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Climate change risks to global forest health: Emergence of unexpected events of elevated tree mortality worldwide

July 6, 2022

Recent observations of elevated tree mortality following climate extremes, like heat and drought, raise concerns about climate change risks to global forest health. We currently lack both sufficient data and understanding to identify whether these observations represent a global trend towards increasing tree mortality. Here, we document events of sudden and unexpected elevated tree mortality following heat and drought events in ecosystems that previously were considered tolerant or not at risk of exposure. These events underscore the fact that climate change may affect forests with unexpected force in the future. We use the events as examples to highlight current difficulties and challenges for realistically predicting such tree mortality events and the uncertainties about future forest condition. Advances in remote sensing technology and greater availably of high-resolution data, from both field assessments and from satellites, are needed to improve both understanding and prediction of forest responses to future climate change.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Climate change risks to global forest health: Emergence of unexpected events of elevated tree mortality worldwide
DOI 10.1146/annurev-arplant-102820-012804
Authors Henrik Hartmann, Ana Bastos, Adrian Das, Adriane Esquivel-Muelbert, William M Hammond, Jordi Martínez-Vilalta, Nate G. McDowell, Jennifer S. Powers, Thomas A. M. Pugh, Katinka X. Ruthrof, Craig D. Allen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Annual Review of Plant Biology
Series Number
Index ID 70232521
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center