You probably noticed how hot last year was. It actually kind of broke a world record, as the hottest year recorded so far. And as you may suspect, the whole thing is devastating for the environment. Regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not, Drought Is Wreaking Havoc on Nation’s Forest Ecosystems.
Since the yearly droughts over the past 3 or 4 years have been getting worse and worse, a team from the U.S. Forest Service just finished a study looking into the actual, quantifiable effects of the increasingly warm temperatures.
The plant life is dying off while parasites are thriving
The report, 300 pages long, explains how the extremely warm weather will spark massive insect outbreaks and huge plant and tree die-offs.
Shrubs and trees will die increasingly faster as the weather gets warmer, and the production of timber and seed productions, as well as recreational activities will be severely dwindling.
At least 12 million trees have been killed the drought in the past few years, igniting serious discussions over possible preventive methods.
There are huge chunks of land full of dead trees, of other dying trees that are being destroyed by insects, as well as a huge growth in the number of invasive plants.
Not only are trees being killed by the drought and bark beetles, but the extremely adaptable ferns are also suffering.
Because of the heat, their ability to photosynthesize is limited, making them vulnerable to insects and diseases.
Forest fires are more dangerous than ever
Meanwhile, wildfires have been running rampant. Fed by the dead trees and shrubbery, flames throughout the forests are even generating their own wind to keep going.
Smoke plumes were seen rising as high as 35,000 feet into the air, only to collapse and spew out embers like from a cannon, causing other fires to start.
The fire season is now 78 days longer since the ‘70s, and at least 10 states have experienced their biggest fires ever in the past 5 years.
Experts are very concerned with the situation, as a very large part of the United States is suffering from the issue, with California, Arizona, and Texas among them. Canada is also severely affected.
There are concerns that the world’s forests are just reaching their tolerance limit, which would most likely cause huge, large-scale environmental changes – a tipping point.
With their capacity to photosynthesize drastically reduced by the heat, trees are also being slower in transforming the CO2, most likely leading to an even faster process.
Image source: Pixabay