Over the past 4 years, California has been subjected to numerous dry spells. Not only have the drought affected numerous lakes and caused massive land erosions, it would seem that the problem is much worse than anticipated. Drought spells affect California’s forest and could potentially lead to the death of 28 million trees.
In order to see the extent of the damages brought by the drought, a team of researchers from the Stanford University, investigated the areas affected by the recent dry spells. According to their appraisal of the situation, it would seem that more than 3861 square miles were affected by the dry spells.
Since the first dry spells, which begun back in 2011, the team of scientists have come to understand that increasing temperatures combined with other factors such as insect plagues, may have harmed the ecosystem in ways we cannot yet begin to understand.
Thus, approximately 58 million trees have begun to display life-threatening symptoms, Moreover, the dry spells and the high temperatures have also taken their toll on the local ecosystem, and, in the nearby future could even threat California’s local economy.
California is highly dependent on the local forests. The forest provides lumber, food and plays a key role in the areas of tourism and recreation. Also, the forest is important in carbon and water storing.
The end results have shown that besides the 58 million trees who are dying, another 888 million trees have shown different signs of degradations due to recent dry spell. These changes have been monitored from 2011 to 2015, and it would seem that a total area of 41.000 square miles has been affected by the drought spells.
In order to see the extent of the damages, the team of scientists used an imaging spectrometer in order to measure the quantity of water stored in the tree’s canopy. Cross-referencing these readings with satellite imagery taken from 2011 to 2015, the researchers were able to create a 3-D representation of the water shortage.
In terms of trees, it would seem that pines took quite a beating, followed by oaks. The only species of trees that seem unaffected bu the dry spells are the sequoias.
By using this research, the scientists are capable of determining the extent of the damage produced by dry spells. Understanding this concept, they will be able to fashion measures in order to minimize the impact on the local ecosystem.
The team cautioned that if this continue, the quantity of water deposited in the tree’s canopy might be lost, leading to a series of land changes.