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Patterns and causes of observed piñon pine mortality in the southwestern United States

April 1, 2015

Recently, widespread piñon pine die-off occurred in the southwestern United States. Here we synthesize observational studies of this event and compare findings to expected relationships with biotic and abiotic factors. Agreement exists on the occurrence of drought, presence of bark beetles and increased mortality of larger trees. However, studies disagree about the influences of stem density, elevation and other factors, perhaps related to study design, location and impact of extreme drought. Detailed information about bark beetles is seldom reported and their role is poorly understood. Our analysis reveals substantial limits to our knowledge regarding the processes that produce mortality patterns across space and time, indicating a poor ability to forecast mortality in response to expected increases in future droughts.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Patterns and causes of observed piñon pine mortality in the southwestern United States
DOI 10.1111/nph.13193
Authors Arjan J.H. Meddens, Jeff H. Hicke, Alison K. Macalady, P.C. Buotte, T.R. Cowles, Craig D. Allen
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title New Phytologist
Series Number
Index ID 70146675
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center

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