Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Dryland Shifts

Small decreases in moisture can trigger large, sudden shifts in habitat.  This article details several thresholds where drylands progress toward deserts.  Once crossed, they are difficult or impossible to reverse. 

Barely mentioned is the earliest transition from moderate to dry, where trees cannot survive and are replaced by bushes.  That's the one we really need to watch, because it's the most active right now.  The thing about trees is that an established forest can keep going in territory that is now too dry to establish a new forest.  That makes it critical to protect standing trees.  Wildfires are a huge threat not just because they burn trees, but because in a drying climate, those trees can't be replaced there.
Tags: environment, nature, news, science
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