Study shows worldwide vulnerability of forests due to drought

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trees need water. That may sound like a simple and obvious statement, but a new study released last week makes the case for how important the correct amount of water is for trees.

Researchers compiled data from 226 forest species at 81 sites worldwide. They found that around 70 percent of the species operate with only a narrow margin of safety when it comes to their water supply. In other words, many of the world’s important forest species are vulnerable to hydraulic failure.

That means that virtually all types of forests, even in regions that seem to get plenty of rain today, are vulnerable to increased drought and increased evaporation driven by higher temperatures.