Drought Threatens California’s Ecosystem

Drought Threatens California’s Ecosystem

Drought in California has led to draining of lakes, subsidizing of land and implementation of draconian water protocols. A research has revealed that between 2011 and 2015, about 58 million large trees over 3,861 square miles have suffered from water loss owing the biggest ever drought of the state. The research has been carried out by Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University. The drought is resulting in trees dying due to lack of water, which in turn will lead to revolutionary changes in ecosystem.

The impact of little or no rain has been covered in this study. "California relies on its forests for water provisioning and carbon storage, as well as timber products, tourism, and recreation, so they are tremendously important ecologically, economically, and culturally”, said Carnegie’s Gregory Asner, a lead author on the study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the research. The drought is likely to impact ecosystem, subsequently affecting animal habitats and biodiversity.

Laser-guided, imaging spectrometer was utilized to measure the mass of the water in the canopy. The data collected revealed that water stored in the canopy of approximately 888 million trees, over an area of approximately 41,000 square miles, has significantly changed between 2011 and 2015.

The research will be instrumental in formulating guidelines by both public and private forestland managers. The decisions will involve “prioritizing areas for prescribed fire or mechanical thinning to reduce competition for water and decrease fire risk.”

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