Ecological Drought in Riparian Ecosystems
Science Center Objects
Drought is killing riparian trees along many rivers in the western United States. The cause can be increasing temperature or decreasing precipitation, flow or water-table elevation. At multiple locations we are relating water availability to physiological measurements of tree survival and water stress, such as ring width, carbon stable isotope ratio and branch hydraulic conductivity. These relations will allow us to determine the minimum amount of water necessary to keep trees alive, and to predict how changes in flow, groundwater level, precipitation or temperature would affect survival.