but the breakout into the boreal farther north seems like a done deal, and I could find no current trace of the considerable confidence to the contrary that was being expressed as recently as three years ago (in particular by the AB government).

    OTOH, the new BC beetle plan says right up front that the infestation has "mostly run its course," which is reminiscent of the old hubris. It also speaks of replanting with "resilient" seedlings, which is an odd thing to say since AFAICT no such thing yet exists.

    I don't know if you noticed this interesting new twist, finding that the beetles are making a more salubrious climate for themselves.

  3. Would it be this?

    Journal Reference:
    David B. Lindenmayer, William F. Laurance, and Jerry F. Franklin. Global Decline in Large Old Trees. Science, 2012; 338 (6112): 1305-1306 DOI: 10.1126/science.1231070

  4. And yet more bad news from AGU: a href="">Widespread Devastation Found in 2010 Amazon Megadrought.

    Quote from PI: "The whole system is stressed out and falling apart."

    Not what we want to hear regarding the lungs of the planet, is it?

  5. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, December 9, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.