Droughts make trees vulnerable

Monday, September 10, 2012

A study soon to be published by University of Arizona researchers finds that as temperatures rise and droughts become more severe in the Southwest, trees are increasingly up against extremely stressful growing conditions.

Droughts in the Southwest made more severe by warming temperatures are putting plants in stressful growing conditions, identifying an increasingly water-thirsty atmosphere as a key force that sucks moisture from plants, leading to potentially higher stress - especially in mid and low elevations.

The research team used a growing season index computed from weather data to examine limits to plant growth during times of drought.

The full study will be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.