Drought-related harmful effects likely to spread eastern side of America in near future
A new research paper has unveiled that the effects of drought would spread on the American east regions as well. Already, its effects have been documented on the American West. The researchers have also mentioned that drought-like conditions will intensify, change the distribution of species, biodiversity of landscapes in the forests and rangelands across the nation.
The drought has already led unusually warm and dry conditions, which have further killed trees and led bark beetle infestations that killed billions more trees. Intractable wildfires have also increased in the region.
For the current research project, scientists from 14 institutions were involved. They have affirmed, “While eastern forests have not experienced the types of changes seen in western forests in recent decades, they too are vulnerable to drought and could experience significant changes with increased severity, frequency, or duration in drought”.
Scientists fear that the eastern forests would not be easily able to accommodate to changing climatic conditions. Main aim of the study was to provide a foundation of knowledge including current and future drought effects on forests across the nation so that forest management practices could be developed accordingly.
Study’s lead researcher James Clark, environmental scientist at Duke University said that much advancement has been made that allow prediction of how species will respond differently to drought. However, there remains uncertainty on what would happen at the species level, especially in the Eastern Forests.
The current research paper is based on the assessment of hundreds of peer-reviewed studies focusing on the health of America’s forests and rangelands. The study findings can be used by land managers as a baseline to test their efforts to improve drought resilience and adaptation practices in the forests they manage.
It is important to save forests as a lot is dependent on them. To cite an example, 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that comes from 193 million acres of national forest and grasslands.
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