Climate Change Threatens Trees Worldwide

As the climate warms, scientists expect an increase in droughts around the world, causing all sorts of problems for water supplies, agriculture, energy production and forests, which, according to a new study published in the journal Nature, will be seriously affected worldwide, reports Michael Lemonick at Climate Central. Normally, evaporating water from leaves creates suction that pulls water through a plant’s roots, much like sucking water through a straw. During a drought, however, evaporation and suction increase, while there is less available water at the roots. The extra suction can pull air bubbles in through pores in the sides of the channels, and when that happens, the channels become clogged, resulting in hydraulic failure. After looking at over 200 tree species at over 80 locations around the world, two dozen international experts have determined that nearly three quarters of all trees will likely suffer if conditions get drier, whether those trees live in wet or dry habitats. According to commenting scientist Bettina Engelbrecht “ the majority of species appear to be right on the edge. Just a little more drought will push them over.”

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Drought puts trees ‘at the edge’ worldwide. As the climate warms, scientists expect an increase in droughts around the world, causing all sorts of problems for water supplies, agriculture, and energy production. Forests will be affected too, naturally, but a new study released Wednesday in Nature shows just how widespread the effects could be. Climate Central

An arbor embolism? Why trees die In drought. Scientists who study forests say they’ve discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees. When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder to get water, which can be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree’s plumbing. Morning Edition

About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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