Sierra Nevada forests are losing plant diversity due to high-severity fires, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. These fires are turning patches of forest into shrub fields — indefinitely, in some cases.
New article – Rainfall Drives Variation in Rates of Change in Intrinsic Water Use Efficiency of Tropical Forests – water use efficiency (WUE) was inferred in tropical forest tree rings around the world for most of the 20th century, finding that WUE increased in response to rising CO2.
While much of the 2019 Tahoe State of the Lake Report is about the lake itself, it also addresses the severe defoliation that many aspen stands are facing due to white satin moth. Information on other UC Davis tree loss and restoration research in the Sierra Nevada and other forests is cited.
An article in California Agriculture addresses how critical research is underway to understand the consequences of the massive wave of tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada. Urgent dialogue has started among UC scientists, forest managers, and public agencies to manage the consequences of the unprecedented tree die-off and increase the resiliency of forests to future droughts.
Thinning forests and conducting prescribed burns may help preserve trees in future droughts and bark beetle epidemics expected under climate change. Thinning and prescribed fires reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012–2016.