Over Half of California’s Large Trees Have Vanished Mostly Due to Climate Change

A grove of redwood trees (PHOTO CREDIT: CBS)
A grove of redwood trees (PHOTO CREDIT: CBS)

Over the last 85 years, California has seen more than half of its large trees vanish, according to the a publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research team compared 1930’s survey data to numbers from the 2000’s and found an increase in smaller trees, but a dramatic drop-off in the large trees from the north coast to the southern border. The research focused primarily on pines with diameters over two feet.

A National Geographic breakdown of the study points out that while logging and development partly responsible researchers found widespread die-off in protected areas where water shortages have been recorded in recent decades.

Lead author Patrick McIntyre, of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the largest drivers of these water stress related die offs are rising global temperatures, which cause the trees to lose moisture and force the melting of the state’s snow pack earlier than in the past, leaving the trees with a severely limited water supply during the dry season.

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SOURCE: CBS San Francisco | National Geographic

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