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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Why are Large Trees in Yosemite N.P. Disappearing?


Sixty years of data collection by forest ecologists indicates that climate change could very well be causing the disappearance of the oldest and largest trees in Yosemite National Park, which is located in California.

Yosemite in the winter. Both images found in the Accuweather.com photo gallery.

Yosemite in the summer.

The key finding through this research is that the density of large diameter trees has fallen by 24% between the 1930s and 1990s, within all types of forest inside the park, according to the BBC Earth News article.

The famous Wawona Tree, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park. It Looks like this picture was taken in the 1940s.

Excerpts from the BBC article below......

"These large, old trees have lived centuries and experienced many dry and wet periods," says James Lutz of the University of Washington. "So it is quite a surprise that recent conditions are such that these long-term survivors have been affected."

The cause is difficult to pin down, but "we certainly think that climate is an important driver," says Lutz.

Higher temperatures decrease the amount of water available to the trees. The suppression of natural wildfires in the park also allows younger trees and shrubs to grow, increasing the competition for the water that is around.

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