US Forests Struggling to Keep Up with Climate Change, Study Finds

The impact of climate change on the world's ecosystems is becoming increasingly visible. One area that is particularly vulnerable is forests.

A recent study by the University of California and the US Forest Service has found that forests in the Western US are struggling to adapt to the changing climate.

The study revealed that the rate of change in forest composition is not keeping up with the rate of climate change.

Forests are becoming more dominated by trees that are better equipped to survive drier and hotter conditions.

The research team looked at 45,000 subplots of forest that had been measured in the most recent tree census.

They found that the temperature in Western forests had increased by an average of 0.57 degrees Fahrenheit from 2011 to 2020.

The most vulnerable plots were on hillsides facing north, those that experienced the most extreme warming and drought, and those that were subjected to insect attacks.

Tree species with low-temperature tolerances are dying, and new trees are not growing fast enough to compensate for these changes, according to the study.

The study highlights the importance of adopting more sustainable forest management practices, including drawing on Indigenous knowledge and practices, to help forests adapt.

Restoring land rights and sovereignty to Indigenous people can help forests respond to climate change and other environmental threats.

Indigenous people have built a strong interdependent relationships with their local ecosystems over thousands of years.

The loss of healthy forests can have significant consequences for human society, including the loss of vital services such as:

food, clean drinking water, wood, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, spiritual and mental health benefits, and defense against climate change.

Urgent action is needed to mitigate climate change and protect our forests, and to recognize the important role that forests play in supporting the ecosystems and human communities.

In conclusion, the study highlights the urgent need to address the impact of climate change on forests in the Western US.

It also underscores the crucial role of sustainable forest management practices in helping forests adapt to climate change and other environmental threats.

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